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Dodging bullets and reality


SHOOTING ON SIGHT Phileas, Ciara and Princess Anna pose, a little worse for wear, after paintballing in Colombia.

Diary of a home bird

Ciara Galvin

The dust has settled and it’s time to officially face reality. I know, only a few weeks home from my travels and I’m only facing up to it now.
In my defence, I came back home and went straight into wedding prep mode (not my own obviously!), but my good friend Grace’s. My flight home from Colombia was not straight forward either, each connection was delayed and I had to sprint for my flight in Bogota after being picked at random for a full security check of my bags.
I wasn’t on Irish soil five minutes and I was already back into the swing of things, ie, dealing with GAA banter from a Roscommon fan, we all know how that panned out though!
Getting back to the wedding prep, it wasn’t all nail painting and beautician appointments, although I did spend the majority of my first day at home trying to bring down the swelling in my ankles, much to the amusement of my ‘brother dearest’ who suggested a diet. I also had to think about how I was going to cover a rugby ball sized bruise on my elbow.
It wasn’t a drunken injury, but a war wound from paintballing at Colombia’s most infamous druglord, Pablo Escobar’s mansion. As fake as it sounds by way of explaining a massive purple bruise on your forearm, it is in fact what happened. Courtesy of my Aussie travel buddy Mark, I had to strategically angle myself in photos at the wedding so as not to draw too much attention to myself.
It was my first time paintballing and by way of self-preservation, myself, Phileas, Princess Anna and Gabby made sure to pick our team wisely. Instead of facing ten Israeli travellers who had a combined army service of 20 odd years, we joined them. For the first ten minutes of the ‘game’, which was more like a full on war, I hid behind a wall hoping nobody would target me. As warfare continued I got more confident and actually fired some shots. But, it was the end of the road as I hid behind a shed, no bullets left, and the fateful bullet was fired, orange paint exploding. I knew I was done for and in that second I walked off the battlefield bruised and battered, much to Aussie Mark’s delight.
It wasn’t all paintballing and touring, I did knuckle down to some job hunting. Deep in a coffee farm in the hills of Salento, Colombia, I brushed off the iPad and got the creative juices flowing for one or two opportunities back home. The response to my applications were favourable, a little too favourable you might say. One company enquired if I could make it to Dublin for an interview at 1pm the following day … I ’m not sure, even if I was in Ireland, never mind on a different continent, that I would have made that deadline.
Here we go again though, over four months on and back to square one. Tan fading and refreshing my emails hoping one might hold the key to a new career. I better get something fast, because while sitting down to write this, my three-year-old niece Saran just asked: ‘Auntie Ciara you don’t work, do you’? No Saran, not just yet.

In her fortnightly Diary of a Home Bird column, Ciara Galvin reveals the trials and tribulations of a twenty-something year old still living with her parents.