American Dream

I have to admit I’m rather enjoying a year’s vacation from yard work. It’s kind of strange to see the landlords out in the yard garden doing all the pruning and weeding, but I feel like I should close the curtains so I’m not watching them slave away for me. I was cooking dinner a couple nights ago while they were outside working and wondered again how I found myself living in another country, in a house I don’t pay for, driving a car I don’t pay for, while other people clean up my yard. (To be fair, David does the mowing here, and I don’t miss that either.)

The term “American Dream” came to mind; my dad used to say that a lot in the context of all sorts of things people want or do (not just manifest destiny/pulling up by your bootstraps stuff, more as irony or social commentary). It’s funny that working hard and getting lucky in the US led to my American Dream happening on another continent.

On that note, we are still working on David’s immigration stuff. Ireland is skeptical of our living in sin despite my employer’s benefits blessing (in case I dump him and he becomes a burden on the state, I guess), so his passport doesn’t allow him to be here more than a couple more weeks. Conveniently we have booked a trip to Iceland on the day his Irish stay expires and I wonder if we’ll get all the remaining paperwork sorted in time or if he’ll be living in Eyjafjallajökull for awhile.

P.S. Thanks, Grandma, for your letters!

A few pictures from day three in Dublin (I’ll catch up someday):

These are all from Kilmainham Gaol. The jail was built in 1796 and used until the 1920s. Men, women, and kids stayed in it, and many famous political prisoners passed through (or were executed on site). I found the jail very interesting. You may recognize it from several movies and a U2 video.

From the pictures: 1. monument to the 1916 Easter Rising leaders, blindfolded and with their charges listed at their feet
2-3. Front entrance, with closeup of the snakes and chains above the door
4. Intake ledger from the Great Famine years, with trespasses including “about to commit a felony,” “stealing three loaves of bread,” and “common prostitute annoying the public.”
5-7. Cell doors and halls. Prisoners would get work to do through holes in the walls, like pieces of rope to tear apart into strands. Other work at the jail included breaking rocks. #7 shows the three levels of prisoner areas.
8. A main hall and cell area, built in an oval and letting in a lot of light, which was supposed to improve criminals’ dispositions.

When we visited this jail/museum, I finally bought David and myself cards that get us in free to lots of state-operated heritage sites around the country. You have to sign your name and record the location of purchase on the back and then record the same information each time you use the cards at new places. I loaned our cards (tsk tsk) to my mom and her friend when they visited so they could save on admission fees. I was humored that someone actually looked at the card and asked my mom how she liked Kilmainham Gaol and how long she was in Dublin, which caused her to lie about it, and then her friend wasn’t in on it and said they’d never gone to Dublin… ah, the jig was up!

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