Another September, Another Course

I never would have thought that I would be back doing another course… but that’s exactly where I am at! With this pandemic nightmare and pretty much all tourism jobs gone in a poof of smoke, I’ve had to rethink my career choice! I’m decided (and hopefully sensibly) to do a Healthcare course. It allows me to work in nursing homes, hospitals, elderly home-care, health clinics and generally anything related to healthcare. With the way this Coronavirus is headed, I felt this was the most secure way of getting a job at the end of May!

Subjects include Care Support, Care Skills, Anatomy & Physiology, Human Growth & Development, Care of the Older Person, Work Experience and Nursing Theory & Practice. Communications and Health & Safety are two others but because I done those last year this means I don’t have to repeat those. So my timetable isn’t as hectic as the Tourism course last year!

So far I’m really enjoying all the subjects; they are really interesting and I’m learning loads in each class. That’s what I really enjoy, just learning new things. My teachers are all really nice and my classmates seem very nice too!

Compared to my Tourism course, where I was the oldest out of them all, in my new group there is a whole mix of ages. Some are just out of school, one is 25 and she done a make-up a course before this, another has 4 children, another has a son in his 30’s, so I feel a lot more comfortable in this class than the tourism one!

This year the school split every class into two. So my class has 30 students altogether, but to help with social distancing, they split us into half and my group (A) go to school one week while group B logs onto the lesson via zoom. So this week I go to school and then next week I can stay at home and log in. I don’t mind this at all! I get to have a lie in, I spend less on petrol, and because I’ve been taking Spanish classes through zoom, it’s not strange for me to have classes online. I know there are others in the class who hate the online part, and would much rather go to class, but for me I think it breaks up the monotony and I’m sure the weeks will fly by.

As I was studying Spanish during the summer, I wanted to try and keep taking classes during the times when I am free, but I learned pretty quickly that I’m really not engaging in the classes as much as I was. Instead of going 5 days a week, 20 classes, I now go only 3 days a week with 10 classes. I organised it so I could do it Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but I realised that I’m missing too much in the days that I don’t go, and I don’t really want to be spending money each week when I’m not really getting much out of it. So I decided that I will stop taking online classes but I’ll continue to take speaking classes with iTalki. If I manage to maintain what I learned and keep practicing it then I would be happy with that!

For the whole summer I was debating whether to do this Healthcare Support course, but I decided that it was the best choice. I wasn’t very happy going back to school again and studying ( I put so much effort into the Tourism course, I just felt that I couldn’t do it all again), but at least I don’t have to do 2 modules and if I can do it once, then I can do it again. Plus I learned that I just have to adapt to the situation that I’m in.

I feel that this course will open up more doors to me, and I know that I could do the job. I’m a kind, caring person and I want people to be happy. I’m not cut out for working in sales or a really stressful job, but I know I could work in the healthcare sector. I’ll be recognised as a Healthcare Assistant so I’ll actually have a title. I would be helping the nurse with the patients, chatting to them, feeding them, bathing them and helping them with their daily activities.

I really hope I made the right decision with this course. I cried when I realised my tourism course is useless (for the time being), and that I have to go back and do it all again. It’s not what I planned at all and I was really annoyed that I chose the wrong course. I’m lucky that I can go back and do another one, but it’s still difficult to put myself back into the mindset of being a student when I was 100% certain I would get a job in the something related to tourism.

So, as I probably said this time last year, lets see what this year brings!

Our Adopted Kitten

We have a new addition to the family! My Mam and Dad found a wee kitten while they were walking in a field behind our house, and I think he has settled in great!

However it didn’t have a good start in life. The poor thing was found in an awful state, and it was in such a bad a state that when it heard my parents walking by, it creeped out and started meowing. My Mum walked over to it and it ran away, but it quickly came back, so Mum picked it up and held it in her arms. That shows how desperate it must have been! Myself and my husband were in town so we were very surprised when we saw this scrawny kitten on my Dad’s lap.

The day we found him

The poor thing just kept meowing when it was put down and all it did was sleep and it ate a little. We could also feel all it’s bones so it must have been out there for a while. What’s worse is that when it went to the toilet, we could see straw in his faeces. The poor thing was that hungry that it was eating straw! We decided to bring it to the vets the next Monday to see how they could help him.

After we bathed him

The vet said that they would keep him for about 2 hours to see what problems it had, so I left the vets empty-handed!

