Ireland — a place of idyllic meadows, leprechauns, St. Patrick, hookers (the boats), cycling, old buildings, really old buildings, (no — older than that) and smiling elders. For me Ireland was a place that speaks English and follows the rules of the EU (yay privacy, yay rule of law). Before I set out to move here Ireland was all of the above and more. Moving here was to be the next great adventure, and a change to a more peaceful way of life. There was so much I didn’t know.
So fat old guy (FOG) sets down on paddy’s green shamrock shores and sets to work trying to tune his ear so that he can understand the English that is being spoken to him. Now FOG can distinguish between British, Australian, Irish, Scottish and Welsh dialects and even distinguish some of the regions of Ireland from others. FOG can now recite the 4 (or 5 depending on who you ask and when) regions of Ireland — though he can’t spell them so you’ll just have to look them up yourself. FOG starts to work, borrows a bicycle and starts to ride to work. Yeah, that’s the ticket, minimal impact on the environment and get in shape. Now FOG rides his own bicycle, listens to the birds singing in the morning as he starts out on his 5K (or so) ride to the office. Even his perspective on cycling has changed; it used to be when he got to the end of the ride he would be dead tired, out of breath, and with a heart rate somewhere around the same rate as a hummingbird’s wings. Now he gets there only to feel that the ride was too short. If only FOG could get that feeling before he got on the bike – those first 100 meters are the hardest.
FOG used to take hot showers — you know the kind that fog up the mirror, make the room look like a steam bath. Now Mondays yield the coldest shower of the week — just to get jump started and because the heat has been off at the office all weekend. Today FOG realized that there may not be enough hot water in Ireland to take a proper hot shower — not like in the states. This morning’s shower was warm (formerly would have been classified as freezing) and the amount of steam generated was minimal. Though FOG could see his breath while getting dressed, but now he doesn’t mind.
Before Ireland, shopping was something that was done every 2 weeks or so and the farmer’s market was a place you went a few times during the summer. Now shopping is something that I think about almost every day, and the farmer’s market is where you go every weekend to get the best of the produce.
Before Ireland, I thought I lived in a small space. I really tried to keep my footprint to a minimum. Now, my footprint is much smaller and there is no feeling of deprivation or even of effort.
Ireland — It’s not just a change of location, it is a change of perspective. Perhaps the FOG is lifting.