One year ago…

A year ago, we were packing up our house to move to Ireland…in the middle of a blizzard.  And then flew out…in the middle of a snow storm.

And you wonder why I hear circus music in the background of my life…

It’s been a year since we made this crazy move, and I feel like we’re still adjusting to things and learning the ropes.  But I also have learned a lot.  Like patience, and taking things in stride, and learning how to build a peat fire (which is currently burning in my fireplace because it’s cold outside!)

For instance – I still don’t get the grading system here.  It can go by just one test, or it can be a combination of tests and assignments.  Sean’s getting a 52% in English – yet his teacher glowed about him, how well he’s doing, how he’s improved since the Christmas exam and how she expects him to be in all honors classes – including English.  Turns out the high grade in the class is a 77%.  The low grade?  35%.  So Sean’s actually right there safely in the middle.

And as we were still trying to wrap our brains around this, another parent at the teacher conferences stated how he feels that if all the students are getting 90+ percentiles on their tests, that the teacher isn’t doing a good job challenging them, and the work is too easy.

So we’ve told the boys to find out what the other grades are in their classes – because if they get a 70%, and the highest is 77%?  Then we’ll say “Wow, great job!” instead of “Oh, you are so grounded from video games, etc.”

In the realm of patience, I am beginning to lose that and possibly all hope in ever getting a bank card.  It’s a bit hard to believe I’ve gone a year without my own bank card.  That has been made easier by the fact that there is no Target for me to use one at three days a week minimum.  But it’s getting really inconvenient.

See, we started out at one bank, which wouldn’t allow me on my husband’s account without proof of residence – like my name on a bill.  You know, to make sure I wasn’t his young, hot mistress or something like that. But then Josh decided “Well, we were considering switching banks anyway…”  So he switched, got the account open, I brought in a bill that had my name on it – only to find out that the waste collection bill?  Didn’t count.  Despite what their website said.


So I eventually got on the cable/internet account, but then had to wait on that bill.  Eventually, I got around to dropping it all off.  That was November.  I was told 3-5 days, but give it up to two weeks.  Fine.  I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Then I called.  I was told they’d call me back.  So I waited.  Then called again.  Was told again that they’d call back.  So waited.  Finally I went into the bank, explained the situation.  The man went into The Back, came back out and said “Two days.”  Huh?

Turns out someone forgot to sign something on the form – obviously not Josh or me, as we weren’t asked to sign anything.  So it was another “Two days….but if you haven’t heard anything in a week, come back.”

Two weeks later?  I’m on the account, I’ve got a “credit book” which is some sort of convoluted check book that makes no sense to my American eyes…and still no bleeping bank card.

On the flipside – we’ve had nothing but good luck with the health care field.  We’ve gotten appointments quickly, no real wait times except the EEG (which was just a standard check and not an emergency), the doctors have all been great, the pharmacists in this country are fabulous, the dental group we see has made Miriam like dentists again, so really?  I can deal with the backwards banking system as long as my kids are kept healthy.

Yes there are things I miss – I miss wide American roads and parking spaces.  I miss our big washer and dryer.  And yes, every so often, I wish I could go to Target, get a big red cart, and fill that sucker up without a second thought to “Do we need this?” and “Do we have anyplace to put this?”  But I still get a kick out of kids in school uniforms, and looking out at the Dublin mountains, and am still contemplating getting a Vespa.  With a side car.  How fun would the girls and I have in that?

I still don’t know how long we’ll be here.  Sometimes, I can’t imagine leaving.  Other times, I’m homesick enough that I’d deal with the snow and cold to be able to sit in the coffee shop with my friends again.  Two weeks ago, we still didn’t have a secondary school lined up for Miriam for fall of 2013 and my plan was “Well, I guess we can always go home before then.”  This week?  Mim was accepted to a secondary school, so we don’t have to worry about that anymore.  Which probably guarantees we’ll move back to the U.S. the summer of 2013.

This past year, we’ve spent so much time settling in, learning the ropes, learning how to live in Ireland.  This year though, we’re planning on doing more traveling.  Get off this island and see more of what’s out there.  Which should be interesting.  Maybe we’ll go to Spain and test Sean’s knowledge (he’s actually the top student in his class – Josh peeked at the other grades.)

And maybe, I’ll finally stumble into Bono.  Because I refuse to leave Ireland without my own personal Bono story.

Flashback - kids at airport - February 2011