Becoming Irish

I am very excited about my new volunteer job with Age Action Ireland, an organization that promotes positive ageing and services for seniors.  The woman who ‘hired’ me, Niamh (pronounced Neev), is a lovely young woman who apparently trusts that I can be a helpful presence because she wanted me to start right away even without references and the Garda vetting (background check).  That vetting form was hard to fill out seeing as they wanted me to list every address I have ever lived at throughout my entire life!  I did pretty well back to about 1978 but then it got a little fuzzy and I may have left one or two addresses out.  Oh well.

So I am an official volunteer now, tutoring seniors in computer skills.  I had my first student yesterday, a lovely woman not much more than 10 or 15 years older than me.  She had never ever been on a computer in her life so we started with the very basics of starting it up, keyboarding and mousing.  I don’t believe I have ever known anyone who didn’t have basic mouse skills so it was an adventure for both of us!  I look forward to watching her learn this new skill, of unlocking the secrets of the machine with her.

Before I left to catch the bus to AAI, I instant messaged Claude to say that it was a beautiful day, no rain and hardly any wind.  He teased me about becoming more Irish.  Then when I ran into the groundskeeper, a very nice man who I like very much, I told him I thought it was a gorgeous day.  He just looked at me as if I were a nutcase and shook his head.

Coming home on the bus that afternoon there was a couple there who seemed a bit confused by the bus schedule.  Let me tell you, that is not all that hard to do.  The schedules posted at the stops tell you what time the bus comes from the city centre, not what time it will be at that particular stop.  I see a great many people read the damn things and become quite confused.  So all you can really do is learn the comings and goings of the bus through repetitive use and determine the schedule at your particular stop from there.  While the bus is usually on time from the beginning point in the city centre, the arrival at your stop is dictated by traffic, how many stops it has to make, how many people want to engage the driver in conversation or ask for directions, etc.  It turns out this couple were headed to the Prom and were curious about the stop time at my bus stop, so I was able to give them an overall view of the approximate schedule according to my observations.  The woman told me, “You should be a tour guide!”  What a compliment!

We have observed on more than one occasion that we do seem to know much more about this town than a lot of people who live here.  I was having lunch at Java’s, one of my new favorite places to eat, when I overheard two women talking about a bar the name of which one woman could not quite recall.  I knew precisely which one they were talking about and wanted to contribute to the conversation but just sat quietly as they sussed it out themselves.  I did, however, allow myself a moment of smug superiority.

We haven’t blended entirely yet.  People still ask us how long we are here visiting.  It’s just a lot more satisfying telling them we’ve been here for 4 months now and are loving every minute of it.

— Cindy


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