Getting Pulled Over

auto automobile blur buildings

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Recently the Irish Government gave police, or as we call them here ‘Garda =singular, or Gardaí =plural the power to arrest people who were out driving over 2km from their home and without a good reason. Well, I mean they can arrest someone if they are adamant about getting through or won’t turn around. Usually they just turn people back if it’s not an essential journey. Shopping for necessities or having to go to work (with a valid letter to show this) are really the only two reasons to be out.

My Dad is, as the Government calls it ‘Cocooning’; he’s not allowed to leave the house at all because he is over a certain age. He has been keeping himself busy by:

Cutting the grass

Making birdhouses

Digging up trees

Moving trees

Planting shrubs

Painting the house

Making a compost area

Planting potatoes and peas

Strimming the hedges

So… he is definitely keeping busy! My Mum is also in the high risk group, so she doesn’t venture out either.

So it’s up to myself and my husband to do the weekly shop for the essentials. I don’t particularly enjoy going out; it’s awkward, you always have to dodge people, and it’s just not a nice environment to be in!

Plus it takes extra long because there is a queue to enter places like Lidl and Aldi. One person leaves the shop, and only then can the next person in the queue enter. So you could wait for a while to get in! I’m sure this is the same all over the world!

We usually go during the week and get meat, milk, bread and things like that, but my Dad always enjoys reading the paper on a Sunday. That means we have to take a quick spin up to the shop to get this for him.

Myself and my husband (he comes with me just to get out of the house) went to the shop in the morning to get the newspaper (plus some milk), and on the road up ahead we saw a Garda car and two Gardai in the middle of the road. They were stopping every car that was leaving town or heading into town. So they stopped us and asked us:

What is my purpose for being out?

Where do I live?

I explained to them that I was getting milk and that I only live down the road (which is true) and we were let through. When we got our bits we were driving back home and the Gardai were leaving then!

So next Sunday came about, and my Dad asked if I would go and get the newspaper for him, which I suspected he would! So off we went.

This time there were no Gardai about, so that was great!

But as we were coming back there they were again, set up a bit further down the road than last Sunday. I stopped again and they asked me what was my reason for being out. My husband was beside me with the bread, newspaper and chocolate on his lap, and I pointed to it and said “Oh I was getting some bread”. So then he asked did I live far and I said “Oh I live about 5 minutes away”. (It’s actually not it’s prob like 1 or 2 minutes away by car).

So then he let us go. I was kind of glad we bought the bread as I doubt he would think it was a ‘necessary journey’ with me just buying a newspaper!

We decided that on Sundays we would always buy something that is deemed essential, like bread, milk, eggs or something like that! That way we can justify our outing!

On the weekday when we do our big shop we don’t see anybody, so they must reinforce this on the weekends. But it’s good though, it shows they are strict.

I check the time that we got home and it was around 11am, so I’m thinking they must set up at around that time. Next Sunday when we go I will go earlier and see if they are patrolling!

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

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

Apparently I’m Not Clever Enough

So now that I’m back in Ireland I have been looking at jobs that I’d be interested in in and around Dublin. I’ve been thinking about whether I should do a tourism course near me or If I should just apply directly for jobs. I don’t have the experience or the qualifications so I was thinking if I at least get a qualification in something then that at least will help me.

Anyway, I happened to come across a website that were looking for travel agents, so I said well I may as well apply and just see what happens! Apparently they are a good company to work for with good benefits and all that, so I filled out their application form and then just waited for an email.

I got an emailed back and they wanted me to do a mental agility test. I’ve never heard of this before so I didn’t really know what to expect. They said that I had 50 questions and I had to answer as many of them as possible in 15 minutes. So I started and honestly I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing! Maths, reasoning and comprehension are included in it and there are 5 ( I think) choices to choose from. You have to add maths quickly (I am atrocious at maths), another one is that you have to choose what the second letter of the last word is and then write it down of a sentence that is jumbled up. Then there was an example of ‘ Mansion is to hovel, as house is to…..’ and you had to click out of 5 possible answers which one ‘house’ is to.

Mental agility test sample

Source; google.com

I finished all of them but I didn’t have enough time to recheck them again. On all the Maths one I just guessed them because I didn’t have a clue! So then again I waited for their reply, not expecting anything to come out of it!

And…. I was right! I got an email a day later saying that my score wasn’t high enough. So that was that. I wasn’t annoyed or anything that I didn’t get through, I think I was just a little annoyed that apparently to them, I wasn’t clever enough to even have an interview with them.

I know I’m not good at maths, I know that. I’m perfectly aware of it; I don’t want to be an accountant, I wouldn’t even dream of it because I know I’ll never have the maths skills to do it. I just don’t feel it’s fair to be made answer maths questions and be judged on your answers because of it. So half the scores were low because of my bad maths.

Maybe I’m totally wrong and these tests are very effective, but in my opinion I don’t think so. I was already at a disadvantage with having bad maths, and I don’t think that’s right.

