Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

Its that time of week again. Not that I'm the best at blogging on time but I'm playing with only half my parts working. So I'm giving myself the sympathy excuse.

1. I am SO SO happy christmas is over. I couldn't take the crazy business of it all anymore. It feels like a weight off my shoulders. Not sure how many more of these retail christmases I can work!

2. I am STILL SICK. seriously its not funny anymore. I have had Bronchitis since september. I went back to the doctor this morning and got a fourth round of antibiotics. I was told I also have a chronic throat infection (huzzah....:( ) I am so freaking exhausted from being ill. I was told I won't be able to fly if I still have bronchitis and I'm meant to leave for America in a week and a half....cross your fingers for me people!

3. I called out of work for the first time ever this morning since I started working in Ireland. The doctor told me I couldn't work with my fever and I was never going to get better. Today is one of the busiest retail days (returns day) and my manager was NOT HAPPY with me. I was so torn with whether or not to go in anyways and it ended up with me having a total meltdown in the car and crying so hard I nearly made myself ill. James ended up called my manager and saying that there was no way he was letting me go in today. I'm happy that I'm resting but I still feel so guilty for not going into work. I think James is better at taking care of me than I am at taking care of myself. blargh.

4. I had a nice christmas despite being ill. We got up in the morning and opened presents and then I made breakfast casserole (I have to share the recipe!) and then I took a 3 hour nap. It was awesome!

5. I got a new set of dishes from my in-laws for christmas- I was super excited (its weird to be at that age where dishes excite you as a present haha) especially since we only had 4 plates to begin with and then I dropped one so we are down to 3. Woot new dishes!

6. It never really felt too christmasy this year...I think its because it seems so warm here. I thought it was warmer than usual this year but my MIL tells me this is normal enough temperatures for December. I'm ok with that...I can live with not sub-zero temps.....if it was only dry outside!

7. I'm wondering if i should take down my christmas decorations before I go to the states or not. they will be up ridiculously late if i leave them, but I am really tired so its tempting to say nevermind.

my MIL made this dessert for christmas dinner- sticky toffee pudding. pretty much the best thing I've ever eaten. (and yes thats homemade cinnamon ice cream on the side)

9. I'm running out of things to be random about. You would think with all of the medications that I'm on my head would be out of it....but instead its just fuzzy.

10. Neko has been extra mischievous lately...came home this morning to find that the had knocked a candle holder to the ground....hes lucky it didn't break or im pretty sure James would have had cat on the menu tonight haha...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ireland VS USA

When it comes to Christmas there are plenty of differences between Ireland and the States. Overall though? To me the feeling is the same. The frantic shopping, the putting up of the tree, wrapping the presents and baking lots of goodies. I was a little concerned last year thinking I would be pretty sad and homesick during the holidays but in reality I was actually fine. I didn't really feel jipped or that I was missing out on too much. Now there are some things that aren't done the same, but there are enough new things that I can add in that makes me feel like Christmas is still Christmas even on the other side of the Atlantic.

For me Christmas begins after Thanksgiving. I always try and get the tree up right after turkey day, I put on a Christmas Story (a MUST in my house!) and hang the stockings and bake some cookies. I have been able to find candy canes (usually at the German grocery stores) and most of my Christmas must haves. There are decorations in town and at the shopping centers and Christmas music being pumped full blast in the shops.
There are things over here in Ireland though that it just wouldn't be Christmas without that I have come to enjoy, but really aren't necessary for the holidays for me! (Now for James this is a totally different story haha!)

Christmas must haves in Ireland:

The Christmas RTE guide. We have to buy it every year and my husbands spends waayyyy too much time pouring over the magazine looking at what movies will be playing and reading articles featuring that years big "stars". I don't see the big deal about it but for James its just not Christmas without it.
The song Fairytale of New York. Now I never even heard of this song until I moved to Ireland but it is played CONSTANTLY!! Last year I shocked pretty much all of my friends by not knowing the words, or caring too much about the song. I was told I would have to know this song to pass my citizenship test (har har)

The Late Late show Toy Show. Its a Christmas ritual for most people here in Ireland and Christmas just doesn't begin for most people until the day after the toy show. I watched it last year and HATED IT! I thought it would be an hour long show with some toys and jokes and Christmas cheer. Wrong. It was nearly 3 hours long with Ryan Toberty (the host) wearing an ugly Christmas sweater (there are many who watch just to find out what the sweater will be) awkwardly interacting with kids showing off this years "hot toys". I found it tedious and it just DRAGGED ON. I made a point of not watching it this year. I think its something that you have to grow up with.

Christmas crackers. You just can't have a Christmas dinner/party/get-together here without some crackers. I really like this part of Christmas- I think its fun pulling the crackers to see who wins (its like the wishbone, who ever gets the bigger part wins!) Wearing the paper hats, seeing how bad the joke inside is and playing with the tiny little toys that come inside the cracker. I plan on buying a couple of boxes of these and bringing them back to the States for my family to enjoy this year!

Tins of Roses....or Quality Street or several other types of assorted chocolates or biscuits (cookies). I think here the most common thing is Roses- people usually have a tin or two lying around the house and most people bring over a tin when headed somewhere for Christmas dinner. I really like the tins of chocolate but won't buy them for our house as there is just two of us and I know who would end up eating most of it haha.

There are other traditions here- like the 12 pubs of Christmas. Pretty self explanatory- Go to 12 different pubs in a row, have a drink in each....see who makes it to the end. I did one last year...I think I made it to 9? maybe 11? it all gets fuzzy after pub 7 haha.

