536 Days! 

536 Days! 

What is the significance of this? Well to tell the truth, it’s the amount of days I have lived here in the USA. But I decided while I avoid the rain in work to do a little digging, how many days, weeks, month etc. Well I have my answer and here it is….. The amount of time since Nov 5th 2015 when I arrived in Orlando Airport to start my new life here in America with Leanne. 

How many days ago… 536 day 

How many weeks ago… 77 weeks

How many months ago… 17 months

How many hours ago… 12864 hours

How many minutes ago… 771840 minutes

How many seconds ago… 46310400 seconds

So what got me thinking about this, well it’s easy to remember the milestone dates, the 5th of every month, 5th of November each year but to just be able to mark the tine and date randomly appealed to me. 

I have accomplished a lot, seen and done so many new things that I wouldn’t have had the chance to do back home in Ireland but I still have a few bucket list items to do. I still want to do a cross country Amtrak train trip, I want to travel from Boston to Washington via the high speed rail, I want to spend time in New York, see the Grand Canyon, see a space launch but I want to do all these things with Leanne and not on my own. 

And in other random news, today was a typical Irish weather day in Atlanta, cold, grey and drizzle rain most of the morning, it kinda felt like home. It will never be Ireland but it is definitely now home even though I will probably always refer to Ireland as home. In a few days my Irish flag will fly proudly outside our new house as our flag pole will be fitted. 

Every now and then I do miss Ireland and home, I wouldn’t describe it as homesick as I love my life here in Atlanta and I am sharing it with the one person I want to share my life with but I don’t think you can ever get over missing the place you lived in for the first 47 years of your life. 

Slán go fóill – Goodbye for now. 

North and South, or Left and Right – How to give directions! 

North and South, or Left and Right – How to give directions! 

Atlanta hasn’t had a good time with traffic recently, with i85 bridge collapse, i20 buckling and 285 just being 285. Add in i75 and the traffic around the new Braves stadium and traffic is nearing meltdown but it seems it always is close to meltdown and manages to survive by the skin of its teeth. And all the above mentioned things have certainly pushed the traffic to the brink as well as drivers to the brink of insanity. 

Anyway, today’s little post is all about directions and how Americans give them and how it differs to back home in Ireland. Here it’s all about the compass direction of travel, turn north on 285, follow it till 85 south etc. This is great if you have a compass, or have an idea where you are going to start of with. In fairness most cars have a built in compass or at least a direction of travel light. I remember back home getting asked where the N17 was, have absolutely no idea until the person mentioned where it headed to. After that giving directions from Dublin to a road have way across the country was easy. 

If you tried the Irish way of giving directions here in Atlanta it would end in absolute failure. I can imagine telling someone to go straight as far as the the big church, turn left followed by turning right at the red pub, follow the road till you reach McDonald’s, turn left and when you get to the church at the roundabout take the first exit till you get to another pub, your destination is about a mile up the road from the pub. Well for starters there are so many churches and McDonald’s here those directions would be useless. So it’s back to North and South using road designations. 

Have fun, be safe and don’t ever drink and drive or text and drive! 

Moving house! 

Moving house! 

I mentioned a week or so ago that we were all ready to move into our dream house. And so on Friday last, closing day on 2 deals, everything  went really smoothly. The night before we went to the Fox Theater to see The Bodyguard and had an excellent night even though one of the main traffic arteries in and out of Atlanta had suffered massive damage due to a fire and had collapsed but I digress and will come back to that on another day. 

So on Friday morning last, Leanne attended the sale of her/our home to a lovely couple while I done a few hours in work. At noon we headed for a bit of lunch and after that to go to the closing of our purchase. Both closings went quick and smoothly, and even though I am a not allowed on the mortgage due to residency rules I am on the title so we now are partners in our new home. 

Back to our old house and a few runs with some light boxes and the dogs so they can get to see their new home too. We done 3 runs, 6 car loads, as we knew the movers would be at the house at 9am approx on Saturday morning and it was nearly 11pm so we needed some sleep, and it was going to be our final night in the house we got married from. 

Moving day has arrived, we were up bright and early on Saturday morning, dropping the dogs off for a few hours at a neighbors house. Little did we know it would be 13 hours later before we could collect them! Again I go off track but that is exactly what our Saturday turned into, completely off track. Our movers had a management brain fart, not informing the truck to come to our house. By the tine management regained their minimal senses it was late afternoon, so movers who should have arrived at 9am, arrived at 5.45pm. And the truck still needed to be loaded, moved and unloaded. This was not going to be a fun experience but in fairness the 3 lads got stuck in, filled the truck and we supplied pizzas for them, they worked and ate, completing the move just after 11pm. 

