Since 2007 I have been an expatriate living in Ireland…but, only for the summer. In August I go home to Southern California, a place of temperate weather, white-sand beaches, palm trees and choices, wonderful, amazing, convenient choices that I never appreciated until Ireland.
Yes, the emerald isle is really emerald and even more beautiful than those photos on travel sites and yes, Irish history, for those of us fascinated by events of the past, is around every corner and probably the oldest and most interesting in Western Europe. For a writer of historical fiction, it’s a dream come true. The Irish people are characters as well, witty conversationalists who turn a topic as uneventful as the weather into recordable prose. But, for me, accustomed to garbage disposals, air conditioned buildings, multi-laned streets, ice, refillable beverages, king-sized beds and restaurants that open before 10:00 am and stay open after 9:00 pm, even on a Sunday, it can be inconvenient.
Shallow? Probably, but, on the other hand, window screens in a rural country where there are septic tanks, backyard compost piles, lots of humidity and no garbage disposals, all of which breed flies the size of buses, prevent disease. And while I’m sure the hot water switch for the electric shower, always located on the OUTSIDE of the bathroom, and the electricity switch for the cooker (stove) are both appropriately green, forgetting that power isn’t available at the twist of a tap can make for an embarrassing, not to mention uncomfortable, situation when you’re standing in a cold shower without a stitch on.
The work ethic, a far more serious topic, is different here, too, but that’s the topic of next week’s blog.