No More College??!

So, with all this Coronavirus, my college, and like every school across Ireland is closed for 2 weeks, at least!

At the beginning my teachers were saying that the college might close, and I was thinking “Oh I really doubt that.”

Then they started talking about how we would do exams if the college closed. My teacher said that she would have to send the paper online and give us a time to do it at home. She was saying that she hopes we wouldn’t cheat, but there are a few in my class that would definitely do that, so she added ” It would be very suspicious if I saw everyone get 100%!” But here we are, with the reality being that I may never have class again!

I was driving on Thursday and all of a sudden on the radio I heard that all colleges and schools are closed from 6pm that day until the 29th of March. We were supposed to have 2 weeks off from the 6th of April, then back for exams which were supposed to be held the first week of May, but I think at this rate all that is up in the air now.

It was all quite sudden, so now my teachers have been emailing us stuff to make sure that we do and email them. I still have about 6/7 assignments do, so I will have to do them and email them to my teachers.

Some may think it’s great not having college, but I would much rather go in. I like college, and I know I’m going to be bored stiff because I’m sure the government will want us to stay in as much as we can.

I think it’s good that the government shut all the schools though. I think the first death made them take this action. Unfortunately the schools in Northern Ireland are still open so it’s not ideal taking two different actions on the same island.

And now everyone here is panic buying, which is not good! I haven’t gone into the shops but I’ve seen plenty of pictures of lines of people waiting to pay in places like Tesco, Lidl and Aldi. I think this is just selfish and they need to think of the people who can’t go to the shops everyday, like the elderly, or parents who have babies. My Mum told me that she read online that there was a parent who couldn’t find baby formula because it was all gone.

I know people panic, and even when I heard all these people were buying loads of toilet paper, I started thinking “oh god well we better go and buy loads”, but the News is saying that there is PLENTY of food and it won’t run out. So I relaxed a bit when I saw that.

So people have become very selfish now.

Nobody knows what will happen these next few weeks, but I hope we all don’t go mad being stuck inside!

Aisling

 

 

 

 

Practising Mindfulness

healing music

Photo by Magicbowls on Pexels.com

Every year my college has night courses that anyone can do. They can range from IT courses, make-up, language, floral arranging, Special Needs Assistant courses and they change some each year depending on popularity. I decided to join the mindfulness course and I really enjoyed it!

It was for 5 weeks from 7.00pm to 9.00pm every Monday, and there were about 14 people who joined it, and their ages ranged from early twenties to their 60’s, so it was a good mix of people.

Every class we always did a meditation and at the beginning it was a struggle, but now I’ve gotten better at them. We also spoke about the past week and what we were struggling with and had anxiety with. It was nice to be surrounded by people who are like me; worrying all the time.

We did lots of things every week and it was a lovely atmosphere to be in. Because we only had 5 weeks, the lady who was running it just gave us a glimpse of techniques we could use to be more ‘mindful’ and how to react to different situations. She explained that she used to be very anxious but then she did these courses and now she works full time giving courses to mainly children. She said it took her over a year to be less anxious, which surprised me! But I suppose it does take a long time to change your mindset.

She gave us contact details of people who are running more mindful courses, because I do want to continue doing these courses because I know they will benefit me. I don’t mind spending the money because I’m investing in myself and I know they are beneficial.

So next Monday I’ll actually miss going!

Aisling

We Bought Ourselves A Car

We finally bought ourselves a car! We always intended on buying one when we arrived in Ireland, so we both felt that it was needed; it wasn’t fair on Dad dropping us everywhere and we just wanted more independence.

We visited a few car dealerships and I thought ‘well we’ll find a few and then we can choose which one we like the best. There are plenty of car dealerships here so it won’t be a problem’.

Wrong. We only saw one car which suited us! We wanted a car that wasn’t too big, wasn’t too old, was second hand and had a 1.0-litre engine. (Better for insurance)

The first place we visited was the only place we saw one that was suitable for us! So we didn’t have much to choose from. But thankfully it is perfect!

It is a 2012 Toyota Yaris and it is lovely to drive! It’s not too big, it has a camera at the back so when you reverse you can see on the dashboard where you are going, it’s a 1.0-litre, and its very clean and spacious!

Below is a picture of the car type we got. This is not our car!

Image result for toyota yaris 2012

Source; google.com

My Dad had a 2002 Nissan Micra years ago and that was what I used to drive, and I have to say there is a big difference!! It was so hard to get going from 1st gear as the clutch and accelerator had to be perfectly balanced so that it moved (I can’t really explain it well). If you didn’t get it just right it wouldn’t move or it could stall. I thought that every car was like that and you just have to practice, but now that I am driving our new one I now know that that is not the case!

Image result for nissan micra 2002 silver ireland

Source; google.com

 

It’s just so easy to move off in our new car, and I haven’t stalled once. With the other one I was constantly stalling because it was hard to get the clutch and accelerator at the correct point to move. So that’s definitely good!

