I arrived this week back to my adopted home country of Ireland.
In August, after I hosted a tech conference in Florida, I enjoyed most of the remainder of the month with my family. (In the photo below I am with my sister, nieces and yes, my 8-year-old daughter Lulu was also happily in tow.)
So we were back in the US. In the heartland of Indiana. My birth state. And, incidentally, the home state of Governor Mike Pence, the running mate of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
It’s probably no surprise then, that I was surrounded by a forest of Trump/Pence 2016 yard signs. The only Hillary Clinton sign I saw was in the form of an “I’m with Her” bumper sticker on the back window of a Ford that also had an “IRELAND” emblem on the bumper. Go figure.
Other American things of note I witnessed during our month-long stay at my parents’ peaceful lake-front home were:
1. Whopperrito: Since I’ve lived overseas almost a decade now, I am constantly teased about America’s obesity problem and many restaurants’ large portion persistence. Enter this summer’s new offering from Burger King. It’s part Whopper, part burrito. Get it? I swear I only saw the commercial. I have not sampled one. I promise!
2. No gun signs: Although tragic school shootings occurred when I lived in the US, (I covered Columbine for CNN, for example), the frequency and numbers have increased since I have been gone. For the first time, this summer, I noticed signs prohibiting guns had gone up. On grocery stores, restaurants, and here at the doctor’s office where I was visiting an ENT to examine my vocal chords (which are fine, by the way). When I previously posted this photo on Facebook, an Italian friend asked, “Do they really think this sign would stop someone?”
3. Software for Marching Bands: If you don’t know about summer band camp, you’re probably not an American! I once played clarinet and then was part of the flag troupe. Now, my high school-aged cousin, Meghan, who came to visit, is an awesome trumpet player in LaPorte, Indiana. But the routines she has been practicing with her band, look NOTHING like the lame marching around we used to do. Bands these days are highly choreographed affairs looking more like Cirque du Soleil interpretive dance! And, guess, what? There’s 3D software to help the directors guide the band members in formation. Of course there is. Take a look at this and I bet you’ll marvel the same way I did when Meghan showed me.
4. English usage tweaks: Here in Ireland, we put our groceries in “trolleys.” In the US, we pop things in a “cart.” We ask the waiter for directions to the “restroom” at an American café, but we’re more direct here in Ireland asking plainly for the “toilet.” For back to school supplies, your American child may want a few new “erasers” while here in Ireland, I find myself giggling like a teenager when my daughter says she needs new er, “rubbers.” That’s right. That’s what the kids call erasers here. No, I don’t know if it’s the same usage for condoms. Let’s move on.
5. Tesla: I am thrilled to say I drove my first Tesla this summer. A top-of-the-line “Model X” that my brother-in-law ordered three years ago. It was amazing. So amazing, in fact, I’ll write more about that experience later. Stay tuned.
6. Songbirds. Here in Ireland, I always smile when I see the cheery flicker of a Pied Wagtail. In Indiana as my mom and daughter sprinkled seeds on the deck even in summer, I welcomed being reminded of the cute chickadees, soft-grey tufted titmice and upside-down nuthatches that I had enjoyed as a child.
7. Tornadoes. On Wednesday, August 24, Lulu and I were shopping at Hamilton County Town Center when the area’s tornado sirens went off – which mean a funnel cloud has been spotted. I grew up in Indiana so I’m used to these. Lulu was frightened to tears. A record-setting EIGHT tornadoes touched down that day. Many buildings were destroyed, but Governor Mike Pence (him again!) said it was a miracle that no one was killed or badly hurt. The power of nature always awes me. (This photo was taken by a family friend on that record-setting day.)
8. Lake swimming. Here in Ireland, we’re surrounded by the bracing, icy waters of the sea. It was a pleasure to relax and float in the much warmer water of Morse Reservoir after my brother, Brad, (who is a real-life yacht captain based in Florida, joined us the first week and took the helm of my step-dad’s speedboat) finished whipping Lulu and her cousin, my sister’s young daughter, around on the raft.
9. Family. The hardest part about living overseas is that we’re far away from family. Thankfully we all gathered together. Mom, step-dad, my sister and brothers and their partners. Cousins. Nieces and even my 101-year-old incredibly independent Aunt Neatie. We talked, ate, drank, and laughed. Like family should.
(Grammie, Lulu, Grampa – on the lake, of course!)
And now, we’re back in our adopted home of Cork, Ireland. And it’s back to work for me.
Back to meetings: I had a great one Tuesday with the head of finance of a major multi-national.
Back to news analysis: I was on air Wednesday on national radio discussing Donald Trump’s surprising visit with Mexico’s president.
Back to speaking engagements: Next week, I’ll be part of a Dublin photo shoot to promote the national Network Ireland Awards event I’m excited to be a part of.
And today, my 8-year-old daughter, Lulu, goes back to school. As she’s starting third grade,
it’s a “back” that’s actually a “forward.”
And that’s how I like to look at my own life. Yes, holidays are over and it’s “back to work” but it’s also an opportunity to “move things forward!”
So, I’ll fondly remember the songbirds, boating on the lake and my family. And embrace the fun I’m embarking on now. Hope you do too!
Now, get back to work!
I’m so grateful you are reading my essays. I train, consult and speak about leadership, better communications, business and life empowerment. Please reach out to me directly to support you or your organization via LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and at GinaLondon.com