Not rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor the Irish Government…

Not rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor the Irish Government…

The US postal service won’t be stopped, and neither shall I!  I’ve been away from my beautiful bride for far too long.  Yes, it’s much easier being able to see her and hear her all day every day, but it’s not the same, of course, and i’m anxious to continue my life and turn my plans and dreams into realization.  Even if we were to decide that it would be more feasible for her to move here, I would still choose Ireland without hesitation.  I love the country, the people, the culture.  Irish people are much more easy going in general, more friendly.  It’s not a false front either usually.  Here, people are harder to gauge and navigating the social world can be confusing, angering, and tricky.  I’ve always been a study of human mannerisms, behavior, and psychology.  I observe my surroundings and study people, and have since I was little.  I studied psychology in college, before realizing that I really don’t want to listen to nothing but problems for my career.  In New York, it’s pretty handy, granted, other states are different and in many areas, people are very up front and friendly like Ireland.  When I meet people around the town i’ll be living, and when i’ve met my wife’s family and friends, I felt genuine friendliness and interest, as well as generosity.

People of Ireland:  I absolutely love the fact that you take bank holidays so seriously! We have federal holidays here, but not nearly as many.  And never for just no reason but that it’s a “Bank Holiday!”  Store hours are also much shorter in general, there are very few 24 hour businesses of any kind, and the overall pace (outside of Dublin) is a much slower paced life than i’m used to.  The pressure and stress seem to just fade into the background when i’m in Ireland.  No, i’m not being an idealistic fool that’s in love and enchanted by the country and it’s touristy charms… IMG_8522I know it’s a cloudy, rainy, windy, and stressful country just like any other.  I suppose it’s when compared to the American way of life, and work culture, it’s just right for me, while it may not be for someone else.  Another favorite thing of mine is when the clock hit’s about 1700 or some other number that feels right for the day, the streets start emptying as everyone filters home and to the pubs, maybe to a match.

I have been finding things that really make me want to start knocking my head against a brick wall though.  BUREAUCRACY! I thought it was bad here… my GOD Ireland, why have you forsaken me!?  You’re rebels of the toughest sort… and your constitution is progressive for it’s time, how did this happen?!

I’ll give you an example.  My wife needed me to get my tax and income info to her for something, so I sent it and thought it would be the last I heard about it. HA!  A few days later I had to send more info, as well as bank statements.  A few days after that, I forget what else they asked for, but they did ask.  I’d say it was about a week later, they started asking her for my PPS number.  She explained to them AGAIN, after they had my address in the US, bank statements, and IRS official tax forms, that I was an American citizen, and not yet living in Ireland.  “HE LIVES IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!”  This did nothing but confuse the woman on the other end of the phone, and she told my wife that she would have to call her back once she figured out what to do next.  They called again in a day or two and another person asked for my non-existent PPS number AGAIN.  The boss (my wife) told the lady on the other end of the phone everything that had happened and that I “was American, blah blah blah”  and the woman told her that she’d find out what was going on and get back to her.  She was told that I need to get a PPS number, and sent me an application to fill out.  So I filled out the application with no room for misinterpretation, included the necessary documents, and sent it off to a government office to be processed, the same government body that requested I get the PPS number (Keep this in mind.)

A week later I get a reply, stating that they are denying the application because I needed a written request by someone stating that I need a pps number for their purposes, like a letter from a solicitor about probate, or buying property, etc.. !

So…I call my wife, confused as to why the same people that were asking for me to get a pps number, were denying my application because I needed reason for one!  She called them back and was told that they don’t understand why, and that I should state why I needed it, and that it was for the office.

I sent the forms back out AGAIN.  This time, a week later when the forms arrived back to me denyed for the second time, none of the reasons for denial were checked…So now they were denying it, but didn’t have a reason! They just included a form that said that I needed to go to my local office and apply in person.  You read that right, yes, they sent me a letter, to the United states, which requires a bit more effort on their part, saying that I should come on down in person and apply!  I stared at it in disbelief and literally stared for about 2 minutes or so with my mouth open.  Then I laughed.  It was hilarious at this point.

My wife called them very frustrated this time and made sure she talked to the higher up to tell her what was going on.  The woman was nice, and did take an interest in the case.  She gave us the email of a gentleman in her office that would take it on and I could email him directly instead of mailing the forms back and forth since they were already stamped and ready to go, minus the request they needed.  I know that at least once I had to go through it with him as well, until the lady my wife talked to jumped in and talked to him herself.

