1. Altogether, radio from: Czech Republic, UK, Lithuania, Slovakia, Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Croatia, Poland, Ireland, Canada, Australia, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, plus my own contribution, from the USA. An impressive array of stories and approaches to storytelling, with distinct national radio cultures defined, challenged, and stretched, as each program played. Didn't come away with favorite stories, rather moments from several: A gravedigger, about to retire, describing looking forward to sitting at his kitchen table tinkering with a clock. Two former circus performers (and lovers) reunited in a nursing home in old age, nostalgic for the dream of a shared future they'll never experience: "running a nice big carousel...". A long, awkward silence between two estranged friends, over the phone. The sound of a mama cow licking her newborn calf. And so many others...
2. Beirut, followed by Sufjan Stevens, from the speakers at the Mermaid Cafe, (the Lula of Dublin?) over the course of a nice long dinner with new and old friends. Always especially pleasing to hear (certain) familiar music when far from home. Also that night, learned that in Ireland (and many other countries) rocket is actually arugula, and that people really do eat pig's cheeks. Which I do not condone.
3. Beautiful, traditional Irish music in a extraordinarily non-extraordinary bar that was far from the city center, or other touristic byways. Was my first experience in an Irish snug - a small, cozy, separate section of a pub where live music is often played for an audience of maybe a dozen. This is not the place to pull out a camera or recorder, fyi. Learn from our mistakes.
4. Young girl walking by me in the airport, holding on to her father's hand. With each step she took her right foot yelped. Realized that her shoe had a 'squeaker' in it - yes, like the squeaker in a dog toy - to help her parents keep track of her, I guess? Though the company that makes them claims they're "fun." Heard that thing for 6 gates worth of airport hallway, as I continued in the opposite direction. Creepy.
5. The rain coming on, across the field, while we rode through the most beautiful Irish countryside in Lackan, County Wicklow. The horses didn't seem to mind the damp - neither my trusty mare Blue, or Thelon's gigantic Naylor (supposedly the second largest registered horse in the country. And I believe it.) Another sound, from this incredible afternoon: the lambs bleating, as we'd ride by and they'd scamper away from the fencelines. The cows, on the other hand, strode right up to say hello.