Back in the big smoke

Home sweet home

Following a long break, both from New York city and from this blog, I’m back! Back to work, back my apartment with its leaky ceilings, complicated housemates and weird little cat. I’m very grateful to the people who wrote guest posts for my blog series on Ireland — it was exciting to see so many different attitudes to the subject.

I was in Dublin for several weeks over the holiday, and the atmosphere there did seem dimmer, slower than usual. Unemployment is more visible amongst family and friends; I spoke to highly talented job-seekers (one recently returned from abroad) who said that many of the country’s industries are years behind where they should be.

Still, things are not that bad — it’s not yet dustbowl America. People are getting on with life, and someone in the construction industry even told me his wages are still higher than those of his peers in Europe. This is anecdotal, of course, but it was surprising to hear, given the widespread job losses and cuts, and the accompanying moans and groans.

NY kitty mugshot

One evening out on the town in Dublin, my purse was stolen. That had never happened before, and along with the rise in people begging on the streets, it seemed to highlight the growing tensions between the haves (of whom I’m one) and the have nots.

On the other hand, that gap is not unique to Ireland. For the night I returned to New York, with a new purse and new bag, the first thing that happened, even before I reached my apartment? My wallet was stolen again. As I picked my way along my street in the dark through the snow, without keys, cards, or cash, I felt the transience, the isolation, the drama of New York. Home sweet home!

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