Many weeks later with no contact from them, I finally got my PPS number in the mail!  So, this is what i’ve learned:

  • The inter-government communications in Ireland are non-existent.
  • There are too many stipulations, rules, and fine print in even the most basic transactions when the government are involved.
  • Someone at the office in C****** ** ******* has a vendetta against O’Briens
  • I have to take up meditation regularly.
  • i’m going to have white hair by the time I get my citizenship.

I proposed to my wife knowing that any problem we would face, we could tackle it together.  We weren’t to be deterred by a little ocean between us; so why would we let anything else get in the way of our happiness and what we knew was right and meant to be?  A little while later, when I was back home in the US, she came out of nowhere and said:  “let’s just do it.”  No waiting, planning, big family wedding (YET…) She wanted to be married to me, and I, her.  I couldn’t have been happier.  She already had accepted my proposal when I was just there, but we didn’t want to wait a couple years to get married.  We decided we would get married when I came back next.

Let’s set aside that mushy stuff though and take a look at Ireland’s immigration policies, which all this has been leading up to.

Ever since Ireland was one of the first countries to join the EU, a gradual tightening of immigration laws has been happening.  With the borders open to other EU citizens, many more non-Irish people were coming to find work and a living in Ireland, among other places.  With a global recession in the 2000’s came the need to even stronger measures as unemployment started to get to a high level, and the economy was taking a downturn.  “The Troubles” were becoming a more distant memory but not distant enough, and the celtic tiger was losing it’s stripes… and the amazing improvements in the educational system were going to take much more time to show results.  In 2009, many strict laws were passed that made it extremely difficult for non-EU citizens to get work permits in Ireland, amongst other things that got more difficult.  If you want to move to Ireland as a non-EU citizen, you have to have a job offer on the table for at the very least 60,000 euro a year on paper from the employer.  This requires extra work on the employer’s part, so unless they are salivating to hire you, you have a very unique or in demand skillset, and they can’t find anyone in the EU to hire, forget about that road.  There aren’t many jobs being listed at that pay grade anyway, and that’s not even taking into account that 60,000 is just the base level, they won’t even consider you if you have a job offer for less, unless it’s on a list of very specific careers (there aren’t many jobs on that list and they are things like aeronautical engineer, and  Jesus)

Ok, so that option is out, I’ll just start my own business!  NO! don’t think that you can get away that easy!  You have to have at LEAST 300,000 euro to invest in your new business venture, capital.  Small businesses that are doing well don’t even have that kinda dough usually.  They want companies like google, pharmaceutical companies, manufacturing, etc.  Not a guy that’s going to just create a few jobs.

Ok, so what’s left?

Not much… asylum, or pray that I can find some documentation of my great grandfather that wasn’t burned by the English and claim citizenship that way.   So I was getting to an impasse, I didn’t like how it would look to other people if we got married before I got there, even though we knew it was right, and our reasons were pure enough, nobody else would see that.  We decided to do it anyway already, so it made things easier.  For this, I am fortunate.  I don’t know if I would have moved to Ireland if it wasn’t for my wife, even though I have always wanted to live there.  I would have just had to tuck tail and run back to America!  I feel for the people who don’t have a spouse who is an EU citizen yet want to move to better themselves.  There are SO MANY small business opportunities across the country!  Too many empty storefronts in every town, too many unemployed people to go with them.  Why only create a whole bunch of minimum wage jobs, when there are plenty of places for small business entrepreneurs as well?  I am looking forward to the day that I can contribute a few jobs created into the market.  I want to contribute more than just taxes and my dashing good looks to Ireland 😉  It’s my new home, the place I want to raise a family.  I love it already, and it seems that Ireland has been trying to do everything it can to keep me away.

That’s not going to happen Dail, county council, etc… so give up already!

 

 

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Traffic is Calming, my patience isn’t.

Traffic is Calming, my patience isn’t.

I thought that sign was absolutely hilarious, being from New York and all.  Here it would probably read “Traffic Slowing” or rather, “Speed limit reduced ahead” And Traffic is everything BUT calm!  Even if you aren’t late here, you drive like you are, impatience is the defining characteristic of New York drivers.  New Jersey drivers are a whole different breed, as are Boston drivers.  Irish drivers are actually pretty good compared to most countries, they can really whip around those narrow back roads, and I don’t see the stupidity I see here and other places around the world.  I would hate to credit the stringent driving licensing process, as i’m about to go on a rant about it, but I guess it could be part of the reason for the pleasure of driving over there. (Ignoring the tractors and haywagons you get stuck behind constantly.)