I’m still quite nervous driving as I haven’t driven in years, so my Dad suggested I put ‘N’ plates (Novice) on the car to show other drivers that I’m still practising. In 2014 Ireland introduced a law that every driver who passed their driving test has to have N plates on their car for 2 years after they pass. I passed mine in 2011 so I didn’t have to have them at the time, but I think it’s a great idea. People are more aware that the drivers who have N plates are still not experienced yet, so they are a bit more lenient. I feel safer with them because I do feel I need a lot more practice!

Image result for irish n plates

Source; google.com

But there are things which I don’t enjoy:

I hate passing cyclists, walkers or slow moving vehicles! I cry when I see a cyclist or anything that I have to pass. I really need to get more confident in doing it. I’ve only had to pass one and thankfully there was no oncoming traffic. ( I was literally on the other side of the road and I’m sure the other drivers were thinking ‘God they are bit dramatic’, but I managed it)

When I was practising with my Dad, there was a slow moving vehicle in front. I kept well away from it so that the other cars behind me could overtake me. Then they overtook the slow vehicle.

Hill Starts. I actually haven’t done a hill start in our new car but I remember in the Nissan Micra I didn’t enjoy it. I felt that the hand-brake wasn’t strong and that I would start going backwards. But I trust our new car so I think this will be fine.

Crossing at a T-Juntion. I hate crossing to the other side of the road when there’s a lot of traffic. I just feel like I will never get across and the other drivers behind will start beeping. At least with the N plates they kind of know that I may take longer than others, which is a bit of a relief!

But I do really like the car. It’s spacious and it even has a radio! The radio in the Micra didn’t work so they were very quiet car journeys!

So my plan is to try and practice everyday so I get more and more confident.

I just really really wish there were no cyclists or walkers or tractors or diggers or any slow vehicle that I have to overtake!

Aisling

I had to turn down an interview

Since I arrived in Ireland last May, I’ve applied for countless jobs. Even when I started my course I continued to apply. I haven’t heard back from any of them which is disappointing, so I was surprised when I received an email from a company in Dublin which I applied for a few days ago.

I actually forgot I applied to them and I was wracking my head thinking about it. There was a similar job I applied for and I thought it was that one but with a different company, which I thought ‘Sure why would they change their name thats a bit strange.’ I researched further and I finally found the position!

It was for a company in Dublin which gives TEFL courses and sends teachers all around the world to teach English, so it was exactly like the internship that I first did with a company in 2013. It was a ‘Student Services Advisor’ to the students that would head off to other countries then and teach for a semester. For once I actually felt I had all what they wanted, plus I also had experience doing those online TEFL courses and I, myself went to China with an internship company.

So I got a phone call during college yesterday and I didn’t answer because the number was from Wales! I thought ‘No way I’m not answering that, I don’t know anyone from there and I’m pretty sure it’s a scam.’

So I let it ring out.

Then later I saw on WhatsApp that I got a message from Indeed saying I have a message. I thought ‘God that’s weird, I NEVER get these.’ So I clicked into it and I found that it was an employer from the company explaining that they tried to ring but there was no answer (oops) and that they want to set up an interview for me.

W.H.A.T??????

Did I just read that right??

An. Interview….

Well, this is definitely new to me!

They asked if I could give them a ring to organise it so I rang later that day. The man wasn’t there but he would ring me tomorrow.

I wanted to ask him when the job would start, because I wouldn’t finish my college course until May, and this job was permanent and full time, so I was pretty sure they would be hiring before that date.

So he rang me and I asked him when the position would start, and unfortunately it was starting in February.

So I explained to him that I have college until May so I don’t think I would be able to go for an interview. (The interview was in Dublin and I would have had to spend the day there and miss college) I explained how grateful I was and if they would be hiring in the summer. He replied that he doesn’t know yet but he would keep my CV because he said I have the necessary experience needed for the job. He was very nice and he understood that I couldn’t leave college right now.

I emailed to thank him again, because I really am grateful for even considering me! I never heard anything from any other jobs, and this one was the only one that considered me. I’m grateful for even that.

And it was a job that I would have liked, and from what I saw I actually have experience, for once!

It is a shame but sure I suppose I just can’t leave college at the moment; I only have just over 3 months left, I’m putting the effort in and I want to get my cert at the end of it. I hope that they will have another opening in the future, but I’m happy that they saw something in me.

I always thought my time in China was a waste; I don’t get any replies from any job I apply for, not even from Starbucks or an assistant for a pharmacy. But this interview offer made me realise that at least for that company I actually did have the relevant experience.

Aisling

So how did my iTalki lesson go?

So I’ve had my first iTalki lesson on Friday evening and it went well! It was my first time so I wasn’t sure how the whole thing worked. I scheduled it at 5pm and a minute before she contacted me and said she was ready.

So we spoke about my life and just things in general like Ireland and what I do. She asked me if I wanted to talk about something specific but I didn’t plan on anything because it was just a 30 minute trial lesson.

I was a bit nervous at the beginning because I hadn’t really spoken to anyone other than my husband in Spanish for a while, and because I forgot a lot of words it wasn’t as easy to speak as before. But I slowly started to calm down and spoke a bit better.

