Living My Irish Dreamby Mary Catherine Brouder
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- An American from The Bronx bids farewell to Ireland
- Brown Thomas reminds Dubliners of proud Irish culture this Christmas
It was not without more than a hint of irony that I purchased Barbara Ehrenreich's book, “Nickel & Dimed” on my first day of catering work in 6 years. The book is a classic piece of first-person journalism: the author gives up the life she knows to work various minimum wage jobs around the United States and document her experiences.
I was buying the book so I could talk about it to the journalism students I teach one day a week; when I finished paying for it, I looked down and noticed that I held the book in one hand and my heavy, steel-toe non-slip work boots in a plastic bag in the other hand. I couldn’t help thinking, if I saw this scene in a book, I’d say it was positively contrived for dramatic effect.
Ehrenreich, a well-known writer with a PhD in Biology, worked as a house cleaner, waitress, and Walmart employee, in order to conduct a journalistic experiment. I was preparing to put my two degrees to use as a waitress out of sheer necessity.
The phrase has been playing over and over again in my mind, like a guitar lick you just can’t get out of your head.
For some reason, when you live away from home, holidays and birthdays seem to be the days on which you really take account of what you are doing with your life.
The CDC estimates that between 1 and 4 million Americans suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome(CFS), also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. Here is my story about how the oft-mocked 'Yuppy Flu' changed me from a busy young freelance journalist into a bedridden shadow of my former self.
It started with one of those pesky, but temporary, stomach viruses that keep you within a safe distance of the family bathroom, exactly two years ago , around this time of year.
I knew it at the time: something just wasn't right afterwards. Everyone in my family had it and felt as good as new within 48 hours, but, despite going back to work after 2 days, I could feel that my body was still unwell for a full week.
I ignored it, figured I'd 'gotten a bad dose' of it, and moved on. And for two months, I was fine.
A few weeks ago, I attended an undergraduate graduation ceremony in Dublin. As the youngest of 5 siblings, I’ve been to my fair share of graduations, and I know what they’re usually like.
Somebody – sometimes someone famous – gets on a podium, lauds all of the youngsters for their efforts, and encourages them to “go forth” and triumph, as they have officially become equipped to “take on the world.” If there are other speakers, they pretty much all say the same thing: the world is your oyster, now get out your carving knives.
A few years ago, I found the secret to life while reporting at an Irish Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in Bawnboy, Co. Cavan.
I saw a string of Buddhist prayer flags hanging from a clothesline that had the words “Om Mani Padme Hum” scrolled across different pieces of fabric, so I asked one of the residents living there what it meant.
When I was still in my mother’s womb, my older sister, then just 5 years old, was mowed down by a teenage drunk driver. Her skull was fractured, as was her entire pelvis and most of her ribs, and she suffered several injuries to her internal organs.
My sister spent months in the hospital, a year in a wheelchair, and many moons recovering. My mother, the most devoted of any mother I’ve ever witnessed, dedicated every second of those years to bringing her back to full health.
Our friend’s younger brother had lost his life overnight. He had been fighting cancer for the past year and a half, and after having two operations to remove tumors in his jaw and neck, subsequently receiving the news that the cancer had spread to his brain in the form of several inoperable brain tumors, as well as suffering a recent stroke, he lost his battle.
While watching images of Iraqi widows, and processing the contents of a simple text message, I couldn’t help but wonder just how cruel the world really has the audacity to be sometimes.
It started on Saturday night, when I left my laser card in the card machine at a music venue where my friend’s band was performing. Somewhere between typing in the digits on a keypad, and hearing the first blast of the brass section, I left the darned thing behind me.
The following day(after going through two bags of garbage, piece by piece, and tearing up the house), I realized what had happened, and immediately contacted the venue to see if I could come pick up my card. But the woman on the phone referred me to a company that “takes care of that for us.” A company to deal with their lost items? How many people lose that many things?
Apparently a lot. Or at least enough to support a business. Meet WeFoundIt: a 3-month old startup whose business it is to reunite people with their lost items.