Saturday, October 27, 2007

Why Ireland reminds me of Jamaica

People always sound so surprised when I make this comparison, but I think there's definite evidence to back me up on this! Consider . . . .
  • Both small to medium-sized islands in close proximity to a larger empire-type nation.
  • A conflictual history with Great Britain: Ireland - repression, poverty and repeated rebellion. Jamaica - slavery, poverty and repeated rebellion.
  • Both have developed their own, highly unique cultural identities of which they're hugely proud and which are instantly recognizable worldwide.
  • Still, neither have been able to escape the British template stamped on parts of the society. Though, to be fair, Jamaica is much prouder of it's British heritage/influence than Ireland is.
  • Both seen as (somewhat) third world by the Brits (e.g., sample comment, one of many by Brits who hear that I'm living here - "You moved to Ireland? Why??" - said in a disbelieving, slightly contemptuous tone as if they couldn't imagine why anyone would do such a thing!)
  • Rhythmic, musical accents that seem to totally reject the "th" sound :-)
  • "Jamaica time" should have an Irish equivalent saying because the same concept definitely exists here. Expect everything to start at least a little late. I've heard 2 stories this week alone (one from an American, one from a native Corkonian) about job interviews starting more than an hour late because the interview panel were having their tea!
  • Looove music!
  • Long history of emigration for greater opportunities. Every family seems to have at least one family member living in the U.S. or England. The big difference is that the tide has now completely turned for Ireland. People are moving back and lots of other nationalities are moving in.
  • Both considered idyllic holiday destinations by the U.S.
  • Beautiful.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Now that's more like it! Today we woke up to sunshine and blue skies. What a contrast to yesterday, which had pretty much sunk me into a 24-hour long well of despair. The clouds may have come in to visit from time to time during the day today, but I can tolerate that. I'm used to that. The old saw about Ireland seeing all 4 seasons in one day is really not too far off the truth most of the time. It's just the days of neverending rain that I know I'm going to have trouble dealing with.

Work was just work, nothing great, but the day ended just as nicely as it started. We had a going away dinner for a couple of coworkers. Drinks in a cosy pub with all the traditional Irish touches, a great Indian meal at Haveli in Douglas, finishing up with drinks at another bar across the street. All in all, we never left the same street corner all night. My walk home took less than 10 minutes - down the lane past the graveyard, then down the hidden stairs to my apartment and into my own private courtyard. Not bad for a Tuesday night :-)

Monday, October 22, 2007


Rain. More rain. Rain all day. Not even a hint of sun breaking through. Just cold, dreary rain under leaden skies. The only upside? I'm finally getting the hang of starting up conversations with total strangers in the unlikeliest of places. It's easy when you have so much in common.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I've been busy

Yes daddy, I know. I've been bad. No posts for a month! Mea culpa.

It's shocking to me that I've now been here in Ireland three (3) months already! But, I also have to admit that I've started to feel very comfortable here. So much so that I'm having to remind myself that "yes, you are living in a foreign country and those are accents you hear around you!" I'm at a relatively calm stage, in between the initial excitement and relief of finally getting here, and the impending rush of homesickness I can sense somewhere on the horizon. I'm assuming it's going to hit me hard sometime soon. But, what if it doesn't? What would that say about me?

So, how have I been spending my time in the past month? Went dancing in Cork for the first time. Loads of fun and much different from the U.S. The guys here actually join in, even dancing with their other guy friends, instead of sticking to the sidelines searching for the perfect girl to approach. Have flown to London twice, once for fun (lots of sightseeing and also great dancing) and once to attend a memorial service for a family member. That's 2 relatives who've died in London since I've been here! What are the odds?

Managed to lose my favorite bracelet on the hour and a half bus trip through London to the memorial service. I am NOT happy! So far in my trek abroad, I've managed to lose my digital camera, and now my marcasite bracelet I got for a bargain while visiting Heather in San Fran. What's next?!

Attended a friend's son's birthday party - handmade pizza, face painting, and Jack Black! :-) Went to my first grown up party - almost as fun as the 4 year old's. Finally got myself settled in my new office - as of a week ago Friday, I finally have my own office and my own desk! Whoopee!

Went on a date!

Not bad for just one month's time :-)


I'm lucky, I know I'm lucky. I actually have a wardrobe in my bedroom as well as one in the guest bedroom. Considering some of the places I looked at while apartment shopping, that's pretty great. Unfortunately, it's still not enough. Am I that much of a possession hog? I swear I threw out a third of my wardrobe at home and put another third in storage in the U.S., but I still don't have enough closet space here to hang up the stuff that needs hanging. And let's not even think about the shoe situation. I miss my walk in closet :-(

Things I Can Do in Ireland I Can't Do Back Home

  1. Say "Hiya" without sounding like a dweeb.
  2. Schedule 5 vacations and still have at least one week left to use up.
  3. Watch reruns of American TV shows from last season with genuine gratitude.
  4. Walk down a deserted lane with a strange man behind me and have my heart rate speed up by only 50% (he turned out to be the mailman! Though what's up with the lack of uniform?)
  5. Get an additional fix of my favorite acerbic judge, Simon Cowell, and clueless contestants who've been lied to all their lives about being able to sing! (X-Factor - aka "Idol" U.K. style).
  6. Hop over to London twice in one month without it being too much of a major deal.
  7. Attend a 4 year old's birthday party with 5 Australians and one Brit.
  8. Probably go to a festival every weekend - this week it's been the Cork Film Festival, including a walking film showing through the streets of the city. Next weekend it's the Jazz Festival.
  9. Go weeks at a time without seeing a single piece of roadkill or a bird that's not a crow.
  10. Talk about the weather in virtually Every. Single. Conversation!