The Lull

It’s September 2017, I haven’t written in God knows how long and everytime I want to write I can’t find anything to inspire me. The initial excitement of moving to Ireland is a distant memory, life has settled into a cycle of work, home, gym, eat, sleep and weekends. In June I celebrated turning 30 and as the hangover subsided I started to reevaluate my life in Ireland. Skyrocketing rents, sub-average wages, a string of unsuccessful dates with Irish douchebags, and the summer that never came had left me wanting to jump ship.

When I was originally planning my great escape from Oz, I had been tossing up between Ireland and Canada, but In the end I choose Ireland. As I lazed around my apartment the day after my birthday nursing my hangover I decided again to look into the Canadian ICE visa. I wasn’t sure what I wanted but according to the Canadian Immigration website it could take several months to be invited to apply and several more after that to be accepted. So I decided why not; I would start the application process and consider my options, if I change my mind in the coming months as I waited to be invited to apply there would be nothing lost. Within days I had been invited to apply, and in less than a month I had received a letter advising my application had been successful.

In the immortal words of Jade S. ‘Fuck me dead,’ that was fast.

In the days after receiving my letter I started to excitedly look at jobs in Canada. In the months since I have excited planned my move.

  • How soon can I leave?
  • Where do I want to live?
  • When can I afford to go?
  • Where is there the most sun and warmest weather?

However as the initial excitement of receiving my visa wears off I can’t help but wonder am I just running away from my lull? Have I made a rash decision and am being too stubborn to change my mind? Have I given Ireland a proper go? Is there another option that I should be thinking about that is less dramatic than changing continents? Or am I making the right choice and are these just nerves?

I don’t know.

I don’t have the answers. In the end both going to Canada or staying in Ireland could be the right decision. In the end it’s all about what I make of my decision. Sooner or later I will have to make the final decision to stay or go, but in the meantime it is my responsibility to take control of the lull and restore the excitement to Irish life.

Facing your fears… Why I blog

It’s been a few (6) weeks since the last time I posted a blog. I have written blogs but not felt any desire to post them. I was finding some of the things I wrote were filled with negativity about Ireland and I did not want to sound like I was always bitching, and other times I felt my life and experiences here too mundane to write about. But today I got to thinking and I remembered why I started to write this blog.

This blog was about sharing my experiences with my friends and family back in Australia, new friends, other expats, and complete strangers. When I first started the blog a friend expressed how shocked she was that I would open up like this; she understood that for me expressing my emotions and letting people see my vulnerable side was especially hard for me.

dublin-hikingOf course she was right, but that was one of the more personal reasons for starting the blog. I wanted to overcome my fear. Writing behind the anonymity of a screen gave me a sense of courage to write about some of my more scary or vulnerable times in Ireland (while sometimes having a laugh at my own stupidity and misfortunes). It also meant that I was sharing those emotions and vulnerabilities with my friends and family who would read about them and be able to offer words of encouragement even if it was from afar. Essentially helping me to learn to communicate better with people.

The first few months were a challenge but they were also an adventure; everything was new and exciting, and although I found it difficult sometimes to share some of those challenges I think I did a pretty good job at opening up. But now I have started to settle into my life here, and I have found I have slipped back into old habits; the impulsive, feisty and self-assertive woman who started this blog has taken a step back and is now sharing the stage with her more pragmatic and sometime very shy side.

That is not necessarily a bad thing, reading back on some of my posts I shake my head and laugh at my brazen honesty about some of the things I have gotten up too. However I do want to continue to write and to work on my shortcomings, I don’t want to let my fears stop me from experiences life to the fullest here in Ireland. So I am going to publish the posts I have drafted and I am going to continue to blog, while I will continue to rely on my friends to give me a good slap over the back of the head when they think I may be letting my fears get in the way of life.  

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Level One – Dinghy Sailing

Part 2 (go to Adventures and Naps to read Part 1)

Following my sailing taster several weeks ago, I decided to start my sailing experience from the very beginning and complete a Level One – Dinghy Sailing course. The course is run over a weekend and last week I finally got to get out there and completed the course.

I showed up again all bright eyed and bushy tailed at the Irish National Sailing School (INSS) at Dun Laoghaire Harbour excited for the weekend ahead and full of notions that I would take to sailing like a duck on water. In truth, I was just as bad (or good) as the rest of my fellow newbie sailing enthusiasts.

If I thought the 1720 was a small sailing boat, it was nothing in comparison to the 3.5meter (11’6 foot) Laser Pico I was going to start my sailing adventures in. The level one course is a very basic introduction to sailing, but I am happy I choose the level one dinghy course over the level one yacht course. With the dinghy course you are the only one in the boat; you are in control and responsible for the rudder, the sails, and the boom; and when you lose control of the rudder, sail or boom you are the only one to blame. You learn about wind direction and how the direction of your sail effects how fast or slow you cruise through the water, about no go zones, and how to tack and jibe. A basic introductory lesson to sailing but one that any person starting out really needs to have.

picosBy the end of my first day I was feeling very confident in my abilities, I was lured into a false sense of ease by the lack of exhaustion in my upper body which I had been expecting, and as I had managed not to capsize all day I was now a master of the seas. The couple of small bumps to the head from the boom when I failed to react quickly enough or the freezing rain in the afternoon hadn’t ruined what I had felt had been a great day.

