Small Observations

Funny the things I’ve gotten used to here in Ireland – little things that I notice throughout the day that make the time here sweeter. 

I’ve discovered I enjoy hanging the wash in the back garden on a sunny day, and I don’t even mind using crispy towels after a shower. I like to hear the whistle of my neighbours’ tea kettles go off every so often, or the musical tones of a clock on the wall or a doorbell ringing. It’s a true community, the way neighbourhoods used to be – we all talk over the fences to each other and probably know way too much about one another’s lives in secret! 

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I also don’t mind the cats next door as much as I used to. This doesn’t mean I don’t still grumble when I find my plants dug up or when I smell their distinctive odour on a a hot day… but most of the little furry friends are not so bad. They keep Georgie company and some of them are very sweet. Frank and I find ourselves making up names for our favorites and looking out for them during the week – Daisy, the white, brown and black mischievous one; Archimedes, the soft orangey one with the goopey eyes who will let Georgie do anything to him; Ginger Biscuits, another orange tiger striped cat who lets out mournful meows but hardly lets you come close enough to pet him; Deco, the new, lanky white Tom cat with a shaved head… 

It’s a nice place to live, though, overall. We help each other out, greet each other on the street, admire our gardens, discuss the prices of home improvements and shake our heads over one another’s misfortunes. Many of the people in this little cul de sac moved here together, back in the 1970s, so they’ve been there for each other for years, and they love to recall the stories. All in all, it’s a good place to be, and I am glad I see that more and more with time. 

……….

On a sillier note… every once in a while, I DO just have to “get back to America” in some form. I revel over a care package filled with things like Saltine crackers, Mac & Cheese, Chocolate chips and Cheetos! When I can’t get a fix like that, I fill the space with my favorite Disney cartoons, or read some Laura Ingalls Wilder, or maybe just play some Tom Petty or Alison Krauss really loud. But the most guilty of all pleasures is when I sneak off to McDonald’s!

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I did so on Friday, and treated myself to a Happy Meal, which, as it was intended to do, always lightens my mood. While I was sitting under the Golden Arches though, I thought I’d take note of some differences with the Irish McDonald’s and post my observations here. (Correct me if any of these also apply to USA McDonald’s… I’m going on my last recollections!)

Pros: 
– Still make customer service a priority, making them some of the more pleasant establishments to dine in around the country
– Always busy and favored by multiple nationalities
– One in most large towns and at least 6 in Dublin. 
– Cadbury Egg McFlurries
– Tastes mostly the same , filling the desire that sent you there in the first place!
– Good “Eurosaver” value menu
– Same or just as good toys in the Happy Meals 

Cons:
– No children’s playplace, in or outdoors
– They charge extra for “healthy” options like fruit or side salads
– People never clean up after themselves, so the restaurants are usually quite messy
– Limited selection
– Often more expensive! About €7- 8 for a value meal, which works out to roughly $10. €4- 5 for a Happy Meal or about $6.
– Small “car parks” and limited drive thrus.
– There is always confusion about how to queue at the counter.  

So there you go! I also found it funny that they are promoting, throughout the month of July, four weeks of “Great Tastes of America” specialty burgers – New York, Chicago, Miami and Arizona (knowing that most Irish have been to at least one of these places). However, the burgers seem almost identical, at least to me – beef burger with bacon, cheese, lettuce and onions. The only thing they change is the sauce and they alternate the buns. I think the cheeses might be slightly different as well, but c’mon, it’s still American cheese. Haha! Are they selling these in the States now, too? 

That about wraps it up for today, folks. Hope you enjoyed – now go out and get yourself a Large Frosty or a Rallyburger Meal for me since there are no Wendy’s or Rally’s on this side of the pond!        

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