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

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

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

Work Experience Week 1

man standing in front of front desk

Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

A posted here that I had to do 2 weeks of work experience related to customer service for my course, and I was worried that I wouldn’t get anywhere. Thankfully the hotel where my sister works accepted me to do the 2 weeks so I started there last Monday. And I have to say…. It was the LONGEST week of my entire life!

I don’t even know why!! It just dragged. I woke up on Wednesday and my heart dropped when I realised that it was only Wednesday, and that I had another 2 days to do. I work 9-5 Monday to Friday so during the week it’s quiet, so that is probably why it just seemed to drag. Then on Friday it was mad because a lot were checking in for the weekend. I work as a receptionist there.

The first day I really didn’t do much at all. The other receptionist did everything and I just kind of looked and listened to her, so that day was rather long!

Tuesday the front house manager was in and he got stuck into showing me things and getting me to practice how to use the hotel operating system. I never answered the phone but he was in the office talking to another person and to my HORROR the phone rang! I was looking at it thinking “Oh god I don’t want to answer it!” I ran into where he was and he was still talking and I thought “Oh I better answer it!” So I did and I was so nervous! I forget what the phone call was about and I probably didn’t have a clue what to say but I did it anyway. The front house manager came out to me and he said he was very surprised that I answered it on my second day. He trained other people and they didn’t answer it at all during their first week. He said that they just let it ring!

Now the only reason I answered it was because there was literally no one else to do it, so I felt I had to! I thought that if a person came over to the desk and there’s me standing next to a ringing phone then it wouldn’t look good. So for the past few days I was answering phones and usually passing it on to another receptionist or just asking them to call back. I successfully reserved a room for a lady though which I was so happy about. Usually I get flustered but I calmed down and took all her details and the room type and everything so when I put the phone down the manager came out and he said I did very well. Apparently he was listening in the office.

But if anyone who has worked with the Opera system in a hotel knows how difficult it is to use. This is the system that the hotel uses and it’s just so complicated. I can’t describe how hard it is, but I was shocked at the amount of things I have to learn. The special rates for rooms, special rates for different businesses, how to do multiple bookings in one persons name, printing out VAT receipts, loads of different billing payments for the different ways that people booked such as through booking.com, expedia.com, companies who pay their employees to stay at the hotel. The list is really endless! I thought it would be much simpler!

So for the past week I’ve been trying to get my head around the system but it’s very difficult. And the thing is If someone asks about something specific I can’t even try and guess because I’ll get it wrong. You either know it or you don’t, which made me feel very helpless.

Simple things I didn’t know, like what food is served in the restaurant, what time the gym closes at, but I’m slowly learning the basics of the job.

On Friday I learned how to book taxis and even that isn’t straightforward. I was trying to call a local taxi and it just wasn’t working. So I had to ask one of the receptionists and she said “Oh you have to put 9 at the beginning of the number”. Like how could I have known that!? Something simple like calling a number and I needed help.

I’ve another week to do and I really do wish that it was only for 1 week! It’s just so long and I actually miss going to school! I’ve learned a lot and met some lovely people but I’d rather go back to school now. I don’t get paid which doesn’t help!

I realise that I am good at talking to guests and I do have good people skills, but I’ve also realised how much I don’t know, that receptionists have to put up with a lot of sh*t from guests, and they really should be paid more than what they do. (I’ll talk about that in another post)

I hope next week goes faster and before I know it it will be 5 o clock on Friday!

Aisling

Learning How To Deal With A Complaint

businessman office mobile phone finance

Photo by Markus Spiske temporausch.com on Pexels.com

One of my modules in my course is Customer Service, so for my latest assignment I had to learn how to deal with a complaint! First the teacher told us to write down a scenario where you had to pick 3 complaints. Mine was at a shoe shop and I bought a pair of expensive waterproof shoes. The first complaint was that after a week the shoes were letting in water. The second complaint was when I went back to the shop the staff member was rude to me, and finally after I got a replacement the soles of the new shoes were coming off. So my teacher had to choose someone who would deal with my complaint from a bag. Then I had to pretend to be the customer and the other student had to try to sort out my problem.

So as usual I was quite nervous about this! We were also being recorded by audio which made it worse! So for the complaint that I had to deal with was that the customer was in my chemist and the staff members were talking and ignoring her, then when she got their attention the staff member didn’t have a clue about the products, and finally the item she asked them to put away for her couldn’t be found. So I was the manager and I had to sort out the issue for her!

Our teacher told to do it in stages: first we had to introduce ourselves to the customer and that we were the manager/supervisor. Then the customer/student had to tell us their complaints and we had to quickly jot down the 3 main points. Then I had to say the 3 items back to her. (To make sure I was correct). After this I had to explain to her how sorry I was that all that happened to her. Basically I had to sympathise with her and tell her I understand why she is so upset. I then had to thank her and appreciate that they told me. Finally I had to offer solutions. For my complaint I said that I will do more customer service training with my staff, I will show the staff member around the chemist and spend an hour explaining the products to her so she will know more about them, then finally I said I would make the staff member aware where to put the items for collection, and then I offered a 10% discount to the customer for her next item she buys.

