The Dublin to Seattle adjustment time is…

15 Nov

…still pending…

It’s been (hold on, need to count fingers..) four months and a couple days since we left Ireland.

Yes, I miss Ireland.  I miss it lots.

It doesn’t help that I went from fecking cool Dublin to Bland Suburbanhood.  Yes, I say we’re in Seattle, but we’re just in the burbs.  Also, I expected more from the area, as we were told how everyone is so into being different.  I expected a ton of cute kitschy stores full of cool stuff.  Instead, I’m in stripmall boxstore hell.

Even Target doesn’t do it for me anymore.

I do know I’m not giving life here a completely fair shot.  I’m wallowing a bit.  There has been cool things happening – like a couple concerts, going to a MLS soccer match, Mt. Rainier on a clear day, our new neighbor, a nice older lady, saying how nice it is that Josh rides a motorcycle, and how her son has one.  Yes, sometimes it’s the little things.

I have been a bit surprised by how much I’ve shed certain things.  Like the idea of American Consumerism.  Someone joked to me that I went from living in an anti-consumerism society to the land of “must have more”.   I used to have a shopping issue (and by issue, I mean I could have ended up on a TLC show about the beginning stages of hoarding).  Now?  Well, let’s put it this way – I finally got that Target Red Card….and then didn’t even activate it for a week.  Maybe ten days.  I didn’t even use it until two weeks after I got it.  The other day, I went to Target for two things.  I left with three things.  Only because Maura was with me and spotted a My Little Pony shirt.  Some things are just necessary to get.

There are some things that I just never realized before moving to Ireland that now are so glaringly noticeable.  Like how radio stations over play the same 10 songs here.  Over and over and over.  To the point that even Josh was singing along with one with me.

Or bread that never molds.  Seriously.  I’m a bit creeped out by American bread now.  Not only is it kind of short compared to the really tall loaves we’d get…but a week past their expiration date, they still look normal.  In Ireland – where they don’t use food preservatives – you had about four-five days max with bread.  Not that bread lasted that long in our house.  It does now because the children have all stopped taking sandwiches to school.  There was a lot less “nut free” classrooms in Ireland.  Here?  Well, we’re not huge lunchmeat fans, can’t bring a Nutella sandwich, so bread just sits around.  For days.  Staring at you.  Mocking you with its pretend freshness.  It goes into an unnatural state of false freshness.  It’s creepy.

What’s funny is that in Ireland, we were constantly going on about how quickly things went bad.  We didn’t do huge grocery shopping trips because A) there was no place to put a ton of food and B) it would go bad quickly so it wasn’t worth it anyway.  Going to the grocery store every day or every other day was a bit of a norm.  Now?  Josh had to remind me about all the food that’s in the freezer that we haven’t been using.  Because I keep forgetting we have a freezer.  And we’re still always going to the grocery store.

I also forgot just how many plastic bags stores give out here.  Two and a half years of carting my own bags everywhere, I first found freedom in going to the grocery store without bags.  Now?  I’m back to hating them.  I kind of miss leaving Tesco with an arm full of foodstuff stacked up, laughing at how we all looked like shoplifters because we were too cheap to spend ten cents on a bag.

Ah, good times.

I also have realized that I’m totally out of shape again.  Yes, the PNW is big on being healthy and exercising.  It’s also pretty unwalkable.  We don’t have a sidewalk on our block until right near the end, and then it’s barely wide enough for a child.  But there’s parking galore, and all so close to the store, so you drive, park close, call it good.  Not like in Dublin, where you parked across the street and down the block, or walked around the shopping centre three times to get all the things you needed.  Or walking up to the pub or train, because it was just a few short blocks and easier than driving, and cheaper too because if you walked, you didn’t have to pay for parking.

My kids however, are still wandering about by foot.  The high schoolers live close enough to walk, and the middle schooler walks to the bus stop.  I’m just the one becoming the giant sloth, sitting at home all day.  Heck, my house with it’s five stairs up, five stairs down split-level design is even conducive to my sloth-like tendencies.

I need to do something about my slothiness.

For me, the most surprising change has been how much I don’t watch tv.  I do have some shows I’m watching on Netflix and three I’m recording on the DVR.  But really, I don’t sit down to watch television in the evening.  Maybe because the tv is in the lower level family room, which is the last bastion of Unpacking Hell and I’m not-so-subconsciously avoiding it.  Even then, we didn’t put a cable box in that room.  We meant to, but when we signed up for cable, we only had the one tv in our bedroom, so we hooked the cable box up in there.  By the time our stuff came, we realized that most of what’s on the 198 channels is utter crap.  Hence the dvr shows.  I’ve even considered just doing away with cable.  We had cable in Ireland, and I watched tv at night in the large living/dining room space we had there.  But here?  I don’t know.  There’s just not a ton I want to watch, nor enough time.

The hardest adjustment has been the time one.  Not the time change, though it is strange to go from being at least five hours ahead of everyone, to three hours behind most of my friends and family.

