Sunday, November 20, 2005

November ----- 2005

FYI - The first three photos are Luke's work and photos of St. Stephen's Green which is right across the street from his building. The next two photos are of my desk at work and the view from my window! After that are photos of the apartment, which I know you guys have seen but now it looks a little better - photos, plants, posters, a t.v. It's like a REAL apartment!

Last week went well. We did the normal work week and played games in the evenings. I continuously lose the card games Luke and I play so I figured the first game I'd challenge Luke to would be Trivial Pursuit.... well, I LOST. We both had all of the pieces of our pies except one and it was getting late so we decided to just read each other questions until we got the final pieces and guess what Luke's question was?! 'What was The Beatles' first movie?' Are you f*%cking kidding me?! Of course he knew the answer and won the game. I don't need to tell you that I was horribly disappointed. Apparently I am not great in the games department.

The following night I challenged Luke to Monopoly.... and LOST AGAIN. Well, I didn't lose, I forfeited the game as it is incredibly boring (And I KNEW that I would lose because I'm not the greatest at saving money...). After the half-game of Monopoly we were going to play Pictionary but realized that we needed more than 2 people.... It was pathetic really. BUT I successfully tricked Luke into wanting to buy a T.V. BEFORE Christmas! We agreed to get one on the weekend!

Friday night was fun. The accountant at my office (Rachel)had a leaving party. I got a ride to Tonic (My boss' sisters bar) in Blackrock with some of the girls from my office. We arrived at the bar at about 5:30 and started to go to work on the free drinks supplied by our boss who is currently in South Africa building houses as a volunteer... YAY. Myself and some of the people from my office began the party - chatting and having some laughs. Luke also attended a leaving party with his co-workers in town and then met me at Tonic at about 6:30 and joined in the fun. It was good craic. Tons of food was brought out to us - so much that the lot of us couldn't finish it! Fabulous. Luke and I left at about 10:30. Pretty early, I know, but it was a long day at work and 5 hours at the bar so I was ready to make my exit. Luke wasn't really ready to go but agreed to leave with me. He then stopped at the Pearse Pub down the street from our house while I went ahead home and made myself a cup of tea. I didn't want to go to Pearse Pub because the one time I went there to buy beer from their off-licence it stunk like sweaty old men. When Luke got back he told me that it didn't stink and that they poured one of the best Guinness he's had. I guess I was just there at the wrong time.....

Saturday Luke and I took a walk around town - down to the Grand Canal and around some areas that we had not been to before. We had a great time. Stopped for a cappuccino on a patio (Yes people, we can still sit outside to enjoy our cappuccino's. It's not exactly hot outside but lots of people still sit at the outdoor tables to eat and drink anyway, as long as the sun is shining!), chatted and BOUGHT A T.V.! We went to Argos (The best store in the WORLD) and paid €170 or so for the T.V., €29 for a stand and about €34 for a DVD player. Not bad! We then carried it all out of the mall and into a taxi-van. We got it home, plugged it in, hooked it up to the cable and got THREE channels. A little disappointing though we knew we wouldn't get many for free. We made some calls about having more channels hooked up but of course that would mean that one of us has to take half the day off work to do so.... In the meantime we have ONE good channel that is clear, a BORING channel that is a little fuzzy but OK and the Discovery Channel that is FU-ZZY. Eventually Luke will take half a day off and sit at home to wait for them. We'll just make do until then.

