Life in Italy,  Traveling with Children

5 Favorites, With a Brogue

Coming at you live from one very comfortable hotel room in Dublin City center, where we opted for a 2 day layover to break up the transatlantic madness and soak in a little heritage, to boot. Linking up with Hallie because hey, there’s free wifi.

1. Irish butter. Mmmm, mmmm good. Like so, so good and not gonna try to pretty this up…Joey ate 4 pats straight up at dinner last night. And we were like, hey, we’re not judging you kid…in between bites of french onion soup drenched in Guinness something-or-other and one million ounces of sweet yellow gold. Olive oil was well and good, but holy mother of dairy products, Irish butter takes (and slathers and moistens) the cake.

2. The Guinness Factory tour. Did it. Poured a pint. Drank a pint. Watched surprisingly entertaining interactive videos of coopers making barrels, played in the mother of all sandboxes (a 20×20 box filled with barley) and convinced both boys the amazing glass elevators and waterfalls meant we were at a theme park. Only the theme was ‘Mommy and Daddy are actually having a better time than you are.’

We came,
We poured,
We conquered.
World’s most awesome sandbox. Minus the sand, plus barley.
Homeschooling. Nailed it.

3. Fish and Chips. Beef and Guinness Pie with Chips. Caesar salad…with Chips. What? I’ve been in a pasta desert. A wasteland of breads and grain-based carbohydrates. ALL THE POTATOES GET IN MY MOUTH.

4. Irish people: we’re awesome! Seriously though, every 10 minutes we’ll be walking down the street and Dave leans in to whisper “that girl looked just like your sister Tia” or “Now I see where you get your taste in architecture” and even “everyone here looks like they’re related to you.” I’m somewhere between 50-60% Irish, but my mom tends to overestimate the amount of shamrock in our shake. After being here less than 24 hours, I can honestly say there are few places I’ve ever felt more ‘at home’ in my life. The people do all look like my family members, and everyone does have fabulous pale skin and freckles and is a normal shape and size, etc. And the weather! Glorious cool and comfortable non-Mediteranean climate. Truly, this Isle and I were made for one another.

“Irish ponies are superior to Italian stallions.”

5. An Anglo (and I mean this in the ‘conquered and populated by Anglo Saxons’ kind of way, not a weird racist way) approach to life is seriously refreshing after a season or three spent in a country designed and run by hyper sanguine, espresso-chugging drama kings and queens. As our Italian landlord put it oh-so-perfectly during our farewell meeting: “Never forget, Italy is a country with Scandinavian ambitions operating within a central-African infrastructure.” Indeed.

And aside from that, a few man on the street observations about Northern vs. Southern Europeans, from my very professional and detailed study of two cultures, involving 9 months and 9 hours, respectively: Guess how many strangers have touched me today? Zero! Not even my big, tempting belly has had a single unsolicited grope. And the number of heated exchanges and/or physical altercations involving personal space issues/differing opinions on the safe distance to stop a moving vehicle in front of a loaded stroller? Also zero.

What the what? Seriously, my blood pressure is so low, I probably should have had a second Guinness to level things out.

Ireland, thanks for being my gateway drug back into the land of the free and the home of the brave. We’ll be back, but next time, we’re bringing a babysitter.

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