Washington and California are not related.

People here are always a little surprised when I tell them the weather here is a lot like the weather back home. Then I explain that Washington is pretty close to Canada and it seems to make more sense. Fortunately it seems to get the rain out of the way in the morning around here, and just spends the rest of the day being gray and humid. It’s not even that cold, which is pleasant.

This morning I walked to the office, where I met up with Mary for the coffee hour – apparently “elevenses” is not restricted to hobbits. Mary introduced me to the other staff in about five minutes, which means I don’t remember anyone at all. Fortunately there’s a girl close to my age who’s working as the receptionist, so I’m going to practice my underdeveloped Making Friends Skills and see if we can hang out sometime. (This is about a hundred times more terrifying than having to figure out new office skills, by the way.)

The coffee hour went really well, though – we all got our mugs and our drinks and sat around a big table and chatted. Well, they chatted – I mostly listened, partly because I’m not that great at small talk, and partly because trying to enter an Irish conversation is like trying to snatch coals out of a fire. Usually it begins with one person telling an anecdote, and then two or three people will respond at the exact same time, and it is completely acceptable for everyone to talk over one another. Usually someone will listen politely so you’re not just talking to yourself, and somehow everything stays on the same topic, but it’s definitely challenging, especially with the accents.

After that I explored Cork’s downtown, specifically St. Patrick’s Street and a little bit of Merchants Quay. I got a cheap t-shirt at Marks & Spencer in case my luggage didn’t arrive today (guess what, it didn’t), along with a very classy (and waterproof) black trench coat. I also got shampoo, so I can take a proper shower this evening. Unfortunately the doors don’t entirely close, and it has two temperatures – freaking hot, and off.

But today I got the bus right! Well, mostly right – I tried to walk in the wrong direction for downtown, but caught the right bus in the right direction to get there and back to the apartment. Hooray!

I’m seriously hoping my luggage arrives tomorrow – not only would I rather like to wear different pants, it has my phone, the gifts I brought for my “co-workers,” computer charger, the converter/adapter so I can actually use that charger, and my makeup without which I am beginning to feel sort of zombie-like, which is surprising. I don’t wear that much makeup to begin with. Maybe getting to wash my hair with shampoo instead of bar soap (which really doesn’t work at all) will help me feel better.

(For the record, I have yet to buy any books or tea.)

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