Also there is Farmers Christmas, or the 8th of December. Its the Day of Immaculate Conception and for a lot of people that is the true start to Christmas. Its usually the busiest shopping day here (besides the 24th) and the day when all of the farmers (and travellers) head to the shopping centers to get all of their Christmas shopping done.

Of course there is St. Stephen's Day which is the 26th of December....I'm not sure the real reason behind the day besides getting pissed. Here in Ireland everyone heads to the pubs....I guess to make up for Christmas day since the pub was closed.

There is also something called Little Christmas (I think thats what it's called) which is done in January- from what I know about it thats the day when all the decorations are taken down and I believe its the husband's job to cook a Christmas dinner for the family. I heard a little about it last year but I think it differs depending on the family or where in Ireland your from.

This is my second Christmas here in Ireland and while I wish I was home in the States with my family I enjoy the new traditions I've added into my holiday celebrations and am looking forward to lots of roses and pints with family and friends! Roll on Christmas!

P.S. If I missed anything here is an article about Christmas in Ireland.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Enough already!

I am sick.


I have been sick on and off (mostly on) since September...SEPTEMBER!!

I went to the doctor in October and was told I had a chest infection. He gave me antibiotics which I started taking.

I soon then found out I was allergic to said antibiotics (I just found out it is some acid they are putting in the amoxicillian that I'm reacting to). I ended up sicker on the antibiotics than I was before and ended up stopping taking them before I finished them.

For two to three weeks I was dealing with the side effects of the antibiotic. That was pleasant (NOT).

For about a week I was feeling almost normal. Then I started to cough again. I believe its a combination of the infection and this cold, damp weather here in Ireland.

I've been coughing for 2 1/2 weeks now. I finally went to the doctor yesterday. My chest infection is back. I got a new type of antibiotic (fingers crossed I'm not allergic to this one!).

So I'm ok with all of that. The only new and super fun complication? I've been coughing so much and so hard I've pulled the entire left side of my back. So coughing with a pulled back? MURDER. trying to do anything with a pulled back? EXHAUSTING.

And it couldn't come at a better time of year....Christmas rush...8-10 hour days on my feet. Super awesome.

And what did the doctor give me for my pulled back? Paracetamol. (or to us Americans- Tylenol) Man oh man I miss US pharmaceuticals. Just a little codeine would be awesome.

le sigh.

Well I am sitting at home as much as possible when I'm not at work with my hot water bottle praying in the morning when I wake up my back is much less sore.

And fingers crossed that I finally, finally- get better after this last dose of antibiotics!

Can't be sick going to the States in less than a month...(WOO HOO!)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

Alright- Im playing along with Lin over at Linny's Vault. Shes pretty awesome so you should check her out- not a should, a must!

1. I can't believe how fast these last couple of months have gone by....I still thought it was october most of the way through november and now I'm still shocked everytime i see the date in december! I keep on procrastinating things i really need to be doing, like christmas shopping and catching up with certain things and going back to weight watchers because I have MORE time....obviously I don't!!

2. Is anyone else money stressed? I feel like I work and work and work and I just dont have enough to do everything I need to do. I kinda just want to bury my head in the sand at the thought of all the christmas shopping. We sorted out james's family but havn't even considered my own family which has more people. I'm making more money this year as well....what the crap?

3. Speaking of work I really need to write about how great my new job is! I have told you guys so much about my struggles with job hunting and how hard its been for me and now I've just left you hanging with concern about the new job. I feel like I've made such a smart choice and and really happy with what I'm doing and who I'm working with. I won't lie and say its been all sunshine and rainbows but compared to what I was dealing with before?? Its fantastic! I've met some really amazing people, made some good friends and am so so much happier than I've been in a long time!

4. does anyone else remember that crackle nail polish??? I remember when I was a kid it was super popular and I remember all of the different color combinations we used to mix and match. Well its back- at least in Ireland. I found some the other day and I'm not ashamed to say I bought it and put it on as soon as I got home. Maybe it looked a lot cooler when I was younger, but I don't mind much, its cute and fun and its ok to be fun with little things like that sometimes!

5. I decorated the house for christmas last week. Put up the christmas tree, decorated the mantle, and got a little garland for the stairs. Its not much but I think it makes the living room look nice and cozy! I can't wait to be able to start collecting more and more christmas stuff each year to be able make my house beautiful for christmas!

6. A month or so ago I joined a club called the IWO- International Women's Club. I stumbled across thier website last summer through an expat women's website. I went to a few coffee mornings and decided to join. It felt nice being able to sit down and have a chat with people who understand where I'm coming from and there is so many interesting women as well! Well last night was the IWO christmas party- there were tons of women there that I hadn't met yet and I had such a fantastic time- there was plenty of drink, great food, good company and even santa claus complete with gifts for everyone! A few months ago I ran across an American woman who I gave my number to but never heard anything back from...well guess what? She was there! and She had lost my number! I was so happy to meet her again- she was lovely and it was so great talking to other Americans and feeling like I fit right in! Can't wait to meet up with all of these lovely ladies again!

7. It has been raining non-stop for weeks now. I can't wait to see a little sunshine soon. Who knows the next time thats going to be....must start planning warm holidays in the winter.

8. I leave for America in 4 weeks! woo hoo!!!! So many things on my to-do list! hope I can get a few of them crossed off!!

9. I wrote, addressed and sent off over 40 christmas cards. I'm sure I've left out people as well but for now I would be happy to never write out a christmas card again. Next year I think I won't leave this so late!

