It’s not all Guinness and Cadbury

5 Jun

I realized that in about a month, we’ll be hip-deep in the moving process, leaving Ireland and heading to Seattle.  A wave of all the things I’ll miss hit me, and I got a bit pouty.  I can easily list all the things I’ll miss – like this house we’re in, as small as it is, and our great neighbor Freddy.  The shopping centre where I can buy shoes wide enough to fit me every time (shoes here come naturally wide width – wide width here is actually almost too wide at times!).  A lovely pub within walking distance of our house, that also serves lovely food.  The friends we’ve made, the people of Ireland itself, Maura’s school, the natural beauty, being ten minutes from the Irish Sea…

But there are a few things I won’t miss…like…

…having to hang all the clothes to dry.  Nope, won’t miss that at all.  I can’t wait to have a big American clothes dryer, and soft warm fluffy towels.  For that matter, I can’t wait to have a matching big American clothes washer that you can fit two fully dressed children into.  I think if I had the option of line drying in the future, I’ll do that.  But never having the option to use a clothes dryer, and having to use a hair dryer on school tracksuit bottoms at 8 am?  Yeah, that takes any of the romance off the idea of how wonderful line drying is.

…paying the equivalent of $7 a gallon for diesel.  Which is cheaper than gas here.  Diesel currently is at 1.45 a litre, gas is more like 1.54 a litre.  There’s approximately 3 litres to a gallon.  It adds up.  No, we’ll be the few people going “Four dollars a gallon?  That’s it?”

…we’ll also be the only people  thinking warm thoughts about the American tax system.  Between what they take out for taxes here, plus a 23% sales tax built into the cost of things…well…we can complain about taxes as well as any Irishman.  Because we know what it’s like.

…cold toilets.  Nope.  Won’t miss those at all.  Ever.  Seriously, cold toilets are such a norm here that once, my friend texted me from the bathroom to let me know the restaurant we were in had heated toilet seats, it was such a phenomenon.

…buying my kids school textbooks.  That was a shocker when we got here.  Uniforms I expected, and I’ll miss the uniforms.  But the school textbooks?  Those were a cost we didn’t expect.  No, won’t miss standing in line with 78 other mums hoping they haven’t sold out of the any of the books we need, then having to go over to the other school bookstore to stand in line with 62 other mums in hopes they have that one elusive book you need.

…driving on the wrong side of the road.  Yeah, I called it the wrong side! Now, I do feel cool that I’ve managed it well, and can now drive the Reasonably Priced Car on Top Gear.  But I still find it a bit odd.  I’m hoping driving on the right side of the road feels normal to me again instantly or shortly thereafter.

…nor will I miss the narrow roads and parking spots.  I’m good at the narrow roads.  I’ve yet to master the narrow parking spots.  I tend to park where I know I can get out.  I used to wield a Chevy Suburban into all sorts of spots without a second thought in the states.  Here, in my normal size mini van?  It’s like driving a Hummer.  I can’t park it anywhere sometimes.  Parking here makes me wish for a Smart Car sometimes.  I can’t wait for those nice wide American roads and parking lots.

…speaking of, I won’t miss how dinged up my car gets.  Seriously, most cars here have been dinged, bumped, dented, scraped.  It’s the norm.  Because of those narrow roads and parking spots.  I’ve got the rubber of someone’s bumper in a line across the side of my car right now, because someone didn’t gauge their turn into the spot right and left some bumper on my car.  We have a couple dents that we didn’t make as well.  Friends of ours moved back home to Canada, came back for a visit, and the wife was laughing because she had forgotten just how dinged up every single car is here.

…and again, along those lines, I won’t miss skinny blonde women in Land Rovers who can’t park.  Ten to one, it’s one of their bumpers scraped onto my van.  I’ve seen them, I’ve watched them park.  The Land Rover is the SUV of choice for higher tax bracket moms here it seems.  No one can ever seem to park them correctly though.

….screenless windows.  Nope.  Will not miss them one bit.  Especially after having to fish Maura’s dolls off the roof the other week, and having big fat black flies buzzing about my house today.

…dog poop on sidewalks.  Oh, it’s great that people love their dogs so much.  But for the love of St. Peter, bring a baggie with you!  Don’t let your dog poop right at the end of my driveway, where we walk out every day.  Or at least convince the pooch to poop at the edge of the sidewalk, not the smack middle.

