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