Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Jellybean of Death

That title sounds a lot cooler that what its really about.

The Jellybean of Death is my car.

Its a 96 Opel Corsa. I think they are made by GM. Either way its definitely a crappy little car.
Don't get my wrong, it does its job. I get from point A to point B, but not without its own share of issues.

First and foremost- It has NO AIRBAGS. Hello?? Didn't they know how important airbags were in 1996. seriously. I would HATE to get into a fender bender in this car much less anything else. Also it has no power steering. Parking this car takes some serious arm strength. I think my biceps are definitely a lot stronger than they were 4 months ago!

I bought my car off a friend of mine for 400 euro. He had bought himself a new car and sold it to me cheaply. I think it used to be cherry red, now its more dark pink. As you can see the steering wheel is on the passenger side of the car. I'm mostly used to that by now. There are still times though that all the years of driving on the left takes over.

For instance I was leaving a friends house late the other night- it was freezing outside so I ran and jumped into my car and put on my seat belt. I go to start the car and realize I'm sitting on the passenger side of the car. HAH. I then jumped out and prayed that no one noticed and hopped in the right side of the car.

Also driving on the roads here- it has made me a better driver. Some of these roads are insanely small and curvy and people FLY down them.

This is NOT a driveway people. This is a proper road. I took this picture driving down to my friends house. Its a two way road. When someone else comes along the other way its a game of chicken. Who will pull over first? Now not all of the road outside of the cities are this small, but its not much bigger. Huge difference than to the states. Even in some of the cities the roads are impossible. Like cork-

I don't know who took this picture- but its the city center in cork and its one of the larger roads in Cork. Its a very old city and the way it was built the roads can't be made any wider. Most of the time only one car at a time can fit down the street so that means that the cars in the other direction have to pull on the sidewalk in between parked cars so traffic can get through. Talk about a tight squeeze. I was freaking out in the passenger seat. My poor friend Aoife.

End of story is that while I'm thankful for my car I can't wait for the day that I can afford something a little newer and nicer. and with some safety features. But its kind of fun having a clunker again, it adds to that whole starting over in a new country experience.

Random Tuesday Thoughts- What is this light??!?.....oh, its sunshine.


We are finally getting a Thaw here in Ireland. After nearly a month of record low temperatures the weather is actually warm enough to go outside without freezing your eyelids open. Unfortunately most everyone still has no water due to busted water pipes (not us though hehehe).

So my landlords son was just over- he actually owns the house we live in. (he got run over by a truck or something and got a ton of insurance money) And I was not expecting him to be so young, like my age. or so cute. I don't think James likes that either haha. (like I would ever even entertain the thought now people!)

So the banks here are closed for an entire week after Christmas. Does anyone else think that is F*%&$ing ridiculous. I do. Seriously an entire week??? People need to be able to have access to the bank. I think i wouldn't be so pissed if I could make deposits into the atms- here you can only withdrawal. Or the fact that I drove to BOTH of my banks today and they were both closed. seriously? an entire week? GRR. I also have a funny feeling the post office is doing the same thing. We haven't had any mail since the day before Christmas- we should have gotten junk mail at the very least. This country is damn ridiculous sometimes.

Christmas here was interesting. The entire holiday is completely centered around the Christmas dinner and drinking. no big surprises here. Christmas eve the pubs are PACKED full of people. Everyone else is going to all the shops that are still open and buying whatever they can like Armageddon is coming. Do you seriously need 10 packs of cigarettes for one day? no. People are insane. It also made working Christmas eve REALLY SUCK. Christmas was great though. Dinner was fantastic (they have really fancy Christmas dinners since its their only really big meal of the year- I'm talking several courses people!) and then the rest of the night was spent playing games, talking and of course, drinking. we drank until 6am. my liver was not my best friend the next day that's for sure. And the day after Christmas? that's also a holiday here- St. Stephan's day. I'm not sure what its all about, but I know people go drinking. that's pretty much all i know about it haha.

My husband did good for Christmas- minus the Danielle steel novel in my stocking. But you can't blame him for trying haha. I think some of my favorite things include:

And a paint by Number:This was such a great off the beaten path present for me. I usually get clothes or books or dvds, but I love this present. I have great memories of my sister and I sitting at the kitchen table across from each other doing paint by number of kittens or ponies or whatever we would do. I always enjoyed them. And it suits my type- A perfectionist personality to a T. I can be as obsessive as I want to be. and no one can do anything about it- nah nah nah nah na nah!

I'm hungry but nothing sounds good to me. Theres hummus in the fridge but I want wheat thins with them. They don't have wheat thins here. hurmph.

I had the strangest dream the other night- I kept on being tracked down by crazy I'm going to kill you random mafia guys. I got shot 16 times but i was still alive just playing possum. And then they left high fiving each other and I got up and turned into Bart Simpson to hid from these mafia men, but it just so happened that Bart was next on the hit list and so we were involved in a game of hide and seek in the middle of Paris.