I’ve been driving, without accidents, or a single speeding ticket (God only knows how that’s the case), for 15 years.  I’ve driven in multiple countries, and Ireland is definitely one of them.  I thought that because I didn’t even need an international driving permit to drive in Ireland, that my license would transfer fine.  Perhaps I would have to take a quick test, written or driven, but how hard could it be?  If I were to just be visiting Ireland, my license would be good for one year of driving, no problem.  In my case, I would be staying permanently, so I don’t get 12 months, I get none.  I would have to apply for a LEARNERS PERMIT, then PRAY that they waive the 6 month mandatory waiting period before I could sign up to PAY for 12 lessons at 50 Euro a lesson, that’s 600 Euro altogether.  These lessons are also supposed to be spaced out by two weeks each, and i’ve been told there’s no guarantee that they will allow me to take them more quickly than that.  Then, I have to pay 80 somthing euro to take the driving test.  The driving test centers can only pass a certain number of people per day, so some people get failed for very stupid reasons and are forced to pay the fee again to re-test.  I forgot to mention, you also need to pass a written test (that’s fine, how hard could it be?)  You also need: Your application, ID of course, NDLS medical form (what’s that?)

Evidence of IBT (what’s that?)

Evidence of CPC (you lost me…)

Evidence of Address

Another fee….

ARGH!!!!!

And….. A PPS NUMBER! YAY!

The PPS number was a nightmare, but probably only because I didn’t request it because of this.  I’ll get into that later.

 

So… You expect me, A man with my driving record, also trained in high speed maneuvering and pursuit, who has driven almost every kind of vehicle at some point, Tanks, planes, motorcycles…to pay for some poor soul to teach me which pedal is the brake pedal, how to share the road, and where to put my hands on the steering wheel?! I think  not emerald isle, I think not.   It’s not just because of my pride, though, I do have some of that rattling around somewhere…it’s the extortion aspect of it all.  There is no way that all of this is ANYTHING but EXTORTION!

I hate having principles sometimes, but there you go…

I would not be able to move to Ireland for a while if I were to go through all that, my work depends on being a driver, being mobile.  It would be one thing if I lived in Cork, or Dublin, but i’ll be working all over Tipperary, all small towns, and my house will be outside of town anyway.    I can’t live off savings for months at a time, bleeding money, to go through that.  I would have to hope to find a job in small town Ireland.  Currently, there aren’t that many jobs, decent paying jobs, in Ireland to begin with.  Add all the other expenses in, and my wife being in a difficult position currently, and you get a disaster and hardship waiting to happen.

I’m lucky enough to only be 6 hours away from a country that Ireland actually wants people from, us yankees don’t get a free ride anymore!  I will just have to update when I find out if my plan to take over works.

I’ve been running into roadblocks the entire way! I suppose it’s time to get back to those roadblocks on another post!  Thanks for stopping by kids!  Check my next post to find out about more fun I had in my process!

Go-wan, make my Tay!

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I’ll return to my American Expat in Ireland journey next time, today, I was reminded of some differences I thought might be worth sharing.

Sometimes, the differences in culture are not overt. I have always blended well into the cultures around me, taking heed of the differences, as best as possible, at least, but there are differences that are fundamental to a culture.  You can’t always get by learning how to greet people, what gestures not to make, what words not to use, etc…  As an entrepreneur, and small business owner, as well as someone who has worked for, and represented other people’s companies, I have to be more diligent.  In the U.S. most people, no matter how small their business might be,  present themselves in the most professional manner they can.  A certain distance, or “bubble” is maintained, though in some places and situations, it’s ok to be more personal and relaxed regarding interactions with your customers.  This attitude and practice is familiar and expected, and if not maintained, can result in customers feeling they should be getting a better deal, getting lax on payment, scheduling, and the likes.

Ireland is fundamentally different.  I’ll use one of my businesses, the one that I plan on resorting to when I finally get back to Ireland, as an example.  I’m a chimney sweep amongst other things, and I deal with people in their homes most of the time.  I will greet them briefly, and get right down to business quickly.  Most people like this as customers, or they are indifferent about it.  If I were to do that in Ireland, without chatting with them a bit first, and being offered tea about 10 times, It would be viewed as almost rude, or suspicious in a way.   So here lies a problem for me…  Tea… I don’t really drink it much,  I don’t drink coffee much either, to be honest, but I do enjoy a cup of either occasionally.