10. Booked my reservation for the car rental today....seems to be very cheap- minus the Damage Waiver. Wondering if I should really get it or if its a scam or if I could even temporarily get on my parents insurance for a month while I'm in the states so I don't need to get the CDW. its so expensive- it doubles the cost of the car rental! Anyone else have any advice for me on what I should do about the car rental insurance? Any tips on things you have done in place of buying the car rental insurance??

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Irish Thanksgiving- take two!

This Thanksgiving was my second one here in Ireland. I have to say, this year was definitely better than last year. Now that I have been through being so far away from home on this holiday before, its a lot easier.

I still had to work this year on Thanksgiving- thats the part that was the hardest for me. I would have loved to stay at home and watch the Macy's Day Parade and stay in my jammies (just like back home!) but unfortunately that isn't reality when living abroad. I was at work all day in meetings and I won't lie I did shed a tear or two when I talked to my parents back home. Eating cold sandwiches in a hotel bar just doesn't have the same appeal as a home cooked meal!

Thankfully my husbands family is really supportive and are always excited to have a Thanksgiving with me here in Ireland (even though they still don't get the reason behind the holiday despite my explanations....its just a cultural thing!)

This year was my first time hosting a Thanksgiving and cooking the turkey and the majority of the meal (Thank god my MIL is so awesome- she totally helped me with the meal and answered my frantic turkey phone calls during the morning haha!)

I thought the meal went really well- The cooking turned out really well despite me being under the weather (and by under the weather I mean hungover. I had a work function the night before and work functions here in Ireland means getting drunk with your work mates. de-gutting a turkey while hungover?? NOT FUN. I don't recommend this. There may have been a lot of whining and doing the "this is icky dance" while trying not to vomit down the turkey's neck.)

And of course- the biggest portion of any Irish gathering? Drinking. For me drinking on Thanksgiving ( or Christmas for that matter) is just not done- But my Irish relatives didn't even think twice about whether or not there was going to be a piss up- it goes hand in hand with any function! I was annoyed by this my first Thanksgiving- this time around I had a great time. (I would say I'm way more assimilated this year haha!)

Here are some of the pictures from my Irish Thanksgiving- round two.....

The meal- I was pretty proud of that turkey! Of course no thanksgiving would be complete without my mom's 7- layer salad! (and there is the obligatory cranberry jelly which NO ONE touched- two years running lol!)

The family getting in and settled around the table. We had the meal in my kitchen- It was pretty small and I realized that day that I only own 4 dishes (which is an issue for a meal for 10 people) and no serving spoons. DUH. Thank god for my MIL once again!
After the dinner the drinking commences........

And the drinking continues on....

And then the champagne comes out...
A little for you.....
A lot for me!

There was a lot of laughter and stories told

A lot of Pink Floyd played- with air drumming and guitar of course haha

A lot of strolls down memory lane- with accompanying maps to figure out who lived where in some estate back in the 60's...

And of course lots of family love! I had a fantastic Thanksgiving and feel very thankful to have married into a family as great as my husbands!

I hope everyone else had a fantastic thanksgiving and had lots of love and turkey!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Two Years

Two years ago these two friends decided to change their lives for the better....

Some people thought (and still think) that we were too young, that we lived too far apart, that we hadn't dated long enough. But we knew that despite all of their opinions or the facts at hand the decision we were making was a good one. Something that was worth sacrificing for, something worth changing our lives for.

Sunday was our two year anniversary- we are no longer newlyweds nor can claim to be! We don't have a lot of money right now so we kept everything low key. We dressed up and went out for a fancy dinner and had a few drinks afterwards...

A glass of wine with dinner- haha that's splashing out for us!

At our favorite pub- Nancy Blakes. They have a great outdoor area that usually has pretty good live music on weekend nights.

If you can't read the quote in the middle it says : "Knowing you will be with me in all my tomorrows, makes my today so wonderful."

My anniversary present from James....we had a limit of 15 euros for each other....I got him a DVD....he got creative and made this photo collection for me. Super sweet and put my dvd present to shame! haha

And finally here we are 5, nearly 6 years ago when we met for the first time....We look so young!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Its the little things

Random Internet tidbits that made me smile, laugh, put me in a good mood or whatever in the past couple of days...

I particularly enjoy what he wrote in the space for memos......

I hate math with a passion. But I love this. Using evil against evil. And if Verizon isn't evil I don't know what is.

We don't even have Thanksgiving in Ireland (what is the WE I'm saying....excuse me....THEY don't have thanksgiving....geez!) so I feel like the onslaught of Christmas happens even sooner over here!! They had some Christmas in the shops in September!! too soon, too soon. Can we all just agree on December 1st for decorations?? You can start shopping whenever you want, but at least for decorations sakes the 1st? I want to still enjoy the decorations by the time the day comes around, not be sick of looking at them!

And finally- the thing that made me laugh so hard James came downstairs to find out what in the world I was up to- this youtube video my friend Whitney posted. Seriously I'm not sure why these kids crying is so funny, but it just is. possibly because they aren't mine, and I am not stuck in the same house/room/store/bus/train/plane with them.

With the lack of sun and the short days sometimes its just the small things you need to get ya by.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

10 on Tuesday....Today is a double header day!

Yes that's right I'm posting twice today. I don't get nearly enough time (or make enough time) to sit down and blog so when I get a chance I figure I should go all out!

