We are very quickly learning the rules of the game here.

We rarely lock the doors because it’s a huge hassle. We each have a keycard that likes to slip under furniture and into cushions that is needed to unlock the building door, our apartment front door, and our individual room door. And all the doors lock automatically. We learned very quickly how much this sucks.

The very first night, someone got out of the shower in a towel only to realize that their room door had closed and locked itself. So he had to borrow someone else’s clothes to go to security to pay the fine to get the door unlocked. (It’s funny; the Irish kids always get fined. But if you play up your Americanosity, they sometimes let you go free of charge.)

Anywho, the solution to all this is leaving the deadbolt on the doors out so that they can’t shut and lock themselves. We only do this when we’re in the apartment (or “flat,” if you will). At least that’s the plan. We may have forgotten once or twice. But the other night, after having locked the door, we came home to find our trash can missing. Not the laptops, i-Pods, and cameras that were lying around the common room. Just the trash can.

Our neighbor Jess (who is also our mentor) wasn’t phased. “Yer bin’s gone?” “Yeah, did someone actually climb through the window?” I asked. “Oh, you left the window open? Of course.” (Of course, Annie. The window that is inconveniently placed over the kitchen table is obviously an invitation to burglars.) “Will we get it back?” I asked. “Yeah, now ye just go steal someone else’s.” We were astounded. “It’s Corrib, it’s what you do.”

She informed us that they had actually recently lost a carpet tile in a house party, so they had to go steal one soon. Which they did the next day and brought one for us, too. “We don’t need one, we’re not missing any carpet tiles.” “Aw well, you can use it as a rug in the kitchen.” [Later, a very unfortunate incident occurred. The previous owner of the carpet tiles was introduced to us, and he spotted the contraband and took it back. We claimed innocence.]

I still didn’t entirely believe this situation until our remote control disappeared, as well. “It’s cuz ye’s have a new one,” Jess said. Apparently our style of remote is a hot commodity in Corrib because it is hard to come by and it is the only one that works with Playstations. So the suspect pool was narrowed to boys. We eventually found the perpetrator, and he promptly confessed. But he wouldn’t give in (Playstation is serious business). He gave us their old one, but it doesn’t work. We don’t really care, though, because the only thing on “the telly” here is bad American sitcoms (mostly Friends and King of Queens—How I Met Your Mother if you’re lucky). But, oh, boy, don’t interrupt the neighbors when Desperate Housewives or Gossip Girl comes on.

As of now, our bin is still missing. If you spot an extra one somewhere (they are rather large and hard to miss), let me know.

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