April 2nd marked 1 year of living in Dublin for us. So much has happened in this last year, it's been a tough year, and a great year, and most definitely a year we will remember.
|St Stephen's Green, Dublin|
Admittedly, living in Ireland was not been as easy of a transition as I expected. But, I had formed expectations for living here before I had ever even stepped foot in the country. I thought, how different could it be? We were moving to a European capital city where the native language was English. Turns out, it can be very different.
|Ha'Penny Bridge in Dublin|
It was a big decision to start with. It meant a lot for Brian and I. Besides the material things like leaving behind all our beautiful wedding gifts we had received only a few months earlier, we were leaving a strong network of friends and family. We left our dog (don’t worry, he is living with family), we left our Nephews when they were not yet 1 & 3. We left being a 1.5 hour flight from my parents and friends in Oregon. I left a job that allowed me to see my sister at least 4 times/year. We left all things familiar, in a city we loved and a lifestyle we were comfortable with, for a huge unknown.
|Morrie keeping warm in the California Winter|
Ultimately the decision was made as a way to grown both professionally and personally. To gain experience working in International markets, based in a European HQ and having the ability to take weekend trips throughout Europe. And that is how Dublin became our home. So far, we’ve made some amazing memories, gone to incredible places, started new jobs and made good friends.
|In Copenhagen with good friends|
What I love about living abroad is you discover the intricacies of another culture and the differences to what you grow up considering normal. You learn to appreciate where you come from, and develop an understanding of different ways of life. Having access to travel to so many countries, we learn about different geographies, governments, history, art, architecture. We crave seeking out local foods and browsing supermarkets to spot the differences in products, packaging and price. You learn how to navigate countries where the language and streets are foreign. And how to communicate with people who speak another language. It's exciting, and at times frustrating but when you step back and put into perspective where you are, it's incredible.
|We will never forget times like this - Eastbourne, UK|
I love that we speak the same language as the Irish, but the language is so different. We are constantly talking about this. Just the other day, I noticed that people say “Safe home” where I would say, “Get home safely”. Brian always notices when you ask for something, like, “Can I have a coffee”, the response is always, “Course you can”. I can go on for days about the language differences and now I know for the rest of my life if I order a "rocket salad with courgette and aubergine" I'm actually getting an "arugula salad with zucchini and eggplant."
|"Craic Dealer" T-shirt - Craic is slang for good time/atmosphere|
I love to learn about the different holidays and traditions in Ireland. Who knew there was a holiday called Arthurs Day that celebrates Guinness. It’s like Hallmark creating Valentines Day so people buy more cards, but for Guinness. Who wouldn’t raise a Pint to Arthur on his declared day? And, did you know, the day before Good Friday is Pancake Day? Literally, everyone eats pancakes. Why don't we celebrate this in The States?
We’re not leaving Ireland yet, but people always want to know – what do you miss from home, and what will you miss from Ireland. I’ll give it a shot, and we can see how it changes.
What we miss about home (minus the really obvious things like family and friends):
- Weather – seriously, and we’re not asking for much – even 65°F would be suitable this summer
- Services – Let's just leave it at this - our appreciation for Comcast has definitely increased
- Supermarkets – the consistency of supermarkets – you can always find what you’re looking for (no one is running out of broccoli, and you don’t have to go to 6 stores to find chickpeas, true story).
- Mexican food. Like real Mexican food. We really miss it. Brian just declared that every time we go home, our first stop should be La Taquaria in the Mission. I’m in.
- Wine – you literally cannot buy a bottle of wine in our supermarket for under €7, which like $9. And they aren't anything special. Yes, we are slightly spoiled coming from the Bay Area.
- Deli Sandwiches – They just don’t exist like at home. First off, French’s yellow mustard is tough to come by and that's a necessary layer for me. Most sandwiches here are white bread with chicken filets, shredded lettuce, grated cheese and mayo.
|Brian's Instagram from Sonoma LAST weekend|
What we will miss about Ireland:
- My commute – this one is just me. It takes me 8 minutes on my bike or 15 minutes walking door to door – I am grateful for this everyday, even with undesirable weather. I’ll take this over an hour in the car with a $6 toll any day.
- Brown bread – traditional Irish bread. It’s delicious and I need to learn how to make it before we leave.
- Afternoon Tea – Brian especially has really become a tea drinker, and is joining in on the mid-morning/afternoon/evening tea
- Pubs – The pubs here are authentic. They have been around longer than our country has been a country, and they have character. Walk into any pub in Ireland and you’ll see a great mix of old and young and people from all walks of life, it’s really cool.
- Live Music – On any given night, on any day, there is an abundance of live music. On the streets or in the pubs. I love being able to just sit at a pub, enjoy a nice conversation with friends and listen to great live music.
- Lack of Insects – I don’t even think Brian and I have talked about this, and I haven’t brought it up because I didn’t want to jinx anything but there is a serious lack of spiders and insects here. And no mosquitos. Need I say anymore? Dreamy.
- Not Driving – I really do love living a lifestyle that driving isn’t necessary. We live around the corner from our supermarket, gym, Brian’s barber, restaurants, pubs, coffee shops, everything.
- Old stuff – the castles, the ruins, the churches, everything is old here – again, we just don’t have that at home
So, there you have it. It’s been one year already. Sometimes it feels like 1 week and other times it feels like all the time in the world. I can't wait to see what this next year will bring.