Now that you all think I'm sufficiently crazy.

In Ireland they have TV tax. if they haven't found you yet, then you don't have to pay, but if they find you and find that you haven't been paying yet- you have to pay. The key to this game is avoidance. If you know the TV taxman is at the door you turn off the lights and don't answer the door. If they cant come in to check that you have a TV they can't tax you. We haven't been found out and some people haven't been found out in years. I'm sure it will happen, but until that day I'm happily ducking this tax. I think its ridiculous that we have to pay tax for channels that we don't even watch. (the TV tax supports RTE which is Ireland's version of BBC and is not all that great.)

Well I should probably root around in my kitchen to see if that is anything remotely worth cooking. what the hell am i spending all of my money in the grocery store on?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone has a wonderful christmas!

Hubby and I just finished opening our presents and eating our breakfast cassarole (YUUMMMM) and now we are in a wrapping paper induced coma surrounded by the carnage of christmas.

And here is a little tidbit to make sure that your Christmas goes as smoothly as mine!

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

In My Humble Opinion (or my ignorant judgements of what I think things should be like. Cause ya know We all know when we know best) Ramblings.

Ok maybe this is just me- but I hate to see when people end relationships.

Now don't get me wrong, there are some relationships that need to end. There are some people that are just toxic together, some people are in abusive situations, some people are manipulative, etc. so forth and so on.

But there are some people who seem to have it all together, or to seem to have a lot of good things going on, but then they hit one molehill and call it quits. I hate to see that happen. Recently I had a friend who broke up with her partner. They had a child together and were living together and trying to make it work as a couple. She decided to end things with him since he never said I love you to her or the baby, he never really spent a lot of time with either of them. But there were no huge fights, there was no infidelity, none of the problems I would associate with a "deal breaker". It just seemed such a shame to me. It was not only the end of a relationship, but the breaking up of a family. I wondered why she couldn't have addressed the issue and tried to work it out together as a partnership instead of saying oh well- it was good while it lasted. Every couple goes through ups and downs, its the natural progression of a relationship. I felt very sad for her and for him and mostly for thier child.

Now don't get me wrong- i KNOW i sound presumptious. I KNOW that I will never understand exactly how my friend felt and what was going on inside of herself that made her decide that ending things was the best option. No one ever understands the inner workings of a relationship except those involved. At the same time though, I couldnt seem to help myself from thinking these thoughts. (or course I kept my opinion to myself since its none of my business and the only thing i can do as a friend is be supportive which I have been doing).

I feel like relationships are viewed as so much more fluid now than in the past. I'm not just talking about marriage here, I'm talking about long term relationships that people are invested in. I dont think that just because someone never got married that it doesn't mean that thier relationship can't be just as involved and mean the same. Or be as devastating when it ends.

I think a lot of this is a result of how the media portrays relationships in popular culture. Its cool to sleep around, its not worth sticking things out for the long run. People are supposed to put themselves first, take care of what thier needs require. While that is important sometimes sacrifice is more important. Thats why I get so annoyed when I see things end between people sometimes. Things aren't always easy, sometimes goodness and happiness require work on the part of both people. I just feel like i see so many people that don't want to put that work in, that don't want to sacrifice thier needs, youth, time, whatever.

Of course i know that I cant stereotype every relationship I come across. There are some that will never work. My parents are a great example. They were married for 22 years and they SHOULD have divorced long before they did. They were not good for each other and it was not good for my sister and I to have to go through thier explosive marriage. They are much happier, fulfilled people divorced than they ever were married. But with divorce rates hovering somewhere around 50% how many times is that the exception instead of the rule?

Anyways I'm getting off of my soapbox now but I wonder what you guys think out there in the blogosphere...have you seen relationships that should have never ended or do you think that there are way too many people that stick it out for the wrong reasons?

Random Tuesday Thoughts- This couch has a Rachael sized dent in it by now.


Its cold, really cold. Lucky me it just so happens to be one of the coldest winters, if not the coldest in Irish history. I mean, don't get me wrong- I know it gets a lot colder in other places, but MAN its cold. In Celsius it has been minus 15 and today it didn't get above minus 4. So in real temperatures its in the 20s and high teens. The thing is here in Ireland they aren't used to these temperatures. The houses aren't really insulated enough for them. Our new place has large rooms and only one radiator in each. So mainly the house stays fairly cold. We have barricaded ourselves in the living room/Kitchen and I have been stuck on the sofa like a barnacle on a ship.

James has been going through a lot of TV viewing phases. He hasn't had much or any work to do on his co-op and school isn't until the end of January. First over the summer it was Frasier, no complaints there. Then I got him hooked on Dog the Bounty Hunter. (Don't judge, its just trashy enough to enjoy and not irritate. and besides I LOVE watching this show with my grandma- she just cannot get over the size of Beths Tits.)

