Christmas in Ireland

1 Feb

There is only so much sea sun and fun a mountain girl can take. After 13 months in the Pacific, it was time to return to Europe and dreary winters. I arrived home on 19 December, during what the Irish called a tropical winter, wearing four layers, two scarves, gloves, socks over my cotton tights, and still thoroughly frozen. Cold is relative.

Christmas Tree 2011

My friends and family saw it coming and under the Christmas tree was warm angora slipper socks and thermal underwear. Oh yes, and a box of Swiss chocolates! Perfect. And there are even better reasons to travel 22 hours in a brand new A380 (first week in service!): love, home-made food, and nothing to do for a month!

On rainy and windy days, we took the car to look at the waves splashing against the rocks and cliffs around Mullaghmore’s head. On cold nights, we had a crackling fire. On dry and sunny days, I took walks on the beach or the borough with our new dog.

Quite a few new things came into our lives in the new year: the dog, the car, and the settee. The dog Juno came to us for a few days while the owner was away, and then we kept her. We did not dog-napped her! She had been misbehaving since her owner had died and she ended up living with an heir too busy with managing a hotel/restaurant to give the little mutt enough attention. She is living the good life now. Spoiled rotten and occupying my sunny spot!

It was not as easy to find a car: the two nearest Citroen dealerships were closing down and would not take our old car. We had to go two hours away to find one. Life is not so good in Ireland when you have money worries. But it is a great time to make deals. Even furniture stores are bending over backwards to please you… even if it means exchanging a settee again… and again until you find one comfortable for the whole family!

Shopping in Sligo (still a few empty windows to remind you that the Celtic Tiger has not aged gracefully) and having tea at Lyon’s. Shopping in Enniskillen and enjoying a warm melted Emmental and mushroom sandwich at Marks &Spencer’s. Visiting neighbours and friends, and solving their jigsaw puzzle instead of catching up. Sleeping in, eating too much too often, watching TV late with my auntie. The good life.

Even my dentist visit was the most pleasant ever! The dentist himself was the friendliest I have ever seen, and so attentive – meaning he listened to my questions and concerned, answered them and gave me what sounded like honest advice. The hygienist was very complimentary of my mouth hygiene, and even asked her assistant nurse to give her a softer polish tool thingy because I did not have much tartar build-up. Quite the opposite from my Asian-American hygienist who was never happy with my brushing habit, and no I have not changed my routine!

But too soon it was time to leave. I spent a few days with friends in England and in spite of the horrible weather, we had a good time… you guessed it: eating, chatting, watching TV! We also went to see War Horse and all of us thoroughly cried.

Home Sweet Home -- Top Corner

I had travelled from Port Vila to Sydney (two nights and some shopping) to Melbourne to Singapore (less than two hours) to Heathrow (one night in London and enough time to visit Harrod’s, as well as have hot chocolates with friends from PPIAF and the next day with a World Bank friend) to Gatwick to Knock Airport and a long bus ride home.

The return was a long bus ride from Balyshannon to Dublin and flying to Blackpool (four nights) to Manchester to Heathrow to Hong Kong (less than two hours) to Melbourne (one night and enough time to get my chocolate fix, some emergency items, and a hair cut) to Port Vila. Landing in Bauerfield airport was the most adventurous part of the trip! A storm was welcoming me home and it took three attempts to land, and a lot of flying in circle while another flight was taking off. The 45-minute delay did not deter my welcoming committee and soon enough I was home.

Since then we have had a dozen earthquakes from 5 to 7.1 on the Richter scale, a distant visit from Jasmine the level 4 cyclone, and bucketSSSS of rain – followed by mosquito attacks. Ah but we have also had plenty of sunny days and dips in the ocean and the pool. I even managed to work a bit.

Cannot wait for the next trip!

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5 Responses to “Christmas in Ireland”

  1. Emily He 15 J0000002Australia/Sydney 2011 at 10:06 pm #

    That’s what the holidays are good for: eating, sleeping and watching TV! Sounds like you had a wonderful (and busy) trip. And how amazing that you’re living in Vanuatu…we’re on the same side of the earth! I’m in Beijing!

    • janiqueracine 15 J0000002Australia/Sydney 2011 at 10:08 am #

      I hadn’t realized you were still in Beijing, and that you had this fantastic blog. I’ve read a few pages and I am already hooked! I am glad it helps you feel more connected with your friends, with a new community, and with yourself. I need to work so much more on mine…

      • Emily He 15 J0000002Australia/Sydney 2011 at 5:03 pm #

        yes you do so all your friends and strangers can keep track of exactly what you’re doing and what you’re thinking! It’s the digital age, age of online diaries! I love WordPress!

      • janiqueracine 15 J0000002Australia/Sydney 2011 at 12:49 pm #

        I don’t think my friends are interested… a few have told me they liked it but my hopes is strangers!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Home « Traveling Tastebuds - 15 J0000002Australia/Sydney 2011

    […] though, I get the feeling of home when I stay at my aunt’s in Ireland. My aunt and her partner told me a few years ago that I had a Home where I was welcomed anytime. At […]

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