She wrote some words and phrases that I forgot and it came up on the screen so I could see them which was cool.

I was reading that it is best to go through a few teachers and pick ones that you feel most comfortable with, so for my next lessons I will try a few more people and see who I feel the best with. I also read that some people might not go and have a lesson with a certain teacher for a while so that when they start a lesson with them again then they will have a lot to talk about.

I think with this kind of thing it’s very daunting because first you are talking to someone that you never met before in a language that you aren’t comfortable speaking in, then then fact that something could go wrong with the connection and maybe you might not hear them or see them! In my lesson I couldn’t hear her at the beginning and I was starting to panic! But then it was ok!

I remember seeing iTalki months ago when I was in Mexico and I was thinking ‘But sure I’m in a Spanish speaking country already, that would be a waste of money to pay when I’m already in Mexico’. Then I read a review about the website and about one person who was already in China and they still have online lessons with Chinese speakers so that they can still practice at home. So then I realised that it actually is a good idea.

And now that I am in Ireland I felt the only way to be able to improve my Spanish would be to take classes.. which I then found out were way too expensive. So then I thought that online learning would be the next best thing.

So I will have a scroll down through the huge list of available teachers to see which one I would like to try out next. I think it is a fantastic website and I regret not using it before now…. but as always….

better late than never.

Here is the link for the website: italki language learning

Aisling

I signed up with iTalki!

So after coming back from Austria, me and my husband have started to speak more Spanish to one another. It’s hard though because the environment we are in is only English, and I don’t feel comfortable speaking Spanish in front of my family, so we have really just been speaking it when we are alone.

I remember months ago reading about the website iTalki and how you can chat to people all over the world, so I decided to go and have another look at it. I wanted to get back into speaking Spanish so I looked at private language places where I am now and they were just too expensive. So that went out the window!

I signed up to iTalki and it seems quite good. I put around €30 on my account, and then I chose a person who I wanted to have a class with. You can have a 30 minute class with them for half the price of a normal class as a tester class. The lady I chose is from Mexico and she charges around €8 for a class, with prices varying for the duration of the class. I was able to choose the day, time and how long it would be for. Then I organised the way we could have our chat and I picked Skype.

The cool thing about it is that you can choose the price of the class. Some can be over €20 whereas others could charge €5.00, so it’s good that you can decide how much you are willing to spend.

As much as I like talking to my husband in Spanish, there really is only so much you can talk about. When we did try and have practice conversations it was difficult to find a topic to discuss when we know pretty much everything about each other! That’s one of the main reasons why I want to try out iTalki!

I know my Spanish has weakened since I started going to college again, but at least if I do this maybe once or twice a week I will feel like I’m putting the effort into it once more. Even now after coming back from Austria I’m slowly starting to remember words again. At one stage I forgot what the word for ‘dog’ was in Spanish, which I was shocked about!!

So I’m looking forward to the class and hopefully my Skype will work fine. I always worry because electronics aren’t always reliable and I’m afraid that it wont work, but I rang my husband on it as a tester and it seemed fine, so fingers crossed!

Aisling

New Years in Austria

New Years in Austria

A couple of weeks ago my husbands sister invited us to spend New Years in Austria together. It worked well for all of us as it would save money for accommodation and the like. I have always wanted to visit Austria and it’s a beautiful country! We travelled to Vienna and then we took a train for 2.5 hours to Salzburg on the same day. We were so tired as we had to leave home at half 1am that morning, but we made it through the day.

I really like Salzburg; it’s so pretty and you can see the beginning of the Alps so it was very picturesque. We visited a lovely castle located at the top of a small mountain and we had plenty of beers. It was very busy though as there were many tourists from all over the world. But it was manageable.

Vienna is also a pretty city, but because it was New Years it was really busy! For New Years we found a place in the city that we thought would be a good spot for seeing the fireworks. We had our mini bottles of Prosecco and we waited anxiously for the fireworks to begin.

There were none.

We, among many many others had chosen a spot which didn’t have fireworks. Behind a large building to the left of us had all the action and fireworks! We saw a few around us but we definitely missed the main show!

Rather deflated we wandered back to the Main Street area and there was great! There were loads of people dancing to different types of music and small stages were set up so there were lights projecting all over the place. It was such a great atmosphere as we were all dancing together in the street. We got back to the apartment at 2am and we were so tired, but it was a fantastic night.

With regards to food in Austria, I really liked it however I did feel it lacked vegetables. I ordered steak with an onion gravy with noodles and although it was really nice, I just felt some vegetables would have been nice with it. I was also surprised with the noodles accompanying the steak as I don’t really understand how those two work together! But anyway I still enjoyed it!

The two photos below is Baklava and the famous Apple Strudel. The Baklava has nuts and a honey syrup and was lovely!

We tried more typical dishes like the Sniztel which is breaded meat aswell which I enjoyed.

Overall I enjoyed my time in Austria and I’d love to visit again, maybe go to Innsbruck next time!

Aisling