After a few hours I became a little concerned because it was more than 2 hours, but finally they rang! They told me the poor thing has:

-A broken jaw.

-An abscess on his bum and paw.

-The skin around his lip has been torn.

I knew his lip was torn but I didn’t think he had a broken jaw! Although he was struggling, he ate some food that we gave him! She asked me if we wanted to go ahead and pay for the surgery and all that, and I replied that I would talk to the family. Myself, my husband and my Mum and Dad decided that we would split all the bills so that we could pay for the operation and his stay in the vets. We felt so sorry for him we just couldn’t leave him!

After his stay we picked him up and he was a new kitten! He was a bit anxious at first but then he calmed down and got used to his surroundings.

Just back from the vets

He got blue stitches on his bottom and in his jaw so he looked like a vampire kitten for a while, but he looked fantastic. He was now playing, exploring and acting like a kitten!

Living the dream

As you can see from the last picture, he has his ‘fang’ stitches out and he is just loving life! He loves his cuddles (when he wants them), and he loves playing and also ruining all my clothes with his claws. He can be so friendly and gentle and the next minute he will be running around the sitting room like an eejit!

His name is Scoby, no not Scooby. Scoby, like Toby (We actually had a dog called Toby once), and at the beginning I really wasn’t fussed on the name. We all had different names for him:

I wanted ‘Tiger’

My husband wanted ‘Oreo’

My sister wanted ‘Lucky’

My nephew (9) wanted ‘Nocturnal’

My other nephew (5) wanted ‘Fireblast’

But my Dad won out with Scoby.

At the beginning I really didn’t think the name suited him, and I would often call him Scooby by accident. But now it has grown on me and now I only see him as Scoby!

Now I’m not fussed on cats at all, and I’ve always preferred to have a dog over a cat, but I must say he has changed my view on cats. He’s so soft and fluffy and I love when he purrs. He’s a nice little addition to the family and although he is ruining our sofa, it’s great to see how much he has improved! We just couldn’t leave him in the vets because it was certain he would have been put to sleep. Who would want a half-dead kitten with a broken jaw?

My nephews also like him and although the kitten was very nervous with them at the beginning, he is now curious and looks and whatever the two boys are doing, but of course at a distant!

Aisling

A Wee Trip To Dublin

It’s not very common that me and my husband take a day to ourselves and go visit a new place. Either the weather is terrible, we have no money or we are just too lazy, it’s hard for us to get motivated!

So we both decided that we would try and do something fun together during the weekend, and we organised to go to Dublin for the day. It takes about 1.5 hours to reach the capital from where we live, so a day trip is quite doable.

Just out of curiosity, I decided to check the prices of hotels in the area. Because there aren’t many tourists in Ireland, I thought that maybe the prices of accommodation may have reduced.

Luckily enough I found a room in the Jurys Hotel, Parnell Street which cost us €89 for the night, which wasn’t bad at all! We use booking.com a lot so we got €10 off the price, so it actually came out as €80! It was a spur of the moment decision but we decided to book it anyway because it was good value! The hotel is literally just off one of the main streets of Dublin, and it was just a short 10 minute walk to the bus pick up area to get us home.

And I have to say, I loved our weekend away! We both had a great time together and I’m really glad we went!

We arrived at about 11am and we were also able to check in early which was good! For lunch we went to Boojums, a cheap place that sells burritos and things like that. I like the burritos because you can choose what you want to put in it and they are also very filling!

I saw a Chinese shop online that sells Chinese imports so after we ate we decided to walk down there and buy Chinese sauces that we couldn’t buy anywhere else. We had a great time looking at all the imported stuff that we used to come across all the time while living in China. It was great but also it made me miss China as well!

So we stocked up on lots of sauces and then left! We walked around some more until we found another Chinese import shop which we had a wander around. We were surprised when we saw that they stocked Mexican sauces!

Our bag was very heavy so we decided to head back to the hotel and drop it at the hotel. We took another 20 minute break and headed out again, this time we visited the National Gallery of Ireland. I love this Gallery; it’s free, it’s really well run, it’s clean, inviting and they have some lovely exhibitions and paintings. The Gallery closes at 5pm so we then left and walked around the centre where we bought ice-creams (coffee for me and rum/raison for my husband) and we ate them in St Stephens Green.

