22 March, 2015

Coming up the mountain for the first time

I felt disbelief as I came up the mountain for the first time as a cottage owner. I am still amazed that I did it!  I have found my piece of heaven above 8,000 feet. I live in a serene environment with clean air and spring water. My little cottage backs the national forest with my neighbors being deer, birds, squirrels, rats, and other creatures that have yet to make my acquaintance. I have a few neighbors of the two-legged variety in the distance. Close enough but far enough for privacy.

I am still in disbelief as I sit here in this lovely space. I have been disappointed so many times over the last 10 years. I wrote and dreamt and traveled to Irish Cottages in hopes of buying one of my own. I told anyone and everyone that I would be buying my own cottage in Ireland and would move to it one day soon.... I did try many times but for whatever reason my offers were not accepted.

In the midst all of this, the dream was put on hold when the care of my grandmother was placed on me as an only child and only grandchild. I could have easily trotted off but that is not me. She needed me and there was no other option....other demands trickled down but her care is one of the main reasons I am not in Ireland today. This doesn't mean I won't be in Ireland in the future. For today I choose to live in the present. Regret nothing and enjoy the fortunate life I have been given. 

Coming up the mountain after all that has happened, really opened me up to the idea of making my own little Ireland where ever I am. It will always sit in my heart pumping the blood of my Irish and European ancestors that have made me. My husband's green/hazel eyes, those little Irish wrinkles in the corner of those eyes that you see so often in men with roots from Donegal, never let me forget that he is my home wherever we are...

The beauty of this mountain village is overwhelming. I sit here with goosebumps as I look, feel, and think about what I did to get here.....

It started with a real estate website.... While on a mini-break, I was lying in bed at our hotel room surfing the Internet as my husband hogged the bathroom. What do men do in there? 

Anyway, while I was mildly perusing a website about the surrounding areas I came across a link for real estate on the sidebar. I love looking at houses for fun. No harm in looking and dreaming, right? But I had no idea at that moment I would be looking at my little Tiny Cottage. 

I remember an anxious feeling coming over me. I was seeing my home for the first time and I just knew it. I yelled to the bathroom for my husband to get out already and come look at this cute little yellow cottage. Mind you, my husband and myself have never agreed on homes. He has one idea and I have another. He really didn't think much of me calling him to look at a cottage as this is a very common occurrence with my obsession for Irish Cottages and all. I handed him my iPad and didn't think his response would much more than his normal response of "that's cute".  Instead, he laid down on the bed, tilted his head with a intrigued look in those lovely Irish eyes and said "that's the one". Such certainty in his voice threw me. As if he knew all along.

He felt it too! We both knew in an instant. All the looking, all these years and wouldn't you know the little yellow cottage has been here waiting for us all along.....

Once the excitement died down the reality hit us. How are we really going to buy this cottage now? Feels like an impossible task yet again. All the disappointment was going to sting just as much as it had with my previous attempts to secure my dream cottage in Ireland.

We weren't in the position to do or buy anything. The last six months had done a number on us. It hasn't been easy packing up and moving to another state by myself to care for my grandmother. My husband was now living with me full time again after years of me going back and forth to check on my grandmother. Many years of international flights to the States to check on her care, then moving closer and leaving Europe, and now permanently moving to her home towards the end of her life. 

All of this has been a tremendous burden on my whole family...emotionally, financially, spiritually...  The tears well up in my eyes as I write this. It has been a hard couple of years. I would do it again for her but I am not going to deny that I gave up my dreams and my life.

It can be tremendously hard as so many caregivers would tell you. You can loose yourself. Much of which was self inflicted as I look back. None the less, it was tough and has become tough again now that I am a watchful eye on my elderly father.

However, I have gained wisdom through this. I now understand that you must care for yourself first. It sounds selfish but a weak body and defeated spirit does no one good.

Until next time.....

Irish Cottage on the Mountain Top

Hello again! It has been awhile, hasn't it? So glad to be back!

Here I sit in my Irish Cottage in the woods. If you would have asked me where I would now be 4 years ago, I wouldn't have been here. I should be sitting in my Irish Cottage somewhere near family In Donegal or near friends in Leitrim. Definitely not in a cottage in the woods. 

Life has a way of messing with you. Putting you on a different path. Giving you something you didn't know you needed.  

Going forward, I will be now writing about how I am making this cottage into my Irish Cottage Dream outside of Ireland. My future trips to Ireland and of coarse all things Irish! I still have Ireland in my future but I am choosing to live in the present and make something wonderful of my newest adventures! Stick around, it might be fun!

Looking out my front door