1. Its freaking cold outside. Its not frost cold, but bitter cold. And that North Atlantic wind DOES NOT make it warmer. At least its not raining.....right now! lol

2. Halloween came and went. No trick or treaters of course. Decorations were scarce in the stores, the pumpkins small, but still it was Halloween! People got dressed up, went out drinking, went to parties. The big thing here for Halloween is bangers and fireworks. Bangers I think are just small mortar bombs of some sort- nothing flashy, just a large bang. But so many have been going off over the weekend it sounds like we are living in some sort of war zone. You can still here a leftover banger here and there all day today. And here is my pumpkin!!

Seriously- that is the LARGEST pumpkin I could find. Ridiculous tiny pumpkins.

3. November already?? wow- this year....flying by. Our two year anniversary is next Sunday. No clue what to do for it. I think we might treat ourselves to a nice dinner in town. We aren't very good at the whole romantic mushy stuff. I might even splash out and buy him a card....ooooo fancy!!

4. So what are the thoughts about the new Two and a Half men??

Personally?? Still sitting on the fence about it. I feel like the show is dragging along. But I also feel if they could make the story into something good. We are an episode behind here in Ireland so I'm waiting for this weeks.....until next week. Its 2011 why can't they just show the shows at the same time??!??
also......the singing in the beginning.....ashton is really creepy...right?

5. We finally hung most everything up in the new house today. We have lived here over a month now but I have been so slow in getting everything put away in the house. I also realized that I really really really need to frame pictures. lots of pictures. I have spent good money on professional pictures, really awesome prints and another random assorted images to put in frames and hang on walls. So now I just need to actually get off my butt and frame them. eventually.

6. I really need to watch the U.S. Office from the start- in order. James and I always talk about doing it, but never got around to it. I think we got so obsessed with 30 rock we didn't want to watch anything else for a while there haha

7. I am 98.9% sure that I will be going home for "Christmas" in January. WOOT! My sister who I havn't seen in nearly 3 years will be home and she and James have never met. Should be good times! (also hoping to hit some great january sales....need to stock up on some black flats, medication and other unnecssary stuff) I can't wait to drive on the right side of the road again! (I mean that in both senses)

8. I want to see Despicable Me. I nearly bought it in Tesco the other night. But I hadn't seen it yet. All sources say its cute but I need proof first. I bought finding neverland once without watching it first and learned my lesson.

9. I plan on taking Thanksgiving Day off from work this year. I want to sit at home and watch the Macy's Day Parade and eat turkey. TUUURRRKKKEEEYYYY. I'm hoping the Christmas turkeys are in by the time Thanksgiving rolls around since you can't find them otherwise. (SIGH)

10. I lovvveeeedddd that extra hour of sleep Saturday night. The really short evenings? Not loving those so much. Its dark by like 6 here. le sigh.

Check out Linny's 10 on Tuesday- This is where I'm stealing it from- she's awesome so give her some love!

The big Snip

Tomorrow Neko will be de-manned. or de-tomcatted.

Awh Poor Neko, has no clue what the morning holds in store for him.

This morning he was attacking my hand (his favorite activity) and as I pushed him back his tooth broke off! Blood and all. Neko didn't seem too fazed and while I wasn't too worried since he was acting fine I still called the vet. So while he is getting "the snip" I think he might have a little dental work as well. Lucky little cat.

Stretchy Kitty....also known as James torturing playing with Neko

He has been getting more and more aggressive and eating non-stop. I can just tell he is hormoned from here to Kansas and sooner than later he will start spraying.

I ABSOLUTELY refuse to have him spraying in my house! There is no way I would ever have a house pet and not get them fixed. Or really any pet unless I wanted to breed. (which there is no way I would want to! I'll leave that to the professionals.)

Please don't think I'm turning into one of those people who treat their pets like kids (not that there is anything wrong with that) But I do enjoy having neko around (when hes not BITING me!) I even got him a Christmas stocking....

Seriously how cute is that?? I couldn't resist myself...And we always had one for our dog when we were growing up. I figured why can't he have a little Christmas fun as well!

Well I know I've been pretty absent as of late. Starting a new job that is actual work isn't as easy and I want it to be! I've got plenty to share and can't wait to show you guys some of my pictures from training and Halloween! (and some pictures of Neko after his surgery!)

Put Me DOWN!!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Lets play catch-up!

Well my life has been a total chaotic blur these past couple of weeks.

Between moving, interviewing for jobs, travelling, working over time and working two jobs at once I haven't had much time for anything! (oh and throw being sick for 2 1/2 weeks on top of that!)

But finally there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I have put my two weeks in at my old job and my last day should be next Sunday. (WOOO HOO!)

I can't wait to just have the one job. Where the latest I will work is 9 at night. Where I won't work every weekend and where I get proper breaks and benefits. Where I have opportunities for advancement and promotion and possibility to transfer. I'm so excited about this job. It is a financial risk for me to take this job, but it is sooooo worth it. And if I do well and work hard it will pay off 100 times over.

Also something really awesome about this job? They are sending me on training.

On Monday I am headed to Dublin for training all week. They are putting me up in a hotel and covering all travel costs. With all of my jobs and all of my experience I have never had a job do this for me! I'm super excited and I'm excited because I will have a girl that I am friends with in Dublin training with me!

I'm so happy for learning new skills and to have a job that invests in me. I can't wait for my week in Dublin, even if I will be in training all day next week. And I'm hoping at night we will be able to get out and enjoy some of the great night life that Dublin has to offer!

And even more exciting after that? With my new job I will be able to have a much more normal kind of life. Where I will be at home in the evening with my husband and have a weekend off here and there to spend with Hubby and friends.

Woo Hoo!!

Madrid in a Flash!

