Here over a week now in Ireland. Cups of tea sipped: 50. Rambler Bus Passes bought: 2. Trips into City Centre: 8. Excited peeks at the Christminster campus: 2. Signs seen hysterically manipulating Irish citizens to vote Yes or No on the Lisbon Treaty: countless.
Apartments viewed: 7. Apartments found: 0.
It’s an unsettled time, even if we are exceedingly comfortable while we wait for our new lives to begin. We’re staying in a large, lovely house in an outlying suburb of Dublin with Sean’s aunt, uncle, 3 adorable cousins and their big, sheep-colored dog. It is a beautiful green neighborhood dotted with stately red brick homes. There is a massive park down the road, lined with giant trees and filled with unfamiliar black, white, and blue birds.
Sean and I sometimes take walks through the park after slogging back from fruitless apartment viewings. One day, he showed me a litter of large, cracked spiny green nutshells strewn in the grass. He calls them conkers, says they’re instrumental in the classic Irish children’s game of the same name. Step One: find a whole conker, pierce a hole through it, thread a string through the hole to create a kind of sling shot. Weapon: complete. Step Next: find another kid with another conker sling shot and begin the battle. Fight: whip your string and crack conkers. First one who cracks the other’s conker wins.
Sean’s cousins are little; 10, 8, and 5. They are bundled off to school in the morning and return each afternoon in their standard issue school uniforms, bursting with energy. Every so often, Sean casually reaches over and picks the littlest cousin up by his feet so that he dangles upside down like a hock of prosciutto. This was also Sean’s M.O. when he taught children English in Japan. It is a bit unusual to see him do it to a child whose parents haven’t paid for the privilege.
The children are each allowed an ice cream treat after dinner. I know what a Cornetto is but I’ve never heard of Loop the Loops, Brunches, or Icebergers. Patiently, Sean’s young cousins tell me just what I missed during my dark American upbringing.
This is a Loop the Loop bar:
And this is a Brunch bar:
But an Iceberger is:
Yep. An ice cream sandwich.
The house is quiet now; the kids have been put to bed and Sean and I are back at the apartment hunt. Perhaps this week the perfect apartment will be ours: affordable, light-filled, close-ish to Christminster, and mold-free.