When I got to the airport on Monday, they told me that my flight had been delayed by thirty minutes. Since my flight was delayed getting to JFK, I was nervous that I wasn't going to be able to get on the flight at JFK for Shannon because I only had an hour layover to begin with. Somehow, I knew that I wouldn't have my luggage when I first arrived in Ireland. After saying a few goodbyes to David and Mother, I headed through security. I saw lots of missionaries. Many of them were headed for Madagascar. I also, in an ironic twist of fate, saw a Thai monk. I was sure he was Thai because of the color of his robes and the bag that he was carrying, a bag common to Thailand monks. I waited for the plane and got on board. The man in front of me was a short, stocky man with a grey fedora. I knew it was going to be trouble when he started complaining to no one in particular that someone was messing with his scalp. He claimed that someone was burning all his hair off somehow. He kept asking what was wrong with people because they were clearly messing with his scalp. Insinuating that the girl from China sitting next to him was the culprit was particularly odd.
The ride was incredibly bumpy. At one point, I nearly thought the plane was in trouble. The captain asked the flight attendants to sit down even though they were distributing drinks. We stayed seated for most of the flight. I got nervous before we were due to land since my flight was due to leave at 9:32 p.m. and we were supposed to land at 8:57 p.m., so I talked to the incredibly friendly flight attendant who was from either China or Korea. She got me a seat closer to the front and told people to give me priority. I was impressed with Delta’s response. After we deplaned, I literally ran to the gate and made it in time for boarding. My bags, however, could not run as quickly as I could. I knew they didn’t get on since I boarded at 9:15. I enjoyed sitting next to two lovely Irish women, a nun and a nurse. The nun had worked in Utah for five years teaching at a Catholic school close to Cottonwood High School. The nurse had an American husband and had worked in New Jersey for a while. The Filipino flight attendant also asked if I “attended the Mormon temple.” I told him that I was indeed a Mormon. Somehow he knew that Mormons had a temple in Ghana. Small world. The Irish nun also told me about how she was neighbors with a direct descendent of Brigham Young when she lived in Utah. Again, it’s quite a small world.
We arrived in Ireland and figured some things out. We got some money and met the Gardners at the airport. We waited for several hours at the nearby hotel. Others arrived and then we got on the coach and headed to Bunratty Castle. One girl missed her connecting flight, so we later returned to get her after we had visited Bunratty. Bunratty was a large castle with enormous grounds. There were several groups of French and German tourists. We saw one woman in the grounds who was demonstrating the way to make butter. She washed the butter and proceeded to spank the butter. She told us it was just like spanking a child. Wait… That’s mean! Or is it? After that we went to get some dinner. I had some fish and chips from a local McDonald’s like place. And then we rode to Tralee. We checked in with me acting as the official bell boy.
Irish people are incredibly friendly! They love to talk to you and they are all so nice to strangers. I have been impressed with the beauty of the country and its people. Tomorrow, we should be going to Killarney. Here’s to hoping that I get my bags!