I woke the next morning to not quite sore but exhausted muscles and the ongoing feeling of sea legs which had not quite disappeared from the day before. The second day of sailing was spent much more on the water, refining the skills we had learnt the day before. As we came in for lunch you could see in the attitudes and conversations of my fellow novice sailors that we had set out that morning expecting to be masters of the harbour, but we quickly began to feel that everything we had learnt the day before had somehow already slipped away. The morning had been rough on our morale, and the picking up of wind which had led to a few more booms to the head had done nothing to improve our situation. But we persevered, and after lunch we began to feel like masters of the harbour again as we sailed our Pico’s around our little course congratulating ourselves for not capsizing and ignoring the 12 year olds sailing around us like pros.

CertBy the end of the weekend, with my Level One – Start Sailing certificate in hand, I felt thoroughly happy with my sailing adventure. I had really enjoyed sailing in the little Pico’s and already had plans on my next holiday to rent a little dinghy and sail around the bay of a new city. But I have not lost sight of my Mediterranean dreams and am already planning to undertake my level two course in August.

If you haven’t yet read Part 1 of this adventure follow the link to Adventures and Naps where I guest posted Part 1. While you are there have a read of Alanna and Tyler’s adventures, and if like me you like what you read – don’t forget to follow them!

When Tuesday night Bingo turns into a big nigh…

Last Sunday some mates of mine invited me out to Tuesday Night Bingo at the Wrights Cafe in Swords. I had been to bingo before back in Australia so the idea of going to bingo wasn’t inciting any real feelings of excitement, but my mates are always a great crack and I knew it would still be a good night. Facebook informed me that Bingo didn’t start until 9.30pm and just as it crossed my mind that this was a little late for a Tuesday night, I rebelled against the thought and declared to myself that if I thought 9.30pm was too late to be going out I definitely needed to go!

avrilTuesday night  came, the boys picked me up, and we headed to their place for some amazing homemade Cottage Pie and a few glasses of red wine. We chatted about my new place and settling into Dublin life, the renovations the boys were planning, and all the good stuff a couple glasses of wine brings out. Then it was 9pm and we decided it was time to head down to Wrights.
When we got to Wrights the place was almost deserted. Turned out it was closer to 10.30pm before bingo started and slowly as 10pm came round the place started to get a bit busier. Avril, the absolutely gorgeous Drag Queen and our ball-caller for the night showed up, and things started to liven up. I had to work in the morning so I keep to the red wine and “wasn’t having a big one”. The next thing you know its 2 cocktails for  €10 and I have 2 … whatever they were in my hands!

Turns out the me and averilbest way to enjoy bingo is drinking with mates, and a Drag Queen – who looks better in short shorts then you do! Avril was brilliant, keeping the whole crowed entertained with her dirty humor, classy dance moves, and killer legs.

Bingo finished about midnight and we stayed around to enjoy a couple more drinks. At this point I decided the best way to sober up a little was dancing. I headed to the dance floor where the rest of the 20 somethings were and decided it was time for a little fun. Being a Tuesday night, most of the people out were in their early 20’s and students or shift workers from the airport. I knew I was at the older edge of this crowed but I really didn’t feel it, and I didn’t care, I wanted to dance and have a little fun.
And a little fun I had.avril1

It was a “school” night so I was, as always, on my best behavior (wink, wink). I was keen to dance the night away, however some young fella kept wanting to talk so I figured the easiest way to shut him up was to snog him. So I had my little fun, and the next thing I know it was 1:30am and time for this Cinderella to head home. I left my fun on the dance floor, said goodbye to my mates and headed off home for a peanut butter sandwich and 3 hours sleep before it was up and off to work again.

6 months ago I would have said I was getting too old for this shit – but these days I feel like I am getting my second run at 21!

The next morning I woke up, wished I could go back to bed but was otherwise all good for the day. I don’t know if it is me, or the adrenaline of being in a new county – but whatever it is, lets keep it going!

Have a great weekend! 🙂

Charmaine

 

One month in…

It has now been just over one month since I arrived in Dublin, the weather has turned wet, and the original excitement of being in a new city has begun to fade. The hunt for an apartment in the city center continues as I get another “I am sorry but we decided to go with another applicant” rejection text message for yet another place, and that elusive bank account still feels like a unicorn just out of reach. While my scant wardrobe of wintry clothes makes me dream of a shopping trip I can’t afford and the effects of my not great diet and lack of real high intensity exercise begin to show…. It has all begun to add up.

But with what sometimes feels like all the negative, there have also been a number of not always so obvious positives in the last month, and this post I wanted to focus on the positives.