So at the end of September James and I had a chance to jet over to Madrid to see our good friend Miguel.

Miguel used to live here in Limerick and he and James went to University together. They had been good friends for several years and this past year Miguel had this great opportunity to join his friend's band in Mexico. So he left Ireland and now lives in Mexico touring there constantly. It was sad that he had to move so far away but an once in a life time opportunity that he couldn't pass up!

Well Miguel, and a few other band members are originally from Spain and so they decided to tour there all of September. James and I decided that since Spain is so close to Ireland that we would head over for his final gig since we don't know the next chance we would get to see our friend! (and hey you can't beat a few days of sunshine and warmth that is so rare here in Ireland!)

We were actually only in Madrid for about a day and a half. Super quick I tell ya. That's one of the awesome benefits of living on the edge of Europe. I can actually go to another country for a "day trip" and it costs me about the same as a tank of gas in the States.

So anyways here are some of our pictures from our quick little trip in Madrid!

James and I in the Plaza del Sol at the statue of the Bear and the Strawberry tree- this is the symbol of Madrid. Why? I have no clue. I sure I could easily find out I just need to google it haha.

James and our friends Aoife and Lisa who joined us on our whirlwind trip- they were walking into Plaza Mayor which is the biggest "central" square in Madrid. Its a great place to eat lunch or dinner, see some outdoor entertainment, listen to some music, take pictures. I love it, I think its gorgeous!
Our little Irish group with Miguel before the gig! We went to a little restaurant with a "beer garden" (basically chairs out on the sidewalk) to have a pint before the show.

Tragi-comiK! They played a great show and sounded really awesome live!

Me, James and Miguel, being our normal selves as you can tell.

James and Miguel after the gig and several pints haha

Our little group at the end of the night. Bars in Madrid go all night long. This was a Wednesday so the bar closed early....and by early I mean 5:30 in the morning. We were all a little worse for the wear haha!
James the next morning. We had to check out of our hostel at 11am after about 3 hours of sleep. Lets just say it was a long day of hoofing it around Madrid before we could head to the airport for our flight!

It was a great trip. I wish we could have stayed in Madrid a little longer. I was able to squeeze in a visit to the Museo del Prado (something I didn't do the last time I was in Madrid and I totally regretted! It was amazing and I recommend it highly!!) but I wish we had more time to kick back and relax in the sunshine and warmth! But I'm so happy we got to see Miguel and spend a little time with him!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Its not Autumn....its Fall!!

Well actually if you are going by weather, here in Ireland its neither.

Unless you count cold, rain soaked days as fall weather, which I don't. (I'm being a season snob and I don't care!)

In the states we call the season between winter and summer, fall. Here they call it Autumn. I personally don't care for the word. It almost sounds uppity to me. "Oh its Autumn....tra la la le da." (because thats how posh people talk. we all know its true.)

Every time I say fall though I am quickly corrected by the nearest Irish person. Typically this involves a slow head shake as they say you silly American, when will you learn your English.

Anyways. I usually love fall. I love to see the colors changing. I love that crisp feeling in the air and being able to pull all of my sweaters out from the back of the closet where they were shoved all summer. I love the sunshine and light in the afternoons. The pumpkins and corn mazes and hay rides. I love seeing the Halloween decorations in the stores and have a total love/hate relationship with the dreaded countdown to Christmas.

Fall in Ireland? It doesn't live up to my expectations. Why should it though? Its a completely different country, in a different latitude on the other side of the Atlantic (the COLD side. hrmph). Here the leaves begin changing as early as late august. And strangely enough it never seems like there is a bursting of color on the trees like there was in America. It just kinda slowly changes and they fall off and thats it. I can't even seem to find huge piles of leaves on the sidewalks like you would back home. (you know the kind you can shuffle your feet through and they make that great rustling/crunching sound) There are no hay rides here. The pumpkins are rare. You can only seem to find them at Tesco and they are tiny and insanely overpriced. (seriously 5 euros for a "large" pumpkin....the pumpkin is about the same size as a box of kleenex!) Its just not the same. I don't think that Ireland has to change, I think my expectations need some work though.

Fall here is more of a teaser for winter weather. Its basically the same as winter, just about 10 degrees warmer. So far it has been grey skies and rain all day long. It makes it hard to get out of bed some mornings, but since this is my second time experiencing winter weather here, I find it much easier to get on with my day this time around.

I do have to say though, I have been sick the past couple of days and today I finally have the chance to stay at home and rest and there is no better weather for laying on the couch all day than cold, rainy weather. Another thing that is good about the grey skies all of the time is how much I appreciate sunshine when we get it. Last week we had a sunny afternoon (not day, we don't really get days that are entirely sunny!) and I couldn't get over how colorful everything was! I really appreciated the beauty of that afternoon of sunshine more than I would have if we got sunshine all the time.

I think this year instead of wishing that fall here was more like in America I am going to try and be creative. Make it something nice for me. Make sure that I celebrate Thanksgiving and do a pumpkin for Halloween. So bring it on Ireland- fall (not autumn) style!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Oh life, with your twists and turns.

Well I have come into a bit of luck lately. A little too much luck. (is there such a thing?)

Its all a little complicated so I won't get into details. But in the last couple of weeks I have been offered interviews left and right. I accepted each and every one of them (hey you never know) and then proceeded to fit them in my schedule somewhere.

I got offered one job (one which I really hoped to get) and I accepted it straight away. It is only a part time position but it's a company that has branches all over the UK, Europe and is now owned by the biggest electronics retailer in America. (I'm not naming names, you can figure it out for yourself haha) In my mind that says to me OPTIONS. I can move with this job. I can transfer. There is also a ton of upward mobility and opportunity with this job if I do well.