And they don't even look that large in that picture. I mean, whoa. She must not be able to sleep on her back. But I have to say I love Beth- she is just so....Beth. I get a kick out of her.

Anyways so we were on a Dog kick- I was pretty happy about that. Well it seems while I was at work James has been cheating on Dog with the Documentary channels. He discovered the crime network (it shows all those investigative reports that they show on cable in the states) and has since then been obsessed. I'm ok with watching these, but the problem is in the wee hours of the morning when I am trying to sleep I hear EVERY LITTLE NOISE. Every bump and creak and car alarm going off is a crazed killer who will burst into our bedroom any second to kill us and chop our bodies into little pieces, bury them in the backyard and build a patio over top of the shallow graves.

Paranoid much?

anyways so I haven't been sleeping so well as of late.

So you know that job I have? I HATE IT. but its a job and it pays the bills. but I hate it. and I hate so many people knowing who I am and I have no clue who they are. There aren't that many americans here in Limerick (Dublin is a completely different story) and so for many people I am the only american they see or interact with and it sticks in their minds. I hear back from friends about people they meet who know me as the American who works in the shop. Its kinda creepy. I've run into people on nights out on the town that come up to me and talk to me like they know me. It was really confusing at first, and still is unsettling to me most times. I just like to blend in- be a normal sized fish in a moderate sized pond ya know what i mean?

Important lesson learned this year- Go home for thanksgiving. It is a normal day here, no one mentions it. It sucked- I was so homesick for moms mashed potatoes and stuffing. Christmas is actually ok since its such a huge deal here. Its not really that different from back home. But no one here in Ireland even understands WHY we have Thanksgiving. They don't understand what a big deal it is or how important it is to americans. and you cant find canned pumpkin in this country if your life depended on it.

You need to check out this video.

Its by these two local Limerick guys called the rubberbandits. One of my good friends is a cousin to the skinny one called Blindboy. They started off doing prank phone calls years ago and then it moved to making music videos and doing local gigs. They are all about taking the piss out of Limerick and the Scumbags or Knackers that live here. They are playing as two scumbags and are talking with scumbag accents (yes these people DO sound like that and it is HILARIOUS. just try and not laugh when you hear them because they are liable to kick the shit out of you.)
Anyways every year in the UK and Ireland there is this huge competition for the number 1 song of the year, which usually the X-factor winner gets the spot. Last year Rage Against the Machine won. This year Ireland is trying to get this to the number one spot. It could happen, we all hope it happens. It would be great for Limerick. These guys have had more press in the past two weeks than the past 5 years that they have been kicking around Limerick.
And besides its pretty damn funny. and a little true.

I would also be really impressed if most people understand what they are saying. There is a lot of local slang and the accents are pretty thick. Irish accents are WAY different than the ones you hear on TV. Those only exist on TV.

I seem to be picking up some of the accent here. I promised myself this wouldn't happen- but despite all of my best efforts to say Y'all and other americanisms I am failing. I have a lot of people ask me where my accent is from and recently I have had a lot of genuine surprise from people that I am from the states. I have been asked if I am from south Africa, Australia, Canada and even Northern Ireland. Nope. I haven't even been to ANY of those places. Stupid accent.

I hope everyone has a great christmas. I'm excited for my first Irish christmas. I have a huge box under the tree with James name on it and it is driving him INSANE. I think that is one of my favorite part of christmas. The torture of what could be under that pretty paper. My sister can vouch for this- ive tortured her for years.

Oh yeah- and my mom sent me a christmas package. Full of american goodies- Mac and cheese and coffee creamer and peanut butter crackers. And peanut butter M&Ms. Ive already eaten half the bag and have a little bit of a sugar overdose. Good thing Christmas comes only once a year!

Monday, December 20, 2010

tsk tsk tsk

I'm still alive. I still have about a million things to blog about. I am still procrastinating.

I blame this all on my husband.

no, actually I blame this on Ireland and thier lack of consistant internet company providers. No wireless for 10 weeks. And I hate my husbands keyboard. its all UK style with buttons in weird places and no $ signs. no thanks.

But it was nice to whine and moan at James about it since he is supposed to be mr. Computer.

anyways i have wireless again and will be blogging.

Like how we had the best 1 year anniversary ever.

My "Irish Style" Thanksgiving.

My Horrible little red car which I like to call the Jellybean of DEATH.

Our new home which is so amazing I never want to leave it.

Our amazing friends who came out in force to celebrate James birthday.

And Christmas. It hasnt even happened yet and I feel a little celebrated out. Minus the opening presents bit.

Its all coming soon friends- i promise no more procrastination. I think. I mean- I KNOW.