No, the time one is a dual-aspect – time and pace.  In Dublin, the earliest start time was the boys school, and that was 8:20 – an “early start” that the deputy principal apologized for as we snickered.  Now?  Our day starts at like six am for some, the boys and one girl are all gone by 7:15.  Schools start at 7:30, 7:45 and   8 am, oldest to youngest grades.  Maura and I sort of wander about every morning going “Ugh.”  We’re not liking this change.

And then there’s the pace.  Everyone here is so rushed.  Frantic almost.  Must rush here, must get this done, must race over there, must go go go.  Keep Busy or Die!  And then, go to bed early so you can get up early and do it all again.  I don’t know if I kept a frantic pace before – probably not, it doesn’t suit my slothy nature.  But Ireland?  Yes, these are my people.  “No rush, would you like a cup of tea?”  Yes please.  Here?  Here people expect you to be on time – everyone has a schedule to keep.

And then there’s me.  Sitting here.  With a cup of tea.  Talking to strangers for NO GOOD REASON.

And I curse too.

A lot more than I thought.

Quite frankly, it’s all a bit exhausting, trying to keep pace and deal with all the frantic rushing, and remembering not to curse, and being early for most things, getting up while it’s still dark out to start the rush all over.  By nine o’clock, my brain is oozing out an ear.  By ten o’clock, I am a bit delirious from being awake.

So yeah, who has time to watch television?

On a positive note, I’m still in love with my clothes dryer.  Really, I don’t miss hanging all my clothes all the time.  I love the dryer option.  But certain things are still getting hung to dry, because I live in fear of favorite pieces shrinking.  And hanging a pair of jeans over the door of the laundry room makes me smile.

Yes, sometimes it is the little things.

 

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10 Responses to “The Dublin to Seattle adjustment time is…”

  1. Nicole November 15, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

    You make me want to move to Ireland. Like, right now!

  2. Amanda November 15, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

    I wanted to hit like, but can’t remember my stupid password… You hit so many of the things I love most when I visit Ireland, and jangle the most when I get back to the ‘States. A word to the wise about the boxes (from one who has moved more than she cares to remember.) If after 6 months to a year since you packed the things you still haven’t opened them, take them, unopened, to the dump and hurl them. Do not yield to temptation and check them to see what’s inside, just take them and toss! Because if you haven’t missed what’s in them yet, odds are good you won’t ever miss whatever it was.

    • phoebz4 November 15, 2013 at 6:44 pm #

      I actually don’t have but a couple unpacked boxes. Only b/c I’ve gotten fed up with unpacking. I am hoping a missing piece of an item is in one.

      What I do have is a growing stack of stuff to take to the thrift store – lol!

  3. saracvt November 15, 2013 at 7:43 pm #

    On the cussing issue: I don’t cuss often, but when I do, I cuss in Sanskrit. I used to do it in Mandarin, but my spouse rightfully pointed out that it was quite possible (and even probable) that someday I’d meet someone who knew what I was saying. But I highly doubt I will meet a fluent speaker of a dead language! Also, the kids think I’m psychotic when I growl out “Adha virajati!” Win-win! Google Translate has more words on tap than you’d think.

    I don’t have bread sit around for days because Eldest Daughter for some reason is OBSESSED with making toast. It’s nearly all she eats. She can easily go through half a loaf a day. But also, did you know you can freeze bread quite easily? It thaws in about half an hour, but if you happen to need bread sooner than that, toast a slice lightly.

  4. Renee Anne November 15, 2013 at 8:27 pm #

    We’ve been in California for about 16 months (and in our first bought-together-as-a-married-couple-and-not-inherited home for almost 9 months)….we’re still getting used to it.

    When we lived in Wisconsin, we’d go to the grocery store once/week because we had places to put things. I’d maybe have to sneak out and pick up a gallon of milk mid-week but that was usually it. Here? I go to the grocery store 3 or 4 times every week, sometimes for just milk and cheese, sometimes for more. Today, I went for milk and came home with that, bananas, and some rolls.

    We’re also getting used to the pace of living in a large urban area. There are more people in the San Francisco Bay Area than there are in the entire state of Wisconsin. It’s overwhelming, to say the least. ::sigh::

  5. teresamcnally November 16, 2013 at 6:31 am #

    Teresa

    >

  6. sarah November 16, 2013 at 8:58 am #

    Ireland sounds like a totally wonderful place 🙂

  7. busybeemama November 16, 2013 at 8:59 am #

    Ireland sounds like a totally wonderful place to live!

  8. Helen November 16, 2013 at 4:09 pm #

    I think that most people have that “ohmigod” moment about 4 months after moving somewhere. When we moved to California (also Bay Area, Renee Anne), I found myself one morning feeling very homesick. I spoke to someone else about it and they said that they had felt exactly the same way. I think it’s because we are so busy settling in for the first few weeks and it still feels exciting and new, like a big adventure. Then as things start to settle into a routine, we suddenly feel lost. It did really help me to know that other people went through the same thing and that it wasn’t just me.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Friday Letters Nov 29/11 | Sherbet and Sparkles - November 29, 2013

    […] really enjoyed this post about the differences between Ireland and America. It seems there are a lot of expats out there weighing up their adopted […]

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