…the lack of summer.  Yes, I know, I’m moving to Seattle.  I’m not going to endure heat waves.  But I’ve been assured by people who have lived there for 12+ years that there is a degree of summer.  Unlike here.  We’ve had our third nice sunny day here, and people are walking around in shock, sunburned, wondering when it will all end.  One woman today said “Now if it was always like this, that would be amazing…imagine having a real summer?”  I said if there was a real summer here, the country would shut down, just to lay about and enjoy it.  The tourists would be confused, wondering why the Irish were such layabouts.  “You don’t understand, it’s SUNNY!” the Irish would be saying.  “We haven’t had a real summer since nineteen aught six…my nan’s nan told me about it…”

But really, I will miss more than what I won’t miss.  A lot more.  Even the weird quirky things, I’ll kind of miss.  Even when things are a hassle, people are so good about it, it doesn’t seem like half a chore.   I know not everyone will agree with me. Some have moved here and hated much more of it.  I can respect that.  Maybe I’ve just had the right type of personality to live here, and my half-Irish side is really truly Irish.  If it wasn’t, it is now.

Nope, won't miss this at all!

Nope, won’t miss this at all!


That's the price of gas here y'all.  In litres.

That’s the price of gas here y’all. In litres.  So stop complaining about $3 a gallon gasoline before Europe comes over to slap us all.




11 Responses to “It’s not all Guinness and Cadbury”

  1. LauraL June 5, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

    “Yes, I know, I’m moving to Seattle. I’m not going to endure heat waves.” You’d be surprised…

    Well, welcome back to the Pacific Time Zone. In a month. 🙂

    • phoebz4 June 5, 2013 at 2:32 pm #

      Well, if there’s a heat wave this August, we won’t complain 😀

  2. Crista Murphy June 5, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

    Just bought a new car. Finally got rid of the minivan, myself. There was just a little too much ‘feel free to roam about the cabin’ in that gas guzzler. I have myself a nice little Cruze now, nimble and more gas efficient, 17 days after I bought it the boy from Belfast was laughing at me because I pulled out of the parking space and moved over a tad left to make sure I left enough space not to get dinged. 17 days old, not even made the first payment, and some idjit went and dinged the passenger door and scraped down to the metal. NOW I realise why he laughed at me trying to keep the thing undamaged. I’ve only visited, never lived for a longer duration, so I never noticed how banged up the cars were.

  3. jackieo June 5, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

    Great post…..I wish u all of the best in your move…..I was only in Ireland for 10 days but can appreciate what you write of……I loved loved loved the people and the land….but the cold toilet seats, lack of sun and small washer and dryers were tough!! Good luck and cant wait to hear about your move and adventures in Seattle…..wish i lived closer to give you a hand with Maura as you get settled!

  4. fivebeansoup June 5, 2013 at 10:56 pm #

    Just to let you know it is more like 4 litres a gallon not three….you know so that you feel even happier with the $4 a gallon back here.

  5. Denise June 6, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

    My daughter has really wide feet and I have a hard time finding shoes for her. Will you please tell me the site brands they carry in Ireland so I can find them online?

    • phoebz4 June 7, 2013 at 8:46 am #

      Clarks has wide width shoes, and they’re in the states. My favorite find was Hush Puppies – go figure, they have adorable shoes! Cute heels, boots, etc. You can find them on Amazon UK. Dune makes lovely shoes but they are pricey. Well, they all kind of are.

      • Denise June 8, 2013 at 9:25 am #

        Thanks, I will look for them. 🙂

  6. Caroline June 7, 2013 at 9:48 am #

    Great post, totally agree with everything you say about Ireland. We are all in shock here at the moment because of the weather!! Us Irish aren’t able to cope with the heat,but we’ll take it when we can get it and then we’ll talk about the great few days we had in June 2013.

  7. Jessica June 8, 2013 at 5:51 am #

    Gas is around 8 dollars/gallon here. Most of the cost is environmental taxation, which, it itself, is what they call a financial incentive. Can’t disagree with it that much, but then I live in a country where the infrastructure is such that unless you live in rural areas, you can get by with public transportation.
    My fiancée used to commute to work by car, the cost was a big part of household spending. He went to live in California a few months ago to hold a visiting research fellowship. He was surprised at how his expenditure for gas was wiped out with more than half.

  8. June 9, 2013 at 11:04 am #

    Love the opening . . . “got a bit pouty.” I’m going to start using that, at least in my head. It has the feel of knowing you’re not feeling that great but not taking yourself too seriously. I hope your move goes well!

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