That night we went out with Sarah and Tom for Sarah's birthday. We met them at the Wool Shed (The Aussie bar we watch the Sens games at) to watch the Australia-some other team Rugby match. When we arrived we were pleasantly surprised to hear that Tom had proposed to Sarah! They were thrilled, we were thrilled. More to celebrate! We had a few drinks and a shot that Luke bought for all of us and then moved to Mojo's (This bar was the first one we all went to together - all pints are €3.30 no matter what they are!) where we had a few more drinks. We went to the back of the bar where the dance floor and things were (Tons of Barbie-type blondes in mini skirts and thigh-high boots - a VERY classy place! NOT!) happening. After our first drink Luke made his way to the dance floor and proceeded to break out his moves (Think wedding). Sarah was thrilled that one of us was dancing so she joined him. Tom and I watched for a while, laughing, but impressed with Luke's moves "Wow", Tom said to me, "I had no idea he could dance. He's REALLY good. I NEVER would have pictured him dancing so well". He was shocked and amazed. "Let's go dance with him!". We got to the dance floor and joined in the fun. People were watching Luke and enjoying his fancy moves. It was priceless. Eventually the music turned to dance music so we packed things up and headed to the bar next door where we were told the music was better. The bouncer wouldn't let all of us in. Not sure why. We all continued down the street to the next bar where we were told we would have to pay a €20! NO WAY! From there we headed to the south side of Dublin city centre where we found a great 3-storey bar that played good music, had good Guinness and had a place for us to stand and dance. We continued to drink, dance and chat and laugh and basically just have a really good time! That's the thing about Tom and Sarah. They're always enthusiastic and happy and FUN.

Sunday Luke met with a guy who is putting together a band and is looking for a lead guitar player. I listened to this guy's music on the net and he is FABULOUS. Exactly the style of music I like. Luke took the DART out with a buddy of this guys and was then picked up and taken to the guy's studio. Apparently he is HOOKED UP. Luke and he then played a bit, chatted a bit and discussed their plans, etc. I think it's going to be great. Luke will meet with him again in a couple of weeks and they're going to do some recording, etc. I'm really excited because I can actually say that I LOVE the music.

Last week went well... basically just worked and hit the Pearse Pub a couple of times. (Now our local hangout - amazing pints of Guinness... and for cheap! - see photo). It is just down the street from our house.

Thursday night I went to a table quiz with some people from work. It was held at a hotel just down the street from my house and they had an open bar all night. Four people from my office went. It's a quiz contest between all of the insurance companies in the city. Sounds kinda boring, I know, but it really was fun! I got home at about 11:30 after having a few Bulmer's and ended up waking up feeling like crap. Fortunately I wasn't the only one that felt like shit at work the next day. The really bad thing is that my boss was due to be back at work so I was a little nervous about seeing him and having to get back down to real business. BUT when he came in he was great so I'm not nervous about my job anymore. My "scary" boss came in after 2 weeks away and the first thing he said was " You must be good luck because business has been booming since you got here" and gave me a huge grin! AMAZING.

Friday night Luke and I stayed in, ordered pizza and curry chips and watched a Tommy Teirnan DVD that someone had lent to Luke. Hilarious. Tommy Teirnan is an Irish stand-up comedian. Kinda Dennis Leary like. OH! Luke finally got paid! WE'VE GOT MONEY! I get paid next Friday. We're finally back in the game!

Last night (Saturday) we had Sean Urie and his lovely girlfriend Aubrey over for dinner. We served mussels and cheese with baguette as we had wine and beer and then Luke made chicken curry with veggies and I made a greek salad and couscous. Delicious! We had a good time. Luke and Sean played around on the guitar and Aubrey and I chatted. It was a good night.

Today Luke and I walked around... went to H & M (Just opened) and bought Luke this FABULOUS green velvet blazer. It really is great. I bought some pj bottoms and this cute beaded shrug thingy. All in all a fun day of wandering around the city and shopping. Grafton Street looks great - all dressed up for Christmas. And it's fun to watch all the shoppers that pack the streets here. They go mad for shopping on the weekends.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

November 8, 2005


First - Thank you to my parents who sent us a package including one of Luke's guitars, our wedding album, some clothes and my Ottawa Senators jersey. GO SENS GO!

Second - Thank you to Leanne for being the first person that we received mail from. The Halloween card was GREAT - and yes, we do celebrate Halloween here ( but no, we don't trick or treat for beer :( ). People set off fireworks from the beginning of October and they are still going off. It's nuts - and fireworks are illegal here which means for each 'BANG WEE BANG BOOM ZEEM' there are guarda sirens. Crazy buggers. For adults it IS fun though because it is a long weekend and EVERYONE goes out to the pubs/bars/clubs - and half the people dress up.

So... you already know about our weekend... pretty darn fun. This week is a short work week (Thank God) so hopefully it will fly by and we'll be on our way to Letterkenny!

