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

Moving Up A Level In Spanish

In one of my other blog posts I wrote about starting an online Spanish class during the week, and about 2 weeks ago I had my first ‘real’ Spanish test!

This including a listening, writing, reading and a speaking part…. and although I passed, I definitely learned a few things from it!

First of all: read the questions!

Unfortunately I didn’t read the questions for 2 parts of it, so I ended up filling in one bit of it wrong and I lost quite a lot of marks for it. I was supposed to write the grammar (yo comí)- I ate, or (yo he comido)- I have eaten in the 10 sentences. But me being me didn’t read the question right and I put all comí, bebí. So marks were lost for that.

Also for another part I didn’t read it thoroughly enough and I lost marks for that! So although I passed, if I concentrated a bit more I would have done better. So I was a bit annoyed at myself as I felt that I deserved a better mark, especially as I had studied everyday before the exam and what not. But I remind myself that it was my first Spanish exam and that it was something to learn from.

The listening was also very hard and I know I only knew 1 answer, however by luck I got 4/6 right! I was surprised with that though because I really do spend a lot of time listening and watching things in Spanish. I thought my listening would be better than that but the audio was very difficult though which didn’t help. I started to spend more time listening to a Spanish radio station half an hour before I sleep to help me improve my listening. I use the website ‘Radio Garden’ and it’s great to listen to the radio from whatever country you want!

Finally I had my speaking test and the teacher said that I got the best score out of the class. She pretended that she was a tour agency and I was looking to book somewhere on holiday. I take italki classes (which I HIGHLY recommend) so although I felt nervous at the beginning, once I started it was a breeze then!

So that was the level A2 in the school, so now I’m in the B1 class, and I can see a difference in it already. Now I have never done the official DELE exam so I’m probably still on A2 with that, especially as I’ve never studied for that so I would have take the time to study the layout and the type of questions they ask.

But in the online class, I can see that there is a difference between the A2 and the B1 book. There are a lot larger reading sections in the B1 book and not many smaller exercises to do. I feel we are also speaking a lot more in the class about what we read together.

Another thing we are concentrating on is the Subjunctive. This is grammar which is quite difficult as in English we don’t have it. We only started a few days ago so my teacher said that for the whole course of B1 we will be going through this grammar!

I’ve actually learned loads of grammar the past few weeks. I noticed this recently because I decided to buy a book to start writing a daily diary in Spanish, and when I wrote in it a few days ago my husband was surprised to see that I didn’t have many mistakes. I wrote one while I was in Mexico and there were a lot more errors throughout, so I was happy with that.

Also when I’m reading or watching something I can pick out the grammar and know that that that type of conjugation means.

I’ll keep doing the course until the end of August (that’s the plan anyway) and then after that I’m not sure as I may decide to do another course in the college that I attended. I would love to keep studying my Spanish full time but unfortunately that probably won’t be possible after August. I’ll really miss having the classes every morning as I really do feel I improved and I would love to dedicate myself to it more. I’m afraid in case I forget everything that I learned and I would have to start from scratch all over again. That happened to me when I arrived back in Ireland, so it was a struggle remembering all those words that were full of dust in my head!

But I’ll try and enjoy the weeks that I have left and hopefully I’ll get a grip of this new grammar that we will be studying!

Aisling

A Little Spanish Test

This is my third week of having Spanish online classes, and one of my teachers told us yesterday that we would be having an oral Spanish test!

She told us that she will pick a photo and we have to look at it and then she will ask us questions about the photos, like where is it, what are the people wearing, what are they doing etc. It is actually like the oral exam in the Spanish DELE. (I have never done it but I have read about it)

She explained that its to make sure that we have a high enough Spanish level to keep moving on in the book, so maybe we might be getting more difficult grammar in the future. I am not too worried because I can talk about things with no problems. I have to review clothes though and how to say they are wearing because I am not too sure on that, but overall I think it will be fine. I think I will get my husband to pick a few photos for me later and I can practise with him!

My classes are going well though. I really enjoy them and even if I know the grammar already, theres always something to learn. There is one student I am not too fussed about as he kind of disrupts the class and he talks rubbish and off topic (because he likes the attention), but apart from that the others are fine. Two students from Australia left the course unfortunately, and then one new student arrived, so I think it is usual for students to come and go. Anyone can join every Monday so it is great to have that option instead of having to wait until a certain date to start! I have nothing much to do right now so I am going to continue with my classes for another while!

Also you can pay weekly which I do, so you are not tied with having to go for months at a time!

So we will see how this little test goes tomorrow… my first one in Spanish!

Aisling

 

Keeping Busy During The Pandemic

Like millions of others, it’s hard to keep busy during this Coronavirus Pandemic. My College is still sending me assignments to do, so I’ve been trying to keep up with those. Two weeks ago I was very relaxed about the whole assignment thing. I kept thinking ‘I’ve loads of time to get them done, I’ll do something small everyday and I’ll get it all done… there’s no rush at all’.

