Missing the sea

Of course, Dublin is on the coast, but it is surprisingly easy to forget it when you live downtown.

Being from Newfoundland, I am used to being near the ocean. The Irish Sea doesn't quite cut it for me. Seas are NOT like oceans. Whereas the ocean is big and huge and scary and beautiful, seas are muddyish things that don't have near as much glamour. Basically, they have a lot less going on for them.

Having said that, when I get homesick, which I do once in a while, the first thing I do is head to the coast. It might be just the Irish Sea, but at least it smells a bit like home. I have been to Howth a number of times and it's great -- I just love the way you can walk around the head of Howth and see nothing but the sea and the rocks and the birds. Bray is nice but scruffy by comparison, although the Dart ride down is quite spectacular.

Today the overcrowding in the apartment was kind of getting on my nerves (although they are leaving tomorrow) so I hopped on a bus to Dun Laoighire.

I like the waterfront there. It looks very English to me, although perhaps I shouldn't say that for fear of annoying Irish people. There are all these elegant Victorian homes lining the seashore. The parks are pretty and people walk their dogs up and down. I guess you've got to be pretty well-heeled to live out there. But it must be nice. It is a cool place to visit, even if it doesn't really work as a stand-in for home.

Back at the apartment, Bepe's parents cooked up a storm tonight and I'm FULL so I'll just go massage my belly a bit and go to sleep!


So it was Bepe's parents' wedding anniversary last night. He had been wondering what to get them and I had the BEST idea!

I can't believe I didn't want them to come before. It's true that it's very squished in the apartment and that the bathroom is littered with his sisters' toiletries, but I like them so much I hardly notice that we can't speak to each other.

Anyway, I said: "How about Riverdance?"

I know what you're thinking. It's cheesy. It's not cool. It's so totally not gothic. Well, all of that is true. But sometimes you've got to just forget about being cool and go to something because it's fun.

(Confession: I have seen Riverdance once, on my only ever trip to New York and I totally loved it.)

Also, I think that Irish people maybe knock that sort of thing because of good old-fashioned begrudgery. 'Scuse me, folks, but you really do have a tendency to enjoy taking down a peg or two anything that is Irish and also successful and popular. It's totally not your best trait. I know what I'm talking about because we Newfoundlanders inherited it, OK? But seriously, what's so bad about being fun and enjoyed by lots of people? Anyone?

Anyway, the point is that not only did they GO but they absolutely LOVED it and they came back all romantic and starry-eyed and looking ten years younger and I was really proud for having suggested it and Bepe said thanks, because I'd given them a memory that they would have for the rest of their lives!!

Right, that's my piece for today. Now I'm going out with Saoirse for my latest craze: Cheap Korean Barbecue. I'm hoping they let you Bring Your Own Bottle cause I can't afford wine.

Italians in the house

Although it's very cramped in the apartment, I hafta admit, I'm kinda having fun with Bepe's family. It's strange--we can't communicate directly, but they sort of remind me of Newfoundlanders. They are friendly and direct.

Last night, Bepe's Dad directed a remark at me. I asked Bepe to translate. He said (blushing): "Dad says it's nice to see a girl who is not too thin, not like my sisters over there" (the girls duly giggled).

Just while I'm deciding whether to be offended because I've been called fat or not, Bepe adds, "He's right, it wouldn't suit you to be skinny. You are just right the way you are."

While that doesn't mean much coming from the guy who used to date one of the skinniest girls I've ever seen, I guess it was sort of cute.

I will say this for them though: despite what they think is "terribly windy" weather, they have made it their business to see as much as possible. They've been to Phoenix Park where the Mamma enjoyed the Papal Cross, she being a religious sort. They've been to the National Art Gallery, where apparently the only thing they enjoyed was the solitary Caravaggio. They've eaten at the restaurant where Bepe works and they have cooked up a storm here.

But I think they should really try some local food, at least once. Maybe they won't like it, but surely they should try. I've been told the Porter House has quite nice food. I have been there for their beer and it's good. So I'm thinking that that would be a place to take them. I'd like to foot the bill--they have been feeding me on pasta all week after all--but can't afford it. I'll check with Bepe before suggesting because I know they are on a budget.

In other news, getting together with Saoirse tomorrow to catch a flick. Pure escapism. Nothing intellectual. I've been working hard and the last thing I need is to go to the cinema and be expected to think!

Bepe's family are here

Well, they arrived. One Mamma, one Dad and two sexily-dressed teenage girls. Bepe's family. Oh, I don't mean to sound mean but I am cramped into my miniscule room now while Mamma cooks pasta and Dad watches football on TV and the two girls are in the even small bathroom tarting themselves up. They did bring me a bottle of what Bepe assures me is great homemade wine, so I can see that they are making an effort.

They are not impressed by the weather. But! Dublin Tourism gave me a few free tickets on Dublin bus tours so I have handed them out and am hoping that that will keep them out of the house for most of the day tomorrow. None of them speak very good English (the girls a little bit but nothing to write home about) and so...well, there's stll loads to do. I've been making suggestions, through Bepe, but my impression is that he just wants Mamma to stay in the flat cooking, which seems kinda mean.

So...what? Well, I always send people to Phoenix Park because I'm still kinda blown away by all the deer living in the heart of the city. Eating out they will do in the restaurant where Bepe works just down the road and my money is on sending them on one of those tours to Newgrange. I'm pretty sure they even have Italian guides. I'll check. Under the guise of being helpful and nice, the idea is to keep them so entertained they will out of the flat most of the time.

So wish me luck! :)