Friday, November 26, 2010

happy turkey day

one attractive bunch
pumpkin mousse banoffee pie with ginger nut crust
green bean feta salad, cream cheese mashed potatoes, and gravy
jamie oliver says to serve meats on a cutting board. he's dumb.
our happy little thanksgiving family
bunny ears

For Thanksgiving we had our friends Ian & Meagan over for dinner. I drew turkey-hands on our paper towels to make holiday-themed  napkins. Travis carved up a small piece of turkey from Marks&Spencer and I made gravy from a packet. At some point we said what we were thankful for. I told a joke about a duck. It was pretty much the traditional American meal. Happy Thanksgiving all!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

protest and general unrest

photo from Irish Times article (click below)


I read this article today and I guess the protest was at the Daíl, which is just south of the river from our place...maybe five large blocks away. This is after last month when the student protest for raising the cost for college fees by €1,500 per year (double!). I'd like to say we are laying low and trying to be safe but to be honest we haven't been aware of any of this. I think I'll start buying newspapers because without a telly we have no idea what's going on. I'm sure it is similar to Greece when their protests were going on--it's only dangerous if you are in the mob and hurling random things at the gardai. We are just going about our lives for now.

The general sentiment I hear around here is that this is a rich man's crisis when the working man is being asked to foot the bill. At the same time I personally know a handful of 20-30 somethings who are in college as 'mature students' because the government pays their tuition while they are unemployed so they are choosing to live off the government instead of work. If that is an option, who wouldn't take it? It is similar to the recession in the US--not visible by the people who are still spending their money (and have it to spend) but it is hitting the low-income class harder and it is limiting the jobs for everyone--something I personally am dealing with.

It is interesting to be around anyhow. I am trying to think like a sociologist :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

monday monday can't trust that day

more Christmas at Jervis Centre

I have another interview! This time it's a phone interview. It could be a good sign: I am one of hundreds of applicants and they thought I was promising enough to speak to on the phone and usher through to the next round. It could be a bad sign: It's easier to dismiss a person when they don't actually show up in your office. Either scenario, I will be on the phone tomorrow at 1:30pm to interview for a software Trainer position with a local WCMS company that also has offices in the UK and Cambridge, Mass. Wish me luck!

In other news, we invited our friends Meagan and Ian over for Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday night. Today I am going to Jervis Centre to the Tesco so we can shop for the most Thanksgiving-type food we can find in Ireland. I am thinking we can scrounge up turkey, potatoes (duh!) and green beans. I am afraid of making stuffing. Should make another attempt at cooking fresh pumpkin for a homemade pie? Would I be so bold?

My essential Thanksgiving food is the canned cranberry sauce by Ocean Spray. Ever since I was a little girl at Grandma & Grandpa's house in Redlands, proper cranberry came in giant circular slices with ridges along the edge. It is my absolute favorite and I have come to dislike real cranberry sauce. Thanks to MIL I had a can from the U.S. but I accidentally ate it the other day for dinner--oops! If you had to choose one Thanksgiving food that you cant live without, what would it be?

fun with words

"sultana" = raisin
"rocket" = arugula
"ring" = phone call
"call" = make a visit
"yoke" = a thing (anything)
"christmas mince pies" = fruit not meat
"scumbag" = derogatory term for a youngster wearing a track suit
"sláinte" = cheers, but you say 'slon-chuh' 
"pissed" = drunk, not angry
"cinema" = the movies
"giving out" = scolding 
"eejit" = idiot

Sunday, November 21, 2010

double rainbow

at first i thought it was just one beautiful rainbow over Dublin
but then i saw it was a DOUBLE RAINBOW!
what does it mean?

Double Rainbow all the way across the sky*! Whoaoaoaoaoa it's so intense!





*I apologize on behalf of my camera's panorama function for the poor job it did capturing the middle of the rainbow.

