Thursday, June 20, 2013

Strangers in a Strange Land...

Travel can be a wonderful adventure of places, people, tastes, sounds and textures.  It can also be a grueling process dead ends, fights over direction, bad food and rude people. (I'm developing an extreme dislike for the drivers of certain brand name cars... think they own the very narrow roads.)  But then all this sounds just like home.

Summerville B&B, Galway

In Ireland, most hotels are more expensive that Bed and Breakfasts, substantially so.  Hotels also tend to have lots of amenities and glitz catering to both the Irish and Tourist desires for a good holiday time.

Pamela and I have gravitated to B&B's in our weekend travels.  Quieter, more relational, closer to our areas of interest.

Half-Door B&B, Dingle, County Clare

With some trepidation last weekend, we dined at a boutique hotel just down from the Freeport House B&B.  Pamela consulted several of her foodie books (where where to find good places to eat), and we ended up at our third choice.(busy Saturday night.)  

Freeport House B&B, Barna, Galway

The hotel was named 'The Twelve," it's restaurant simply, "West."  Lots of glass and steel, tourists and locals, mostly young but with a smattering of seniors and families.  They squeezed us into an 8:45 sitting (last of the evening) and we perused what looked like a very good menu.

The food was indeed extraordinary, but what made the evening was our young waitress, Alexandra.  As she took our orders we commented on her French accent here in the west of Ireland.  She was from the Bordeaux region of France, putting herself through graduate school in Galway.

We asked, "what brought you to Ireland?"  
     "I finished my business and hotel management degree and wanted to study accounting and improve                     my English.  It was either England or Ireland.  I chose Ireland."
     "How long til you finish your accounting degree?"
     "Two weeks!!!  Then, my fiancé, who is Irish and a chef, wants to move to Canada, either Quebec or Vancouver."

I didn't even try to describe the 40 below zero winters of Quebec as opposed to the 40 above and rainy winters of Vancouver.  

Alexandra was a gracious, efficient and professional waitress.  She also epitomizes to me the new generations of young Europeans (and some young Americans)... Smart, educated, relational, motivated and mobile... mobile not just in a city to city or state to state sense... but mobile in an international sense.  The world is their oyster (to butcher a phrase).  

O'Flagherty's B&B, Dingle, County Kerry

Almost 50 years ago my first over seas trip was as an AFS exchange student to Peru.  Young and naive, I was nonetheless exhilarated, entranced and excited to discover there was a whole world outside of Oregon and the United States.  

I was equally amazed at how many of my contemporaries back home not only new nothing of the world outside the U.S.... they really didn't care.

Prehistoric B&B in the Burren, a rugged, semi-barren country in County Clare.
(Actually, it's called Pulnabrone, and it's a prehistoric stone chamber and burial place)

50 years later I am still dumbfounded by the ignorance of American youth and the relative awareness of youth in the rest of the world.  America can be so insular as to be a disservice to our youth in a global context.

I raised my daughters to be smart, capable and as worldly as they could be.  Each in their own way spread their wings and traveled and learned and grew.  I am very, very, very, proud of them.

Alexandra would have much in common with my daughters.  As I travel and grow and learn myself, because of these young people, my hope in the future is renewed.

Facing immense trials and difficulties at home and abroad, these new adults are willing to meet their challenges and succeed... in spite of the mess our generation has made of things.

I remain a hope filled OMOTIC.

No comments:

Post a Comment