Friends popped over to help with the move and it was great that they did cause it meant we got more car loads done while we waited on the movers. Of course the day wasn’t going to go smoothly but having friends around definitely helped it go with some laughs and fun. So onto our deliveries, or lack off maybe. We scheduled our washing machine and dryer to be delivered on Saturday as well and rang while we ate lunch on Friday to confirm. Well they had made a mistake and hadn’t got us scheduled but said it was fixed and our washer and dryer would be delivered on Saturday. Well guess what, it wasn’t fixed and they weren’t delivered on Saturday as promised and ordered. Leanne was on the phone again to them and after a few hours of calls back and forth we got a Sunday delivery with 10% refund on our total bill. 

Our other delivery was probably the one I looked forward to most, our new king size bed. We bought the bedding on Friday and with all the moving and stress I was looking forward to crashing on the big bed on Saturday night. Well it arrived, earlier than promised but it had a problem. One of the box springs is to big for the bed. But it will do till Sears get to change it soon, so on Saturday night 2 exhausted people and 2 exhausted dogs crashed out in their new house after 2 very long and 1 stressful day. 

We did have another issue, the house alarm! It just refuses to work properly and after a few hours on the phone with the company, and they can’t get it to work or figure out why it won’t work, we have decided to get a different system fitted, one more user friendly, rather than one thst needs a technological masters or something to get it to work! 

Did anything go smoothly, well a bit of a surprise was the fact that our hook up to the Internet went excellently and within minutes of the AT&T technician arriving he had the WiFi up and running and within few hours he had our TV all connected and even gave us new wireless boxes, remote controls and HDMI cables. 

I will wrap up now but just a couple more things, a big sincere thank you to all our friends who helped, sent messages and have offered support, not only since we started the process of moving but since we first mentioned our plans of a life together, it is very much appreciated. 

To my beautiful darling wife, you handled the weekend tremendously, stress and all. You worked the phones, moved boxes and got our new home looking great already. I love you and look forward to many happy years in our new family home. 

And the final mention of today goes to a pal who is no longer with us, Peter Ryan, who passed away at the age of 33 ten years ago. He was a friend, a football fan and one of the nicest, most mischievous blokes you could meet. Tonight we will go to our new local bar and have a pint of Guinness in Peter’s memory. 

Another major chapter about to start

Another major chapter about to start

And so today we received the message we have been waiting on for a few weeks, we are clear to close on the sale of our house and also the purchase of our new home. It has been a bit stressful but we are nearly there and on Friday we will sell one house and purchase our dream home together. 

Moving from this house will be tinged with some sadness

The house we are selling, and I use the word ‘we’ quite deliberately, is the house Leanne has called home for 14 years and I have called home since I arrived here in 2015. It will be a move tinged with sadness and a lot of love as it was the house we made our beginning. But it will also have a lot of happiness as we are moving into ‘our’ new home, something that we choose and picked together. This too will have a lot of love and happiness as it will allow us to grow our family together. 

Our new ‘together and family’ home

So on Friday, March 31st, one chapter will close with the sale of Northlake Springs Court but a whole new and exciting chapter will begin with the purchase of Willow Chase Court. We have fantastic neighbors where we are, and as we are only moving a few miles we will remain in touch and friends. Sure I will be dropping over most Sundays to meet the lads for football and Leanne will be over regularly to to meet up with the ladies for dinner. 

And as one chapter closes and another starts,  my journey in the USA just continues to grow and I couldn’t be happier. I moved here with 2 suitcases and a dog, it will take a 24ft truck and some help to move house. 

Slán for now

St Patrick’s Day 2017

St Patrick’s Day 2017

So tomorrow is St Patrick’s Day and as I will be working till the afternoon the celebrations back in Ireland will be nearly over by the time I get to have a few beers and celebrate our national day. 

It’s funny though, I have been living g in the USA now for 16 months, and this will be my second St Patrick’s Day as a resident in the USA and I still haven’t gone to a St Patrick’s Day parade. Before I moved here I had attended and taken part in a good few parades over the years since my first one in Newport, RI back in 2000. I have taken part in parades in Worcester, South Boston, Savannah, Tybee Island, and Newport. I was in the Savannah, Worcester and Newport parades twice. 

Tomorrow is a day to celebrate being Irish, or being of Irish heritage. I am proud to be Irish, it definitely defines who I am and how I handle things. Being from Ireland and now living in Atlanta is a huge change, it’s not like Boston, New York or Chicago where there arw huge Irish communities. The Atlanta Irish community is quite small in comparison but us Irish always find one another. My next door neighbor is from Kildare and one day in the local supermarket a guy from Dundalk said Hi as he recognized my St Patrick’s Athletic jersey. 

I am looking forward to heading into MacMcGees in Decatur after work tomorrow with Leanne and celebrating everything about Ireland and home. 

Be safe, have fun and Happy St Patrick’s Day. 

Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhuit

Onwards and Upwards…… with a little sideways shift 

Onwards and Upwards…… with a little sideways shift 

Before I start, the last 2 weeks have been the most challenging and tiring I have encountered in a long time. I have learned to handle stress and disappointment and here I am back in Atlanta after missing out on advancing in my training to be an auto damage adjuster by just a few percentage points. But it wasn’t to be and now it’s time to dust myself off and get back to doing something I did enjoy, working with Hennessy Ford. 