Friday, November 19, 2010

irish music

Fionn Regan

Conor Oberst, is that you?

yummy! it tasted like bananas.
Jape
dancing to Jape

I can't say I'm a fan of Irish music when it comes to traditional songs. People here call it "trad music" and it's the very Celtic-sounding traditional Irish music that gets played at tourist pubs and for Riverdancers. I've been trying to figure out Dublin's music scene so I was excited to meet some friends who seem to know what's up.

Last night hubs and I were invited to see some original bands from Ireland play in the city of Dundalk, about an hour north of Dublin. We rode in a car with our new friends and talked about how we should take driving lessons before we rent a car in this country. Being on the left (wrong) side of the road feels horrible, even if you are just the passenger. Every turn feels foreign and if we were to rent a car tomorrow, we'd probably end up killing people by reverting to the right side. I didn't realize how ingrained that feeling is! For the same reason, I still have trouble crossing the street; when I check for traffic I am always facing the wrong direction.

In Dundalk we went to this venue called the Spirit Store. It was an intimate little house serving incredible weiss beers. We saw a band called Boy Lights Fire, Fionn Regan, Jape, and And So I Watch You From Afar. Jape was kind of dancy-groovy but I mostly liked Fionn Regan. He is a little mushroom headed singer-singwriter that sings sappy songs about love and life and the difficulty of being (see caption above). He also plays harmonica, which ends up being a little dylan-esque. There seems to be a lot of these guys right now (Tallest Man on Earth) but you wont find me complaining. I'm glad to say I am a fan of some Irish music--finally!

hire me

Waiting for the DART-Connolly Station, Dublin 1
This is me waiting for the train at the DART station today before my interview. I have high heels in my bag and changed right before the interview so I didn't have to walk in them.

DART is Dublin Area Rapid Transit--just like BART. Who copied who?

I had to go to Dun Laoghaire, a city about 20 minutes south of Dublin for my interview. My friend Meagan was lovely and accompanied me so I wouldn't get lost. Two heads are better than one, after all. We took the LUAS light rail and then took the DART train. That's a lot of new public transportation for one day!

Along the way, Meagan quizzed me with practice interview questions on the train. I think it worked because the interview went great. It was very relaxed and the two interviewers said I had an "impressive CV". I should know by the end of next week if I get the job or not. It's only one day a week but it would be a good amount of freedom, as the position is brand new. I am already thinking up amazing ideas for marketing their cause and getting people involved in social service. Here's hoping!
"Dun Laoghaire" = said dun leary

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

i take pictures of my food

cucumber ribbon salad and Thai lentil curry

onion rings and chips @ Doyle's-Dublin 2

I take pictures of my food. I just do. It's not weird. Tell my husband it's not weird.

The Thai salad and was from a recipe I found after watching Jamie Oliver's 30-minute meals. I highly recommend the cucumber salad and fresh dressing. When cucumbers are topped with corriander and tons of chiles they dont even taste like their nasty selves at all. The curry is just massaman curry with lentils, peas, and broccoli. The other is an example of what you can eat in every pub in Ireland. It tastes good but it's nothing mind-blowing.

Monday, November 15, 2010

geography lesson

I learned a little bit about Irish geography from the girls. They are experts because they are Irish. Waterford is a city in the southeast just about 2 hours drive from Dublin. If Ireland were a teddy bear looking across the Atlantic towards the states--and it IS--then I think Waterford is near the pom-pom tail.

hello green teddy

OBVIOUSLY

girls night out

I'm staying in the hotel, not the motel or the Holiday Inn.

My friend Rachel took pity on me for not having enough girl friends and invited me to borrow some of hers. Yesterday we met in Waterford with a few of her buddies for a fun night out. I liked sitting in the hotel room listening to four girls talk with different accents. I learned lots of new vocab but I dont remember much since it was so rapid-fire. It was like listening to music.
"going in for the shift" = when a dude leans in for a kiss

After we got ready and left the hotel we went to a pub and then saw a Kings of Leon cover band. There were drinks and lots of dancing and lots of laughing and lots of fun. There was a slight hiccup at the end of the night when a power-hungry coat check girl tried to steal my gray H&M jacket from me. I had lost my ticket and on principle she refused to give me the jacket back--even though I knew the color, the size, the brand name, the shape of the pockets, and the gray & white brocade design on the inner lining. As I said to Rachel, if the jacket really wasn't mine then I certainly deserved to have it for studying so hard. That coat check girl was basically an idiot and eventually one of the girls rescued my coat from her evil grasp. We went home to the hotel, ate our brown bread, and drifted off to happy sleep.

