I had never intended to go to Ireland, the birthplace of my childhood religion.
In the summer of '01 I had been going to countries arbitrarily. When ready to leave Amsterdam, I picked to Seville over Barcelona, with no reason to have selected those two cities. Spain itself was arbitrary, though I had taken a year of Spanish in university 18 years prior.
I got an apartment in Seville, then a job; then lost that, and the apartment too. An ex-housemate, who had moved across the old central district, told me I could stay at his place. There, I met an Irish lad, another visitor to the apartment.
Calvin and I were both impoverished, and with little else to do we spent a lot of time talking, as we languished in the Andalusian heat. (There in Seville, many of the old city streets are bedecked from three-and-four-story rooftops with white canvas to hold out the direct glare of the sun that bakes the local area. Many residents go to seaside, so hot it is during the summer in this little city. A co-worker said to me when it was 40° (104F) in June, "imagina agosto.") Calvin didn't ever suggest that I go to his native Ireland. He did speak enthusiastically about the place. He drew several rough maps of the country and of Dublin, one day as we sat for a couple of hours over empty coffee cups in a neighborhood bar.
And that's what did it. I'd gone to places with less reason. There were jobs in Dublin at that time, as Calvin pointed out to me. And I really only had enough money to buy a plane ticket and go somewhere not much else. It was time to make a decision, and I knew that Ireland was it.