As promised, a post about 5 things we don’t miss about the US!
1. Our car(s). How is it possible that we miss our cars, and yet don’t miss them, all at the same time? Although a car is very convenient, I love what not having a car has done for my body, my wallet, and my sanity. I don’t have a pedometer, but I suspect that the kids and I walk around 3 miles most days, more on the days we go shopping, or take a trip downtown. Well, I walk, Liesl rides in the stroller, and Isaac rides on the buggy board, attached to the stroller. This means that I push about 90 lbs of stroller, kids, and stuff. (More bonus for me! Arm muscles!) Also, not having a car means no ‘spur of the moment’ trips to Starbucks, or to the store to buy stuff we may or may not need. If I want to go to Starbucks, the kids and I walk to the nearest one – 2 miles away. This has actually become our Friday morning tradition. We also enjoy not getting caught up in the craziness of Dublin traffic. Most of Dublin’s roads are small and narrow, and traffic can be a nightmare. I am thankful that, for now, we are somewhat removed from the stress of driving.
2. The television, or as the Irish call it, “The Telly”. I know I listed “Saturday Afternoon Football” as something we missed. However, much to my surprise, we don’t miss the constant presence of the TV. We are both reading much more, although not as much as we would like. The kids hardly seem to notice. However, we do watch occasional videos on the iPad and on our new large computer monitor. Several of the PBS shows that the kids like, such as Sesame Street, are not available in Ireland. (Randomly, Sesame Street is shown in Northern Ireland, but not here.) We watch Sesame Street via iTunes. I do miss SNL though…especially during this period of political debates…
3. The Texas heat. We moved to Ireland in late August, and literally went from 100+ degree highs to highs in the 60s. For the first week or so that we were here, Isaac kept asking where his shorts were. Although I complain about the rain more than I probably should, I do not miss the oppressive Texas heat one bit. The record high in Dublin this year was 77, on Brad’s birthday. Another benefit to the Irish weather – no air conditioners required. Our home doesn’t have one, and neither do the cars. I certainly don’t miss the electric bills associated with the AC!
4. Pace of life in the US. The lifestyle here is much more laid back than in the U.S. People aren’t strict about when appointments or meetings start…or end… At first, this was really frustrating to me. “Why doesn’t anything start on time?!”, I wondered. The longer we have lived here, the more I appreciate the slower pace. To give you another idea about how laid back it is here – the earliest the Starbucks near our house opens is 8:00 a.m. 8:00 a.m.! In the US, the morning is half over by then! Also, the Irish have a gift for gab. They always interested in where we came from, what brought us here, how old our kids are…and on and on. Again, this used to drive me nuts, as in “Look dude, I just want to rent a car, not give you my life story!”
5. The 24-hour news cycle. This is somewhat tangential to the whole TV thing, but we really don’t miss the 24-hour news cycle. Don’t misunderstand me – I am such a political and news junkie that I have paid for New York Times digital access, because I ran out of my free article limit on day 2 of the month. I keep up with several US and international news sources. However, I like being able to decide when to read the news, and not to be constantly bombarded by it. This is especially true in light of the Penn State scandal and non-stop debates. I miss watching the debates and analysis. (Yes, they are available online, but since they were in the evening, I really can’t watch them. I mean, I’m a political junkie, but I’m not getting up at 2:00 a.m. to watch a primary debate!)
Stay tuned next week for a much more light-hearted take on the 5 food items we miss and don’t miss about the U.S. (Since Thanksgiving week is such a foodie week anyway.) I also promise to add pictures to those posts.