Sunday, 3 May 2015

Back in Paris

Back in Paris. 

Much to catch up on writing-wise. I can’t keep up with my-self!

In the last 10 days I have travelled from Paris to Rome to Belfast,  making Facebook posts with images and short descriptions. These carry some of the story of my journeys. Each stop a new window, a new language, a new place for gathering experience with others and being present. A very rich time of meetings, sharing scholarship, connections, dreaming, and going “home.” There is more to write about Rome, and on the maternal in art, literature, and experience. Also the crossing and passing of walls, and what divides us, in my short visit to Belfast, Northern Ireland. I am an Irish citizen, who had never been to Ireland – the paradox of citizenship. My mother was born there. And though my grandma lived over half her life in Canada, I don't think she ever completely arrived in her new country. Ireland was very quickly a place I could feel into like no other I have ever visited, with many uncanny senses, my grandfather travelling with me. Though he is no longer alive, I felt his presence on my back as I got off the plane. I put my hand to the ground, with tears of primal relief, “I'm here Grandpa, I finally made it home.”

Home. This familiar quality lives inside me. Surrounded by the voices of my grandparents, how amazing and joyful to hear a whole country talk this way! A continual chorus of 'ayes' and 'wees.' I was so often on the verge of tears (joyful ones). I can’t quite name all the feelings, and was surprised by them, the deep relief and re-connection. Being here/there was beyond any expectations. It was a simple/direct thing, new to me. This is also a land/people in (need of) healing. Yet folks are present, friendly, and call you "love." They seem grounded in their own place(s) and a sense of belonging. Something I don’t have in a literal sense. I can’t take belonging for granted in Canada. It's something I negotiate in more fluid boundaries. The elastic tensions of living across differences with an ear open to the other. An open-ended curriculum I am always learning from, my hand on the earth.

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