No really...Ireland's landscape really is that green!

Hello from back in the US of A! I arrived home yesterday for my first visit since moving to Ireland in January, and I’m thrilled to report that I am writing this from my Goodwill rocking chair looking out my bedroom window, having lunch with my cousin soon, and spending the evening with my best friend from college.

This weekend I’m heading to my high school reunion, so I’m preparing myself to answer “Oh my gosh how’s IRELAND?!” a million and a half times. And what to say in response? There are things that are great, there are things that are very difficult, but on the whole I’m leading a very average, day-to-day normal life. Most of the time I don’t really feel like I’m on an adventure or living somewhere exotically foreign. Somehow though, I don't think "Ah ya know, it's grand," is going to suffice...

A few first impressions and reactions from returning to the States:

- The colors all look so much more muted here in comparison to Dublin at the moment, which is just overflowing with flowers. And the grass is, of course, so much less green!

- I thought sitting on the right in the front seat of a car would feel odd after months of sitting on the other side…but it didn’t. I am confusing myself as to which way to look when crossing the street though.

- American radio feels extraordinarily abrasive! We have the radio on all day at the shop I work at in Dublin, so I’ve become familiar with lots of the daytime DJs and the ads that play between the music. I have the radio on in the background right now and I just feel like I’m being shouted at. And there's a LOT more sexism in these American ads, a difference I hadn't noticed before.

- I am going to gain a gazillion pounds in the next ten days: my “things I want to do while home” list is made up almost entirely of food I want to eat, and my mom has lovingly stocked the kitchen with all my favorite salty treats.

- I’ve been spoiled by the early summer light in Ireland. It’s still light at 10pm in Dublin these days, and fully blazing bright at 6 am. I always imagine Boston and Dublin to be along the same latitude, but really Dublin is more in line with Labrador! Being that much farther north makes a big difference.
- I can't wait to do a load of laundry, and have the entire process take a little over 90 minutes rather than 30 hours. (Have I mentioned that the dryer function of my combination washer-dryer doesn't work at my Dublin place?)

For my first dinner back home we had an über-American (albeit vegetarian) barbecue complete with pickles, potato salad and watermelon. I brought home a big bundle of sweets you can’t get here, so I got to see my family contemplating Maoams, Fry’s Chocolate Cream, Fruitella, Minstrels, Freddo’s, Maynards Sours, Fizzy Cola Lollies, and so on. Fun!

Anyone want anything from the States?