a year ago…

A year ago–a year and three days, because I forgot to post on the 9th–I flew into Dublin and my family met me at the airport. We took a bus into the city centre (Breic told me, “Auntie Catie, Auntie Catie, that’s the Wiver Wiffey!” as we went by the River Liffey, and Seirid stared at me suspiciously the whole way) and a cab to my parents’ house, and voila, I had moved to Ireland. It was all strange and nerve-wracking and extremely overwhelming.

Three hundred and sixty-four days later, I flew into Dublin and took the bus to the train station so I could go out to my parents’ house, and it felt like coming home.

Lots of people have asked me how I’ve adjusted to Irish life, and if there was anything in particular that struck me as Different and Strange. Many of the different and strange details were ones I knew before I came here, since I’d visited before: the dryers, for example, don’t work. The refrigerators are small. Central heating is still not a well-understood concept. The roads are very narrow and twisty and people drive on them like they’re the Autobahn.

I still think the quarterly or bi-monthly billing system for utilities is bizarre. I’ve gotten used to Irish time, by and large; as Gavin said a while ago, when a shop they were trying to visit wasn’t open at its proclaimed hour of 10, nor at 10:05 nor 10:10, “Maybe it’s not ten enough.” (And indeed, at 10:15, apparently it was Ten Enough, and the shop opened.) It seems I’ve adapted to the peculiarity of bathroom light switches being *outside* the bathroom, because every time I tried to turn a light on in the hotel bathrooms in the States, I smacked the wall outside the bathroom and fumbled for the light there, before remembering it was inside. I’ve adapted to having to bag my own groceries (though I still think that’s a pain) and renting shopping carts, and somewhere fairly recently I got used to them driving on the wrong side of the road.

People’ve asked if I’ve had culture shock. I’ve had a few moments of wondering what in God’s name we did, but my year has been so busy–I went to work about 2 days after getting here, because I had no time to do otherwise–that I think the culture shock window passed while I had my head down in the books. I’ve largely stopped saying, “It’s as if we’re living in a different country!”, and have learned to call subdivisions “housing estates” and have stopped thinking in dollars at all.

I have, in the past 12 months, written and/or revised five manuscripts, four book proposals, three comic scripts, and gone to my first several SF/F conventions. I am *very* much looking forward to not having to turn in five books next year, and getting out to see more of Ireland.

But lest you think I haven’t seen any of it, behind the cut is a (very graphics-heavy, so it’ll probably take a while to load)

St. Michael’s graveyard, Athy, Ireland

My nephew Seirid at 13 months

Annie Moore, the first immigrant processed at Ellis Island, who left from Cobh in December 1891

The view from the Tay Road behind our house

Breic likes butter!

Cobh an lar (city centre)

Cobh fields from the top of the hill

Deirdre flies down Cobh’s streets

Cobh Christchurch

Sacred Memory at the Old Cobh Graveyard

St. Coleman’s Cathedral, reflected in Cobh Harbor

Blarney Castle

There are more here. :)

19 thoughts on “a year ago…

  1. Looks beautiful! My M wants to pick up and leave someday (probably Japan), but I have too many roots here right now… and I’m a big chicken. LoL

    Enjoy the next year actually seeing Ireland :D

  2. Nice story about the shop not opening, I totally LOL-ed. I loved Dublin when I went there with my dad and brother a year and a half ago. My friend and I are currently planning an Irish tour. Wish we had the money to go now :( Alas, future future future plans.

  3. Well, if its not too late Cead Mile Failte (which means one hundred thousand welcomes) and I’m glad you moved here. Moved or just came home?

    As for Irish time, here are two great examples. The first was seen in Cork on a shop “Open seven days a week, except Sunday”, and the other was in Drogheda “Open 24 hours, doors open at 7am”.

    See you in Dublin soon

  4. Just the other day I was wondering how you ended up in Ireland, and here’s the story. Someday I want to visit there and Scotland where my family is from.

    My best friend lives in Northern Ireland. She’s a writer too. She’s actually the one who sent me a copy of Urban Shaiman last year for Christmas.

  5. …and somewhere fairly recently I got used to them driving on the wrong side of the road.

    Give it another year, you’ll be re-wording this to say “I got used to them driving on the correct side of the road”! ;)

    Light switches on the outside of the bathroom? To me, that’s the sort of thing you only get in hotels. I’m far more used to a light pull-swich inside the bathroom (there’s a pulley-handle on the end of a piece of string that’s meant to act as an insulator in the unlikely event of damp getting into the actual switch mechanism and causing a short circuit).

    Lovely photos, especially the one of Blarney Castle. :)

  6. If you’re ever in Dublin for long enough, particularly with a Sunday free, I do a rather good tour of the city, which is very likely unlike any other you’re going to go on. The offer is open indefinitely, or until taken up, whichever is sooner…

  7. And of course welcome to Ireland, and particularly you are very welcome to the various SF cons, if I may take it upon myself to speak on everyone’s behalf. I’ve a feeling you’ll always be welcome at them, too, and will not be long becoming part of the furniture.

    Next time bring more people from Cork!

  8. Those pictures are LOVELY! My pastor’s family lived in Ireland for eleven years or so. But I have to ask — where in the US were you from that you’d never had to bag your own groceries or rent a cart? I’m in Pennsylvania and I do/have done it all the time.

  9. darn,
    I should have said
    *welcome to Ireland* earlier.
    Anyway, I’ll say it now.

    Welcome once again to Ireland.

  10. That would be spectacularly cool. We’ll have to try to arrange it in the early part of next year! :)

  11. Oh neat. My uncle was stationed in Alaska for twenty-odd years and loved it, but I guess you wouldn’t see a lot of rent-a-carts, eh? (To be fair, only certain chains do it and they are the minority, even down here in PA. ^_^)

  12. As I only got to know you recently, I suppose I shouldn’t worry that I didn’t say “welcome to Ireland” earlier. But I should have known, really.

    Welcome, and stay a while.

  13. Frosty Cross is stunning! It is the loveliest religious/morning light/morning frost shot I’ve ever seen. It merits a Fine Art frame. I’d love to have it hanging on my wall!

    The Papa

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