clare birthday I recently celebrated my [age not important] birthday here. I spent the first five years of life in Japan, a few in Arkansas and several birthdays in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. This was the first in Ireland, a landmark occasion of sorts. There are days when I still pinch myself…and a few days where I want to punch myself.

I kid, I kid! Even with all the political turmoil and recession depression, I love it here. But I still find myself mired in figuring out the little things. While in some ways I’m quite settled, there are new discoveries almost every day. I’m still trying to distinguish between regional accents that everyone else seems to recognize and I’m struggling to wrap my brain around the culture of Irish Travellers. Whether it’s a type of bread I’ve never heard of (Mountaineering Man recently introduced me to barmbrack – yum!) or political parties (it’s Gaelic but I find it amusing that the main party has the word fail (Fáil) in its name, so appropriate!) it’s trying to understand all the details of daily Irish life that consumes my time.