Then April came and I realised ‘My exams are starting the end of this month!’  The lack of structure to the days kind of messed me up and I just didn’t really notice the days going by.

Plus all day yesterday I thought it was Monday so I kept thinking I have a whole week to do loads of assignments. It wasn’t until I went to bed that night and checked my phone that I realised it was Tuesday! So that annoyed me because it’s now the middle of the week!

It was my birthday last week, and for my 30th birthday my husband got me the new Animal Crossing Switch Game!

I love it!

A few months ago he showed me a video of it and to be honest I wasn’t too fussed on it. I’ve never played any of the old ones so I didn’t really understand what it was all about. But then I started looking at more videos and I decided then that it did look good after all. So thankfully he got it for me and I’ve been playing it sporadically throughout the day. He has been helping me catch fish, insects and everything like that while I’ve been doing my assignments.

It’s fantastic for helping pass the time, and I love all the villagers in it too. So I’ve been enjoying the game for the past week, while trying to do some college work too.

With regards to exams, I’m pretty sure they will all be online. I don’t understand how they will manage it though, because I know they have to change the format of some of them. So I’ll have to wait and see what our teachers email.

But, I’m still bored though. I’m bored but I know I shouldn’t be because I’ve plenty of work to be doing. I feel bad for being bored!

Aisling

Finished Until Next Year

business college composition desk

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

The past few days I had three exams; one was about Cabin Crew and it was a mock one until the real one in May, then another was Cabin Crew Operations which had similar questions to the one I did the previous day, and then yesterday I had Tourism Principles and Practices, so all about theory. We were given 1 hour to do each one and I was rushing to finish both of them.

On Tuesday after the Cabin Crew one, one of my classmates asked me after it “Which questions did you do?” I was like “What? Sure we had to do them all!”.

“No! We could choose two to do!”

Now I know why I was rushing while everyone else was leaving early! I was scribbling and scribbling and I was wondering why everyone was finished before me! I was thinking maybe I’m just a very slow writer or something. I just about got all the questions done but that’s what I get for not reading the top of the page. The teacher never mentioned being able to choose which ones to do so I just presumed to do them all. I didn’t read anything on top of the page because I was just mad to get going! God knows if she’ll be able to read the answers towards the end of the booklet because I really was just scribbling!

The last exam was fine but again I was still rushing. I got a couple of minutes to read through everything again but I really feel she should give us more time to write everything down. I feel I did fine in all of them but I made the mistake of looking at the answers for the first exam and I started thinking ‘Oh…. I don’t think I wrote that down…. oh no I don’t think I wrote that one down either!’ So I decided to stop doing that because at that rate I would begin to imagine I didn’t write anything down!

I’m off now until January the 6th I think, but I’ve two essays to do and I have to prepare a Powerpoint Presentation, so it’s not all relaxing for me. I also have to get a few more Christmas presents so I’ll have to do that the next few days.

And the flu that I mentioned in my last post is 100% gone now, but I’ve a lingering cough which just won’t go away. I’ve been coughing up a lot of phlegm so I think my body is trying to get rid of that. It’s very annoying though because it’s constant. I do feel a bit of a difference this morning but I think It’ll take another couple of days for the cough to go.

Once I’m better for Christmas that’s the most important thing!

Aisling

Catching the Flu

apartment bed carpet chair

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I don’t know the last time I got the flu, it was years ago anyway. I even forgot what the symptoms were! Until now that is!

Last week on Tuesday night I slept terribly; I was shivery, I had a headache and just couldn’t sleep well. Then on Wednesday during class I just didn’t feel right at all. Again I was shivery, had a bad headache, tired, and I just wasn’t well. I was thinking I was getting a cold but I’ve had enough of them to know that these weren’t the right symptoms.

So anyway I was delighted when Thursday came and I was better again! I even went to the Belfast Christmas Market with my husband, my sister and her fiancé. We got home at about 10pm and I had a great evening there. I had mulled wine and it was delicious! I’ll definitely have to learn how to make that!

So Friday I woke up and again I was fine. I didn’t have college that day so I was going to clean the mobile home and do a bit of a an essay that I had. But at about 9am I just started feeling iffy. I went over to Mum and said to her that I was going to lie down for a while because I just felt like I was getting worse. I got into bed at 10:30am and that was that!

The flu hit me so hard then! I was shivering constantly, my head was in bits, my body was all achy even my lungs were sore. I just felt absolutely terrible. I realised that what I have isn’t a cold but it must be a flu. I tried to sleep but I just couldn’t.

I was just so shocked at how fast I declined. When I got up on Friday I was fine, I got dressed and everything. But then once I got to bed I stayed there the whole day, I couldn’t even manage to take my jeans off me.

