Sunday, February 1, 2009


Welcome back to Dublin!
The 120 metre Spire on O'Connell Street.

I have a job! I've worked four shifts now at the Silk Road Cafe, which is in the Dublin Castle and a very convenient five minute walk from our apartment. So far it's been pretty good. I work behind the counter serving food and making fancy coffees (Nicole, you're right - making coffee
is fun!) It's a very busy Middle Eastern Cafe with great food, and time flies while I'm there because there's always a line up out the door. The cafe does a lot of special events and catering. I worked an event on Friday where I served wine and food to a room full of doctors and I actually enjoyed it. Hopefully thing continue to go well. It's such a relief to have a little bit of money coming in.

Speaking of relief and money, Matt's bank draft has come back. After over a month of waiting, we can finally pay the landlord last months rent and deposit. And now that February has snuck up on us, we'll have to pay this months rent too. Man, that's a lot of money out the door all at once!

We're getting used to things in our apartment now. Our roomies get us in "trouble" for forgetting to leave the hot water turned on and for turning it on too often - we're always turning it on and they're always turning it off. But I think we've come to an agreement that we'll turn the water on during the night and all take quick, hot showers in the mornings.
Our one roommate, Marie, had her family visiting for a weekend and we ate dinner with them. They have a tradition in France, when, after Christmas (normally on January 6th for Epiphany) they eat this almond pie with a hidden toy inside. The youngest person at the table has to sit underneath the table while the pie slices get served. Not able to see the pie, the person under the table decides which slice goes to who. Whoever gets the toy in their piece of pie becomes either a King or a Queen and wears a crown, and gets to choose his/her Queen or King. It was really cool to participate in someone else's family tradition. They gave me the toy from the pie, and I definitely plan on bringing this tradition back home and doing it next year with my family. That's the cool thing about travelling and meeting people from all over the world - you experience and learn so many new things!

It's nice to have a comfortable place of our own to invite friends over too. We've had people over for dinner once and drinks a few times. After hanging out here one night, we all headed down to the pub for some karaoke. I somehow got dragged up by my friends and
pretended to sing Spice Girls with them (really, I was just lip syncing). Poor Matt ended up there too singing "Summer of '69." His microphone was conveniently placed at his chest the whole time, so you couldn't hear him either. As you can tell, we're not big on the whole karaoke thing. You can hear the live music perfectly from our room. One night we heard some great sounding Irish tunes, so we got up out of bed and headed down for a drink. There's one regular guy that sounds like a really bad wedding singer, always singing "Pretty Woman" and "Brown Eyed Girl." When we hear that, we know not to go down for a drink!

Our old home, Kinlay House Hostel

Our new home. Outside of the doors is a balcony overlooking Francis Street.

Cleanest bathroom in town!

In January we decided that even if we're broke, we're going to start going out to see and do more things. We did two day trips to small coastal towns just outside of Dublin - Howth and Bray. They're really easy and cheap places to get to by train, and a nice retreat from the city.

When we left for Howth, it was mild, calm, and not raining. When we arrived in Howth, we experienced the stormiest weather since we've been here. There isn't much to do in this little town. The coolest part was the marina full of real, operating fishing boats. I wanted so bad to pay one of the fishermen to take me out on his boat - it'd be such a cool thing to see in action! The marina was also full of hundreds of the world's biggest seagulls and ugly but cool-to-watch seals. Despite the torrential rains and blistering cold wind, I decided it would be a good idea to take a stroll down the pier. We were lucky we weren't blown right off! We bypassed the cliff walk, grabbed some fish and chips, and headed straight home to dry off.

Take me on any boat but that one!


The Abbey Ruins and a cemetery

Howth homes

A lovely walk along the pier...

Our trip to Bray was way better and it was a beautiful, sunny day - the
best weather since we've been here! We went with our friends Vaughan (Kiwi) and Megann (American) from the hostel. This town seemed like it would be a lot of fun in the summer. It had a pretty big beach where we skipped rocks and ate fried food. Then we got this grand idea to climb Bray Head (i.e. the mountain). It started out with a few feet of nice paved road for walkers, but then turned into a muddy, rocky, and steep climb up. None of us came prepared to climb - I was wearing my peacoat and purse and Vaughan had his nice shiny white running shoes on. But we had started, and there was no turning back! There were lots of falls along the way. Matt fell out of a tree (but that's his fault for climbing it) and while heading back down (which is way harder than going up), I gained a lot of speed and there were a lot of wet leaves and the only way for me to stop myself without dying was to jump to the side into a bush. All in all, it was worth the scrapes and bruises for the great view at the top!

Vaughan and I took pictures of the Custom House before we left for Bray. It's not too often you see a reflection like that in the Liffey - look at that blue sky!

Beach bums

"Hey, lets climb to the top!"

See the furthest mountain to the right? The closest we'll get to snow this winter!

Matt - first to the top!

Rock art

We overheard some kids call this the "Forest of Hell." It's really steep and you gain a lot of speed going down. In order to stop ourselves from losing control, we'd just grab or run into the next tree ahead of us. I have the funniest video of Matt dodging the trees.

I went out and bought the cheapest paints (just primary colours!), brushes and canvas I could find. I wanted to start painting again, not with the intent to sell but just for fun. I did one quick circle painting the other day that I haven't yet decided if it's finished or not. Our roommates like it though and want me to hang it up, so I might just do that. The "Euro" store sells cheap canvas for 2 Euro each (12"x16" and no staples on the sides!) so it's a fairly cheap pastime for me here.

Other than that, not much else is new around here. My family and Jennie are coming to visit in 38 days and I couldn't be more excited! Next weekend Matt, Vaughan, Megann and I are taking a trip to Galway, which is about a four hour bus ride away on the west coast of Ireland. It should be fun!

I've added more pictures to my Berlin post, so check them out if you get a chance. I will leave you with a few pictures from our walk through Phoenix Park, the largest enclosed urban public park in Europe...

A circle of trees. This picture reminds me of Waterloo artist Melissa Doherty's work - the colours and everything!


Anonymous said...

Hello Hello long lost friend!
WOW! It's so wonderful to see what a great time you and Matt are having. The pictures turned out beautiful, especially seeing those mountains (which btw I can't believe you all climbed that!)Well besides being envious, I'm also excited to see every posting you put up!
PS: your apartment is nicer than mine haha

Anonymous said...

I like the new look