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.