Irish pool has too-small balls, and other adroit observations.

 Beautiful Connemara.

Beautiful Connemara.

The Irish do a lot of things their own way; phrasing ("Runners" are sneakers, you have "loads" of something instead of a lot, "having a laugh" means kidding, a "press" is a cabinet), scheduling ("Irish time" is a commonly heard phrase to note general tardiness, such as that of the bus). This weekend I can add to my list of these discoveries: Irish "pool." The balls are small(er) and are two solid colors instead of stripes and solids and don't have any numbers on them; the table is half the size of standard billiards and the rules seem to favor Irish players if you happen to be a non-Irish player. (Or so it seemed after a few drinks.) Needless to say, Team America lost miserably this last Saturday evening in a small bar the only bar in Letterfrack, in Connemara, a national park north of Galway.

My new friends and I made a weekend hiking trip of it; the views of the sea were lovely, and so was that of the Kylemore Castle, which was on a postcard I sent to someone though I've forgotten to whom exactly (definitely sent about 30 postcards). Now I can say I've actually seen it, from a small mountaintop.

Saturday night at the pub, Kirsten found a French girl for me to speak to because I'd mentioned I was looking for someone to practice with. Though, I ran into the same frustrating problem of her speaking to me in English, despite my attempts. It was a loud, crowded place and the conversation didn't last long, but after thinking about it I realized that actually the only person who never does this to me is Math. Friends do try, but always slip back into English pretty quickly, either to be polite because I have, or perhaps they're just frustrated with the lack of efficient communication. I never give him credit for it, and had barely realized it until that second, but Mathieu's the one who's patient enough to encourage me even when I begin giving up. It made me miss him terribly in that moment. (As if my regular missing him wasn't enough).

Another discovery made this weekend: ULTIMATE FRISBEE IS AWESOME. We played two-on-two, it wasn't anything official, but I had so much fun. I don't even know how it was possible to be up for it after the hike; but I felt like the twins with their bottomless pit of energy. Why is it so rare to experience this boundlessness as adults? I love it; this feeling of wanting to play and run and laugh until your heart bursts and not even noticing how tired you are. Fantastic.

Speaking of the twins, the last few weeks have just been us getting to know each other and adjusting to our new lives together; which is the reason for the long gap in blog entries. There wasn't much to report aside from, "Cleaned up pee sprays today," or, "Broke up 12 wrestling fights in the span of an hour".

 The boys give me a push.

The boys give me a push.

It's been a bit of a tricky situation with Niamh finding work; when I was hired, she'd secured a temp job that she hoped would last a few weeks until she could find a more permanent one. Though that temp job only lasted the first week, and so the boys had her home again last week, which I think erased all the work we did trying to get them to adjust to me. Once Niamh was back, they clung to her and wouldn't let me do a thing; if I tried to help, they'd scream for their mom who was never more than 3 feet away, and most likely helping the other kid. But now she's found a permanent position, so we'll start again.

Despite their resistance, I seem to have made a few impressions on them; or at least my "funny accent" has. Niamh and Conor were laughing at how they've begun pronouncing "dance" as I do, instead of with the shorter vowel of an Irish accent. I've also got them saying "candy" instead of "sweets," in their fervent talk of Halloween. (All unintentionally, of course.) On that note, the whole house is deco-ed out for Halloween, and it's making me really excited. I haven't experienced it through kids in such a long time, I've forgotten how much fun it can be when it's not about choosing a slutty-but-not-too costume and getting hammered at a "grown-up party." Needless to say, the boys are making an impression on me, too. Today we found some Halloween dances on Youtube to practice; Ghostbusters is now a popular tune in this house. I feel pretty Ok about that.

My friendship with Niamh continues to be one of my favorite aspects of this experience. I love that we can chat in the sitting room over a cup of tea after the boys go to bed. And she spoils me terribly; she bought me SIX bars of dark chocolate to keep stock in the "press" (cabinet) for whenever I'm feeling "peckish" (hungry). I also love having been introduced to her boot camp class, which meets at the park near the house twice a week and costs just 5 euro. It's the only way to solve the problem of six bars of dark chocolate.

In other news; I booked a trip to London for the first week of November that I'm pretty stoked about. I've wanted to go there for so long (because, movies). I promise to take loads (that's right I said loads) of Expected Pictures of trying to tickle the nose of a Buckingham guard or a video of myself singing "London Bridges Falling Down" on its namesake landmark. I also promise to do my best Eliza Doolittle and time how long it takes for me to get called out, or have a drink thrown in my face.

 I'm REALLY excited about London. "Hello" makes me feel closer.

I'm REALLY excited about London. "Hello" makes me feel closer.