And anyway, this position was to become a TRAVEL AGENT. Not an accountant, not a lawyer, not a surgeon. Like come on, I think it’s a bit much just to be a travel agent.  The company also makes potential employers have a 40 minutes telephone interview, then another interview in their company, THEN another geography and maths test! So even if I did pass their mental agility test, I would have had to do another maths test anyway!

So maybe it was good that I didn’t get any further in their rigorous job application for the extremely demanding, difficult, life saving job of being a………

travel agent.

Aisling

I lied!

photo of people walking on street

Photo by Lukas Kloeppel on Pexels.com

So, my last blog I wrote about our plans for Mexico and what not….. was a lie! We have actually arrived back to Ireland at the beginning of June! My last blog was really for my Mum (she is the biggest fan of my blog) and I didn’t want her to suspect anything.  You can check it out here: Looking To The Future

After my parents left Mexico after visiting us, we decided to leave in the next few months. We realised we were in Mexico too long and it just didn’t work out for neither of us. We weren’t able to get a job because we were busy with the weddings (ours and my husbands sister), then we would have had to move to Mexico city because in the city where we were there just weren’t any jobs for me.

I don’t see it as a failure though; I enjoyed my experience there, I came from literally zero Spanish to now being able to have day to day conversations, we got married and had our perfect wedding, and finally my parents came to visit. So some things didn’t work out but a lot of others did. It’s nice to be closer to my family though in Ireland. The weather is crap though, so I do miss the weather in Mexico! But I’ve been enjoying eating lots of white and brown bread.

I’d also like to think we are getting back on course to figuring out where we want to live and all that ‘life’ stuff. Maybe it will be in Ireland or maybe somewhere else in Europe, we will see!

But it’s nice being with my family for a while, with no flight to leave for for a while!

Aisling

Mexico City; I think it will grow on me

I’ve only been to Mexico city a few times, so I really haven’t seen much of the city at all. From my overall impressions, I’m not too keen on it; it’s just too big to able to comfortably travel to. First it’s a pain to travel into; once you hit Mexico city the traffic is terrible and it take hours to get to where you want to go. Second the road layout isn’t good at all. Whoever built the roads didn’t organise it enough and it’s not a city that is car friendly.

So anyway my husbands uncle invited us another few family members to eat with him in one of his restaurants that he owns so we decided to travel to where the madness is! The restaurant is literally right in the heart of Mexico city, and it’s located in a lovely old looking building. When I was in the centre of Mexico city the first time I visited the area but because there was a festival going on, I couldn’t appreciate the lovely architecture that was there. So this time round I was surprised at how pretty the buildings were.

Before lunch we went to visit some ruins which are free to enter on Sundays for nationals. Thankfully I had my residency card so I was also able to enter free! We spent about an hour and a half there and then headed to eat with the family.

I think my view is slowly changing about the city though. I think I’m just used to the city of Chengdu and how much more advanced it is. It was very easy to live in it, and I miss it so much sometimes. But anyway, there are good things about Mexico city, and I suppose I need to live in it to be able to appreciate it more and see all the good things about it!

Aisling

Let’s Get Talking (Spanish) Again!

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With my wedding, my parents coming to visit, I had to stop going to my Spanish class with my teacher for at least 1 month! Then there were holidays here so that added to classes being delayed.

When my Mum and Dad were here I rarely spoke Spanish. I didn’t want them to feel uncomfortable and left out when everybody was speaking Spanish. I know that feeling! So I just spoke English while there were here.

Then when they did left, I felt as if I forgot loads of things! I forgot words, verb conjugations, how to form the correct sentences. I really did feel like I forgot everything! I started studying again and I’ve found a Mexican TV show to watch on Netflix when the in-laws aren’t using it, and I think it’s helping me quite a bit. I remember a few words from it and simple phrases. It’s called ‘La casa de las flores’ if you are interested! It’s not something I’d want myself, but I’m getting more interested in it and it’s good for my listening practice.

So today was my first class with my teacher and It turned out well. I was a little apprehensive in case I was struggling to talk, but thankfully I spoke fine. I noticed though that I had been confusing él with ella. He and She. So I’d be talking about my husband with ella and my teacher would constantly repeat el! I didn’t even realise I was doing it. (and this used to drive me crazy with my Chinese students when I was teaching!)

I really enjoy my class though; I can make as many mistakes as I want and she won’t mind. That’s what I like. I’m not judged. (I feel I’m constantly being judged when I speak Spanish around others) She was also all praise about my Spanish too. I really do feel like it’s terrible, so when she congratulates me I really don’t know how to respond. I’d love to agree and know that my speaking ability is good, but at the moment I just can’t. When I’m not with her my Spanish hides and I can’t get the words out! So that’s my problem!

The class kind of reminded me that it’s still in my head somewhere…. I haven’t forgotten it…. and that I can talk with some degree of fluency…. with confidence I might add!

Aisling