From California Sunshine to Irish Autumn

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C and I just spent a really wonderful two weeks in Southern California. I grew up in Los Angeles, so landing at LAX always feels like “home!”, even though I haven’t lived there for longer than I have lived there.

The day after we arrived we drove up the coast to Santa Barbara. The Pacific Coast Highway is a great drive. The big, dry mountains down to the pacific waves couldn’t look more different to Ireland. This stretch of road It is mostly populated and there are houses hanging over the sea and built into mountain sides. You’re never far from humanity in California.

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We also spent time out in the desert, staying in Palm Springs for three nights and Joshua Tree for one. The desert landscape feels completely foreign to me. The lack of green, the dryness, the browns and beige and soft colours are the opposite to the lush jewel tones of autumn in Ireland. The harsh sunlight is also a clear difference as well.

There is something quite wonderful about waking up and knowing the sun will shine. Seeing a perfectly blue sky, palm trees, and the sun every day really does make it feel like a holiday. It was a treat to spend time in pools, lounging in the warm shade, and getting to leave all “outerwear” safely packed away.

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I think it is good for the soul to get a chance to be in landscapes so completely opposite to those you live with every day. Parts of Joshua tree were almost like a joke: piles of rocks and sand and cacti. It was like being on the set of The Flinstones movie.

It was a relief to come back to turning leaves and cool autumn air. Driving on the motorway yesterday was like being inside a pumpkin; the orange and yellow glowing along the road against a dark sky.

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I am certainly more suited to this Irish climate, but it is lucky to be able to get out and remember to appreciate it. That blast of heat and sun and sand and memories of all those palm trees will carry me through the dark winter that is descending.

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From California Sunshine to Irish Autumn

Slip Sliding to the Solstice

Sunset at 4pm
Sunset at 4pm

Winter has really taken hold here in Dublin. The past few days the sun has set before 4.30. I love the dark coziness. If I didn’t have to go to work starting at 6.30 when everyone is rushing home. Not that I am complaining about having a job!

The long dark hours are something that I have come to love about Irish winter. Fires, candles and earlier to bed. It gets a bit draining come February, but it still feels cozy now. Knowing we get the long summer light as a reward is comforting.

November Light
November Light

The hot water bottle has come out, and the fire has been turned on. Yep, we have a gas fire which doesn’t smell nice but is much cleaner.

Christmas lights are lit all over the city. And though I am not quite ready for Christmas yet (my American-ness knows we have Thanksgiving to get through first!), the lights are gorgeous all over Dublin.

But I am trying to roll with the season; enjoy the darkness and hunker down for all that celebrating on the horizon.

Christmas Time in the City. Grafton Street.
Christmas Time in the City. Grafton Street.
Slip Sliding to the Solstice