Unlike many new migrants to this country I had been fortunate to start a temping job by the end of my second week here, and have been in the same temp position since. My co-workers at my workplace are amazing, you really couldn’t ask for a better team to work with, and there are a number of full-time positions coming up within the organisation which (if I am successful in applying for) would actually mean I could use my degree and have the opportunity explore my other career interests too!

My co-workers have also been really supportive in my search for a new apartment, keeping an ear out about anything that may come up, making recommendations to try different websites, and even offering to write a letter of reference. They have also been really emphatic of my banking saga’s trying to make any offers of assistance that they can. I don’t think I have had two days in that office where people have not come in with food to share with everyone and really they have just made me feel so welcome. For any temp that is not always something which you get to feel, and it makes the experience of getting up and going to work just that bit much more enjoyable.

Social media, blogging, Meet Up groups and apps have also been a huge positive in my life over the last month. As I’ve talked about in previous blogs I have been attending Meet Up groups, some have been a success… some not so much, but all worth attending at least one. Dublin Facebook groups have allowed me to meet new people, find out about things happening around the city, and sometimes just connect to someone when you are feeling isolated on a packed commuter bus. My blog has allowed me to connect to other bloggers, and the communication/ relationship you develop with your readers/ other bloggers has been just as enjoyable as writing my blog. Blogging and communicating with other bloggers has also allowed me to find out about things happening in Dublin and offered new ways of meeting new people, for example Bumble.

bumble-bff

Bumble is the Tinder for finding a BFF. Well Bumble is a dating/ ‘hook up’ app owned by Tinder but it does have a BFF option for people like me looking for female friends (it may work the same for men, I am not sure). I am only in my early stages of this app but so far I love it! – But I will keep you posted.

Apps have been a huge positive in my life over the last month. All the public transport companies have them Dublin Bus, Irish Rail and the Luas, so I always know when my bus is going to arrive – or if it has been cancelled (which as annoying as it is, at least
I know it has been cancelled now and I am not standing at a bus stop for half hour waiting for a bus that never arrives). Twitter has also been a huge help, often I find it is updating me on an accident or traffic delays etc. which may affect me long before any of the news agencies are updating their news feeds.twitter-logo

The new people I have meet have also been a huge positive in my life. Although I have not known them long, and acquaintances may be a better word to use then friends, just having those people in your life when you first move to a new city has made all the difference. A text message of excitement when someone finds a new apartment or to let you know which pub they are drinking at if you want to join them, makes you feel wanted and connected to the city.

Last but not least, the biggest positive has been that I have been going this alone. That is not to say that I don’t have encouraging family and friends back home, or supportive co-workers and new friends here. But I have been able to develop those friendships, wade the tide of frustration and anxieties when things go wrong, and just survive and thrive in the day to day on my own. I have not needed a significant other, whether they be a boyfriend/ girlfriend, sibling or parent to hold my hand through this last month, and that in itself is an extremely gratifying and liberating feeling.

Happy Friday everyone, hope you have a great weekend!

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It is a universal truth that a single women must be in want of a partner….

It is a universal truth that a single women must be in want of a partner…. Ok so that wasn’t quite how the famous opening line from Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice actually went but I thought it made a good opener to today’s blog.Unknown1

My relationship status, as a single person, is apparently a topic for public opinion. It doesn’t matter if I have known you since I was 2 years old or I meet you 5 minutes ago, people feel they have the right to pass judgment, make a comment, tell me the relationship status of every male co-worker in the building, or recommended one of their single friends to me.  Having just moved to Ireland I often get asked “Did you move to Ireland for a man?” or “I am sure you will find a nice Irish boy soon enough” or “so do you think you will be settling down soon now that you’re in Ireland?”

For any person moving to a new city or country on their own there is so many other things to worry about. Finding a job, an apartment, the best restaurants to eat at, best places for coffee, finding new social or sporting clubs to join, and making new friends are the priority – we don’t have time to be dealing with the emotional rollercoaster ride that is dating.

 

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The last thing I am thinking about is dating.  I don’t care if Mark in Accounts is single, or if Ger is currently going through a messy divorce. I don’t care that you have a really nice friend in Navan who may be a little young for me. I just moved here.

The last thing someone moving to a new city / country is thinking about, or should be thinking about is dating. If you are planning on moving or just moved to a new city and you are more worried about not having a boyfriend or girlfriend then where you are going to live or about having friends then you may not have your best interests at heart.

women-friends

Being single and moving to a new city is great. You only have to worry about yourself, you discover new things about yourself, you learn how much you can do on your own, and you push yourself to try and do new things you may never have thought of doing before. For me it is the third time I have gone to a new city on my own and a highly recommend it.

So random strangers stop pushing the subject, and single people just ignore their ignorance – they obviously don’t know how fabulous it is to be a single person in a new city.

lonely-expat-problem-making-friends

Charmaine Xx