Becoming cold from the ice-cream, we walked around the park and around the shopping area until we decided to head back to the apartment. We sneakily decided to buy 2 beers in the shop so we could enjoy them in our hotel room before we headed back out for dinner. We were surprised to see that they had an ice-machine in the hotel! I don’t stay in hotels pretty much at all, so maybe this is quite common in Irish hotels, but we definitely used it for our beers!

We saw that there was a Nandos restaurant about a 5 minute walk from the hotel so we went there for dinner. It’s a British restaurant that specialises in spicy chicken and I remember a few years ago everybody wanted a Nandos restaurant in Ireland! Now there are loads of them about, but not where I live!

We enjoyed 2 ciders while there and we were pleasantly surprised at how nice the food was! We were stuffed by the end of it! We left at about 9pm and headed back to the hotel then.

We had a fantastic time together and it really made me consider doing something like it again. I didn’t worry about anything (I’m a terrible worrier) and I just concentrated on the day and it was great.

What I’m also really proud of: I spoke nearly the entire time in Spanish! I said to my husband “Once we are on the bus we are only speaking Spanish”. And we did, well most of it! So I’m really proud of myself!

Because Dublin has a whole array of ethnicities, I don’t feel like I stand out when I’m speaking Spanish, however in the town where I live, with a population of about 40,000 people, I don’t feel very comfortable speaking in Spanish. Not many visitors come to my town, so people would be more surprised to hear a person not speaking English. I suppose I’m afraid that someone would come up to us and shout “Speak English!!” or mutter some racist comment.

I know it’s not my problem and I shouldn’t be ashamed, but to be honest I really don’t want to come across racism against me or my husband in the town that I grew up in. So it’s hard to know what to do!

But anyway, we bought enjoyed our time away and it spurred us to try and get out of the house more and enjoy being with each other!

Where we stayed: Jurys Hotel, Parnell Street Dublin.

What I liked: It was situated really close to everything and you even have the LUAS literally outside the hotel. The bed is really comfortable and the duvet is very warm.

What I disliked: The walls were literally wallpaper so you can hear everything from the room next door. Even if they were just speaking in a normal voice you can literally eavesdrop on everything they are saying. Also the window doesn’t open so you can’t get any fresh air.

Would I stay again: Yes I would, especially if the price is low, however I would ask to be put in a room where there aren’t people next to you, (which can be impossible during high season)

Aisling

Driving Lessons in Ireland

Thankfully I will never have to do my driving test again in Ireland, having failed it the first time round, it’s not exactly the nicest of experiences to go through! But now it’s my husbands turn to get his!

He already has his licence from Mexico but from what I understand I think he can only drive here for 1 year on that licence. Plus the insurance would be absolutely crazy for him, so he decided that he would get his Irish drivers licence which he would then have forever! He doesn’t mind because it’s another way of immersing himself in Ireland, becoming part of the community and just settling in.

I got my licence over 10 years ago but now it has all changed and it’s a lot more rigorous. When I was taking my lessons I didn’t have to do a set number of them. After I got my provisional licence I had to wait a certain number of months before I could apply for the test, but that was really it! Now it has all changed!

My husband now has a booklet which he has to bring with him to every lesson with an approved driving constructor. At the end of the class they fill it in on what was good/bad and they sign it with the date. My husband has to do at least 12 lessons with a constructor. This wasn’t the case for me!

Source; rsa.ie

Another thing is that my husband cannot drive by himself. He needs to be accompanied by a person who has a full licence whenever he drives. When I was learning this law didn’t exist, so of course this new law change has made it extremely difficult for provisional learners to drive to college or work or anywhere else! My husband could get insured on our car but we once got a quote of €4,000, so that was definitely out of the question! So for the moment he has been taking a 1 hour class every week. Unfortunately that is the only practice he gets because we just aren’t willing to pay thousands of euro for insurance! If you don’t know, Ireland is fantastic at ripping off it’s people, with car insurance being one of them!

Before receiving his provisional licence he also had to do a theory test. From what I have seen there are more questions relating to drink and drug driving than when I done it. I don’t think there were any relating to these when I done my theory test!

Overall I do think that these changes are good, especially having a mandatory number of lessons, but I do think it’s unfair that they also must have a full licensed driver with them wherever they go. Insurance has sky-rocketed so many just can’t afford to pay for insurance and then also needing another driver with them!

Hopefully my husband will pass without needing to get insurance for extra practice with our car. My insurance is pretty high as it is so having to pay €4,000 just for his is out of the question!

