Winter is coming…

It has been three months to the day since my last blog post – the longest gap I’ve ever taken since I started writing it over four years ago. It’s not that I haven’t had anything to say – I’ve had PLENTY to say, perhaps too much. And so I’ve been biding my time as I try to form coherent thoughts.

I have been beyond upset and outraged at the dumpster fire that America has become in only three weeks. What Trump has done so far does not affect me personally, but so what? I think that is what saddens me most – the complete lack of empathy from so many people. As long as their precious lives are not impacted, then you know, whatever.

But that’s not how I roll.

I don’t care if it doesn’t directly impact me. If it’s wrong, if people are being oppressed, if rights are being trampled, if laws are being broken, I am sure as hell going to say something. Shake your heads and laugh at me, call me a “snowflake” or a “libtard”, tell me I should get over it all you want – doesn’t matter. I truly don’t understand how so many people can just look the other way right now. Caring about others doesn’t make me a snowflake, it makes me a good person.

I don’t have any kids and I’m not a teacher, yet I worked tirelessly against Betsy DeVos’ confirmation. Because I care about all children and teachers whether I know them or not. And I saw many of my teacher friends get really involved and engaged in the effort to oppose DeVos.

But what about the issues that don’t directly affect your job? Will those same people, for instance, oppose the dismantling of the ACA because without it people like me (a freelancer with pre-existing conditions) will have no options for affordable health insurance. Teachers have health insurance and repealing the ACA won’t have a huge impact on you  – so, will you just sit back and say “not my problem” or will you remain engaged? I fought for you, will you fight for me?  I’ll be very interested to see how that plays out.

I am truly heartened by the expat community here in Europe who are actively engaged, despite the miles between them and their home country. We are speaking up and speaking out. We are making phone calls, and donating money and marching. And even though we do not live in the United States anymore, WE VOTE!

Yesterday, one of my Paris friends added me to newly formed Facebook group called “The Resistance Abroad”. Amazing! Just because we are far away, does not mean that we aren’t ready to fight, that we won’t remain engaged and informed and action-oriented – that we won’t do whatever it takes to make a difference and take our country (yes, it still is our country) back.

Call us snowflakes if you like, but, as I saw in a meme recently, know this:

WINTER IS COMING.

Advertisements

Let It Snow?

Some people may find this surprising, but I like the weather in Dublin better than the weather in Los Angeles.  In Dublin, it never gets very hot and it never gets very cold. In summer, if the mercury hits 70 that’s considered a heat wave and in the winter it rarely snows.

Snow was actually a big topic of conversation with my work friends in the time leading up to our Christmas break this year.  Most of my co-workers are from Ireland and the UK and, therefore, not used to snow.  Now, being from Buffalo, New York, I grew up with snow – and they seemed to be fascinated by this.  I showed them pictures of what would be considered a “light dusting” at my parents’ house and they couldn’t believe it.

I have never been a fan of snow.  I don’t ski or snow board, and driving in it can be a nightmare.  Sure, we had the beloved snow days when we were kids, but as an adult, not so much.  I didn’t miss the snow when I moved to Florida and California.  And I was pleased to learn that Dublin doesn’t get snow (the freakish winters of a couple years ago notwithstanding).

But my friends’ fascination has made me rethink snow.  Maybe it isn’t so bad after all.  It is kind of pretty, isn’t it?  Now, a white Christmas is not a given in Buffalo.  Winter doesn’t usually kick into high gear until January or February.  But this year, for the first time in a few years if my memory serves, it did snow for Christmas.  And, looking at it with my new found appreciation, I kind of loved it.  It was just so… Christmasy.  It made me smile.  It made me happy.

Now, if I were still going to be in Buffalo in February when the novelty has worn off and the snow is brown and muddy and slushy, I’m sure I’d be singing another tune.  But for these few days, I have enjoyed the snow.  And I don’t think I would have if not for my colleagues.

This is yet another plus of being an ex-pat.  Living somewhere else can help you appreciate what you used to hate.  Seeing something from another’s point of view can give you a new outlook on something familiar and mundane – in this case, the powdery white stuff.  And so I say, at least for now, “Let It Snow!

The view from my bedroom on Christmas Eve.  One friend asked if I lived in Narnia.

The view from my bedroom on Christmas Eve. One friend asked if I lived in Narnia.

 

Let There Be Light…

I arrived to begin my new life in Dublin on the day daylight savings time ended, and I have to admit, I was completely unprepared for the effect this would have on me.

I’ve traveled in Europe during winter months before and was aware that European countries have more extreme differences in daylight hours than I am used to in the States, but it started getting dark at about 3:30 in the afternoon.  When you are already a bit “fragile” from the stress of moving to a city you’ve never even visited, leaving behind your family and friends, needing to find a place to live and the looming start of a new job, the “getting dark in the middle of the afternoon thing” can be almost too much. From day one, I felt like I was chasing the daylight and this leant even more urgency to my stress and to-do-list-filled days.

But now, alleluia, daylight savings time has begun!  It’s light when I wake up in the morning, it’s light when I leave work in the evening and it’s STILL light even a couple hours later.  In the height of the summer it won’t start getting dark until after 10pm.  I feel like I paid my dues and am now being rewarded for hanging tough.  And I am going to make the most of these daylight-filled months.

I can’t wait for it to get warmer so that I can enjoy a glass of wine on my balcony while I watch the sunset.

And it is going to get warmer, right?