The comforts of home in a suitcase…

Just returned from my Christmas holiday at home.  It was very cold and very snowy, but I had a lovely time.  It was worth the absurd amount of money I spent on my last-minute ticket (never mind the additional absurd amount I spent on a first class upgrade on the way back to Dublin in order to assuage some of my panic).

I didn’t bring much home to Buffalo with me – anything I truly need but forget I can borrow from my mom or sisters, plus there’s a Target just down the road.  Oh, how I miss you, lovely, lovely Target.  Please expand your operations into Europe.

But when it came time to leave, I had two suitcases filled with “stuff”.  Sure, there were some Christmas presents, though people know to only buy me small, packable items.  And I did go on a bit of a shopping spree as I’ve become tired of wearing the same three pair of  cords and one pair of jeans.  There were, however, some additional items that made the cut.  Since arriving in Dublin, I’ve had a post-it note list going of things that I can’t find in here but apparently still really, really need.

In no particular order, those items on this trip were:

– Orbit Bubblemint gum

– AquaFresh Extreme Clean toothpaste

– Arm and Hammer spinbrush pro, with refills

– Keurig k-cups (yes, I’m still waiting for my keurig to arrive)

– 300 packets of Splenda

– Tarnax liquid silver cleaner

Feel free in infer what you like about me based on the above list.

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Grafton Street, The Musical

Those of you that know me know that I absolutely hate crowds and shopping.  Places like Times Square or the Champs-Elysees make me break out in hives.  So, imagine my surprise as I find myself falling in love with Dublin’s main shopping and tourist thoroughfare, Grafton Street.

I walk through Grafton Street every night on my commute home and instead of stressing me out, it calms me.  I love that it is pedestrian only.  I don’t have to worry about any wayward cars or buses, and I don’t have to make sure that I am looking the correct way when I cross the street.  I love that it is home to Irish institutions like Bewley’s, but that there is also a McDonald’s (not that I am eating there!) and a Tim Horton’s – these little reminders of home put a smile on my face.

But most of all I love the music.  As one walks the length of Grafton Street you get the privilege of listening to a stunning variety of music as various buskers try to earn a few euros.  The line-up changes everyday.  One recent commute started with an aboriginal throat singer, segued to a trumpeter doing some selections from the American Songbook, then a few steps further on a couple truly fantastic guys singing with an acoustic guitar, then a bassoonist (yes, a bassoonist) and finally, under the beautifully lit up Christmas Tree, some carolers.

How can someone who strives to lead a creative life do anything but smile when hearing and seeing these artists?  Yes, some are better than others – the throat singer was a little freaky while the guys with the guitar seriously need a record deal.  But they are all out there and, at least in my head, they are doing it because they love it.  They are doing it because they are artists and they have to.   And I’m down with that.  And Grafton Street, I love you for it.

Grafton Street, all gussied up for the holidays.

Grafton Street, all gussied up for the holidays.