Don’t get me wrong, the 2 weeks down at the Auto Damage Adjusting school in Macon were fantastic, the staff excellent and my classmates a pleasure to meet and study with. But it was just to much info in such a short space of time. And if this is the only disappointment I encounter for another few years I will be in a good spot. 

So a small sideways move back to my old job at Hennessy and driving new cars for a living and working with another lovely bunch of people. Is this where my career is meant to be? maybe or maybe not but let’s see what the next few months bring. 

And now on another subject altogether; Ireland, Irishness and St Patrick’s Day. I have encountered and covered this topic more than once, the Irish American, American Irish question and St Patty day and I am not going to get into it again. I posted the following on a Irish Around the World FB page earlier today, and it doesn’t mention any of the above questions and even though I have covered them in this blog before, they are not life or death topics, they are light hearted subjects and if anyone takes offense, well then maybe they aren’t Irish at all 🙂 This is what I posted and it was a kind of intro to me and who I am 

 I was born and bred in Dublin, living there for 48 years of my near 50 years of life, emigrating to the USA in 2015 to marry my best friend, partner and now wife. I literally packed my whole life into 2 suitcases and a dog crate for my border collie. It was the best decision I ever made. There are times I miss home, find myself looking at all my old photos of Ireland and just searching the web for ‘Irish’ stuff. In this little jar (photo below) is my little piece of home. It contains sand from beaches in Mayo, Galway, Dublin and Wexford. Pebbles and shells come from those same beaches as well as some from the banks of the Shannon and one from my old house in Inchicore. Home is where the heart is and mine is now Decatur, outside Atlanta, Georgia but Ireland will always be the land of my birth and make up who I am. I am a proud Irishman learning to live life in America.

In saying all that, I have no issue with anyone saying they are Irish American or American Irish, but please don’t say St Patty’s Day, or I will start referring to July 4th as Wednesday (or whatever day it falls on). 

Have a great day, week and month and March is Irish Heritage Month, so be proud and make Ireland proud of its heritage, it’s emigrants and you. 

Slán agus árd mór

Billy

Life is hectic….. But fun! 

Life is hectic….. But fun! 

So where have I been for the last 3 weeks since my last post on blog. Well it has been a full and interesting 3 weeks. Let’s go back to the beginning of February when life just got a bit more full of things to do. Everyday stuff like work, walking the dogs, meeting friends etc continued. We had just watched Atlanta lose the Superbowl on heartbreaking fashion with our friends so instead of a big party it kind of just died off. 

But life goes on, sport will always give you great enjoyment, some horrible heartbreak but at the end of the day, life goes on. As an Irishman here in Atlanta I was delighted to see a city of 6 million getting behind Atlanta, now if only people back home would get behind their local team in football ot would be fantastic. But that’s a rant for a while other day. 

February consisted of 2 concerts, one theater outing and a movie night. So let’s start with concert number 1, Bon Jovi in the Philips Arena in Atlanta, well let’s just say the rockers rocked Atlanta in what was a brilliant performance. We followed that up with the Atlanta Symphony playing the tunes of my favorite artists, Simon and Garfunkel. If Bon Jovi rocked it, the Symphony absolutely nailed it with their performance and the duo singing the songs were superb. We end our month of culture tonight as we head to the Fox Theater for Phantom of the Opera. 

Why do I mention all this, well it shows how different my life is here than to back home in Ireland. I may have attended a concert every few years, but I never would have gone to the theater or symphony. These opportunities are available because I am married to a wonderful woman who loves these things and I have embraced everything from she loves and I am loving it. 

As an recent immigrant, I find that by embracing the culture that you are surrounded by certainly helps with the transition into American life. When I came here I hated ordering in restaurants as they couldn’t understand me, even though I did speak English, but now I am more comfortable even if they don’t get what I am saying for sometimes, it’s just the way it is and I am getting used to it. 

But back to the hectic life of the last 3 weeks. In January I was going through an interview process for a new job which entailed numerous tests and intercession and I made it through the selection and next Monday I will start my new job as a trainee Auto Damage Adjuster with Geico insurance. This will be a challenge involving learning a whole new skill set to add to the skills I already have. I will miss working with a great bunch of people at Hennessy Ford but the opportunity to change jobs and have a career with Geico was to good to turn down. 

And kind of finally we do have one more piece of news. The house Leanne has called home for the last 13 years and has been my home too for the last 16 months is on the market for sale as we are about to purchase our first home together. This is a huge step for both of us, Leanne leaving a home she thought she would always live in, me leaving a neighborhood that has made me so welcome and us both putting our names on the mortgage of a house together. 

So it has been hectic, it has been fun and exciting times lie ahead. It has been a journey and a half over the last 2 years and it continues to be enjoyable, some challenges and lots of laughs with huge amounts of happiness. 

Till next time, Slán agus Beannacht.