Also, I bought those patent gray pumps in the picture last month. Although cute, I will never wear them out again. The pain.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

fashion news

sheeple
After seeing the Coming Soon signs and reading all the articles since September, Forever 21 has finally arrived. It's located in the Jervis Centre two blocks away from my house. I thought I'd swing by this morning and see if I could find any 'girls night out' clothes. All up and down the street you can see happy girls swinging their yellow logo-ed bags to show the world they've now been shopping in the new store from America. It's the first Forever 21 in all of Ireland.

The first thing I noticed was the crowd. The sheer amount of people in the store was ridiculous. I could hardly get in the door but as soon as I did, I was surrounded by fourteen-year-old boys and girls with their parents in tow snatching up clothes as if they were at a bridal trunk sale. I could hardly walk and started scanning for a quick exit. Second I grabbed a couple of price tags and noticed the prices are a little higher than back home at the Mall of America. It's not a bad strategy for a new store with that much buzz but kind of a rip-off. I'll have to wait to shop until the novelty wears off a bit more. I finally gawked at the massive line in front of checkout and got the hell out of there. Céad mile fáilte Forever 21!
 "cashwrap" = checkout counters
"céad mile fáilte" = a hundred thousand welcomes

Saturday, November 13, 2010

leave to remain

I just finished writing my official request letter for Leave to Remain in Ireland since I dont have a work permit. I will be sending the letter first thing next week to Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Services. I have requested a few letters of recommendation from friends because I am supposed to prove I am 'of good moral character' and not a shady cheater who's trying to mooch off the Irish State. Thanks Ian and Rachel for believing in me ha ha. Wish me luck folks!
New vocab:
"bin" = garbage can
"rubbish" = garbage/trash
"rubbish" = crappy, as in 'this band is rubbish'

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

at the embassy

Pembroke Road-Ballsbridge, Dublin 4

Today I had my appointment at the US Embassy. If you are interested, you can take the #7 bus from O'Connell Street bridge directly to the embassy. To get back, just take any bus labeled "City Centre".

Why did I go to the embassy? According to everything I've read I was supposed to check in at the Immigration office my first month here. Unfortunately, Pea Brain Ticket Man with Irish immigration wouldn't even allow me a ticket to get in line to attempt to check in. I thought maybe the folks at the embassy could advise me about what to do. I thought they could somehow force GNIB to follow their own rules when it comes to registering immigrants and make an appointment for me.

Unfortunately, the people working at the embassy are nothing but glorified DMV employees. They do not think for themselves, they just read the same information off the GNIB website that I read at home. The guy I talked to only confirmed what I already knew, saying I should have checked in my first month. I explained the situation but in the end he said there is nothing the embassy can do to force Immigration to check me in. He advised me to try again....Sure I'll make another attempt at standing in line for 6 hours just to be turned away. I'll get right on that.

entrance to the embassy AKA the holding cell
What about the fun part? I was surprised at how fortified the US Embassy is. As I rode the bus down Pembroke Road, we passed by many other countries' embassies. I saw Italy, France, and even Ukraine on the way. Every other embassy was a plain brick building facing the street with the flag flying out in front and a normal door at the entrance.

The US Embassy was surrounded by an 8-foot fence and the main entrance is a brick holding area. Once inside, it was worse than airport security. First, they confirmed I had an appointment and marked my name off the list after checking my passport. Then I had to remove all my jewelry and empty out my purse, which went through an x-ray machine. My jacket and brolly were also x-rayed but I was allowed to keep my shoes on, since the floor was made of concrete. Finally, they made me PUT ON every lip gloss in my bag to prove they weren't other substances. Gooey. I was not allowed to take my cell phone, camera, or flash drive inside the gates at all. They kept my things in a cubby hole labeled "18" and gave me a giant lanyard with an ID on it that I had to wear around my neck. I then walked through metal detector #1 to enter the courtyard and #2 at the door to the main building. Finally, with my bright red hooker lips, I was allowed to go inside and take a number.

