Well, three months down in Ireland and I suppose I can say that it’s finally beginning to feel like home, even if it’s a sometimes feeling. The way of life here seems slow-paced and thoughtful, but perhaps that’s just because everyone is so used to being busy. Family comes first, and it’s evident by the number of young mothers who have surely given up any chance of a career in order to raise their children. And where Canada was lacking in creating new Canadians, well, the Irish baby-making scene is booming. Getting married at 19 is common and though divorce has only recently become legal in this country, it is still taboo. It seems Ireland has a lot of catching up to do in the modern world, but I have to ponder if the rest of the world has let go of an important meaning of life the Irish have managed to hold onto.
Of course, there are times when I ponder the intelligence level of the Irish. Almost everyone here smokes cigarettes, not that that’s the part that makes me wonder. It’s just odd to see women pushing baby prams holding a fag between their lips. But that it’s very common here and accepted makes me wonder. I mean, perhaps the Irish are just good at minding their own business and letting people exist and live their lives as they choose without openly judging people at every chance, but again, perhaps they just don’t care enough. The argument could go both ways. What I worry about mostly is that no one says anything to the smoking mom as she walks into the pub to fetch herself a pint – children in tow. A sign in the bar says children are not allowed after 6 pm, but no one heeds it’s warning and no one enforces it. Obviously it’s just there to appease some law. But as far as the Irish go, that is the extent of my complaints. They really are quite lovely people. Perhaps it’s just more acceptable in the Irish culture to have a few pints and maybe Canadians are just a bunch of prudes.
But at least many people here walk. The weather isn’t as turbulent as in Canada, and on a common day in January it would be normal to wear a light sweater outside when one goes for a walk by the river to look at all the pretty flowers still in bloom. The number of different people, foreigners and alike may disagree. On one block I see a man with a wool hat, long winter coat and a scarf, bundled all up, but one more block down I pass a guy walking his dog in jeans and a T-shirt, unaware of the brisk wind. The weather affects everyone differently and I still delight in the differences of people’s attire. I do miss the sun. Oh God how I miss the sun. It doesn’t rain here as much as I thought it would, but I am not looking forward to a summer with very little sunshine and temperatures that rarely go above 20. I guess I won’t know until I’m in the middle of it.
It doesn’t always feel like I’ve been here for three months, but home is wear you hang your hat no matter how much you miss your friends and your culture. Life is meant to be lived and experienced and as I delve into this experience of living in Ireland I realize how much I could be missing out on if I didn’t go for the big love. All of Europe is right at my doorstep. I have every opportunity to visit the history of Westernization and the places the Gods once called home. It’s far too late for me to get married, pregnant and divorced all by 19, but maybe that just means that I’ll have a better chance at success and the happily ever after the Grimm brothers wrote of. Afterall, this is the place the poets wrote of when they claimed that dreams really can come true.