As we rapidly approach the three month mark, it seems we have finally hit our stride to some extent. The first 4 weeks were clearly the hardest. We were living with rented furniture, not TV, no internet, and just what we were able to cram into the 11 suitcases we brought with us. And while 11 sounds like a lot, when it’s a family of 4 and includes kids clothes, parents clothes, 2 suitcases of toys and then bed linens that are familiar to the kids… well, you run out of space in those suitcases quickly.

We had Sky satellite TV sometime around week 3, I believe, using a leased TV. That made us feel somewhat normal. Then exactly 4 weeks to the day after parting way with our personal items, they arrived here. We were never happier to see our own beds and furniture. It did take 6+ weeks to get internet, and that is a fiasco I hope to never relive. Anyone that ever complains to me again about Time Warner or Cox needs to go live outside the US for awhile. The sales VP here told me it took him 9 or 10 weeks to get TV and internet, apparently this is not uncommon.

The car was another fiasco and we had 3 other cars before finally getting the car we were supposed to have.Leasing is not common in Ireland these days, especially not to individuals and not after the economy crash. I was finally able to get a long term rental for our time here, but we were given a lemon, followed by a loaner for a week that we had for something like 3 weeks, and then finally the car we have now, a Hyundai Santa Fe. This is a large car for the area, but I am finding that given the average family size around here, larger cars are not uncommon. I think every other person drives a Nissan Qashqai (bet you had ot go look that one up!)

Grocery shopping and lack of convenient food has probably taken the most getting used to. I know of 2 drive-thrus in the entire Cork area. They are not even on opposite corners of an intersection, they are probably 15 miles apart (I know, I should have calculated in kms 😉 ). I suppose this is a good thing, one more step closer to healthier eating. Pizza can be delivered, and Dominos is clearly a presence (just look at our Flickr from the first days here), however most people prefer 4 Star Pizza locally. And while it is good, none of them are what we are used to from the US. That said, when it’s Friday evening and we don’t feel like cooking we don’t hesitate to call. All in all we are cooking more. Jack is cooking all day long since he is still home with the girls. It is pushing us ot look at more meal options and healthier living. The problem is getting to the food before it goes bad…

People in Ireland shop daily it seems, or every few days. We learned quickly to check the ‘use by’ date on everything we were buying because after the first or second trip we were realizing the food was spoiling quickly. Preservatives are not used as liberally as it is in the US and neither is high fructose corn syrup (real sugar for the win!) And while I don’t object to either of these things by any means, it takes a bit of adjustment. I now find myself at Tesco on the way home from work quite often grabbing something for dinner that night or lunches the next day. We also find ourselves cooking from scratch more as things we take for granted (Bisquik) do not exist here. Honestly, I want to take every one that visits grocery shopping with me just so they can experience it and how different it seems. Don’t even get me started on the lack of freezers and how small the refrigerators are… adapt, adapt, adapt.

Despite all the differences, we find so much that is like well as home. We just can’t get hung up on the change. That would be a recipe for disaster. Having the amazing neighbors we do has really helped us settle as well. They all have kids between the ages of 2 and 5, which works out great with our two. Weather permitting, which was more often than not when we first arrived, you will often find 3 – 7 kids out front of our houses running around like crazy, parents looking on, talking away, occasionally running off to catch a kid. It’s pretty fantastic.

I’m sure i have more to say and share, but wanted to give a little insight to our stay so far. Now that life is normalizing I hope to post more often, as does Jack, but you have to go find him at . trust me, that is worth a visit.

Until next time, go check out our Flickr site! If you can’t see our pictures, just add me as a contact and I will more than likely approve you (Flickr, free and easy to sign up!)