Then I had an interview the day after I accepted this job. I went despite accepting the offer because the job was only part time and I was worried about finances. I was offered a job on the spot. I asked them to wait a week before I told them yes or no. They were calling me 4 days later chomping at the bit to have me, promising me the first managers position that opened up. When I told them about the job I had already accepted they pretty much told me I had to work with them and no one else. So I then declined this position. (not as good of a company, pay was the same, not as much mobility in terms of countries.)

Then this morning I had a second informal interview with an Irish company. They sell high end kitchen supplies and home furnishings. The informal interview was basically to tell me you have the position. It was for a mangers job. Basically everything I have wanted since I moved here nearly 2 years ago. A managers job. In a small shop with normal working hours. I would love love love this job. But there is no mobility. small company, not a lot of room for promotion. Only three other locations in Ireland. If we move to Dublin next year I'm out of a job. And the nail in the coffin for me is that the store is located in the city centre here in Limerick. The city centre is dead. no one shops there, especially for high end kitchen wares. Who can really afford to splash out 60 quid for a single pan?? Not many people, especially here in Limerick. Taking this job, while everything I want, is a complete and total risk. So I go to the interview, its going great. Then I drop the bomb shell and inform this woman who I would be working with about the job I already accepted. I was basically told that I could only work the job there and not at the other place I had accepted. I told her I wasn't willing to give up that other job. She looked at me like I was an idiot. She probably did think I was an idiot. Who in their right mind would pass up a management spot (especially with all of my experience) for a part time job? I asked her if it was possible for them to let me work there part time that I would love that and that I feel that I would be a really great fit in the store, which she agreed, but told me she felt it wasn't possible.

I'm expecting my rejection email sometime early tomorrow.

I was absolutely gutted (as the Irish say) leaving the store. I was able to walk around the corner before I started crying. I felt like I just had one of those "turning point" moments where if I chose path A my life would be very different than if I chose path B. I started panicking thinking oh god, have I made the worst decision? What if path A is the wrong choice and I've just screwed myself completely?? I called James and he talked me off my emotional edge- kinda. I moved from panic to pity. All I could think of then was how long I waited and tried and failed and wished for an opportunity like this and how stupid I was to pass it up. I just felt so alone and tired and stupid and horrible.

Then I did something incredibly smart that I almost never do. I called my dad. It was incredibly early in America (around 6am) but he was up and answered. He is the one person that I know is really great about all things work related. I'm sure getting a call from his daughter first thing with her crying about jobs wasn't the highlight of his morning. But he really helped me see that I had made a sound decision. That thinking long term, while not beneficial in the short term will pay off. That some risks aren't worth taking even though they promise a lot. My dad and I don't get along that well, but today was nice. He was able to comfort and calm me down and be supportive which was exactly what I needed in that moment.

I guess basically what this post is all about is timing. Life doesn't work out the way we want it to. I hoped and hoped for interviews and job offers for months. I finally got them, but just too many at once. Any decision with work can be risky no matter how much you prepare. I just made the best decision I felt I could make with my resources and information I had at hand. So while it sucks that I couldn't make it work for a full time job, I'm really happy that I finally, FINALLY, got a new job, and I'm feeling ok about the choice I made.

Next step? Quitting the job I'm at now (thats right people, I've been too chicken to hand in my notice, and I'm scared about the pay cut.). I'm working both jobs at the moment and am working about 60 hours this week. (I'm just a little tired. just a tad.) but I will be handing in the notice friday. woooo hoooo!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sleep? Pshhh who needs it

The last few weeks in the Taylor house have been a little hectic. And by hectic I mean completely insanely busy!

So apparently moving house, working 45 hour weeks, interviewing 5 or 6 times, driving all over mid-west Ireland and heading to Spain for 3 days all at the same time keeps one kind of busy.

Between James and I we have probably slept about 20 hours in the past two weeks. (well probably more, but it sure does feel that way!)

But its been great. There have been a lot of huge changes, but really good changes.

Like our great new house. We now live on the other side of Limerick. In an actual house that is about the same size as our last flat. And its 150 less per month. That might not seem like a lot for some people, but for me working with my shoe-string budget its a life changing amount of money to save! (I might actually have financial wiggle room! woot woot!)

Also after a year and a half of applications, CVs, interviews and banging my head against the wall I seem to have had some success on the job front. (FINALLYYYYYY!!!) I had about 5 interviews in 3 days, 2 job offers so far and another 2 interviews scheduled for next week.

(happy dance....HAPPY DANCE!!!!)

I don't know what changed. My work experience hasn't changed, nor my CV but that doesn't matter so much to me. I'm just happy I finally got a break.

So lots going on. Lots of good things. I'm pretty happy and super stressed right now (strange combination haha!) but I'm really looking forward to what I feel like is the second phase of my life here in Ireland.

Onward and upward people, onward and upward!

Friday, September 23, 2011

When it rains it pours...

I have been job searching for a year and a half.

Let me tell you, its been a learning experience. Job hunting overseas isn't easy- no matter what ANYONE tells you. I swear I have never been more frustrated and disappointed so many times in all of my life.

Ive gone months without interviews now. Sending in application after application with no response or email inbox full of rejections.

Until this past week.

So far I have had three interviews. In a week. For really really great jobs.

I just got home from two excellent interviews. One lasted an hour and a half. One went so well I left feeling like I was on cloud 9. (and I would LOVE to work at the company!)

