Monday, February 16, 2009

A Taste of Home

(l-r: Michelle, Carrie, Clare, Helena)

When I was in the states last fall I got a blog comment from an American gal also living in Kilkenny named Helena. We met for coffee soon after my return to Ireland last December and really hit it off. She joined a group on Facebook called "Americans Living in Ireland" and met some other Yanks braving it here in the wilds of SE Ireland. We talked of a meet-up and meet up we did. Yesterday five of us met for breakfast at gorgeous Mt. Juliet - an old stately home renovated into a hotel/spa/golf course. (Tiger plays here, dont'ja know...)

Amid real cloth napkins, carafes of coffee (could it have been fresh-brewed?!) and plates of Eggs Benedict we got to know a little bit about one another. We are all here because of Irish men, three out of the five of us are pregnant and no one likes the way the Irish say "hay-tch" for the letter "H" and how Billy Jo-el has a two syllable last name here.

We are all very different too - we are from Ohio, New York, Virginia, Wisconsin and Florida. We're in Marketing, Retail Management, Language Education, and Florism (is that a word? What is your field if you are a florist?). One gal lives on a farm and makes artisan fruit bars, selling at the local farmer's market. Im glad I talked to her because Orla and I had a little pipe-dream about baking for the Kilkenny market, but Im not willing to invest 8 months into getting approved and licensed for food production by the HSE. I've had enough troubles with those people.
We sat and ate and drank coffee and talked for well over three hours. The last table in the place, we wondered, albeit a bit belatedly, if we'd been too loud? "Typical Americans!", the staff would say after we left. "You can always spot them a mile away!"... But we are aware of the stereotypes Americans have over here and we are aware that we are 'different' - though careful not to assume 'better'. No one had a negative word to say about living abroad and I think most of them expect that Ireland will become their permanent home. While I may not share that view with them yet, I do hope that I will create friendships with these women that will last.
We made a decision to meet-up again soon and hopefully this will turn into a regular thing. Of course, Clare is having her baby next month and Michelle two months after that and with my busy work schedule... oh, wait a minute..
But speaking of home and busy and surprise! We are flying to Miami this Thursday for a two-week stay. Me, Katie, Nana and Pop are hitching a ride on Manus' business trip. What will I do with all that sun? Believe it or not, I have forgotten how to sweat. Alas... I am sure it will come pouring back to me.
Guess I'd better get packing!


Anonymous said...

Oh fun! You get to see Mum Mum and Big Bob!!! Have a safe and fun trip! Anne :)

Helena said...

Aw, what a nice pic of us! Now where's the one with you in it?! I'm gonna use that photo on my Facebook. :-)

Leslie said...

YEA!! I'm so excited you get to hitch a ride to the states. Have too much fun!!!

Debbie said...

Oh, yay - have a safe and fun trip!