It’s flat out STRANGE to visit the United States after living in Ireland for a year.
I tried to put my finger on why exactly.
In part, I think it’s because I’ve changed. Evolved, shall we say? How could you not after moving to a foreign country?
But when I went ‘home’ I realized how much HADN’T changed. There is something comforting in that though.
I also realized that I’d gotten used to being slightly uncomfortable ALL. THE. TIME. while in Ireland.
You can try to look and act local in the face of constant new experiences, but as soon as you open your mouth you see a flicker of “you’re not from around here” pass across someone’s face.
This is especially funny when someone asks me for directions. I take it as a huge compliment that the poor soul assumes I’m a local. Fake it ’til you make it! But then I have to respond to their question and I can visibly see them trying to decide if I REALLY know what I’m talking about. Don’t worry. I
When I’m in the United States, I’m not special at all.
Oh, we all know I’m SPECIAL, but what I really mean is I fit in. When I was back, I noticed I fit in, which is a weird thing to be acutely aware of.
That lady at Panera just assumed I’d been in her restaurant quite regularly because I was quick to order. I always get the same sandwich though.
The guy at the gas station just assumed I’d remember what zip code the credit card I hadn’t used in a year was attached to. I did…after a long, awkward pause and a quick prayer.
And the lady at the rental car company…well, let’s just say she should have asked me how long it’s been since I’ve USED my driver’s license, not if I have a valid one or not. Rest assured, I
surprisingly remembered how to drive.
Our visit to the U.S. went by super quickly. I’m beyond grateful that I have this quirky blogging job that allows me to be home with the kids and gives me the freedom to work from anywhere. Even from a farm, 10 miles from civilization with slow-as-molasses internet. Talk about roughing it!
I was worried the kids would not want to return to Ireland. Not because they don’t like it here, but because it’s fun being with friends, cousins and grandparents. Thankfully, they were ready to go home. They missed daddy and
all the things they normally play with.
Apparently, the neighbor’s cat missed them too. We call her Mittens. I’ve stopped wondering what her actual name is.
I was a little concerned the kids were having a hard time adjusting when they announced they were going outside to play ‘cold weather survival.’
It was 62 degrees Fahrenheit.
Definitely not my idea of summer temps, I’ll grant them that.
We also needed to stock up on food because Handy Husband’s idea of stocking the refrigerator does not include
food things like fruits and vegetables.
I’m teaching the kids how to ring up the groceries because I have dreams of one day just giving them a list and sending them to the store. These are important
help your mama life skills.
Now, folks. Jet lag is real and it can whoop your behind. This happened to me the last time we did the 8-hour time change.
I’ve figured out what works for me though. The magic formula is to stay up all day and then sleep for 14 hours straight.
I kid you not, it works every time!
Handy Husband’s idea of overcoming jet lag is to go for a 4-mile hike the day after we land.
He’s so helpful.
I told him the 14 hours of sleep had me feeling pretty good, but no, no.
A hiking we did go!
We did get to see some awesome views of this lighthouse though.
Meanwhile, can you spot which kid and husband are mine?
Finally, we eased back into Irish life by going for a bike ride and discovering
my favorite thing of all time a carnival.
This is what happens when I let the kids ride ahead of me.
Here’s the good news. I think.
My boy, who has a healthy fear of these death traps, decided to get on that big sky swing.
If he showed even the slightest sign of being scared, I was prepared to go all mama bear on the entire carnival to shut that ride down, but my concerns were not warranted.
He had a fantastic time. Funny how you blink and they’ve done some growing up on you.
All in all, I’m so glad we had the opportunity to spend time in the U.S. this summer.
The place of your birth has a strange tug on your heartstrings. I realized this when I got teary-eyed listening to the national anthem being sung at a rodeo. Legit tears in my eyes, people.
Someday I’ll be back, but until then I’m happy to be home in my own bed in Ireland.