Northern Ireland is a mix of painful memories and sweet ones. I miss my crazy Columbian. Love my relatives. Am a bit lonelier in the dampness.
When I was sixteen years old I decided I wanted to leave Canada on my own. I ordered big pamphlets about schools in Dublin but they were too expensive. So my mother said she'd come to Northern Ireland with me. We had family here and she might as well trace our heritage a bit.
With the help of our relatives we found a funny little apartment on Bachelor's Walk in Lisburn. It was always damp and right across from the train tracks, but it was perfect and it was ours. I later found out my grandfather once lived on the same street.
I went to school a short walk away. Wallace High School. I wore my first uniform and had to wash the turquoise dye out of my hair and pull out my nose ring. I rebelled by keeping it in as long as I could, keeping my shirt untucked, covering my binders in hand drawn graffiti and blasting punk rock on my headphones.
I had no trouble making friends but was often caught in between groups. I wanted to be friends with a guy with jet black hair who skateboarded on his own and wore big head phones like me, but was too shy to approach him, and the other kids talked crap about him behind his back. Apparently he was pretty angry.
So I had a friend here, and a friend there. I dated a popular guy until we both got bored. Girls talked about me behind my back and made up stories. I laughed, danced and drank it off.
At one point Tatu, my Columbian friend from France came to move to Ireland as well. He lived in our apartment and walked the rigid streets of Lisburn in his brightly coloured shorts, knee length socks and long black hair tied back in a ponytail. They'd never seen anything like him. He brought a lightness to the heavy damp weather.
He fell off a roof in Paris a couple of years ago and I still sort of refuse to believe it happened. He drove me crazy but he was one of my best friends and was too alive to ever be considered dead.
I made some solid friends and got to know our family better while living here. I got very close to my second cousin Suzi who will always be my angel. Tomorrow she gets married and I can't imagine anyone more deserving of true lasting love than her.
I'm happy, but there is a lot of emotion being here and I'm also deeply sad.
For my own lost love, my friend, my painful teenage years. I always manage to move on quickly but I think the wounds take longer to heal than I ever let on.
But tomorrow there's a wedding. And someone I'd give my whole heart too is marrying a man that makes her happy. That's all that really matters right now.
“To be Irish is to know that in the end the world will break your heart.” ― Daniel Patrick Moynihan