The Weather in Dublin
Olga Zilberbourg

We could check bicycles on the airplane, $200 per bicycle, but we had to unscrew and remove the pedals first. We packed the moka pot, parted with the cast iron frying pan. Friends and family who had assembled at the airport to say their goodbyes quizzed us on Ireland trivia, things like shamrock, the Blarney Stone, the Harrods bombing. On the plane from San Diego to Los Angeles, Drew read up on research connected with his exciting new job -- testing renal functions -- while I reworked my resume into a CV. I'd heard that during the current economic crisis in Ireland the local accountants were being exposed as the devil, and I was counting on the reputation of American banking institutions that lined my resume to find work. Any bookkeeping gig would do, really; living in Ireland was to be our big adventure. My hands were sweating, but otherwise I wasn't nervous.
The flight from Los Angeles to London was delayed for technical reasons that smelled a lot like leaking jet fuel. From our guidebook, we learned that James Joyce picked Dublin as the setting for his novels because "it was a 'center of paralysis' where nothing much ever changed." In London, we missed our connecting flight and spent three hours testing the perfumes and sampling liquors on promotion at the duty-free shops in Heathrow. The late night shuttle from London to Dublin was half full of hopefuls. The Irish Independent newspaper claimed Ireland would be "The Comeback Economy of Europe." Baile Átha Cliath, a sign on top of the airport building announced. Our luggage, containing all our worldly possessions, save what we'd put in storage back in San Diego, and including two bicycles sans pedals, had overshot the target and traveled on to Madrid. It would rejoin us, according to the airline representative, the very next day. Why Ireland? the immigrations officer asked.
We'd seen the pictures of our temporary apartment online. The front door was painted crimson red. Our first night, we sat at the charming breakfast bar in the newly renovated kitchen and feasted on all the packages of "snack mixes" hoarded from our flights. The next day, a Sunday, we shopped for clean socks and underwear, and also business attire for Drew. At midday we landed in the corner of a dark and cavernous-looking downtown pub and entertained the bartender by ordering a hot toddy for me and a shot of Bailey's for Drew. Irish men drink whiskey or Guinness, the bartender sneered. Uncouth, we shared a plate of the Dublin coddle, which together with the jetlag really weighed us down and glued to those bar stools. Somebody switched the TV screen behind the bar to a children's program, three paunchy animated cars rescuing an ancient frigate from the sea and repairing it with twigs and moss. Drew said, Do you have this feeling that a leprechaun might pop up from around pretty much any corner? I said, Ireland, the land of opportunities. Outside, it started raining.
At 8:30 am on Monday morning, Drew went to work. The company manufactured test kits for kidney injuries, a perfect match for Drew's research interests. They'd offered him a competitive salary with full benefits, including a leave of four weeks a year and lunches at the company's "canteen." They also promised to pay cash for our move. At 9:45 am, when I was still brushing my teeth with a brand new toothbrush and getting ready to go out to look for a place to rent a cell phone to call the airline about our missing luggage and for Internet access to start my job hunt, there was a knock on the door. It was Drew. What happened? Was everything okay? What happened?? Drew's employer had filed for bankruptcy that very morning. All the people in the office were packing up their desks.
Drew was still in the middle of his story when another knock on our door announced the arrival of the delivery men. Our three suitcases and two bicycles had traveled the world and were finally ready to settle down. Do you remember what you did with the pedals? I asked Drew. The question had been nagging me since we'd left San Diego. Yes, he said, I do. I left them in the back of my mother's truck.