We still have no T.V. which means that we basically come home from work, make and eat dinner, play cards and stare at each other for a few hours. Not exactly exciting. We don't want to spend too much money out at the pubs (Duh!) so we're avoiding going out in the evening because we know we'll stop for 'just one' and that'll turn into 'just one more' and so on and so on... Luke gets paid on the 18th and I get paid on the 25th so we have to wait until then to get ourselves a T.V. and DVD player. It's going to be a long 23 days....


Letterkenny was FABULOUS! Joyce and Paddy picked us up at our place at 8pm on Friday and we were off! 3 hours later we were pulling into Jimmy and Maggie's driveway. We were an hour or so earlier than they expected but they had lovely cold beers and a great meal prepared. Maggie, Jimmy, Keiran and Rachel were all there and we were joined later by Mickey and Zack. We all chatted in the living room and then we moved to the kitchen to have a wonderful quiche that Maggie made, as well as other random delights like olives, cheese, salad, guacamole & chips. Lovely. At about 2:00am Luke and I started fading so we were taken to Mickey and Emma's to bed. (The funny thing about this was that Maggie had sent me an email saying that Luke and I were welcome to come to Letterkenny for the weekend but that he and I would be staying with Mickey & Emma because there were so many guests.... The email that I received had the right hand side cut off but I didn't think it mattered because I thought I got the gist of the email.... However, I did miss the Mickey & Emma part. Therefore, Luke and I were staying up at Maggie & Jimmy's because everyone else was, and we were watching Mickey & Zack get more & more tired, not knowing that WE were the ones keeping them up and that we could leave for bed at any time! Mickey finally said "We'll go whenever you like" kind of thing and I realized my mistake.... How embarrassing...).

The next morning we all slept in until about 11am. Mickey was kind enough to set breakfast out for us all.... Rock somethings (Scones with raisins), cereal, coffee, tea, toast... yummy). After breakfast Mickey offered to take us on a short tour of Donegal, which thrilled Luke and I. We all drove to a beach about half an hour away (Sadly I don't remember the name of it but for those of you that have seen Brian & Carmel's photos from when they were here in the summer... it's the beach they took a gazillion photos of). He also took us to a nearby lighthouse (Lovely, and surrounded by sheep!) and for a nice drive along the coast. After the drive we headed back to the house for lunch - Emma had prepared fresh veggies, bread, tuna and egg salad for us to make delicious sandwiches with. After lunch Mickey, Luke and I headed to BRIDGE BAR for Luke's first visit. It was only about 4pm at this point, so there were no bands playing but Luke was impressed by the cozy atmosphere and the great pint of Guinness (You were right Dad, the Guinness is great there!). We chatted with Mickey through our first beer and then were joined by Paddy who came to Ramelton to have a pint and pick up Zack to take him into Letterkenny. After a couple of pints Emma joined to remind us that we must get ready for Maggie's birthday dinner at 7:30. We all headed back to the house to get ourselves gussied up and then we called a cab and we were on our way to the restaurant. Everyone else had met at 6:30 at a pub down the road from the restaurant but because we were running behind we decided to go straight to the restaurant (Indian). We were brought upstairs to a separate party room where the four of us went ahead and ordered ourselves some Indian beer (Which, by the way, is very tasty). We didn't know what any of the brands tasted like so we ordered 3 kinds and tasted each others. Shortly after everyone else started to trickle in and we proceeded to have many laughs and good chats until we were all finally ready to order. Dinner was FABULOUS. Many different and wonderful flavours. Dinner lasted a few hours and afterwards we all headed back to Jimmy and Maggie's for more drinks and more craic.
(A few funny things...... 1. At one point in the evening (It was getting quite late by this time) Paddy decided that it would be funny if every time Emma went to take a sip of her beer he made a slurping sound... It was quite amusing for the first hour!!! Emma couldn't control her laughter and wasn't able to take a sip for ages. Rachel helped her out by providing her with a straw, however that just cause Sarah Jane to join in and make straw-sucking sounds.... 2. Paddy spent half the night slagging Luke for admitting that we are going to Scotland to see a Rangers game (For those of you that don't know, the Rangers are a Protestant team and the Irish are Catholic so Luke is not supposed to be cheering for them... We were given shit for it!). 3. Luke and Paddy (and everyone else) spent part of the night arguing who is better... Beatles or Rolling Stones.... Luke felt the Beatles were better and Paddy thought the Stones were better.... They spent a while debating this and dragging the rest of us into it. 4. Many horrible, ridiculous jokes were told as things were wrapping up. Amusing how Paddy is often the only one that thinks his jokes are funny! 5. While walking by Lorna (Who was lying on the floor), Paddy's beer foamed up and landed on her face. Lorna did not find this amusing at all, however it was funny because it stressed Paddy out. Lorna was fine... no harm done. 6. Lorna was taught to tie people's shoelaces together and proceeded to try it out on Paddy. He didn't fall, but he came close! 7. Paddy nearly landed on the floor while getting up by slipping on the living room rug.)
These things do not seem as funny when read but believe me, the group of us laughed our asses off for hours doing ridiculously childish and immature things. It was GREAT! This fun continued until about 3:30am. The Irish sure know how to party...

