My English has improved a lot in the last two years and in most cases I can manage a normal conversation. Speaking to people with slightly different accents can be a problem sometimes, but it seems like after a few minutes I get used to it, and handle it OK.
There is something funny that is still happening to me, from time to time. The other day I went to my bank for a money transfer. I was thinking about the amount of money, the recipient full name and so on. The cashier, who has now seen me a few times in the last month or so, started the conversation with something like “Hello Andrea, how has it been in Ireland so far?”. This was not exactly the type of question I expected. Not the type of conversation you normally have in a bank with a cashier. Well, even if the question was quite simple and was very nice of her to ask me, she caught me by surprised with an unexpected question about an unrelated topic. I was baffled and for a moment had to “rewind the tape”, think and then prepare a reply.
Nothing bad happened and a few other times I simply asked to repeat the question, still it’s funny that if a topic that is not normally discussed in a certain context it appears that I can be caught by surprise and not understand it, even if the vocabulary is simple enough for me to understand every single word of the sentence.
Anyway, life in Ireland has been OK so far, everyone I met have always been very nice and helpful. +1 to the Irish.