Living in Limericks

poetry and experiences of a multi-cultural family

Week 1: Beer and Briquettes


We married and flew the coop

Landing in Ireland -whoop whoop!

Joe to study

Heidi his travel buddy

With a blog to keep y’all in the loop

It’s been one week since I arrived in Ireland.  The trip was far less eventful than it could have been. An extremely bumpy ride into Newark, where I’d catch a connecting flight to Shannon, was my second warning.  The first was Dad encouraging me to watch the weather channel as Hurricane Sandy made its way toward the east coast; but I was far more focused on carefully packing sox and underwear around the wedding frame I just had to bring, to worry about some storm.  To my right, a kind physics professor calmed my nerves as he explained the science of turbulence and  assured me we were okay.  Having a four hour layover in Newark, I decided to pass the time with a quick nail polish change at the nearby nail bar.  A nice purple color, fresh and pretty.  Okay, time to check what gate I’ll depart from-“United flight 0024-CANCELLED.”  The couple behind me in the customer service line were from Manchester, England and had been visiting family in New York. Their flight home was cancelled, as well as the man behind them, heading to Shannon on my same flight.  I kept catching myself admiring their accents and wondered what they thought of mine. I finally arrived at the counter only to be greeted by an airhead agent, which I really don’t need to vent about here.  In the end, Dad called just then, said he saw there was a flight leaving for Dublin in 40 minutes, I listed as standby, sprinted to the gate and stared directly at the agent until my name was called-last seat on the last flight out of Newark for several days.  I did not look back at the 40-some disappointed standby-ers behind me, but hope they had a safe place to stay for a few nights.  New Jersey took the worst of the hurricane’s beating, I definitely had the luck of the Irish on my side.  The rest of the trip was a breeze; a pleasant flight to Dublin followed by a bus straight to University of Limerick where my darling husband was waiting.

We strolled around the campus for a few minutes and made our way to our new home-a peaceful walk down a leaf-covered sidewalk, just the two of us, excited and giddy.  Joe has been here for a month already, going to classes, getting permission to remain in the country, and finding us a place to live.  It’s a cozy 2 bedroom complete with fireplace.  The keys to enter are gold, long and old-fashioned; I feel like I’m in a movie when I go to unlock the door. After a nap I’d been trying so hard to avoid in my effort to prevent jet lag, I woke to what smelled like the place burning down… which turned out to be a gourmet feast baking in a new oven that required a few cooks to burn out the “new oven smell”…regardless, the chicken, veggies and potatoes were delicious.  Happiness is having your belly full, and sharing a couch with someone who loves you. I dozed off again….

The following days included Joe teaching me how to turn on the shower water heater, work the washer and dryer, light a fire with briquettes, and get around the neighborhood.  On Wednesday, we took the city bus downtown so I could get a new SIM card for my phone, and Joe applied for a work permit at the Justice Department. Humbly sitting there among people from around the world, I felt what it might be like for immigrants coming to the U.S., including my own husband.  A Romanian man next to us was there to get his work permit as well. He shared his distaste for Romania due to the lack of jobs there.  He will work in Limerick as a meat inspector and send money home to his family in Romania.  I wonder how many young Americans are working to send money to their parents?  Or do the majority of us expect money to be given to us instead?  I’m sure everyone has their own story. And I am certainly not saying my parents haven’t supported me immensely because they have. But this Romanian inspired me, if nothing else, to feel grateful for what’s been given to me.

Highlights of the week: cooking chicken curry in our little kitchen, (Joe) carrying home two bundles of briquettes (a type of fuel made of shredded peat, compressed to form a virtually smokeless, slow-burning fuel…straight from Wikipedia) so we can light our fireplace, sharing a plate of Irish Lamb Stew and a pint of Carlsberg at O’Connell’s pub downtown, working out in the UL gym-and trying to decide how much 3 kilogram dumbbells are in pounds, watching European news regarding the U.S. election, and skyp-ing with friends and family.

Things I have learned: it really does rain a lot in Ireland, cute/inexpensive clothing can be purchased at Penny’s, there is not necessarily a “scoop your poop” rule for dog walkers, and my favorite…the phrase “good crack” means “a lot of fun” so one might say, “That party was really great crack.”

Love and miss you all! (If you click on one of the photos below, you can view as a slideshow & see larger versions w/ captions. Also, if you’re new to blogging like me, you can click on ‘follow’ and you’ll be emailed an update each time I publish.) Cheers!


4 thoughts on “Week 1: Beer and Briquettes

  1. hi heidi nice that joe is in the briquet lifting program i also like the gulls all in a row but where are the boys?
    love, Mom

  2. I love you and miss you so much already! Keep the blog going, I love it! Love, Hale

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