Sunday morning we all slept in. Mickey set out breakfast for us again (Thank you for your hospitality Mickey) and we all ate while waiting for Paddy, Joyce, Sarah Jane, Brendan and Lorna to meet us so that we could all drive back to Dublin together. Once all of us were organized we left Mickey and Emma's and headed to Jimmy and Maggie's to say good bye and get Paddy and Joyce's things in order. Paddy had a sausage sandwich (Which he originally offered to Luke but ended up eating himself! Boy was he slagged for it!) and we were off!
The drive back was great.... save for Paddy and Joyce and their infamous arguments.... (We had been told about these car arguments but had not experienced it on the way up.... we were fortunate enough to experience it on the way back! Apparently Joyce and Paddy were driving Rachel from Dublin once and they argued much of the way so Rachel and her friend went to sleep to ignore it! Those of you that don't know Paddy and Joyce may think this is not good but those of us that do know that it's just the way they are and that it's bloody hilarious! Also, on the way back we witnessed something that we had witnessed on the drive home eight years ago when Angie was here in Dublin with me. A beautiful rainbow in the surrounding field. We could see both ends of it. Paddy, Joyce and myself all remembered that day.

It's the work week again and Luke and I had to drag our asses out of bed Monday morning as we were so tired from the late nights. We'll have to get back on track. Though it was only two nights it really did a number on us as we've been going to bed pretty early lately to get on track for our 6:30 wake ups.

Yesterday a co-worker of mine, Rachel, was kind enough to take me to her house after work and lend me some board games (Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit and Pictionary) so that Luke and I have more to do than play cards, go out for pints and stare at each other). It was really funny because she didn't realize that Luke and I had no T.V. and said "Oh Love, you should have told me earlier..." and then she proceeded to laugh and tell everyone that I was lacking in the T.V. department. She then said "I'm going to take you to my house, give you some games and drop you off at the DART station... you poor thing!". Very sweet of her. Unfortunately this is her last day of work here with us... off to something better.... She's the ONE PERSON that I can ask those stupid new-person questions, chat with, all that good stuff and she's on her way out of here.... :( There's a party on Friday that I have been invited to... A "Leaving" party at a pub a few towns from here. I'll be going directly after work with the gang here and Luke will meet us all after he's gone home and changed. I imagine it'll be good craic as everyone in the office is fantastic!

Well, that should bring you all up to date....

Actually, Luke and I finally got our bank cards and PIN codes in the mail so we now have working bank accounts. If anyone would like to send us some money you can deposit it to The Bank of Ireland, St. Stephen's Green, Account #.... JUST KIDDING! Now we'll be able to pay our rent (As I mentioned before it is direct withdrawal each month from our account and is due on the 18th...) and pay our electricity bill (ALSO direct withdrawal... due on the 15th...). Seems we're actually pretty much finished with the boring paperwork. Just one or two more things to send off and we're DONE DONE DONE!

Did you know that the first year you are here if you have arrived from another country, you do not have to pay any taxes on your wages... (If I had known that I would have arrived here in January. As it is we will not be taxed at work for any money we make up to the end of the year. Pretty nuts, isn't it??!).

Ok, well, that's really it for now. Hopefully something REALLY exciting will happen this week and I'll have something thrilling to report next time. Until then, I hope you enjoy reading about the big trip up north.