Let me pose you a question.  What do you think the end result of 4-6 house calls a day would result in?  TAY!  more tea than I would drink in a year, in one day!  Irish women especially don’t seem to be able to hear the words “no thank you” when it comes to just about anything.  They just look at you with the eye of a CIA operative grilling a terrorist with rose colored glasses, and ask again, and again….and again….because obviously you must be mistaken, or confused about your want for tea, or spuds.   I’ve said no thank you to tea, just to find a freshly poured cup in front of me before I could finish saying: “No than…oh fine.”  Ok, so I had my first non-consensual cup of tea already today, now that i’ve processed what’s happened, I have to figure out what this story is that she’s already in the middle of telling me.  It’s got to do with someone named Mary, or John, something about mass, and a baby.  Forget it, you’re already lost, try to catch the next phase.  Oh no! She found out my last name is O’Brien,  There’s no way that an American can have a last name like O’Brien, so they ask if i’m sure i’m American, and then jumps into a story about one of the million O’Brien’s she knows.   Mind you, she knows my ancestors i’m sure, as my wife says, get a few of the old townswomen together, give them a few pots of tea, and let them at it for a few hours, and they’ll have traced my ancestry back to the baby Jaysus’ time.  Now i’ll have no Idea what time it is, how long i’ve been there, and i’m really itching to get started on the job so I can make my next scheduled client.  IF I make it out of there, I’ll have to do this all over again at the next stop!  Keep in mind, there’s going to be a bit of chatting after the work is done, and the vacuum can’t drown out the conversation anymore.  I’ve found that in foreign countries, i’ll be getting extra chatting to because i’m a foreigner, there are always questions and interests regarding that you can count on.

Normally, I wouldn’t mind a bit, really!  I love talking to new people, and hearing their random stories.  In my other business as a recording/audio engineer, I started a project where I set up a microphone at a random location, bar, park, street corner, and recorded random stories people had to share.  This world is full of stories, color, ideas to be heard and shared.  When it comes to getting work done though, this whole Irish tea and chat thing is becoming a foggy labyrinth that I have no idea how to begin to navigate.  I’ll have to figure out a whole new bag of tricks to move things along, but remain polite and personable.  I can’t drink that much tea, so i’m not sure how i’ll pull that off, maybe a hidden bottle to siphon the tea into, I don’t know, and I try not to think about it right now as I struggle enough with getting ready for the permanent move.

In the next post i’ll have to get into all the nitty gritty details, loopholes, and finagling that it’s taking to get over there, and what it took to become legal in the first place.

I’ll need to consult a sage on how to solve this tea debacle though…

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Going to Ameri…Ireland! An American Moving to Ireland

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I think i’ve always wanted to move to Ireland.  I was born an O’Brien, proud of his Irish ancestry, in Hurley, New York.  The history, mythology, culture, accent, attitudes, all appealed to me from a young age.  This dream never seemed realistic to me until I met my now wife, who is born and raised Irish.

Here in The States, anyone with an Irish last name, is “Irish” though, if one of us American born were to say such a thing to an actual Irish person, well, I’d just recommend you don’t do that!  We come from so many different countries, rather, our ancestors did, and though we are Americans, what the rest of the world doesn’t seem to understand is our connection to our roots, and yearning to understand more and feel a connection to our mother countries.  We don’t have much history compared to most countries in the world, and I feel that the countries that our ancestors came from ARE part of us, and our identity.

When I met my red-headed, Aran jumper wearing, no-nonsense, bride, I was in limbo, recovering from a brain injury, and lost.  She was in a similar lost and despondent state, (minus the brain injury.)  We “met” in a very unusual way, we were penpals.  I always scoffed at these relationships, and never really heard of any that succeeded or that were genuine.  I had enough trouble with long distance relationships when they were in-person meetings and then forced into long distance mode, let alone an international one, where we had never even met in person!  Let me say now, the digital age is amazing.  In fact, i’d actually say to any TWO people that find themselves equally and completely taken with eachother.  We both knew almost right off the bat, that there was something amazing about this thing we found.  and I mean days.  Days of constant emails, every moment we had to write, we did.

