this time for quite a different purpose -
Ballyf*rmot is an old, underprivileged area of West Dublin, where by some strange sleight of policy, the best animation training in Ireland can be had. There is was in 1997 that Twangy, amongst the piebald horses and dope-smoking bus-users, found her work, like the love of her life. Drawing, animating, painting - it was so energising and challenging to me - such a revelation - recently escaped as I was from the suspended animation of the corporate world - it was such a RELIEF to find it, at last, the work that made me feel alive. It really was like falling in love. Nearly as important too, I believe. I used to go out there to what was effectively animation boot camp (yes, like love, it was not always easy) on the bus, every day, worrying if I would make it through the year, after staying up all night bent over my animation disk so that in the morning I would have light freckles from the light bulb under it. We animated jumps and sidesteps, skips and fat skips, bounces and walks. We drew till our shoulders hurt, till our fingers ached. Till all we could think of was drawing, till all we could do was drawing, until we couldn't not draw.
Ballyf*rmot, as I have hinted, is not exactly the place you seek out for any other reason than that you really have to go there. It's the place the Celtic Tiger forgot - its main street is lined with bookmakers and dirty shopfronts. So it was strange to revisit it, after 10 years, under such different circumstances - it was one of those moments in life where time folds back on itself so you can glimpse the past as you go by and you can see how far you have come.
Our first Inter-country Adoption meeting was held there this morning in Ch*rry Orchard Hospital. We sat there amongst the well-brushed and respectable middle-class couples in their thirties, dressed in a way that says, "I am good parenting material", and listened to all the information and long and complicated processes that lead to adopting a child from another country. And it was indeed momentous and exciting.
JB met an old student of his, who got her degree in horticulture with him. The coordinator was explaining that we would all need to get police clearance from any country we had lived in for more than 6 months. She made everyone laugh when she said "What if someone was in the USA illegally? Hypothetically, like?" She (I call her "she" because the JB can't exactly remember her actual name. Possibly Orla, he said) - PossiblyOrla gave us a lift into town afterwards. She was full of stories and fun. She is going to be 40 this year and since her relationship broke up last year, has decided that she will go it alone, that she could have a child and a house and a career. Fair play to her, I say. I hope we can travel the road together - one day our children, the children we will be the parents of, could play together. One day I could look back to this Ballyf*rmot visit and say "look how far we have come."