Leaping Into The Unknown…

Someone once told me that I’m extremely self-aware and have a never-ending quest to do what makes me happy.   The someone who was giving me this “talking to” thought he was pointing out my tendencies of being a self-destructive fool so I could change my ways.  Despite that super awkward conversation four years ago, I’m glad to report that if anything has changed, it’s that I’m more of those things that were pointed out as negative aspects to my personality.  The reason I felt the need to share this is because at the end of May, I said farewell to life on the Emerald Isle for just those reasons.  To those who knew me, the news of my departure came as no surprise since Ireland and I could be best compared to a square peg and a round hole.    Over the last few months, I’ve been heavily questioned about what I didn’t like about Ireland but my leaving has very little to do with my fondness or lack there of for the country.  Despite appearances and the randomness I vomited from time to time, I don’t dislike Ireland at all.  I think Ireland is a fun little country worth visiting but what I’ve learned in the past year is visiting and living are two very different things.

Despite my struggles with living in Ireland, I have no regrets about making the move that I did.  Without it, I wouldn’t be leaving with the experiences and friendships that I consider priceless.  Once people accepted the fact that I was leaving, the next question was where to next on my trip around the world.  The honest answer, after I recovered from the assumption that I’m doing a trip around the world, is that I don’t know.  What I do know is that I would like the next city that I live in to be one I settle in.  Maybe it’s just old age rearing its ugly head but I think it would be nice to be less nomadic without losing any of my travel perks.  I know that will be a tough point to negotiate but I’m a firm believer that you don’t get things you don’t ask for.

At present time, there are multiple factors in play that will eventually determine where I’ll go but for the time being, I’ve fallen in love with being a  jobless layabout gallivanting around Europe.  If this is going to be the last hurrah then I’m going to have to make it count, right?  Anyway, as far as my summer travel plans go, I have a concept of where I’m going and what friends are meeting me along the way and the rest will sort itself out.  Fingers crossed anyway.

Categories: IRELAND, ireland: dublin | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taking Advantage of the Irish Summer!

Everyone is always joking that if you go into the cinema to watch a film, you could missed the Irish summer by the time you come out.  After a year in Ireland, this in no longer a laughing matter.  As I quietly suffered from the lack of vitamin D, my prayers were answered with a forecast that was calling for one full day of weekend sun.  So I did what anyone else in my position would do – found a way to be outside from sunrise to sunset.  For me, this was easy as I had held off doing a particular tourist trip in hopes of good weather and luckily my time had come.  After some rushed research, I booked a tour with Extreme Ireland/Day Tours at the last-minute to go check out The Giants Causeway.  Yes, the bus was full and it was still a little nippy outside but there was going to be sun and that was enough to send me over the moon.

Carnlough Harbour - Stop #1

Carnlough Harbour – Stop #1

Like many of the day tours I’ve done, the bus was full of couples and friend duos visiting Ireland.  They were very nice but let’s face it – nobody wants to spend the day third wheeling it with strangers.  Just as I was getting ready to give up on finding someone to talk to, I was joined by a stray singleton trying to make the most of her time in Ireland as well.  My single serving friend, whose name escapes me now, proved to be good fun and a welcome relief as we drive from location to location.  We talked about how Ireland reminded me of parts of either New Zealand or Australia while she told me about where else in Ireland she had been.  We laughed as we talked about the good and bad surprises we had encountered on our travels and our personal highlights of Ireland.

Turns out the bridge wasn't what I thought!

Turns out the bridge wasn’t what I thought!

Turns out that this trip was going to have a few surprised.  The good was that we couldn’t have picked a better day as the driver let us know that only about 1 in 5 times he’s done the trip, have people ever been able to see Scotland.  We were lucky as it was as clear as day.  After this nugget of information, we made our first real stop where we were allowed to distance ourselves from the heard.  We were at the Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge and the grounds that surrounds this area was absolutely stunning and hands down my favourite part of the day.  As for the wee bridge itself – well I was thinking it was going to be comparable to the Capilano Suspension Bridge but instead it was more like a baby version.  Despite it’s size, it was still fun to cross the bridge and give it a slight rock as the family ahead of me posed for some rather awkward photos.  Oh the things I do when photo bombing is taken out of the equation!  Before long, our time was up and we were called back to the bus to make our way to the next stop – The Giants Causeway.  I have always loved the pictures of the Causeway and was glad to finally be making the trek but hated the fact that there seemed to be just as many tourists as there were rocks.  I really shouldn’t have been a surprise since they were coming by the busload and I had just arrived with another 35 other people but it still took me by surprise.  Sadly, I knew that the time had come to put away my camera and just enjoy where I was.

