Dublin – Week 1

It is hard to believe we have been in Dublin one week already.  The time has flown by, and yet we have accomplished a great deal.  The weather here has taken some adjustment from all of us used to 100+ degree days in Texas, but the change is welcome nonetheless.  It is usually about 55-60 degrees, or as I am beginning to remember, 12-17 degrees C.  It has rained nearly every day, but the rain is short-lived (thankfully).  The most surprising thing about the weather is how windy it can be.  The wind is usually out of the north, or the east – right off of the sea.  Brrr!  On the upside, it’s not 112 here like it was in Austin this week!

Tuesday, Aug 23:  Travel Day

We started our journey from Amarillo.  The grandparents came to wish us off on our travels and to wrangle the kids while we checked 7 pieces of luggage!  (5 suitcases, 1 stroller, 1 pack-n-play)  For someone who prides herself on being an “ultra-light” packer, this was a bit of a sobering moment.  However, I should have been more concerned with our carry-on luggage.  Our carry-ons consisted of 2 full-size Britax carseats (HEAVY – but we needed them once we got to Dublin), 2 backpacks, 2 toy bags for the kids, and one small suitcase which was packed with extra clothes, diapers, and toiletries in case we got stranded without our luggage.  Wrangling all of these items, plus Isaac and Liesl, was unbelievably hard work.  We had planned how we would get everything through the airport, but we failed to plan for the challenges of boarding and exiting the plane, especially considering that Liesl needed to be carried.  It was “The Grapes of Wrath goes Ireland”.   All of our “stuff” got interesting looks and amusing comments from other passengers.  When we were boarding the flight to Dublin, I was wrestling Liesl (who wanted down), and the carseat, and everything else, when the man behind me offered to carry the carseat for me.  When he set the carseat down on our row, I thanked him again, and he just laughed and said “Eh, no worries.  We’re Irish.”  It was really cute.

Pictures from the send-off:

Liesl and her "things"
Grandmother and GrandDan with Liesl (Isaac was being uncooperative.)
Nana and Pops with the kids (not sure why the light was worse in this picture)
At the terminal in Amarillo. Liesl enjoying a tasty book. You can see our pile of carryons in the background.
Strapped in and ready to go! And a new book!
Why are you taking my picture? Can't you see I am busy eating raisins?

Thursday, August 25

We toured several homes this day, and then stopped at the mall to buy cell phones.  We are now proud owners of rinky-dink pre-paid cell phones.  No fancy-smancy phones here.  They aren’t great, but they get the job done.  We had paid for one month of international service with AT&T, but we knew that we needed Irish cell phone numbers.  Also, it is much cheaper.  Ideally, we’ll switch out our SIM cards on our iPhones at some point, but we needed something to get going.  The downside – I had to learn how to text using the numeric keypad instead of a keyboard.  Booo.  While we were at the mall, I took a few photos of Isaac and Liesl.  In this first photo, I tried to get Isaac to stand next to Liesl (he refused.)  So I then told him that I needed him to protect Liesl, and stand next to her.  He then stands next to the stroller, and makes “scary” faces to protect her.  Not sure about the logic there, but oh well.

At the mall
Isaac "protecting" Liesl

We have eaten at several different pubs, including “The Hole in the Wall”, which was fun, and had a good little tapas menu (random).

Liesl and Daddy

We have also seen some very interesting street signs, like this one:

We definitely needed this sign in Austin!

On Friday, we went to more rental properties, and had some “down time”.  We ate at McDonalds.  Do we ever eat at McDonalds when we are in the States?  Rarely.  However, the kids were hungry, it was clean, reasonably priced, fast, and we knew we would be able to find something for everyone to eat there.  Win-win!  (The map you see on the table is our Dublin street map – it is our “handheld navigation device”.)

McDonalds in Dublin

Afterwards, we went to a playground near our hotel to burn off some energy (and french fries!)  We were able to take advantage of the first sunny afternoon we had seen since we arrived!

So far, Dublin has been very welcoming.  The people here are very nice, and the culture is family-friendly, to say the least.  The first few days were challenging, but we are thankful that everything has gone according to plan (so far).  I’ll post some more pictures of the past few days a bit later.