Three hundred and sixty-four days later, I flew into Dublin and took the bus to the train station so I could go out to my parents' house, and it felt like coming home.
Lots of people have asked me how I've adjusted to Irish life, and if there was anything in particular that struck me as Different and Strange. Many of the different and strange details were ones I knew before I came here, since I'd visited before: the dryers, for example, don't work. The refrigerators are small. Central heating is still not a well-understood concept. The roads are very narrow and twisty and people drive on them like they're the Autobahn.
I still think the quarterly or bi-monthly billing system for utilities is bizarre. I've gotten used to Irish time, by and large; as Gavin said a while ago, when a shop they were trying to visit wasn't open at its proclaimed hour of 10, nor at 10:05 nor 10:10, "Maybe it's not ten enough." (And indeed, at 10:15, apparently it was Ten Enough, and the shop opened.) It seems I've adapted to the peculiarity of bathroom light switches being *outside* the bathroom, because every time I tried to turn a light on in the hotel bathrooms in the States, I smacked the wall outside the bathroom and fumbled for the light there, before remembering it was inside. I've adapted to having to bag my own groceries (though I still think that's a pain) and renting shopping carts, and somewhere fairly recently I got used to them driving on the wrong side of the road.
People've asked if I've had culture shock. I've had a few moments of wondering what in God's name we did, but my year has been so busy--I went to work about 2 days after getting here, because I had no time to do otherwise--that I think the culture shock window passed while I had my head down in the books. I've largely stopped saying, "It's as if we're living in a different country!", and have learned to call subdivisions "housing estates" and have stopped thinking in dollars at all.
I have, in the past 12 months, written and/or revised five manuscripts, four book proposals, three comic scripts, and gone to my first several SF/F conventions. I am *very* much looking forward to not having to turn in five books next year, and getting out to see more of Ireland.
But lest you think I haven't seen any of it, behind the cut is a (very graphics-heavy, so it'll probably take a while to load)
St. Michael's graveyard, Athy, Ireland
My nephew Seirid at 13 months
Annie Moore, the first immigrant processed at Ellis Island, who left from Cobh in December 1891
The view from the Tay Road behind our house
Breic likes butter!
Cobh an lar (city centre)
Cobh fields from the top of the hill
Deirdre flies down Cobh's streets
Sacred Memory at the Old Cobh Graveyard
St. Coleman's Cathedral, reflected in Cobh Harbor
There are more here. :)