Whenever I’ve traveled to a foreign country, I make a conscious effort to immerse myself and try as much as possible to be a “local.” Though I prefer wine, when I was in Prague and Germany, I drank the local beer. When I was in Australia, I tried vegemite on my toast. When I was in Amsterdam… well, never mind. The point is, when visiting a new place I like to venture outside my comfort zone, I go out of my way to avoid the things I can get at home.
Now, I am living in a foreign country. Which technically means it isn’t a foreign country to me anymore. It’s home. One of the things I am learning as I make this adjustment, is that living someplace is far, far different from visiting someplace.
Were I just a tourist in Dublin, I would be avoiding the things I could get back in Buffalo or Los Angeles like the plague. But now, in my current situation, many things I would have avoided now provide comfort. It makes me happy that at any given time on any given day I can find a repeat of NCIS or Criminal Minds on the telly, just like in the US. The Timmy Ho’s coffee I got this morning was like a little hug from home. I love that I can get my KPPC/NPR fix by streaming it online.
But I am walking a fine line. I want to have some nice reminders of the US that make me feel happy and comfortable, but I also want to embrace the Dublin/Irish way of life. I’ve been watching Ireland AM in the morning – no Today Show over here. I don’t know who decided to make baked beans a part of an Irish Breakfast, but it’s a bloody brilliant idea. And wow, Guinness is really a lot tastier than I imagined it would be.
My new life is a balancing act. While it’s okay to allow myself some of the comforts of “home”, it’s also important that I find things in Ireland that I can grow to love and take comfort in.