Monday, December 15, 2008

Where in America Are You From?

Matt and I have hit the one month mark! Can you believe it? How many of you thought we'd be home by now?! (For a minute there, I thought I'd be too!)

Lots of things have happened since my last blog. Last week my Dida (my mom's dad) passed away. It's been difficult being so far away from home and from my family, but the e-mails, pictures, and MSN and webcam chats really helped to make me feel like I was there through it all. Thanks to all of YOU for your messages and kind words too - it really means a lot.

Dida, you will be missed...xo

I finally had enough with my restaurant job and quit on Friday. It wasn't worth me being so miserable every day, and I couldn't be happier now that I've left. Plus, I'm not sure how many more times I could handle someone asking me "Where in America are you from?" or hearing "I know someone who went to Vancouver once." And don't even get me started on the "You know you're Canadian, when..." jokes! I got one paycheque out of it, which will help me along, but the job search begins again!

Matt and I did manage to get some temporary work for the weekend, handing out leaflets on the City Centre streets. We met up with a guy covered in gold bracelets, rings and chains, missing teeth, and a cigarette in his mouth. This oughta be good! He told us what to do and where to go, and then Matt asked how we're getting paid. The guy said we have to e-mail his boss in London and he'll arrange it. From that point on, we knew we wouldn't be seeing a cent. But we figured, what the heck, what else were we doing anyway?! We continued down the street to hand out leaflets in hopes that we'd eventually get paid. Well, that lasted about 5 minutes, when the Garda came and told us handing out leaflets is illegal according to Dublin litter laws and we had to stop. We talked to dude about the situation (which he, I'm sure, was fully aware of to begin with) and that we weren't comfortable continuing, and our stash of leaflets made their way to the recycling bin. That's two jobs I quit in two days. Now I have the reputation of being a serial quitter around here!

Matt had an interview last week...finally! It was a group interview for a stock-taking position, which he said was a joke. They gave them simple math tests, and one by one, people were eliminated from the interview if they didn't answer a certain number correctly. Matt, being the smarty pants that he is, survived elimination (sounds like Survivor!) and still has yet to hear back from them about a job. We're not worried about looking for work this week, as we're leaving for Berlin for a week on Friday anyway.

I went to the City Hall just across the street from us to take in a photography exhibition. The photographs depicted homeless, alcoholic, and drug addicted people of Dublin, and it was quite disturbing. It seems like there are lots of crazies on the streets around here, and a tonne of people rattling their cups with change. Matt says it's no different than being downtown Toronto and we're just not used to being around it, but I feel like it's worse here. We've been woken up at night to people fighting in the streets, I saw a couple yelling and throwing all their stuff into the middle of traffic, and yesterday a man laying on the ground bleeding and a girl screaming for help. It's pretty sad to see, you wonder how people get like that. To distract myself from the gruesome exhibition, I decided to take pictures of the beautiful building surrounding me!

City Hall

Don't you just LOVE that ceiling?!

Saturday night we were invited to Pete's house (the Kiwi fella who works at the hostel reception) to have dinner with his wife and brother-in-law. It felt good to be in a real place with real couches that you could just sprawl out on (and that we did!) We played games and listened to music, Pete played the guitar and we just had a good time hanging out. They made pie for dinner. Not dessert pie, but New Zealand pie with steak and cheese and mushrooms and onions, served with mashed potatoes. It was dee-lish! Pete is one of the nicest people I've met. He's even invited all of the longtermers at the hostel over to his little place for Christmas dinner, which we'll have to miss since we're in Berlin.

On Sunday, Matt and I woke up late (not unlike any other day around here, really) and decided to hit up The Museum of Decorative Arts and History. Now, you'd think I'd be all over this, but maaaan were we boooored! The only good part was the Eileen Gray exhibition - I didn't realize she was Irish. I got to see REAL Eileen Gray chrome side tables and other furniture, which was pretty cool.

Where's Wilder?
Matt standing outside of the museum, which used to be military housing

Last night we went to the "12 Days of Christmas" market in the Docklands. This only got me more excited for what's ahead in Berlin. We enjoyed some hot apple cider, falafels, and lentil soup, played some games and perused the shops. We avoided the sausages because I have a feeling we'll be consuming many of those in Germany!

I doubt that I'll be writing again before we leave for Germany, and I'm not sure what will happen once we get there. But if you don't hear from me for a while...



...from Dublin and Berlin!

The "12 Days of Christmas" market

Carousel at the Christmas market

Gogarty's Pub all decked out for the holidays

"Nollaig Shona Duit" - Happy Christmas to You

Henry Street lights

The Custom House

Merry Christmas from Heineken!

Friday, December 5, 2008

High Ho, High Ho...

It's off to work I go. I finally got a job waitressing at a family-owned Italian restaurant. I started on Monday and absolutely hated my first shift. It has since gotten better, but I still really don't like it and I'm surprised I've made it this far. It's difficult because no one I work with speaks English - they are all Italian and Brazilian - and they speak to one another in their own languages. I don't understand what they're saying and they don't understand what I'm saying, and it gets frustrating and lots of things seem to get screwed up as a result. I've learned that when it's not busy and there's nothing to do, pretend you're busy and Windex something. I'm amazed there aren't holes worn through the tables considering how often they Windex them. Everyone who works there is really serious during their shift - they don't talk and they are always doing something, even if it doesn't have to be done. The minute we're finished work, they loosen up and they're normal. I don't get it. It's like they've been brainwashed by the owners and they're scared of them or something. It's a really weird atmosphere, and I hope to get out of there soon. It also takes almost two hours to get to work and back. I take the train there during the day and the bus home with the rest of my co-workers at night. I work every night, weekdays and weekends, which is pretty miserable. Matt's at our hostel with our group of friends, cooking dinner together and going out, and here I am at work. It sucks - I hate feeling like I'm missing out on all the fun. Matt hasn't been able to get a job yet. Apparently almost 600 people a day are losing jobs in Ireland, so it's not looking too promising. I guess all this talk about a recession might actually be true.

Matt and I took the tram to the end of the line, stopping at random stops to check out different parts of Dublin. We stopped in at this grocery store for lunch - that's some happy bologna!

A ship on the Liffey, on our walk to the Docklands

I've had a pretty tough week and a bit - getting frustrated with job hunting, getting a job that I don't like, missing home, thinking about Christmas - I think it's all finally hitting me. The thought of staying at our hostel for Christmas kinda depresses me. So, we've just booked a flight to Berlin for Christmas and I'm super pumped about it! Germany has the best Christmas markets in the world, and it'll be something new and exciting and festive to do. We're leaving on December 19th and arriving back in Dublin on December 26th. We'll be staying in hostels, and by the look of their websites, hostels are way nicer there!

Christmas at Kinlay House

We went pubbing last weekend with some Austrian girls from our hostel and our Aussie roomie. It was a blast. The pubs here are packed full every night of the week. I took a video of the band playing some Tom Cochran but I can't seem to upload it to my blog. You'll just have to imagine how fun it was!

Matt at Farrington's Pub with the girls

Temple Bar streets

You never get an uninterrupted nights sleep in our hostel - especially in our room. Our Aussie friend talks in her sleep and occasionally sleep walks/does things. She has conversations and sits up and down, sometimes stands up then goes back to bed. Last night she was laughing so hard for a good five minutes. It was the funniest thing I've ever witnessed. I wish I knew what she was laughing about because it sure seemed funny!

Well, it's time to get ready for another night of work. I'll try to update you again soon!