Thursday, August 23, 2007


One of the major lessons that's really been brought home to me through this process of moving country and setting out to live the dream is that, even in the midst of adventure and excitement, everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) has both an upside and a downside. Case in point - while I very much enjoy the one-on-one nature of my interactions here (my bank's customer service rep recognized me the 2nd time he saw me 2 weeks later!), that person-to-person style of business goes hand in hand with what feels at times like a massive lack of efficiency.

That's probably my biggest complaint right now, and one I have to remind myself to take in context, but NOTHING seems to get done quickly here! It took me three weeks to get a bank account. Why? Because of just how non-streamlined the banking industry seems to be here. Everything needs to go through your original branch. Even if you see a branch on the side of the road and think, "Oh, I'll just stop in there and take care of a little business", that so convenient stop will cost you, my friend! I went in to do an international transfer to my U.S. bank account. After all the forms, etc, etc, were completed, what did I hear? "Thank you Ms. Expat, we'll send this on to your branch and you'll hear back from them tomorrow." What the .....?!! What did I waste my time for with you then?!!

On the other hand, I do really enjoy customer service people on the phone talking to me as if we're buds and the odd bus-stop companion engaging me in conversation and somehow rooting out quite a bit of "personal" info in what seems to be record time!

Plus, I have to say, I've never met a more generous and giving group of people. And I don't think it's the fact that I'm in a social services field or just that I'm a single woman, alone, who apparently looks a good bit younger than her age I've been driven places, taken out to dinner, offered loans and places to stay when my 1st paycheck got messed up then sent somewhere else, and generally had people put themselves out like you wouldn't believe just because they felt it was needed (even when it wasn't). It's actually been overwhelming at times because it's not what an American frame of mind leads you to expect from virtual strangers at all.

I think it's called the silver lining :-)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Thank you God!

Thank you, thank you for bringing Borders to Ireland! Even if it is in Dublin, I promise I won't complain about having to travel 2 hours to go to a real bookstore!

People, I've been good. I've muttered under my breath and complained to friends, but held off on any online venting of my extreme displeasure (my only real one so far with Ireland) with the total lack of any bookstores worth the name here! What's up with the lack of selection? Where is the cafe where I can while away a rainy afternoon with a Venti Raspberry Italian soda and a warm chocolate fudge cupcake while leafing through a hoard of books and magazines, all without buying a book?! Why can't I waste away another date-free Saturday night in your cool confines until 11:00 at night? Where, please God, is your designated romance section???

But now, thanks to Liz in Dublin, I have a reason to live! A truly needed American import is here to save the day!

View, oh benighted ones, the true wonder of an American bookstore! Barnes & Noble at Southpoint mall in Durham, North Carolina, I miss you baby!