I asked the security officer (who, ironically had an Austrian accent) if other embassies had such strict security. "Only us and the British Embassy," he answered. Hmmm. Come to think of it, I am probably on some sort of List now because I took these pictures.

Monday, November 8, 2010

bubblegum bubblegum in a dish

how many sushi pieces do you wish?
 I went to Yo Sushi with a couple friends. Look how cute--the food arrives in bubbles on a conveyor belt! The restaurant is like stepping into some kind of futuristic anime cartoon! It is the most fun lunch in all of Dublin.

built-in soy sauce + wasabi
See those two fountains? One is fizzy water and the other is still. After you eat all your bubbles, the server arrives at the table and counts up how many bubbles of each color you ate. The only thing missing was a purikura photobooth. Brilliant, just brilliant. Oh and after lunch? Shopping.

sign of the times

Jervis Centre-Dublin 1
 Everybody is decorating for the holidays. I love it. I can't wait to see Dublin at Christmastime! This is the shopping centre near my house. Can you believe my two favorite grocery stores are in the mall?


bird sits on branch outside the window.

hello Birdy. do you see me? i see you!

birdy eating berries.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

no habanero

Temple Bar Food Market

I went looking for habanero sauce at the Temple Bar Food Market for the fourth week in a row. No luck. I give up. I am at the mercy of my generous donors in the U.S. Instead of Mexican food we ended up at the lovely and delicious Stage Door Cafe for a lovely cappuccino and lunch.


best vegetable soup ever.
it's called a cup-a-keeno and wait'll you see what it costs!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

dance party

me too, sister.
We had a dance party with some friends at Transformer, the indie club that happens below Thomas Reads on Friday nights. We busted some moves. We blew some minds. We closed the club. Holla.

Friday, November 5, 2010

be prepared

"wellies" = rain boots

couch potato

where all the magic happens
I'm sitting on the couch right now roasting winter vegetables in the oven. It's starting to smell nice. There are rutabaga (is that word plural?), carrots, and parsnips. I bought them in a winter veg mix from Tesco for about €1. I can't wait until they are mushy and I can eat lunch. In the meantime, how about another Irish vocab lesson? Here are some odds and ends that I haven't mentioned yet:

"the head on him" = will you look at him, usually said to make fun of someone
"feck" = nicer than the other one, used copiously; similar to dang vs. damn
"fanny" = lady bits--NOT the 'booty' as I originally thought
 "tea towels" = real towels that you use in the kitchen
"pants" = undies, although I can't stop saying it
"trousers" = what we Americans call pants
"kitchen towels" = paper towel rolls
 "slag" = to make fun of someone
"snog" = to kiss
"lovely" = nice
"grand" = great
"garda" = police
"till" = cash register
"brilliant" = awesome
"revise" = to study, as in revising for exams
"dear" = expensive, as in 'the vegetables I'm about to eat weren't very dear'
"tuck in" = eat/dig in, as in 'I will now tuck into these delicious smelling vegetables'
"yer man/woman" = that guy/lady over there, as in 'yer man at the till winked at me'

Thursday, November 4, 2010

baby steps

I have...

...AN INTERVIEW!

It's only for a part-time position but I am really excited to finally hear a tidbit of good news. After so many rejection letters and even more who never bothered responding, this feels GOOD.

