I’m sure there are friends and family back home that think we must hate our time here in Ireland because we talk so much about the rain, or Amy’s problems getting a license, or any number of other problems we’ve encountered.  I need to point out, though, that this complaining is not an American ex-pat phenomena, but an Irish one.  If you’re having trouble understanding what that Irishman you’ve just met has just said to you, it’s a safe bet that it was about the weather, and the lashing rain.  (Actually, it’s not just the Irish who talk about the awful weather here.  While in Spain we met an English couple who asked us how long we’d been on holiday.  The woman expressed regret for us having been there during the colder, wetter weather Spain had just experienced, but then offered us this consolation:  “It’s not as bad as Ireland.”  You see, even Brits in Spain begin their conversations by talking about the horrid Irish weather. ) So, to be perfectly clear, the Irish are great, the food is wonderful, the music fantastic, and we love Cork.  But there are times it’s hard not to feel like we really are cursed.

I could tell you about buying the car only to have it experience engine problems which we got fixed just days before the garda (police) began to enforce the new license laws that made it impossible for Amy to continue driving.  In almost eleven months here, we’ve had exactly one weekend when the car was working and Amy was relatively legal to drive.

I could mention our wanting to join a hill-walking club which requires that all participants have rainproof clothing to join.  Within about five minutes of my reading that requirement, my rain-proof Columbia jacket became a sponge, so I bought a “waterproof” Helly Hansen jacket — except it soaked up water, too.

I could even explain that before we showed up, Ireland was still called the Celtic Tiger because of its strong economy.  A few weeks ago, mere months after our arrival, Ireland became the first European country to officially enter recession.  That’s how powerful our bad luck has become — we have the power to ruin nations.

Perhaps the best example of our bad luck is demonstrated by our desire to learn to sail.  This spring, I read about the Asgard II, an Irish training ship that has a small professional crew but then signs on a couple of dozen trainees who, during short cruises of several days, learn to sail.  I decided the Asgard II was for me.

Amy wasn’t so interested in sailing on a bigger ship, but she got hooked on the idea of learning to sail smaller boats, and when we shared our plan with our friend Arun, he too became interested.  So, we decided the three of us would take classes together and learn to sail small dinghies, which would also allow us to take advantage of the upcoming warmer weather in the summer by sailing on sunny weekends.  Later, I would join the Asgard II for a week or so and experience sailing on a bigger ship.

So what happened to our plans?  The day I called him to finalize our plans, Arun lost his job and has since returned home to Singapore, the weather this summer was the rainiest ever recorded, and the Asgard II sank.  According to the news reports, the captain had “no idea what caused the ship to sink.”  I know, though.  I wanted to sail in her.