Her name is Liz and she is one of my favoritefavoritefavorite bloggers.
If you are not already following her (why?) you are missing out on some seriously funny blogging.
Her writing is the perfect balance of snark and smart, oh, and she's hysterical. On more than one occasion, I have been given the stink eye from people in the library trying to enjoy their peace and quiet only to be interrupted by my snorts of laughter while reading her posts.
She also looks a lot like my favorite sister-in-law, which has nothing to do with this but is a fun little piece of trivia.
You can visit her blog It be Liz, here.
And you can read one of my favorite posts by Liz, An Open Letter to my Mother, here.
Oh, did I mention that she is an American living in Ireland? (No? but you knew that because you went to her blog and read her profile...? Ok. Good thinking.)
Take it away Liz!
Things I do in Dublin that I never did in America:
1) I walk everywhere. And I mean everywhere. Okay, I mean almost everywhere, I'm certainly not going to walk to the West Coast. But seriously, the movie theater is about 2 miles away from our apartment, and I walk to there. The good grocery store is about a mile away and I walk there. And back, with groceries in hand. And because our fridge is the kind you get in college, we go to the grocery store several times a week. On one hand, it's a good thing we don't buy stuff we won't eat because it'll take up precious space, but on the other hand, when you impulse buy something like gherkins to put in a sandwich, by God you better eat them. When things are too far away, I take public transportation, which brings me to number 2.
2) I take the bus and learned how to use the public transportation available. When I lived in Boston (technically outside, but it's easier to just say 'Boston' because more people know where that is, rather than Natick, which is where I'm from,) I took the T from time to time. The T is short for the MBTA, which is short for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. It's a hot mess of a subway system, but at least it had a couple of lines. Dublin has the Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART), which is ironic, because there is nothing rapid about it. The DART goes from north to south. And that's it. So if you want to get somewhere east or west, you take either the LUAS or the Dublin Bus. The LUAS has two lines, red and green, and the red line is full of junkies shooting heroin into their toes (I wish I was making this up.) The Bus, while not ideal for a classy lady such as myself, is the business if you want to go to town in the rain (or to IKEA,) but don't want to hail a cab/spend more than €1.20 on the journey. And it rains quite a bit. So I taught myself how to use the public transportation here, though the Bus and I have a few more lessons to take with each other. It could learn to be a bit cleaner and I could learn to be more forgiving. It should be noted, that in Boston I took the bus ONCE and that's because there was a bomb threat at Haymarket. So, that's awesome.
3) Ireland is the land of Guinness and that's why I drink Carlsberg (or Heineken in a pinch.) I think I've had Guinness about 4 times in my life. And once was when I ordered it at a restaurant when I was 19 just to see if I'd get carded. I didn't get carded, but I didn't like it. I know what you're thinking. The Irish drink all the time, so there must be a lot of beer to choose from. Well, friend, I hate to shatter the illusion, but the Irish don't drink all the time. And if you think the Irish are a rowdy bunch who like to ruin things, you're confusing them with the Brits, who come to Ireland and get plastered, vomit in the streets, and generally ruin the Bachelor/Bachelorette party they're in town for. The Irish are cool about it. But in terms of beer, it's not cool. Usually, in any given pub there is Guinness, Heineken, Budweiser, Bulmer's (cider), and Smithwick's on tap. And I'm not going to lie to you, I find Samuel Adams the most delightful beer in the history of the world. The lack of Sam Adams annoys me. So I drink Carlsberg instead. Also, booze is expensive here. Ridiculously expensive. They have something called the Value Added Tax (VAT), and on booze it's like 100%. Okay, more like 34%, but that's a tax on beer, wine, and spirits. Then how do you get your hard liquor, Liz? Easy - it's called duty free. Which brings me to number 4.
4) I leave the country to travel to far away lands that don't include Canada and Mexico. Now I just seem like I'm bragging. A couple of years ago we went to Dubai for the hell of it. I can now say I've been to the Middle East. It was scorching hot. Our honeymoon was in the Maldives (off the coast of India) and this week we're heading to Turkey for a wedding. Hardly something to thumb your nose at and I can't complain. It seems like it's magical and exotic but really, think about how often people travel between states. Also, America is huge. And everyone has a car (lucky bastards.)
5) I go to TGI Friday's and The Hard Rock Cafe, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. When I lived in Boston, I only went to TGI Friday's for a mudslide. I never went to the Hard Rock, not even for a Hurricane (which, by the way, you get a free HRC glass with the purchase of a Hurricane.) You can't get good nachos here unless you go to the HRC. You can't get honey mustard unless you go to TGI Friday's. Honey mustard! You also can't get Cheetos here, but that's what my Mom and the United States Postal Service are for. You can get some American products like Jif, Fluff, Goldfish, or Gatorade, but you'll pay a premium. Side note: Worth it.
There are a lot of good things about living abroad and a lot of things I miss that I used to take for granted (Target? CVS? Driving?). Sometimes people think I'm Australian. Once they find out I'm American, they always ask where I'm from, then ask if I've been to New York City, and what's it like? When Bush was in office, people would ask me about that and then sigh with relief when I told them I did not vote for him. They weren't huge USA fans when Bush was in charge, but now that Obama is in the White House, people seem more willing and accepting. Living abroad has also taught me that Americans are the friendliest people I've ever known. 'Have a nice day' is not something I hear often, and when I do, it's refreshing. When I hear an American accent during my many walks, I smile to myself and then try to place them by their accent. I'm usually wrong, but whatever. Like anyone can tell a Wyoming accent from a Montana accent anyway.
If you're ever in Ireland, drop me a line. I'll buy you a Carlsberg.