From Friday to about Monday I literally stayed in bed and didn’t do anything. I was just so weak it felt like I didn’t sleep for days. I was hobbling around with my achy body, feeling dizzy and just drained. One night I slept for 10 hours and I STILL felt drained and tired. I wasn’t able to go to college Monday or Tuesday but thankfully on Wednesday I felt a big difference. I was afraid in case I just wouldn’t be able to concentrate or do anything, but when I went in I didn’t have that drained out feeling so I was able to do a bit of work that day. But honestly I just felt terrible. And the thing is you can’t do anything about it but let it run it’s course.

By Tuesday I really was getting annoyed; I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to do my exams that I have next week, that I won’t be able to go to college and I will miss loads, and I’ll be stuck feeling dreadful and tired for weeks. I knew all I could do is rest but I felt even resting wasn’t helping the flu to go. Usually with a cold you feel yourself getting better each day, but with the flu everyday was the exact same, I felt I was never getting any better.

I kind of thought that the flu was the same as a cold but worse. Oh how I know the truth now! It’s crazy though how Thursday I felt great, even going to Belfast! I did read though that there is like a delayed reaction with the flu. Now I’m more aware of the symptoms and that I definitely do not want to get it again!

‘Your health is your wealth’ is something I say, and it really is. I wish I had loads of money, but this past week taught me that even if I was a millionaire it still wouldn’t have helped me with that flu I had.

And it also made me think about getting the flu vaccine for next winter!

Aisling

 

 

I’ve Been Busy

Since I’ve started writing this blog years ago, I’ve been trying to hit a target of 4 blogs or more per month… and this month I’ve just hadn’t had the time to write anything!

I’ve been busy writing writing essays, going to class, and usually I wake up tired because my mind just doesn’t stop racing when I go to bed, so it’s been hard to write anything here. So I do need to try and start writing something on this blog of mine!

Anyway, my course is going fine. I’ve noticed how a few of my classmates have been asking me for advice for things for the assignments. They would come over with their assignment brief and I think “Oh they want to ask me something about the assignment”. I don’t mind though at all, I know for others it’s a struggle to come up with things and they might not understand something, so I’ll try and help them if I can. I suppose because I’m the oldest as well they think “oh well she’s the oldest she’ll know”. I think I was like that too. When I was doing my degree from the age of 18 I remember I kept asking the mature students to help me with my work. I remember thinking “Well they seem to know what they are doing so I’ll get them to help me!”

I think now I’ve realised that I don’t want to stress about the essays that are due and I’d rather just get them done, so I do them. When I was younger though I always left things to the last minute, but now I just couldn’t do that! Unfortunately I get stressed much more now than when I was in college, so I want to alleviate that as much as possible! But I still like the course and I don’t mind going in so that’s good!

With regards to the weather-it’s getting colder now. Especially in the morning I really dislike having to get up in the freezing cold to get dressed. As we live in a mobile home this means when we wake up we can see our breath. I even woke up once because my ears were ice cold! We’ve taken to getting dressed in front of our gas heater; huddling together to get as much warmth as possible. haha. So this will definitely be a test of our endurance with the cold! At one stage I actually tried to get dressed while I was in the bed but that was a disaster and I took about 15 minutes. So that didn’t work at all!

I’ve started to keep the electric blanket turned on at my feet during the nights because they were very cold some nights. Thankfully the blanket allows us to turn it on only at our feet so that’s great for us. So yeah… it’s quite cold here in the mobile home!

And Halloween is just around the corner! I only just realised that I’ve never had a Halloween with my youngest nephew! It just hit me when I was watching TV that this will be my first Halloween with him, and he’s 4 already! It’s actually my first Halloween in Ireland since I left for China, so about 6 years ago I think. It’s mad how time just flies.

I also realised another thing…… I have to buy Christmas presents!!! In China we didn’t buy Christmas presents. Maybe I would buy something small for my husband (boyfriend at the time). But because of the language barrier in China, we didn’t really go out and buy things for each other. Then in Mexico my husbands family don’t really celebrate Christmas ( I know, it’s shocking!) so again we didn’t really buy presents for each other.

But now…… I have to buy them for my whole family…. and my two nephews. . . So that’s something that I will have to think about once more.

And thankfully now my husband has been working since September so we finally have money coming in. I don’t have a job at the moment but I don’t mind because I’m actually busy with my college work and I know I would just be extra stressed if I took on a job. Plus many only want full timers which I can’t do at the moment. Maybe after Christmas I will find some work in something that is beneficial to me. I’d like to get a job dealing with customers so I can get more experience working with customers. Through my course I’ve realised that customer service skills is great to have on a CV.

So anyway there’s an update on my life so far. I’ve been watching ‘Bates Motel’ on Netflix with Vera Farmiga (she’s a great actress) for the past couple of weeks before I’ve gone to sleep. I’ve been watching it in Spanish and I understand pretty much all of it. (I’ll write another post on the disappearance of my Spanish). I’ve enjoyed it so far but the last season hasn’t been great unfortunately. I’ll have to take an hour out to look at another show I can watch in Spanish when I’m finished ‘Bates Motel’.

Aisling