The Giants Causeway - one of the few photos I like

The Giants Causeway – one of the few photos I like

The Giants Causeway - Honeycomb

The Giants Causeway – Honeycomb

Looking back on my photos today, it saddens me slightly that I didn’t get a snapshot of my favourite rock formation since it had humans climbing on it like they were monkeys but such is life.  I just didn’t have the patience to wait them out for a decent photo so I booked it back to the restaurant to grab a little grub before the crowds made their way there.  What I had traded for that photo was a decent spot on the patio where I could feel the sun warm up every inch of me as I ate my cafeteria style meal.  One a sunny day, this spot was worth it’s weight in gold and worth giving up that photo opportunity.  Soon after I finished my meal, we were all collected again in order to stick to the schedule.  Despite my best efforts to convince the driver that an unscheduled stop at Bushmills was a matter of life and death, no changes were made to the itinerary posted online.  It was one stop after another that I wasn’t overly fussed about as I’d already been.  Before I knew it, the sun was hanging low in the sky and we were making our way back to Dublin once again.  All in all, this was a good day out and I couldn’t have imagined a better weather to do it in.

Categories: IRELAND, ireland: belfast | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nothing Says Christmas Like A Pub Crawl!


The 12 Pubs of Christmas was something I’d never heard of until I set foot on Irish soil. Leave it to the Irish to kick off the holiday season (yes, my politically correct “North American” term that my Irish coworkers detest) with copious amounts of drinking while wearing a tacky jumper. The rules are simple – get your friends together, dress up Christmassy, and hit 12 pubs where you have 30 mins in each establishment to down 1 pint or shot.

I wound up buying a rather pricey red Rudolph jumper and assembling a group that resembled the United Nations and set off to hits the pubs up and down my street. In no tome flat, I was corrected by the Irish in the bunch that my drink of choice didn’t qualify as a real drink. Turns out a vodka soda is only half a drink and I would have to down double vodka sodas to be legit!

Truth be told, I only took on the doubles when it was his shout as it was the only to avoid a little holiday stomach pumping…yeah! All in all, it was a good night and we made it to 12 pubs and a random Asian karaoke bar but I only managed to drink in 8 before closing time rolled around and we had to call it a night. If you’re ever in Ireland during the festive season – this is one ritual that I’d highly recommend if for nothing else but interestingly tacky attire.

Our 12 Pubs Mascot at the beginning of the night - by the end she was nothing but twigs with mementos from each pub

Our 12 Pubs Mascot at the beginning of the night – by the end she was nothing but twigs with mementos from each pub

Categories: IRELAND, ireland: dublin | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Chick Flick – Reinvented!

death-of-a-superhero-posterWhile everyone else was off doing that Christmas shopping hustle this weekend, I just couldn’t muster the enthusiasm or strength to participate.   The truth is I missed the shipping deadline, had a ton of present still left to be bought, and was still recovering from that awful stomach flu.  The last thing anyone in my state would want to do is fight the crowds to buy useless shit that nobody really wants but will have to pretend they love because I gift wrapped the damn thing.  Blah, blah, blah – bah humbug I know!  So I did the only sensible thing that any other girl would do in my situation – I rallied up a few female friends to take in a flick.  Maybe its just me and my friends but the chick flick of choice was obviously Death of a Superhero.  For the average girl, maybe animation mingling with live action doesn’t necessary equal chick flick but I don’t think most people lump me into that category despite my love of all things pink so take this with a grain of salt like all things coming from me.

Death of a Superhero is a German/Ireland coming of age story that is based on a New Zealand book of the same name.  Despite the New Zealand connection (not hating on NZ…just have a strange feeling that it might have been something in the water that has brought me to this state of once you go kiwi…you can never go back that I’m stuck in) I was so excited to see this film.  Without revealing too much, what I will say is that the 3 of us left the theatre happy with our film-going experience and has even lead us to quoting one of my favourite lines in the movie – “life is a sexually transmitted disease, its spread by people having sex and then in the end it kills ya”.  As for the delay in my Christmas shopping activities – I would say this was definitely worth it and would do it again in a heartbeat.

Categories: IRELAND, ireland: dublin | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In Bed With A Nasty Clown

This was almost the subject line of a recent email I sent my team while lying in bed sick with the nasty new bug making the rounds.  Just in the nick of time, I had a flash of sanity and realized that my reference to a Canadian advert would have only made the Irish folks think I’ve jumped into the deep end of weird once again.  For some reason constantly using the term feck hailing from Father Ted is oh so understandable but I would join the ranks of the Aussies muttering, “Not Happy Jan!”, if I would have shared the above.  Since I still think my original title would have been funny and too good to pass up, the best I could do is share it now even if it’s with a rather bad version of the original advert!

Categories: IRELAND, ireland: dublin | Leave a comment

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