Feet are back on the ground after losing Tuesday to travel. It felt natural to land at the cottage. Worked to set up housekeeping and set about getting comfortable with the time change. If you’re sleeping, we’re probably up and about.
Time is a strange thing. Our most recent visit to Ireland was 2020, same time of the year. To us, it has felt like it was last year. We’ve connected with a couple of our Irish friends from one fellowship and they, too, thought we were here last year. This trip the vegetation doesn’t strike us as being so unusual. Could this be because of our multiple trips, or living with similar plants in California?
Many of our friends expressed concern about traveling during Covid. After much prayer, we felt confident 2022 was the time to resume travel in Ireland, connecting with various pastors, church members and other friends we’ve made in County Kerry. Little did we know when we purchased our tickets, the EU considers Ireland to have one of the most successful vaccination programs, with about 94% of the population vaccinated. The Omicron variant is alive and well as it moves through the population, similar to its behavior in other countries. We’re still trying to understand how the pandemic has affected the churches, their work, and their people. Linda remains connected with a group of writers and knows from them how difficult the lock-downs were for many. We’ve still to learn how that affected the churches.
Life is hardly back to normal on the Green Isle. Pubs and restaurants close at 8 pm. To gain access to an establishment serving food, they request to see proof of our Covid vaccines, and most recently asked for a contact phone number in the event they receive the report of an infection at the establishment.
We’re adjusting to the “normal” here and expect before long we won’t notice.
In our efforts to get settled, we’ve gone to some places we’ve shopped in the past. Some businesses have been updated since 2020. We’ve noticed many businesses are closed out on Dingle Peninsula. Some due to normal winter shut-downs. Some due to lack of employees, caused both by illness and the lack of international workers. Those workers aren’t here because of the virus, international travel restrictions, or other international relationships; and the lack of affordable housing here. Some of this news sounds similar to what we hear at home. In the brief span we’ve been here, we’ve witnessed people attempting to carry on with life. We’ve a friend from an earlier visit whose daughter turned 11 this last week. That daughter wanted to have high tea with her mom and friends of her mom. They graciously included us in the gathering. It was an honor to see the lovely young lady Meabh is becoming, and to share in her celebration.
The adventure continues…