This has been quite a week!! The time is passing so quickly and yet I feel like I have been back for ages. The old familiar places are starting to look more like I remember them and new places are being discovered every day. I’ve put miles on the old pegs and have the blisters to prove it, but it’s all been worthwhile.
Monday, June 11th
I spent the day writing and catching up on emails, as I mentioned in the last BBL post. It was a nice quiet night and I was able to get to bed early and rest up for the trip back to Belfast on Tuesday.
Tuesday, June 12th
Got up in the morning and packed up. I took the bus from the Larne bus terminal and made my way back to home base in Belfast with my Aunt and Uncle.
Wednesday, June 13th
Spent another day home writing and checking on my appointments for interviews. Caught up with my favourite bloggers, doing my comments and chatting with various friends back in Canada.
Thursday, June 14th
This day was epic!! I spent about an hour with two of the loveliest ladies I’ve ever met. I was interviewing at Disability Sports Northern Ireland and learned so much that I can’t wait to share with you in the article next Friday – and I promise it will be on time.
Friday, June 15th
It’s hard to believe that it’s half way through the month and halfway through the year already!! The Blind Bucket List; however, is just getting started and I already have another interview, this time with Guide Dogs of Northern Ireland and boy did I learn a lot! I met a lovely man named Billy who talked about the dog he has been matched with and how excited he is to have such a lovely companion to help him in his daily life. He also told me all about some of the social clubs he’s involved in and the travelling he’s done with these clubs. This is something I will be looking into more closely because I know that this is something that should be emulated in as many places as possible.
I also was fortunate to meet two dogs, one still in training and one on vacation. They were both amazing dogs, so smart and with such great personalities. I learned a lot about the rules and regulations of owning a guide dog, the process in which to become an owner of a Guide Dog, and the training process for the dogs, the owners and the trainers themselves. It is a very intense process and I can’t wait to share all of that with you in the next couple of weeks.
Saturday, June 16th
Another wonderful family day! The house was buzzing from early in the morning with my Aunt, Uncle, Cousins and kids! My Aunt and I escaped for a couple of hours to do some shopping and then it was back to home base for a quick lunch, some writing work and then it was off again to another cousin’s house. My Uncle and his three boys tackled some renovations on my one cousin’s gorgeous country home. The views from every window in the house were spectacular and one, in particular, struck me as an image from a storybook. When we finally came back to home base for dinner it was late but I still had time to get to know my cousin’s little boy, Ben and we shared his love of dinosaurs with pictures from the Tyrell Museum in my home province of Alberta. By the end of the day I fell into bed and went to sleep immediately – the glasses of wine and pink gin and lemonade certainly helped me fall asleep in a hurry!
Sunday, June 17th
Today and tomorrow will be sad days. Today I lay my Mother to rest in the family plot and tomorrow is my dear Aunt Maude’s funeral. The family support and depth of love in my family is a great comfort in these times of sorrow. Life is always bittersweet. We love deeply and when we lose those we love we feel it sharply. Loving someone and being loved by them is a gift to be cherished. Pain is temporary, love is forever.
There will be much more sightseeing this coming week. I will be spending a couple of days at the Antrim coast and then I’m going to play tourist in my own hometown. Belfast has changed so much and I’m still figuring out were all the good spots are now. There should be lots and lots of photos in a coming couple of weeks. In the meantime, have an awesome week!