It is a (somehow) both sunny and rainy (and hail earlier this morning) Thursday on the emerald isle and I’ve enjoyed a lively week as a Foreign National in Galway – having successfully tripped the alarm of the office twice, locked myself out of the offices at least three times, and learned what a cold, driving rain for three straight days does to one’s spirits and dress shoes.
That is to say I am having a blast, working with the local colleagues on a 2014 fundraising plan for a growing organization and keeping up with my various projects in the States. Some initial reactions to this strange and wonderful week:
The working day is quite civil, from half 9 to half 5, with an hour’s lunch at 1pm and tea at 4pm or so. I’ve been an 11:30 am lunch guy forever so a bit of an adjustment. With every meeting there is coffee or tea. I am going to have to switch over to tea or stroke out from the caffeine. Plus the drip coffee here is not that grand.
But, I have a lovely breakfast at my B&B every day: smoked salmon and poached eggs. The proprietor of the establishment is a delightful woman and excellent cook. She has a clear, bright singing voice and sings popular songs while she cooks, so it is Katy Perry’s “Wrecking Ball” as she delivers my vittles.
When the sun is out, Galway is out. On Sunday it was warm and sunny in the morning, and I took a long walk along the bay with the rest of the town. I saw some sea swimmers, old men who will live to be 100 no doubt swimming in the Irish Atlantic in November.
The dogs of Galway have a great life. They are always off leash along the bay, politely minding their business and having their own fun. They don’t bark and never jump on you. Why aren’t American dogs this way? Why aren’t American children this way?
The Western Irish of Galway are mad, mad joyful jaywalkers. At every opportunity, at every intersection, with abandon. It is a bit of a civic pursuit, characteristic of what seems to be a benevolent disregard for authority. Which I recognize in myself.
My technology so far has failed me completely—phones that won’t work, ipads that won’t charge, junky wi-fi., banking problems. All to the good but when I return AT&T and I are going to have a Real Talk about our relationship and mutual expectations.
I travel alone most of the time and have become immune to eating in restaurants by myself. I now realize that my huge crutch has been my phone, with friends to text, Facebook posts to admire, Yelp check-ins to navigate, and artful photographs of my beef pho to compose.
My I-Phone has been my steadfast little buddy in my solo work adventures the last couple of years. The irony is that there is a major media campaign ongoing in the US at the moment, “Jeremy turn off your phone” via t-mobile.
Off to a black tie fundraiser tomorrow—had to rent a tuxedo, despite owning two in the States. The trials and tribulations of a 4000 mile commute.