I got home and started some laundry preparing to go to my current job. I glance at my phone and see that I missed a call.

Another call from another job I applied for. I have yet ANOTHER interview for tomorrow morning.

Wow. Just wow. I am so thankful for these interviews. I know they aren't job offers but they are something. A move in the right direction. A sliver of hope that my life might improve for James and me.

I really hope that someone sees something in me that they want at their company. I would so love to get my foot in this employment door here in Ireland. I just feel like I would be so much happier here when I have a job that not only sufficiently provides for my family,but that gives me the job satisfaction I left behind in the states.

Heres to hope! Keep you fingers crossed for me people!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Just when I thought I had him trained....

...Something like this happens:

Yes folks- that is the kitty litter scooper IN THE DISHWASHER!!!!!!

I opened the dishwasher this morning to unload the dishes james washed last night. When I saw that he put the scooper in there I gasped in horror- stared for a minute. took that picture. closed the dishwasher.

Yeah. Im just not even going to deal with it. James will be rewashing those dishes. after we clean out the dishwasher.

I have no clue what train of thought would lead james to think that putting the kitty litter scooper in with the things we eat off of. Just when he was doing so good.

I'm off to go set the forks on fire.

Monday, September 12, 2011

10 Years

In ten years lot can change. For most people in ten years a lot does change.

I will never forget that moment ten years ago when the entire world changed.

I was sitting in english class, second period.

A girl named Kathy had heard that there was an accident in New York and asked the teacher if we could turn on the TV and see if it was on the news. Being teenagers and looking for any distraction from our schoolwork we all begged the teacher to turn on the news.

She relented and turned the TV on to NBC News. At first there were just pictures of a smoking building and plenty of confusion on the newscasters side of the story. Reports of a commercial jet accident hitting the World Trade Center.

As we sat there watching the news we saw the second plane hit. Live.

In that moment of pure confusion and horror the world changed.

We watched as the first building, and then as the second, fell.

In each class the rest of the day there was silence. Lessons forgotten. TVs turned on. Tears fell.

I don't remember that evening, I don't remember the next day. But I will never forget as long as I live the feeling I felt in those moments watching the news. Even to this day when I get asked what it was like in America on 9/11 a chill still comes over my body.

I do know this though- no matter how far away from home I am, or how long ago 9/11 was I will never forget that moment. I will never forget the sacrifices made that day. I will never forget the weeks following that day- that tension and fear and brotherhood and patriotism.

I KNOW I will never forget.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


So I met an american woman the other day.

Her american accent was so strong I thought she was a tourist- So I asked her, as I always do when I run across Americans where she was from.

She said she was from San Diego but that she lived in Ireland now.

(GASP! Another American!! In Limerick!!)

So I asked her how long she lived in Limerick- She said 11 years which shocked the crap outta me- 11 years of living in Ireland and her accent was still so American!! I've only been here a year and a half and my accent is all over the place! I actually was mistaken for Irish the other day (by another Irish person surprisingly enough!) and when I told that person I was American they said "Oh yeah- I can hear a hint of an American accent in there!"

So 11 years and her accent not changing? Astounding!

Anyways- well so we got to chatting briefly and I told her that I hadn't met any other Americans here yet and would love to meet up with some.

She was surprised and right away asked me for my number so we could get together. I was more than delighted and gave her my mobile number.

And then I waited...and waited some more.

She hasn't called.


Its like giving your number to a cute guy....you hope they call...you wonder if they are going to play that stupid game and wait 3 days before they call.

And then no call.


Who knows, maybe she will call still....maybe she lost my number? I don't know.

I hope she does though.....I really want some American buddies on this side of the Atlantic.

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Boreen

Ireland is a very small country.

Which means, very small roads.

When I first moved here I was nervous even being a passenger in the cars here. I felt that the driver was going too close to the walls, the others cars, the pedestrians etc.

And learning how to drive here on the narrow roads and on the wrong side of the road/car? even harder!

but eventually I learned. I feel like it has made me a better driver. more cautious, smarter.


But I have been wanting to film a small road near my house for a while.

The Irish call this a "Boreen"- meaning small country road or narrow road in Gaelic.

This is a road I use as a short cut into town to the grocery store...its pretty small....probably even more narrow than it looks on the film....

But anyways...here is a short youtube clip of it- there is a small part on a much larger neighborhood road first...hope it doesn't bore you too much...and yes I was going FAST!

There is some honking in the video....I learned that a lot of times on these small country roads there is a completely blind curve and to inform whomever might be on the other side there is a car coming (including other traffic) you honk....and hopefully they stop!

The road is TWO-WAY....there are almost invisible little gaps in the road where you can kinda pull your car into when another car is coming head on...leaves less then a foot between the cars to pass...a little nerve wracking but you get used to it...

That day that I filmed I met no one- but- I have met several cars including a car that forced me to reverse over the bridge and into a freaking hedge!! I was NOT happy!

oh and also....most of that greenery you see on the sides....that's not bushes...those are mostly weeds growing out of stone walls....that line both sides of the road....no room for error people!

And that folks is a country road in Ireland....and not even CLOSE to the smallest I have been down at that speed.....there are MANY small country roads here with grass growing down the middle...and YES they are ROADS!!

much to my surprise.....even to this day.

sometimes you just need a moment

I want to say thanks.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

Its so so hard for me sometimes.

I just need to vent. I need to let off steam. (honestly....i need a soundproof room to scream in. but those are in short supply around here)

Thanks for reading. no one likes to hear someone elses problems. but it was nice.

nice to say my thoughts out loud.

nice to get it off my chest.

thanks. i love you all.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My head: Wrecked.

