As we sat in the plane descending into Belfast the stresses of London faded away and the nerves of what was to come started to take over. Although it wasn’t my family reuniting after 42 years I could feel everyone’s anxiousness. This trip had been two years in the making and finally after all the planning it was about to happen.
We touched down in George Best airport, the smaller of the airports in Belfast and waiting at the carousel for our bags to come around they seemed to take forever. As we entered the arrivals section of the airport Sean (Kathleen’s uncle) was waiting with his two daughters. This was their first meeting in 42 years and Kathleen welled up as the two brothers hugged at the airport it was very touching.
Needless to say we had an evening of alcohol, laughter and endless chatter and catching up at Kathleen’s aunt Ann’s place. We went in two separate cars and Kathleen’s car arrived first and so she was able to witness the first meeting of Danny and his sisters.
Sean was kind enough to surrender his apartment to us and we have made ourselves at home, I’ve been pottering around speaking in what I think sounds like a Welsh accent but really sounds a lot more like a Jamaican accent! We shopped for random items at Primark (pronounced Premark by the locals) and have just finished our first grocery shop. I love the food in the supermarkets here they have a huge range of Quorn and my raspberries that cost so much at home are so cheap here and taste so much better. And as for the TV shows I love Jeremy Kyle and Come Dine with me oh and the britcoms!
We had the best evening last night Kathleen and I were let loose on Belfast city on our own and we ended up strolling into what turned out to be a very popular local bar. The place was packed and we ended up talking to a pack of drunken Irishmen on a stag do. Actually just the groom to be was drunk the groomsmen looked like they had, had enough by that stage. When they realized we were from Australia they asked if we lived on Ramsay Street and one charming fella said Parramatta is a shit hole when I told him where I was from. I should’ve started a bar fight right then and there – no one bags out my Parra especially some random in a pub in Belfast!
Then determined to keep up our little tradition of going to the movies in each city we visit we ended up seeing one of the most gruesome films at the local cinema, we sat in the back of the theatre – tipsy and taking serious photos of ourselves and giggling like school girls.
Then we jumped in a taxi that got lost looking for White rock. I loved the way that the taxi driver just pulled up to random kids and wound down the window to yell out to them for directions in the middle of the night. What followed when we finally got back was an impromptu dance and drinking sesh at Anne’s where we all ended up dancing and singing along to Westlife at the top of our lungs until 3am, there were tears, laughter, and singalongs all night. They are a beautifully warm and generous family and it was lovely to share such a landmark event in their lives. It was the most relaxed I have been the entire trip, and I finally slept right through and wasn’t up at 7:30am the next morning for a change! Today I booked my flight to Cardiff for the 16th and I will be attending a wedding in the family on the 13th which will be such fun if last night is any indication these Irish sure know how to party!