Eventually I'll post some live pictures of my beautiful surroundings. Maybe tomorrow. But the business is too overwhelming and the weather is too good to pass up and take pictures. I'm not from here and even I know that sunny days are rare. You can't really capture a sunny day (or trade it in for something else).

As for the business end of things, I'm not talking about the work I'm doing. That's great. I'm talking about the habits of everyday life. It's  been a  difficult process getting settled. I still don't have a phone of my own and I only now have a bank account. Razor blades and shaving cream are in a different store than my food, and the gym tried to deny me membership for paying in cash. The bank account and phone in particular are an inverted Kafka-esque nightmare. Supposedly I can buy a pay-as-you-go phone somewhere, but they never seem to have them where I want them or where I am, at least not at a reasonable price. I can order one online and that seems simple enough, but when I try and make the order happen I need a bank account. When I try and get a bank account, I need proof of residency. Proofs of residency include utility bills or require a phone number. So that means to get a phone I need to pay utilities to get a bank account.

Happily, I found the student union bank will take care of me, but even they require me to wait two days in order to get a basic account. Then I need to wait three months to get a full "real-person" account. This isn't bureaucracy. Bureaucracy is the sort of monster that draws everything into it. It pulls you down into hell. I feel like this is quite different. I'm on the outside of a wall trying to get inside so I can enjoy the basic comforts of the modern world.

I'm sure it will all resolve as I persevere. But it makes me feel the fact of my migrant legal status, that I'm an immigrant, or a wanderer. It's confusing and painful and slow and repetitive and confusing again. And it's almost worse when someone condescendingly explains to me how everything works, as if I should have just known what was going on all along. It's not that people here are unfriendly. Quite the opposite. It's just that, like myself and everyone I've ever met, there are holes in perception that make sense to them and not to me. For young Americans these things are taken care of in study abroad, I imagine, but for an old man like me I'm more or less left to my own devices.

And my devices are often faulty. This kind of learning is like muscle memory. I'm glad I have a nice place to live while I sort it all out. Many immigrants and citizens don't. And that's an appropriate thought for my first rainy night in Ireland.
 


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