There is an expression here in Ireland (im pretty sure we dont use it in america....im starting to get confused on little things like expressions and ect.) - My head is wrecked....meaning you could be hungover, have a headache or be stressed out. (there is also an expression "wrecking my head" but thats more for when someone or something is annoying)

Well consider my head wrecked.

I'm not hungover, I dont have a headache, but I'm just so stressed and disappointed. and I'm so sick of feeling this way.

Living here in Ireland hasn't been a very smooth ride for me. I struggled quite a bit my first year and now that I'm halfway through my second year I feel like I havn't gotten any further towards goals and dreams that I have for my life here.

I feel so stuck. Trapped.

I had a good job in america. I had a good car. great friends. comfortable life.

I left it all behind. and sometimes....I really really regret it. Sometimes I just want to go home. I want to wave the white flag, stick my head in the sand. No more.

I went home for 3 weeks. It was great. I came back feeling refreshed- thinking "ok I can do this- I WILL get a new job I WILL make a more comfortable life for me and my husband."

Nothing. Nothing is happening. I've applied for hundreds of jobs. I've reworked my CV countless times. I get interviews but I always get rejections. I don't think I can stand the rejection anymore. Little disappointments overwhelm me.

I just don't understand. I can't figure out what it is. What essential thing am I missing that other people seem to have? What is it about me that is so undesirable as a candidate for employment?

I know that these feelings will pass. one day. But its just hard. I don't even want to apply for jobs anymore. I try and tell myself that I will not get my hopes up, to remain neutral, but inevitably I always do. I always start dreaming of opportunities that a new job will offer. and then, when the rejection email or letter arrives I can't help but to shed a few tears and become overwhelmed with bitterness.

Right now I don't even want to end this post on a positive note of any sort. I know I'm being a total killjoy at the moment but I need to get all of these swirling thoughts out before my brain explodes. I never knew how difficult things would be over here- trying to get ahead, trying to make a good life for myself and james. I feel so alone and so hopeless. If I knew before I left america what I know now....I'm not sure I would have moved over.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I'll be waiting oh so impatiently...

by the mailbox for this little beauty.....

A couple of months ago another blogger, the very cute Fried Pink Tomato , posted some of these prints on her website.

I lusted after a Richmond print for a couple of months in my mind and finally decided to look them up and check the prices....

and it was super cheap! Less than 20 euro including shipping!

I love the print and its a great way to keep my hometown close to my heart. I can't wait to hang this little beauty in my home!

It is also going to require a trip to my very favorite place in the world...IKEA!!

The Etsy person (i dont know the correct terminology here) has sized it to fit an Ikea frame perfectly so even framing it will be nice and cheap....very thoughtful!

She does all kinds of cities and you can even email her requests....we asked her if she would do one of Limerick so we can represent both of our hometowns!

If you want to check them out for yourself here is her Esty site.

Hurray for cute pictures...hurray for mail that isn't bills!


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Day trippin it

A few weeks ago James and I headed to the Cliffs of Moher for a small day trip.

I live so close to all of these great places in Ireland but I just never seem to make the time to go and see them So I decided that it was finally time to start checking them off my list. (and believe it or not, James hasn't been to most of these places either....I can't believe that someone could live somewhere their entire life and never go and see some of these great sights in the country!)

It was only about an hour drive from Limerick which I didn't think was too bad at all. It actually would be only about 40 minutes except for the fact that half of the trip was on tiny little country roads like this one:

And in reality- That road is a pretty main road. and it is TEENY TINY. The speed limit is 60 on the road and people FLY down it. Huge trucks included. It was pretty nerve wrecking for me when I first started driving here to get used to these little roads, while driving on the wrong side of the road.

Here's me driving somewhat nervously- There are stone walls on both sides of the narrow road (just for ease of driving...har har) A very old way of fencing the fields off. The walls are a little more permanent around where we were- but in other parts of Ireland these stone walls are piled really simply because they take down parts of the walls to move livestock between fields and then pile them back up after they are done.

Here is a picture from the parking lot- the views from this area in Clare are really nice- This is facing towards Lahinch- a small seaside village.
This is the classic shot of the Cliffs- Pretty much the first view you see when you walk up the hill. A lot of times the views can be obscured by fog and rain but we got a nice and clear day! Even though it was very gray and cold. (I didn't wear a coat and wish I had.....this is during JULY people....JULY!!!)
The Hubs and I. I was having a weird face day....I kept on Chandler Bing-ing the pictures.

A small turrent on top of a large hill along the cliffs. This is where people are able to go inside and walk to the top. The view of the cliffs is the best from the top but we decided not to go up there. We already had to pay just to see the cliffs and didn't feel like shelling out another 2 Euros apiece to walk to the top of the building.
The far side of the Cliffs- to the left straight out in the ocean are the Aryan Islands. You can actually see them from the Cliffs, which I thought was pretty cool. I can't wait to go and see them one day soon!
This picture is just to show you how close you can get to the edge. Yeesh. I was VERY uncomfortable taking this picture. There are fences of course, but it is very easy to walk over them and walk out further along the cliffs- which most people do to get some really great pictures.
The north side of the cliffs- I couldn't get over the beauty of them!

This is a plaque near the North side of the Cliffs for all the People who have lost their lives there. Suicides do happen there, tragically enough. I just found out this week- A girl that I work with, her brother ended his life at the Cliffs this past week. I think that its just so sad. Such a beautiful place and it has such a tragic end for some people.