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Ireland


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Considering that we’ve been together for over a year and are living together, I suppose it’s odd that my family hadn’t met Mountaineering Man before a few weeks ago.

But that’s one of the downsides of living abroad, thousands of miles away from my parents, sister Anne, brother-in-law Juan and best friends. Though I’d kept everyone informed via emails and phone conversations, it’s always only half the story because despite Facebook photo albums and blog posts there’s no way to convey the whole truth about someone or something – especially one that is particularly significant. And because I’m immersed in my life here, I often forget that no matter how much I’ve shared with everyone back in LA they’re still not getting the full picture of MM.

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Before we left on the big trip, MM took a fair bit of ribbing from his mates. As my father is a Vietnam veteran, his buddy Joe kept making “Meet the Parents” references and joking that my father was going to be keeping an eye on MM’s every move. Despite all the teasing, he was eager to meet my family and as we pulled up to my parents’ house he seemed relaxed and ready to Meet the Kleinedlers!

For the first half of the LA trip, we stayed at my folks’ house and within 10 minutes of walking in the door my mom had the photo albums out and was showing MM my baby pictures and telling childhood stories. Later that night we gathered at Z’s sushi, the place where my family goes nearly every other week for dinner. When I lived in LA, I knew if I went to Z’s on a Friday night, there’d be a good chance my sister and her husband or my parents or all four would be there, sitting at the corner of the sushi bar and bantering with Toshi the sushi chef. It’s just our place and has been for years.

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Our menu for the evening, a la chef Imen!

It was bound to happen: Normalcy has set into my life here in Ireland. I know my way around town, I have favorite restaurants and pubs and I rarely go to the gym I joined a few months ago (if that’s not a sign of being settled I don’t know what is). Gone are the days of getting hopelessly lost on the way to the gas station and having to ask grocery store clerks to educate me on the difference between rashers and streaky bacon. I know that Come Dine with Me, my favorite show on television, reruns all five episodes on Sunday afternoons, and that if I don’t have a 1 Euro coin for the shopping cart I can use a 20-cent coin as it’s exactly the same size. In a nutshell, I’ve assimilated and life has become somewhat routine.

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Richard, the Irish farmer himself, and Imen; Corey and Liam of Irish Fireside.

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