The position is event and project planning for War Child Ireland, a local arm of War Child International. Since it is a non-profit that supports children affected by war, most of their work is in other countries. If I can manage to land two part-time jobs, I think this can work.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

happy birthday hubby

ebony & mahogany

Here is a handsome picture of the birthday boy with his gifts! Doesn't he look happy? I gave him a mod-looking black ebony Peterson pipe made right here in Dublin. It has a spigot and a filter. I dont know much about pipes but it looks cool. Hubby's other gift is a beautiful mahogany guitar. We found it at a shop called the Guitar Centre (no relation to the American store) in Temple Bar. It's nice to hear hubs playing music in the house again--it feels a little more like home in here. If you need any instruments like guitars or banjos, definitely go to that shop. They are extremely nice and let me take anything off the wall and play it without giving me sideways glances.

dinner at Bruno's-Temple Bar, Dublin 2
After spending the afternoon playing guitar, we went to dinner at Bruno's Restaurant. I had fettuccine alla pescatore and hubs had the lamb chops and soup. It was a lovely dinner date and a good suggestion by our friends. We also found out that Bruno's has a burrito bar next door. As odd as it sounds for a nice restaurant to run a burrito bar, I will probably try it soon. Feta cheese vegetarian burrito? Why not.
 
chili sauce on this app: nom nom nom 

Tunisian baklava and peach tea for dessert

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

brunchtime

Lower Camden Street-Dublin 2

After my socially outgoing Halloween, hubs and I decided a lazy brunch was in order. I can't say much about the walk to Lennox Cafe except that Dublin is gorgeous. Old brick buildings, brightly colored doors, cobblestone streets, sunshine, people bustling here and there--simply gorgeous.

"BERNARD SHAW AUTHOR OF MANY PLAYS was BORN IN THIS HOUSE 26 JULY 1856"

The internet says the man's name is George Bernard Shaw. He has the same birthday as me. Unfortunately, he is having an identity crisis.

animal-print blankets provided for warmth--how thoughtful!

huevos rancheros? not really but still delicious. Dear Ireland, learn Mexican.

hubby

snuggle

Monday, November 1, 2010

arrr

these are my normal clothes

 Happy Halloween! Hubs and I went to a Yelp party at a pub near our house. At the last minute I decided to dress up and put together a pretty good Pirate Lady outfit from my closet. What do you think?

At the pub they gave us chunks of cheese, apples, and free Lithuanian beer. I had a white unfiltered ale and it was lovely. Then they played scary monster music and showed freaky horror videos on the wall. Ew. We ended up making friends with two guys dressed as Marty McFly and Dr. Who--which is a British TV show that I have never seen but everybody else in the world has. Including husband. I am a clueless American. At the party we also made friends with a Dane. I forget his name but he said to call him The Dane so I did. The Great Dane bought us a sleeve of digestive biscuits from the corner store to eat with our cheese. Thanks The Great Dane!
O'Byrne's Beverage House-Dublin 1
Our goodie bag to take home was a Svyturys (say "SVIT-er-is" it sounds like another word) bottle and a pilsner glass with the logo. If you want to see their website, just hit TAIP which must be YES in Lithuanian if you are over 18.

After the party we went home and I decided to go next door to Neighbor Dave's house. ND has the distinction of being our next door neighbor and the only other person in our building who will speak to me. I am friendly to other people in the hall but they all avoid eye contact and run away. I think Neighbor Dave likes us because he plays baseball and, as Americans, we should appreciate that. Unfortunately for ND neither myself or hubs cares much about professional sports teams unless it is a world championship of some sort. Still, he likes us. ND was having his own Halloween party and although hubby thought it would be awkward, I decided to attend. I could see a bunch of girls and I wanted to make friends so I took the souvenir beer as an offering and crashed the party.

I am proud to report that I talked politics with a group of Danish girls, learned to say some horrible things in Finnish, and then befriended another group of Fins that became my good friends for the night. Did you know 99.9% of Finnish and Danish women are named Annie? They are. Sadly most of my new friends were just here on vacation so I might not see them again. At least I got the chance to be extremely socially outgoing for one night.

Awkward moment when I met a particularly obnoxious Finnish guy at the party: He asked where I was from and I said 'the United States'. He then exclaimed, "But you aren't fat!?" I couldn't decide if I should hug him or poke him in the eye so I just glared at him ambiguously. Later I got revenge as he rattled off a list of the most famous Finnish people on earth and I hadn't heard of a single one. So there.