So I had to hit all of those points to get a perfect score, and I did! I was nervous because I never really had to deal with a complaint before, and I was afraid that I would get the information wrong and all that, but thankfully I did well!

I think this was really good practise for the real thing. Now I know how to approach a complaint and how to handle it well! I also had to do a phone call where me and another partner had to make up a phone call and then we had to be recorded and tested on how we handle it. I had to answer the phone promptly, professionally and give relevant answers and information to the caller. Then I had to end it correctly. That one was much easier because we could just read our dialogue.

So for the past week I was stressing over that so now I’m glad that it’s done. It wasn’t as bad as I thought and once I started I was fine. Everybody else was nervous too but I think we all did well. Everyone was there while we were doing it so that was nerve wracking, but it’s nice to know that everyone is in the same boat and there’s no competition or anything. Everyone clapped when each person finished too.

I’ve a few more of those types of assessments but at least now I know that I can do them now. I just need more confidence in myself!

Aisling

Well, I wasn’t expecting that!

 

green and gray scissors

Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi on Pexels.com

My first week of being a student again is done and dusted…. and here are a few things I’ve noticed:

  1. Students eat rubbish! I can’t remember what I ate when I was 18, but for lunch this week, everywhere I looked I saw students with crisps, chocolate bars, curry chips, fizzy drinks. And me there eating my carrots with humous! My classmates would pull out a big packet of crisps for our 11 o’clock break, and I would be thinking ‘Oh no I really couldn’t handle eating crisps so early. They wouldn’t even fill me up anyway!’ I was surprised at how much rubbish they actually eat. In China I didn’t see my students eating rubbish because they had a huge canteen that supplied them with noodles and everything, so they were well catered for. The canteen in my college is tiny and only sells crisps, popcorn, sausage rolls and sandwich rolls. These 18 year olds can get away with eating whatever they like, whereas now I know that if I eat crisps and chocolate everyday I’ll put on weight! So they may enjoy it while they can!
  2. They aren’t as tired as students in China. In China, classes started at 8am at the college I worked for, with classes ending at 5:40pm or even 8:30pm for students having night classes. Then of course they go home and play computer games until 2am, so then they are half asleep coming to class. In my college class starts at 9am and the last class finishes at 3:30pm, so the students aren’t nearly as tired as the ones in China!
  3. They don’t use their phones as much. In China, it was a battle telling my students to put their phones away. They would listen to music in class, play games or watch basketball matches. However the students that are in my class here don’t use their phones at all! I looked around once and all of the students were just sitting there listening to the teacher. So it’s good to see that that really bad habit hasn’t caught on here!
  4. They are more into comfy clothes. Here the girls wear more baggy clothes and they don’t flaunt their bodies as much as in China. They wear tracksuits more and really just dress for the weather. If it’s cold they wear big jumpers to keep themselves warm. In China they wear more stylish outfits and they sometimes wear extremely short skirts! Even if it’s freezing they will still have a dress on!
  5. They are immature. I can’t really compare in China because I wasn’t able to have more than a basic conversation with my students, but here I realise it more because I just can’t talk to them about more mature topics like Brexit or the daily antics of Trump! Because they don’t have much life experience, they are limited in what to talk about. I really miss being able to have an adult conversation at break time, especially when one of my classmates asks me if one of the boys in our class likes her?! Haha it’s very hard to get excited when they tell me what they ate for dinner yesterday! So for me that is a problem that I didn’t anticipate. I think this has to be the most annoying thing; they don’t seem to want to know about their classmates or anything like that, whereas for me, I’m interested in hearing about peoples lives and their opinions on this and that.
  6. Teachers are late. In China we would literally have to run to class if we were going to be 10 seconds late! And letting them finish early was a definite no no! (We let them go early if we could get away with it though!) But in my college now, our teachers sometimes stroll into class 5 minutes late. Maybe it’s different in different schools both in China and Ireland, but it feels weird having to wait for the teacher to come, meanwhile in China I was pretty much always the first to class.
  7. They also like sitting at the back of the class. In China I hated when the students would sit at the back and leave the first two rows empty. One because they are just too far away, and two I really didn’t like having to shout all the way to the back! At least when they sit closer to me then I didn’t have to raise my voice. In Ireland it’s the exact same! They all run for the back seats, whereas I sit at the front now. When I was 18 I was the exact same (Keep as far away from the teacher as possible!!) but now I really don’t care. I don’t plan on using my phone and I don’t plan on causing trouble, so there’s no reason for me to sit at the back. When I was 18 I thought ‘Hehe I’ll sit at the back so the teacher won’t see me and ask me something….she won’t even know I’m here hehe’ Now I think ‘Mmm they are lazy ones, I’ll make sure to ask them plenty of questions.’

So these are a few things that I’ve noticed on my first week back. Maybe I will venture into Brexit during break to see what my classmates think about it.

I won’t be surprised if I get “I don’t really know anything about it”

Aisling