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

Finished Until Next Year

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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

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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

 

 

Work Experience Week 2

photo of end signage

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After a long two weeks, my work experience is finally done! Well actually the first week was the longest ever, the second did speed up a bit which I was glad of! On Friday I finished at 3 instead of 5 because I worked two extra hours the first week. I’m back to college tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it!

I enjoyed the work experience and I actually learned a tonne, like how to answer the phone in a professional manner, how to transfer calls to other departments, how to check rates for rooms, how to book reservations, how to use the credit card machine. I really am stunned at how much I learned in two short weeks.

They offered me a part time job but I decided to turn it down. There are a few reasons for this, and I did think long and hard about it, but I just feel it was the right decision for me.

First was the wage. For the amount of things that the hotel receptionists do there they are paid horrifically. Like minimum wage bad. They have to put up with so much crap from guests and they really don’t get paid well for it. If the wage was higher and was appropriate for the work that they do then I would consider again.

Second was the hours. Because I would be the newbie I would end up working from 3pm until 11pm. And from 5pm I would be on my own until the night porter came in. I know that the Duty Managers are there but they could be in the restaurant or in an office or god knows where, and I would have to sort out drunk/ angry guests on my own. Last Friday the Duty Manager left so one of the girls who was on until 11pm had no one to help her if she had a problem!

Third I just don’t know if I would like to do the job. I really enjoyed chatting to the customers and what not but I just feel that If I did take it then I just wouldn’t enjoy it and I would dread having to go in every weekend. For me I struggle to be happy so I feel that taking the job would exacerbate this problem of mine so that’s another real reason.

I know people will be thinking that I should have taken the job so I could gain experience and what not, but to be honest I would rather sacrifice money and experience to be happy. That’s honestly how I feel. If I was happier I wouldn’t worry so much. We lived in Mexico for 9 months jobless so we got used to scrimping on money so me not having a job isn’t a drastic change. I know it could be the wrong choice but for now I just feel that it was right for me.

My husband is supportive of my decision as he knows how much I stress over things, but I know there are other people (like my Dad) who think I made the wrong decision. It annoys me that I have to frequently argue my reasons for not taking it. It’s easy for people to say ‘Oh just take it, it’ll be good work experience for you’ when they aren’t the ones who are going to work for minimum wage, until 11pm and having to be bombarded with insults and curses by guests. People should just respect my decision and leave it at that.

I’m loving college right now and I’ve been getting good grades, so I hope that when the course is done then I will have a much better chance at getting a job that I would enjoy doing. I struggled with my BA degree years ago so I just want to concentrate and apply myself 100% to the course I’m doing now so that I can gain as much out of it as possible. I want to prove to myself that If I work hard I can get the grades that I want.

I wonder how all my other classmates got on with their work experience?

Aisling

Work Experience Week 1

man standing in front of front desk

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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

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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

Being A Mature Student

When I was 18 I started a 4 year course and there were a few Mature Students with me. They were about 29 years old, with one being in his late 40’s I think. I remember thinking “Oh they are way older than me… 29 years old and they are doing a course with me!” I wouldn’t say that I thought they were ‘old’; just way older than me. They were ‘mature’ and ‘knew what they were doing’ kind of people.

Now 9 years later I’m one of these ‘way older people’. It’s crazy how life kind of repeats itself but in a different way. Back then I never thought that I would be a mature student. My plan was to have a house, be married and have children by 30. Well, I got the husband part right anyway!

Because I left Ireland I’ve lost touch with all of my friends from the course except for one. So I decided to search their names on Facebook to see what they were at and I realised that they have now aged and don’t look like their 29 year old self that I remember! One has receding hair, more wrinkles and just looks more like his age now, of about 40 years old. I’m in his position after 9 years, so in another 9 years I’ll be more like him. The students that are in my class are 18 and 19 years old. So in 9 years I’ll be 39 and they’ll be my age! I suppose when you are surrounded by people your own age you don’t realise that you are growing older. It’s only really when you are with younger and older people that you notice more.

One of my classmates was shocked when she heard I was 29 and married! She said “You don’t look 29 at all! You look like our age!” I was chuffed to hear that actually! Theres also some bad things about being a mature student like having to listen to some students that think they are deadly and give cheek to the teachers. There is one girl in my class and she curses, talks loudly, is brash, gives cheek to teachers and just thinks she is deadly. I just have to sit and ignore her because she could easily say “Wha are yeu lookin at? I’ll kick yeu in da face” if you look at her wrong.

Then there is the fact that I can’t have any deep conversations about literally anything. They are more concerned about going out every weekend and talking about a girl that they hate. I once mentioned about Trump and something that he did and one girl just replied “Oh I don’t know about that”….. So that was that!

Many of the students don’t really take the course seriously. Back then I was the same. But now I’m on limited time! I need to get my act together and sort out my life. They have another 5 years to do nothing but now I do need to knuckle down and just get this course done. They can afford to do nothing right now, oh and eat rubbish! Give it another 6 years and they won’t be able to eat all those crisps and chocolate!

One of the students told me “You always eat so healthily”. And I thought ‘Yeah, because if I don’t then I’ll get fat.’  

There is also one more thing that I never thought of when I became a mature student…… some teachers are younger than me! A new teacher started teaching us and she walked in and she was about 27/28…. and she was teaching me.

I got pretty upset about this to be honest. She sorted her life out pretty well and she’s now a full time teacher, whereas I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do in life and here I am stuck with 18 year olds with a girl younger than me teaching me.

I really was upset. If only I knew what I wanted to do when I was 18. I could have studied hard and now I could have had a good job with a house…. or at least have a car! Instead I decided to do a course that had literally no job prospects and basically chose a bad course to do. (For 4 years mind you). I have to try and let it go though. I have to concentrate on myself and getting myself on the right path and try to ignore others. It’s very hard though, and I do regret a lot of things that I didn’t do. It’s a pity you can’t start life over again!

But anyway. I’ll get this course done and hopefully it will lead me in the right direction, preferably one with like loads of money so I can retire at 60. haha

Aisling.