I posted once before that I have a close friend in the U.K. who was talking about my visiting Northern Ireland (I believe my question was about visiting the murals and the Peace Wall, knowing my friend grew up during, and was involved with, The Troubles). My friend lives and works in London but is a Belfast native.
Friend sent me a message earlier this week or late last week saying "Hey, Gui, I know it's last minute, but wanna come to N.I. the week before Easter? (i.e. next week)." Then she made the unbelievably generous offer of paying for the flights
. I'd anticipated staying in a hotel, as I'm not really comfortable staying with a family I don't know well and have never met. One day that might change. Still, the flights were the biggest chunk of cash for this.
Unfortunately, there was a catch, and it just got catch-ier as the week went on. Friend will only have at best four days in Belfast herself. She wrote and told me that she wouldn't have a lot of time to actually do touristy things with me, as she wants to see her aging parents and a friend who is going through a personal crisis. There were some other obligations there, too, but she made clear that even if we didn't see one another, she would still pay for the flights. She did say that she would more than likely go back to NI in June, and would have time for touristy things then. The dates were uncertain for later, and she worried that I don't do uncertainty or last-minute. While I like planned, I'm realizing life is by definition, uncertain. I could take a risk and wait.
I thought about this. I could do it, but it wouldn't be the best time to go. To make a long story short, my marriage is imploding and I've consulted an attorney
. I must get busy looking for a teaching job. My husband just had a procedure done to break up kidney stones.
I wrote Friend back and thanked her profusely for the generous offer, and I totally understood about seeing her family and her friend. I joked about getting pegged, that uncertainty isn't my strong suit but that I need to relax and let it happen sometimes. I explained, I hope in a way that made sense, that going back to my ancestral homeland the first time was a big deal and one I'd hoped to share with my close friend. After that, I could go without necessarily coordinating it with her. I told her that I was willing to wait until a better time came up where we could share this trip. The truth is, seeing my friend was a large part of going in the first place-I'm sure I could do the "logistics" on my own. I also thought privately that perhaps going after the dust has settled on my so-far amicable breakup and after I'd landed a fall job would be a great time, a time to reflect. If I was there by myself, I think I'd worry myself out of enjoying the trip.
I offered another alternative, that of my popping over to London for a long weekend, even if she had to work one of the days I was there. It's not NI, but it's something.
This is probably a difficult question, but was I rude in my answer? If you were my friend, would that answer permanently label me as a flake? Did it make sense?