We’re one week into our new home here in Cork, Ireland and it’s funny how the more things are the same, the more they seem different.
It’s called the Emerald Island for a reason. You might think a simple color would not be enough to market an entire country, but as Lulu and I looked out upon the landscape stretched out before us as the bus drove us to the coastal village of Crosshaven, the word “green” is what kept coming to mind.
“It’s like Indiana,” Lulu said, reminded of my rural home state where we spent much of this summer getting reacquainted with family.
What with its cows and farms and pastures, indeed it does.
And yet it doesn’t.
The architecture is different. You’ll see fewer wood frame homes here and most are slathered in a gravelly cement coating. Grey seems to be the predominant color with neighborhoods accentuated by a few bright creamy yellows.
Unlike Paris with a patisserie on every corner or Tuscany with a trattoria or pizzeria on the same; here on every corner blooms a pub.
The interesting names painted on the signs outside may vary but the interiors are relatively the same. There are cozy, dark wood tables and chairs, and a collage of photos, paintings or other knickknacks covering the walls. Menus so far seem heavy on things fried. I haven’t had a salad in over a week but I have had plenty of cod and chips.
As for the language: “Everyone speaks singy-English and says ‘Grand.’” Lulu has observed.
I can read every billboard and every newspaper. I can overhear conversations in the pub and understand them. The words don’t blur into a faint white noise like when we lived in Italy.
We moved into our new apartment a week ago today. It’s tiny but cozy and within easy walking distance to Lulu’s new school. We had a nice visit the first evening from our landlord Liam, who, like every Irishman I have met so far, is a very easy-going and humorous person. Having an enjoyable conversation – even when it is mainly about the heating, washing machine and other apartment things – is so much easier when you speak the same language.
In the short single school week Lulu has attended so far, she has already gone to a birthday party and had two separate play dates. I have already been invited to go out with some of the moms this Friday to a chic trendy restaurant on the River Lee named Electric.
The people here are so kind and cheery, we make friends just by saying, “Hello.”
And yet, the ease with which it is all happening makes me pang a little for the rush of being in Italy. There, I felt an extra sense of accomplishment after even the littlest exchange or transaction I managed successfully. I sort of miss it. There are no extra points for clearing the language barrier for me now. ;)
Hmm. It has been unusually sunny every day since we have arrived. I better wait until the legendary Irish rain arrives before I am convinced there will be no major challenges here.
As my lovely Italian friends would say, “Piano, piano” – take it slowly. Or as my Irish friends might say, “Tis no bother at all.”
No matter where you are. Another day presents opportunity for another little adventure.
To adventures great and small.
Copyright 2014 Gina London. All Rights Reserved.