Aisling

I’m Not Moving In Life

Before I left China I had great hopes: we’ll head to Ireland, I’ll get a job in Tourism, and everything will be fine!

Well no, it didn’t go that way at all. We went to Mexico and that didn’t work out for us, so then we went to Ireland and I thought “Well now I can get a job in a travel agency or something like that”.

No…. I wasn’t able to get anything. So I decided to do a 9 month course in Tourism so that I would DEFINITELY be able to get a job.

Well, a little Coronavirus Pandemic happened just before I graduated. I’ve my 8 modules completed with Distinctions in them all, and now there isn’t a job to be found in anything related to tourism.

Like I really feel I can’t get a break. Like really.

There are times where I really really regret leaving China. Yeah I would have been far from my family, but ever since I left nothing has worked out in my favour. I loved my life there, and I mourn it a lot.

Last September my husband found a job that is literally a 15 minute cycle from where we live. He actually started the same day that I started my tourism course! I remember thinking that that was a sign that everything is working out ok and we are finally headed in the right direction.

I loved my course, I done really well in the subjects, and I learned that I actually enjoy studying and learning new things. I felt that I was in the perfect course for me and everything that I learned would help me to secure a job in the travel industry.

But unfortunately with the Coronavirus, I’m literally in the same position as I was 1 year ago. No job and having to do yet another course.

When am I ever going to stop being a student? When am I going to have enough qualifications that will help me get a job? When will I ever stop studying? When can I start earning a full time wage? That’s what it feels like…. I’m going to be studying forever for a job that won’t even pay well.

I know people wanting to become doctors study for years on end, but at the end of it they will get a really high salary. I completed a 4 year degree, a 1 year course and now I’m most likely going to have to do another 1 year course. That’s 6 years of studying and I haven’t even gotten on the career ladder! I’m stuck in the mud at the bottom of it, trying to pull myself out while everyone else is climbing up and up the ladder. My face twisted in sadness and despair while everyone is clambering up.

I’m afraid to do anything now. I went to Mexico thinking that I would become fluent in Spanish, and instead what happened was that I was very unhappy and gained weight.

I thought going back to Ireland would be better, which I did, and although I was happier, I was back in the town that I left all those years ago because I couldn’t get a job.

I just can’t get going in life at all, and everything that I’ve done to change it just isn’t working. So I’m afraid to do anything in case it’s the dreaded “Oh, yet again you chose wrong Aisling. Like Mexico, like Ireland, like your course…. you chose the wrong thing”.

I really just want to get on the right path and not regret it like always!

Aisling

 

1 Word That I Can’t Pronounce in Spanish

As I want to learn more Spanish words, I was reading one of my Spanish story books that I brought home from Mexico. They are really for native Spanish speaking children, but the level is fine for me, there are a few pictures inside, and the font size is much bigger! So I decided to buy 3 of them!

It was in one of these books where I saw this word.  I immediately thought “That looks like it’s made up, that can’t be real!”

So I looked it up and yes, it is actually quite real!

….ronronear…

This means ‘to purr’ in Spanish. I was reading a short story about a black cat and this word crept up a few times.

I don’t know why it’s weird, it’s just how it’s written and how it is pronounced. It just doesn’t sound like a ‘normal’ Spanish word!

Incidentally, this is one word that I can’t say either! There is only a slight roll of the tongue when pronouncing the ‘r’s and I just can’t seem to get my tongue back in the right position to say the second ‘r’!

Before I used to have trouble saying ‘euro’. The ‘EUro’ sound is different to the way you say it in English and I just couldn’t get it right! However after practicing I can say it ok now!

The rolling ‘R’s are usually fine however I do trip up on them sometimes, especially when I speak too fast.

But this word I just can’t say. I tried and tried and my husband was also trying to teach me how to say it but I’m just not getting it! It’s not exactly a really important word to say so I’m not overly concerned about it!

I wonder will I find some other weird sounding words the next time I read my books!

Aisling

 

Using iTalki to improve my Spanish

people on a video call

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

When I was in a teenager, I used to study French in school. I don’t really remember much of it except that we used to have a teacher who was constantly giving out to us.

Then in college my course offered 3 years of either studying Spanish or French. Of course I went for the French option as I had studied that before.

Again, I don’t remember much from it, except I was always the worst in the class (and there were only 7 students in total!) and being taught new grammar that I never had a clue what it was about. I remember looking at the grammar and thinking “I don’t have a clue what I’m reading or studying!”