Why would I recommend it?  WELL…You do not have the full force lust factor involved.  Yes, we saw eachother’s pictures a day or two after we started corresponding, but that’s just a general idea, and the natural human instincts, the physical body right in front of you, the smells, the voice, they are all hidden, or filtered through a screen and frozen in time. You really concentrate on the correspondence, we both can express ourselves better in writing anyway.  I don’t remember how long it took for us to video call for the first time, but it was a while.  After we both realized that we loved eachother.  I started recording my thoughts via my studio’s microphone after a while, and then she started recording her voice soon after.  I remember the first time I heard her voice, and saw her moving image on the screen, nervous, beautiful, and incredible.  It was a short video, she was just sitting on her bed, as she still does to this day, and said that I might like to see her and hear her to return the favor.  That was it, maybe 15 seconds long, but it will be in my head for the rest of my life.  We took one step at a time, Email, Whatsapp text, recordings, video, then video calls.   The video calls went from short ones, both of us nervous and excited, to longer ones as we lost track of time.  Today, we have been married for 7 months and have video called just about every single day since then, and we leave it running at night even so we can glance over and even wake up seeing each-other, but that’s what we have right now.  I still record my thoughts for her before I shut my eyes so she can listen when she wakes, just as I have done almost every single day since we met a year and months ago.  We talk to eachother more than any married couple I know.

I’ll talk more about the relationship some other time, I’ll get back to my decision to move.

We “met” in January, and I was on a plane to actually meet her in April.  By this time we knew this was IT for the most part, but we were both sensible people, (despite what you may think about our unique circumstance!)  So, we had to meet of course!  I wanted to go to Ireland anyway, and this was definitely reason better than any other.  I got on a Boeing 747 headed through Heathrow to Cork at night,  I love flying at night, the moon lighting the clouds below, the stars shining clear and bright.  The lights of New York City shimmered below in an orange and white ant colony below.  I saw them scroll off the window to the left and saw the moonlit Atlantic below.  The statue of Liberty, that so many millions of immigrants saw welcome them to this amazing country waved goodbye to me, and we were off across the sea.   I could not sleep, though I had been up for 20 hours already, the excitement was soaked to my bones.  The flight was calm, quiet, and comfortable, and it “flew” by much quicker than I thought it would. (pun intended)  It was still dark when Ireland appeared below.  The lights were further apart, scattered, disordered, the landscape was rolling and old.   The sun was about to start peeking around the horizon, but it was already brightening the sky halfway through our flight over Ireland.  I wish they could just land straight in Cork, but there were no flights directly from New York to Cork.  Cork being a small international airport.  I didn’t seem to hear her when she told me that I could get a bus from Dublin, straight to her town in Tipperary for only 20 Euro!  I wouldn’t make that mistake again!  Anyway, by the time we crossed the channel into English airspace, the sun was dawning and fog covered the land below.  We landed in Heathrow, and the sunny day, and crisp air woke me up the rest of the way.  I had enough time to get to my connection and grab a sandwich before heading to the next terminal for my half hour flight to Cork.  I texted my girl, who was waiting in Cork for the bus (she doesn’t drive.)  As I went through the UK border, the officer asked me a few questions, where was I going?  What was the purpose of my trip? do I have anything to declare?  He then proceeded to smile and say that he has family that are O’Briens, and joked about me going home.  I made brief small talk, and gathered my things, but started to feel like I really was going home.  I got onto the plane a little while after and was off to Cork!

When I arrived in Cork, I went through the Irish immgration station, and the officer there, then proceeded to tell me that he was an O’Brien as well, and said “welcome home!” I laughed and gathered my things, put on my belt, zipped up my boots, and made a “Bee-line” to the baggage claim, which, in this small airport, was almost straight ahead and in view.  I walked only a 100 feet then, through some red doors and saw a stunningly beautiful redhead sit down in a seat facing away from me just before I opened the second door.  I paused so she wouldn’t see me before she sat down because I wanted to surprise her.  It worked! I walked right up next to her and just stood there looking down until she looked up.  She was listening to Pride and Predjudice (her favorite book) in her earbuds, and was surprised to see some boots right next to her!  She stood and we immediately hugged so tight, and lingered as I smelled her hair, and whispered to her.  We then just started walking towards the exit as if all was familiar and normal.  We walked through the doors, and I was hit with a fresh air, mingled with the smell of a farm I remembered so well from my uncles organic farm in Pennsylvania.  There were no beeping cab horns, yelling pedestrians, vendors, police whistles and sirens… just fields and cows. I remember thinking “this is my kinda place!”  We stood in the smoking corral as I had a very much wanted cigarette, and I put my arm around her waist as I stood behind her.

