Dear Stacy,

It’s been two months since I moved here, and though life is quite good and probably even enviable to most of my friends back home, sometimes I wonder what I thought was going to happen here. Well, as my best friend I suppose you probably know more than anyone what I wanted to happen. I had fantasies about living in an apartment overlooking the Boyne River, sipping tea on my balcony, selling lots of fabulous articles to fabulous magazines, and of course falling in love with a dreamy guy.

Here’s the rundown so far: I do have an apartment along the Boyne River, but it faces the street, not the river. The view isn’t bad at all; I can see five church steeples and lots of birds and I don’t even mind the glaring nighttime floodlights of the shopping center across the street. I have a balcony, though due to the moist climate and the lack of a functioning drain, the wood is covered in slippery moss – not exactly what I pictured in my al fresco teatime fantasies. Selling lots of fabulous articles? Not yet, though the local paper has actually written three stories about me and I’ve been on the radio twice. I’m entirely grateful but I’ve yet to figure out how to parlay all this publicity into money-making opportunities. The other day I wrote an article about how to break into professional writing (for a friend’s website) and to be honest I almost felt like a fraud writing it.

The dreamy Irish guy? I’ve been proposed to – twice – by well-meaning but incredibly drunk men at pubs. I can’t say it was flattering considering they’d have done the same to a dairy cow in lipstick and a dress. Dating here seems to be…nonexistent. My single friends have warned me that Irish guys don’t ask girls out, and that most relationships are formed either very early on (high school or college) or develop out of drunken hookups. I can’t turn back time, so is the drunken hookup my only choice? “If an Irish guy actually asks you out on a proper date, as in dinner, it would be a miracle,” said one friend. While I’ve never been one to pine away for my next boyfriend – my sentiment on the subject is “it’ll happen when it happens” –  I find this news disheartening.

 I suppose it’s kind of like buying a lottery ticket. Even though you understand the odds aren’t great, you get a little burst of hope as you buy the ticket and perhaps even fantasize about what you’d do with a $30 million jackpot. You imagine the joy on the faces of friends and family when gifting them with bags of money and fantasy vacations, and maybe in your mind you even build your dream house in some exotic locale like the Amalfi coast or hillsides of Tuscany. When you walk up to the lottery scanner the next day the anticipation builds, and then “Sorry, not a winner” pops up and the dreams are dashed – in an instant. It’s a cruel reminder of how ridiculous the odds really are and you feel like an idiot (or “eejit” as they say here) for even allowing yourself to go there in the first place. With every warning I hear about the discouraging Irish dating scene I’m reminded of how ridiculous the odds are of meeting someone here. Yet like the fool who buys a lottery ticket week after week, I remain cautiously optimistic while at the same time feeling uneasy for possessing even this tiny bit of confidence.

So life right now is a mix of ups and downs, which is the way it is for everyone I suppose. The difference is that I am in an exciting place with numerous distractions at every turn and lots of new people in my life. My biggest fear? That after all the fairy dust settles, nothing would have changed. And, as you know, I moved because I needed something to change. I still do. Anyway, I know you’ll say it’s only been two months and you are absolutely right. I guess I’m just having a moment of weakness.

Enough navel gazing for now. I’ll call you soon!



All photographs and content property of An American In Ireland and may not be used without permission. Copyright Clare Kleinedler 2009-2010.