Jun 18, 2013

3 Things I'm Thinking About When I'm not Binge-Watching Game of Thrones

1. Home
I was home for a week and it was such a fun week that it has taken almost two weeks to recover. Yes, I really got my money's worth out of that airfare. The idea of home  has been on my mind since my return. Well, since my return home. Ireland is and will always be home. But in two years, I will have lived in New York as long as I lived in Ireland. Twenty years each side of the Atlantic. Maybe that's why on this trip, more so than on other trips, I felt like I was coming home when I got  back on the plane to New York. It felt nice but it also felt scary.

I worry about aging gracefully. I'm not worried about old-lady lavender hair (in fact, I'm kind of looking forward to it), or baggy eyelids (my fringe will just keep getting longer), but it stings when people comment that my accent is getting faint, and I worry that after I pass the milestone of equal time in both of my homes, I'll overcompensate and dye my lavender hair green to match my shamrock bloomers, wooly jumper, and the inevitable (and saggy) kiss-me-I'm-Irish tattoos. Sigh, I guess I have two years to grapple with how I will keep the balance in my Irish-in-America force ... or two years to pack up and move back.

2. TransAtlantic by Colum McCann
I had zero time to shop on this trip but I did manage to run into a bookshop when I was supposed to be running to the bank. I grabbed a copy of Colum McCann's latest, TransAtlantic, and sadly had no time to browse for more books to take back with me. (What I saved on baggage fees, I will end up paying in shipping fees before the summer is out.) Anyhoo, I got started on TransAtlantic—appropriately—as I crossed back over the Atlantic, and I'm thoroughly enjoying the read. I'm trying to drag it out so I can bring it with me for poolside reading on another little gallivant next week, but it has taken root, so I'm not sure I'll be able to wait to see how the three main narratives—of escaped slave Frederick Douglass visiting Ireland in 1845, Alcock and Brown's first nonstop trans-Atlantic flight just after World War I, and Senator George Mitchell as he participates in the Northern Ireland peace process—intersect. Sidenote: I know someone who lives in the same building as Colum McCann and it is only a matter of time until the day that we will sit at the same dinner table (and perhaps, compare Irish tattoos?) 
Colum McCann's TransAtlantic: A Novel

3. Aoife O'Donovan

 My friend Siobhan recently turned me onto the hushed, sweet voice and melodies of Aoife O'Donovan through this interview on NPR MusicWith a name like Aoife O'Donovan it is no surprise that Aoife is of Irish heritage. Her father comes from Clonakilty Co. Cork, and while Aoife was raised in Massachusetts she spent her summers in Ireland. You could make your own assumptions about where she got her lyrical abilities and musical talents or you could just take it as Bible—like every Irish person who will claim her as their cousin once she makes it—that she gets it from the Irish side of the family. In fairness, I suppose O'Donovan's music is a beautiful mesh of Irish and American folk traditions, and the perfect soundtrack for those long summer evenings. The name Aoife is unusual on this side of the Atlantic, so every article and interview with O'Donovan includes a pronunciation key. I have no doubt she'll be promptly claimed by the motherland, where there'll be no problem with her name or her beautiful music.

Aoife O'Donovan's debut album, Fossils.