I had no euro currency, as I thought I’d be able to exchange some when I got to Ireland, but not realizing it was a bank holiday there which the Irish take very seriously!  In America, i’m used to those types of services in airports and cities, to tbe open even on most holidays.  So it was a good thing she met me there, as I couldn’t even afford bus fare until I could change some money, my credit card stopped working when I got to Ireland, and I think it may be because I just used it in England an hour before.  I’d have to find somewhere, or hope that the hotel would allow me to just pay after my stay or until I could get money exchanged or my card sorted.  We got into cork city center, and were to meet up with her two friends that were with her in Cork to go out the night before.  I remember the sun being much brighter, but not as hot.  It seemed less filtered almost.  maybe it was the lack of humidity and smog, but also the latitude possibly.  We walked around a bit to find a pub and possibly a place to exchange my money, and ended up parking my suitcases in an outside area of a pub while she went in to get us pints.  We sat outside in the bright sun, talking and commenting on people walking by.  The owner of the pub came out and told me that I had to move my suitcases, they were taking up too much room apparently, though they were in between us and not in anyone’s path.  I must say that this put me off, and stuck in my craw a bit, but I can’t stand that kind of illogical act that is more than likely because he didn’t like the fact that I was an american and probably though t we were both tourists.  Who knows, I was just happy to be there with her relaxing on a sunny day in Cork city.  (Which is a rare enough thing!)

After our pint,  her friends showed up for another, and we drank, introducing ourselves and chatting for a bit before heading into town a bit more to look for food and a place to change money.  I was directed to a small internet cafe and print shop, and they were able to change some money for me, though it was at a fairly steep percentage!  Keep in mind that when you want to change money, it’s best to just go to a bank in a town somewhere, not in the airport or nearby, the percentage and fees are much more reasonable in the banks.  So, I had money, two pints, this amazing woman beside me, and annoying suitcases.  We had some time to kill, so we grabbed a hot chocolate and iced coffee drinks, and then headed to the bus after.  The bus ride to small town Ireland, in south Tipperary, was a beautiful, scenic one, it was short as well, in American standards.  I remember looking over at her, putting my hand on her leg, and holding her hand occasionally, there was a need to keep contact with her now.  The sun was starting to set, and the light a bit more orange than bright white and yellow.  The grass was so much greener, they don’t call it the emerald isle for nothing!  We got off at the bus stop and started wheeling back into the center of town to the small 8 room restaraunt and hotel I was staying at.  I arrived, and they already had my card info, so they gave us our keys and we headed up to the room to drop the suitcases and get ready to go back out.  It was so relaxing, we just wanted to lay there, quiet and content, and slightly tired from the journey and day, but I got changed, and refreshed, and we headed out to a local pub.

The town was beautiful to me, nestled in a valley near slievenamon, and on the river suir.  We walked around a bit and went to her favorite pub, a small antique pub in the center of town on a narrow street.  This is not a tourist town, so I was now getting the true, unfiltered. unedited Irish experience, I wasn’t there for tourism, but to see where she lived, her natural habitat, if you will.  We had a great night, and briefly headed back to my hotel before I walked her home, as she had some things to do around the house in the morning for her mother.  The weather had suddenly changed cold, the mist in the air was almost frosty, and I needed a jacket all of a sudden.  I was told the Irish weather changed very rapidly, and now knew, only slightly, what that meant.  We walked past a group of screaming teenagers, the pubs were all closed, and it was about 0200, but they were screaming none-the-less.  I was put off by this, an normally would have said something to them, but I was content, happy, and didn’t want any trouble to spoil my time.  We walked a few more blocks, slowly, and without a care in the world.  After I saw her safely home, I strolled back with my hands in my pockets, looking all around me, breathing deep, relaxed and content.  The kids had gone, and all was silent by now.  I thought how even in the small city I lived in upstate New York, there are 24 hour stores all over, and cars going every which direction.  Here, there was only one 24 hour store, that was a 20 minute walk, and closed it’s doors so you had to order through a window, but since I didn’t know what they had, or any of the brands, I just ordered a good old coca cola, a bottle of water, and left it at that before strolling back into town.

I went back to the hotel, and continued texting her until we fell asleep.  I would see her in the morning.

This was going to be my new home, I decided to move to Ireland for sure that night, and next, i’ll get into the process more, and all the things i’ve learned along the way.

To Be Continued…