One thing I do remember though was one day the lecturer told us to write something in french on the computers in the classroom. I remember I wasn’t able to do it so I started using Google Translate to translate what I wanted. I made sure the lecturer couldn’t see me do this.

However little did I know was that she could see what everyone was doing through her own computer! I forget what she said to me but I remember I was so embarrassed and I definitely didn’t try it again!

So in my last year of college we didn’t have to study French and I was so happy about it: I really didn’t do well in it and I just managed to scrape a pass in it.

So that was the deal with French.

Then I decided to study Chinese! One of the hardest languages in the world to learn! My experience with French must have been erased from my head or something! So you can imagine how much I…. ehm…. learned. . .

So I studied and my listening and reading did actually improve. I could understand exactly what the teachers were talking about and I was able to read children’s stories in Chinese. Speaking was a problem though and I fumbled my 5 years in China just being able to use survival Chinese.

But then…… my boyfriend/now husband arrived on the scene. This time Spanish was all the rage in my world!

While I was in China I really didn’t study much Spanish. I didn’t need to use it in my daily life so it was hard for me to get the motivation to study. At home my husband used to speak really simple sentences to me, like “I want to eat noodles.”

I remember he would say something to me in Spanish in a really romantic way and I would think “Oh I wonder what he is saying, he sounds so romantic!”

“I want to eat eggs for breakfast tomorrow”

No…. that was SO NOT romantic! I remember he used to do that to me a few times and I never knew what the hell he was saying! He always used to laugh when I found out what he was saying!

I remember walking down the streets and he would try to explain something in Spanish.

I remember sitting outside a restaurant waiting for our food to be ready and I would try to speak a little.

When we were on the bus going to a plaza nearby he would get me to translate really simple sentences into Spanish, like “I eat apples everyday when I am at work”.

I also remember being on the bus and he would send voice messages in Spanish to his friends and I would try and pick up what he was saying.

Those are my experiences of learning Spanish when I was in China.

In Mexico I really did improve a lot. Because classes were expensive there I studied by myself. I could understand what my husbands family were talking about and I could join in on more conversations. My speaking really wasn’t great though, but I do remember my listening got much better!

After I moved back to Ireland I was busy with my course and Spanish went out the window. I didn’t speak for months and It felt like everything that I learned in Mexico had just disappeared! So in January 2020 I joined iTalki and I had a class with a woman from Mexico.

I was really nervous because I hadn’t spoken to anyone in Spanish for a long long time, and I forgot loads! The class was good but I felt I didn’t really connect with the lady. I didn’t take another iTalki class until May when I started studying Spanish again.

I had another class with another woman from Mexico and although she was nice I felt like I was carrying the conversations. When you are learning a language it should be the teacher who leads the conversations, however with the class I had with the woman, I felt it was my responsibility to lead.

I looked again and I found a lady that seemed nice and since then I have had 8 classes in total with her. Again she is from Mexico and she is really nice and I feel comfortable talking to her! So I have classes with her but also I take classes with another woman as well. I enjoy both of their classes and I don’t feel under pressure to think of things to talk about!

Ideally I would like to have 3 classes a week, 60 minutes each, but sometimes they don’t have time because their schedule is full and sometimes I’m just lazy!

Speaking with them has definitely helped with my speaking, and I love it because it’s really flexible: Because the teachers set their own cost, I can choose how much I would like to pay, I can choose what time I would like to have class at, and I can choose how many classes I want each week. If I want I can schedule a class tomorrow at a certain time (if they are available at that time) and I can explain to them what I would like to talk about/study.

Speaking is one thing I do want to improve on a lot. I want to gain the confidence to be able to speak well and know that I can hold a conversation. My problem is when I am nervous all my Spanish goes out the window and I end up making really really silly/basic mistakes!

I’ve been thinking about searching for another teacher so that I can practice with 3 people, but I don’t know if that will confuse me! I get confused about what topics I’ve talked about with the two teachers that I have so having a 3rd would make it even more complicated for me!

But anyway, I really enjoy iTalki and even though sometimes I don’t be in the mood for a class, but once I’m done I feel happy with myself!

Aisling

Oh and this isn’t a sponsored blog by iTalki!  I definitely DO NOT have enough followers to even dream of that! I just think it’s a great site and it has helped me a lot!