I think I spent the first week here in a jet-lagged, eight time zone move induced haze. Half my concentration was spent making sure I didn’t start off on the wrong side of the road driving.
Everyone keeps saying “Welcome home!” – except this isn’t home yet. It will be, but right now, it’s kind of like going on vacation, except you end up staying, there’s less beaches and frivolity involved, and Josh goes off to work every morning.
There has been lots of ice cream. Because it’s sunny and over 20 degrees. By Irish law, in these conditions, you must consume ice cream.
Having done this before, it is less of a shock on the system. I know it’s going to be weird for a few weeks, and at least here, I know the general rules, I know what stores I need to go to, in order to set up house. And we already have a house waiting for us, a car to drive, and the schools are already assigned to us as opposed to trying to get past the school secretaries and hope there’s a spot for our child available. So what were my biggest stressors when we moved to Dublin are now no-brainers.
But it’s still an adjustment.
The funniest adjustment is to all the American accents. On our flight from New York to Seattle, it occurred to me that I was in the largest crowd of Americans that I’d been part of in over two years. Everyone sort of sounds like Sandy Cheeks from SpongeBob (if you’re unfamiliar with Sandy, she’s a squirrel from Texas. Enough said.) I find I’m more comfortable in a mixture of accents – I didn’t even notice two older women speaking a different language behind me until some cranky old broad muttered loudly “You’re in America! Speak English!”
Dear Ireland, thank you for not making me speak Irish, and laughing about how you all can barely get through it yourselves.
I am finding shopping completely overwhelming. It’s the reverse of my initiation into Irish shopping, where you went to the store and went “Well, I can choose this one….or this one…”. Here, it’s “Here’s 3000 choices, you have five minutes, good luck!” And things don’t seem as cheap as they used to be, but I don’t know if that’s because I live in a pricier area, or prices went up, or I idealized how cheap things were here. Or maybe I have more selective tastes. What I do know that it’s hard to find a dining room table I like, that’s big enough for us six, with room for guests, that will fit into my average sized dining area, in my wishful thinking price range. Maybe we’ll just throw cushions on the floor and call it good. Welcome to our home, here’s your cushion!
The weirdest adjustment though has to be the time change. I was five hours ahead of my friend in Philadelphia – so when it was noon there, it was pm Dublin time. Now? I’m three hours behind her, and eight hours behind Dublin. I’m pretty sure my mother-in-law has given up trying to keep track of us time-zone wise, lol!
I do have to remember I’m no longer in uber-friendly outgoingly polite Dublin though. The Sunday before we moved, I had two people stop me in church to tell me how lovely Maura was, and how we were obviously a wonderful family and how loved she was. When Maura had an outburst, people might look, but they had this sense of understanding.
When Maura had a fit in Starbucks two days ago, I found myself the recipient of what seemed like 1000 stares, many coupled by frowns, as if I was outright beating her or had crossed some imaginary line of etiquette by bringing such a child out into public. Even children were giving us frowny looks. I might have said to Maura “Wow, lots of people are staring, it must be because you’re so pretty!”
(I have since been assured by others with special needs kids that this is a-typical of what they’ve encountered, and I will admit that maybe I am hypersensitive to it because we haven’t been looked at in such a way in so long.)
Of course, then as I went to leave the parking lot, I failed to yield quickly enough for a fast-paced pedestrian. I guess here, it is amazingly pedestrian friendly, they always have the right of way. Now, Dublin wasn’t running over old ladies, people stopped to let you pass all the time, but the pedestrian would always check to make sure you were stopping, or even wave you on first. Unlike here, where people step out willy nilly, with the confidence that they are visible to everyone behind the wheel of a car, and that every driver will stop.
Now I was taught that even if you have the right of way, you make sure the car is stopping. You don’t assume. And honestly, I’ve crossed the same parking lot several times and not had cars even pause to stop for me, they kept driving.
But this guy was very entitled to his right of way, and when I realized I hadn’t stopped for him, and despite me doing my best “Oh! Sorry!” from the driver’s seat, he kept walking towards my car window…to yell at me about how he was walking there!
I’d had my fill of rudeness and decided to answer rude with rude…so flipped him off.
Probably not my best moment, and I’m really hoping that this guy isn’t a co-worker of Josh’s or a kid’s teacher or the like.
Yeah, I may have to adjust to life in the Greater Seattle Area. But the Greater Seattle Area better start getting used to me, lol!