And the changes have begun

I knew moving to Ireland would bring about some changes in my life, and I’m seeing them already. Some were expected, others have been a surprise.

First, I’m recycling more.  Which is a good thing.  Oh, I did recycle in Michigan, to the best of my abilities.  But it wasn’t always easy.  I’d have stacks of recycling on the side porch all sorted out, waiting to be taken to the curb or to the grocery store (because in Michigan, they charge you a 10 cent deposit per can or bottle and to get it back, you must return the can/bottle to the store, put it through a machine, print out your ticket and take it to the cashier.)

Here, recycling is encouraged by the fact that you pay by the kilo for your trash to be taken away.  You get a black bin for garbage, and a green bin for recycling.  They’re both the same size. Recycling is free, curbside, and best of all – no sorting involved!  They also take more forms of plastics, so the kids and I are getting good at finding that little recycling logo on packages.)  Honestly, our recycling bin is full to the brim, the garbage can is only half-full after two weeks.

And along the lines of being earth-friendly, I’ve suddenly stopped using paper towels.  I’m not sure why.  In Michigan, I had that jumbo pack of paper towels – you know, the ones that if you needed extra seating, could be used in a pinch because it was as big as an ottoman?  Yeah.  That one.  We weren’t constant paper towel users, but we used a lot of them.  And with my crunchier friends all going the “unpaper towel” route (aka, fancy rags), I still couldn’t give up my roll of Bounty.

When we got here, after a few days I was thinking “Man, I need to buy paper towels!”  So at the grocery store, I found them.  They were smaller than ours, shorter.  There were no jumbo packs of 8 or 12 rolls.  Just two.  That was the family pack.  I got them.

That was three weeks ago.  I haven’t even gotten halfway through the first roll.

I’m not sure why either.  Maybe it’s because I’m not doing a lot of cleaning here – that’s done by the cleaning service.  But I also have no counter spray, so I’m just going back to the soapy dish cloth routine.  Which is what I did before though, when I wanted the counter actually clean.  The counter spray was more for quick clean ups.  And it’s not like Maura’s been neater – she’s had two big milk spills.  Those times, I just grabbed all the towels I could and wiped it up.  I knew I had paper towels, but honestly, they’re store brand cheapy ones that aren’t great.  I’d have to use a ton of them.  Secondly, I had a vision of all those wet paper towels in the garbage can, taking up room, causing more weight.

But I think part of it is I knew I could throw those towels into the washer almost immediately.  In Michigan, I hated having wet towels hanging about, getting funky, waiting for the right load to put them into (I can’t help it, I have to separate my towels from clothes.)  This week, I just threw them in with some other things, forget waiting for the right load.  Oh, the freedom!

I’m also walking more places.  I expected that one though.  Dublin is designed to be very walkable. If you can’t walk, you can hop on a bus, train, ride your bike or grab a taxi.  Josh has co-workers who don’t own cars.  Even Collin mentioned today about how convenient our new house will be to everything.  It’s near three shopping centres, an easy walk to Josh’s office and church, close to the village with shopping, a bowling alley, a cinema and at least two Chinese take-aways (and a Mc Donald’s, but let’s not remind Maura…)  The train line is also a short walk away, which can take us to City Centre in no time.  If we get schools sorted out as well, the kids could walk or ride bikes to school.  Josh and I decided to invest in good bikes before we moved (as they were cheaper to buy in Michigan and ship…fyi, if you’re ever in Chelsea, Michigan, go to Aberdeen Bike and Outdoors – they were extremely helpful, hooked us up, and were just great to hang out with.  Seriously, shop with them. )

I will say, one of the harder things is my thought process on coins.  In the States, our biggest everyday coin is the quarter.  Twenty-five cents.  Here, you have one cent, two cent, 5 cent, 10 cent, 20 cent, 50 cent, 1 euro and 2 euro.  That’s eight coins to contend with.  One Sunday at church, I found myself giving the girls some coins for the first collection, then the second collection, then there were schoolboys collecting money for some trip, so we plopped another coin in…and suddenly I realized that I just blew threw about 10 euro in coins without even thinking.  Because I kept thinking of them like quarters – aka not that much.

I’m also getting my thrifty back.  I used to be pretty darn thrifty.  But it seemed like the  more our income rose, the less thrifty I got.  That old “the more money you earn, the more money you spend” thing got a hold of us. That typical American consumerism mindset of “must buy stuff” had me really well.  Doesn’t help that I like stuff.  I like pretty things.  I’m a total magpie, drawn in by the sparkley and shiny.  I also loved those sale tags.  “Oh look, it’s shiny and it’s on sale!  It’s meant to be!”  And when you have a nice big American house to fit it all into, and a Target nearby….well…

But in the moving process, I was forced to confront it all, and even though I had decluttered my house in a big way twice over, I realized I had a massive amount of stuff.  Oh, I wasn’t in danger of A&E coming to tape an episode of “Hoarders” in my house, but having to sort and pack all of it made me feel like they should.  Or at least have Niecy Nash from “Clean House” come  yell at me about all my foolishness.

So between that and my newfound clothing realizations, I’ve been thinking about every purchase.  My favorite scarf, that I knitted myself, broke.  I have to wait to be able to repair it. I’ve been looking for a replacement scarf at stores, but honestly haven’t found one I love that I’m willing to spend money on.  I found one that would do…but what’s the point if I’m not thrilled with it?  Also, when I mentioned how I was looking for a scarf, Josh said “You mean like the one you could make once our stuff gets here?”  Oh sure, be sensible about it.

Maura has not been happy about all this though.  She’s used to me caving and buying her a new clothing item all the time.  I’ve decided I’m just not going to take the girl into a clothing store unless I’m prepared to buy her something, save us both the frustration!

Besides – Josh spent part of last week in Paris and is now wanting to take us all there.  I’d much rather save our money for that then buy stuff we don’t really need.