Wednesday, March 30, 2011

So what's the craic?

Eh, all quiet here.  "So, what's the craic? All quiet." That's the typical question and response here in Derry to what American's would say as "What's going on? Not much."

So, anyway.  Nope, not much craic here.  It has been a quiet few days here in Derry.  My Zumba classes are going wonderfully.  Did some spring cleaning in the flat and in the shop so we're all fresh here now, too.  And, I'm slowly getting Barry's old bachelor pad transformed into a newlywed love nest.  Although I think I may have gone a little overboard on the girly stuff, but I don't think Barry minds too much.  At least he hasn't said so.  I've made our living room/kitchen area an earthy neutral tone area with red accents so it is man-friendly...however, the bedroom and bathroom are, less than man- friendly.  They're purple!  Yes, purple...purple bedding, purple curtains, purple rugs, purple flowers, purple storage chests, purple picture frames and purple a shower curtain.  You'da thunk a gay pride parade exploded in these rooms...but, I love them...just like I love a parade!

Oh, and we've also watched the first season of Dexter.  So good!  Can't wait to tackle the rest of the seasons so we'll be all caught up.

So anyway, since it is all quiet here...enjoy some photos:

A photo from Monday night's Zumba class:

And, a photo of Derry I took when it was sunny and warm last week:

And here's a photo of a purple cat I found online.  I do not know who the cat is nor do I know who the woman is holding the purple cat but I like cats and I like there ya go.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

What I shoulda said...

Photo: Google Image Search
I sometimes forget I'm an American living abroad.  Well, that is until I'm laughed outta town when I say something super American.  I do try not to sound so American.  I do my best to avoid using typical American phrases and terms like "awesome" and "yeah, man." But, it sneaks out like verbal diarrhea and finds itself in the air and in the ears of my new Irish friends.  Even some words I don't realize are uber-American actually are and I'm certainly made aware of it because once they pass my lips, the incessant laughter that fills the room makes me very aware.  Don't get me wrong, no one laughs at me in a mean is just for a bit of fun and it is definitely a learning experience for me.

Just to spread the laughter, I'll give you a few examples.

What I said: Cash register  What I should have said: Till

What I said: I have to run errands. *sidenote: I was actually asked if I was speaking a different language when I said this.* What I should have said: I need to go a wee message.

What I said: Do you want some candy?  What I should have said: Do you want a wee sweet?

What I said:  You want a dollars worth of those penny sweets? *sidenote:  I totally knew better here but, ya know...old habits die hard.*  What I should have said: You want a pound worth of those penny sweets?

Having said all of that, there have been times when hubbers has told me that I'm picking up a Derry accent.  For example, yesterday, we were examining our new curtain rods and discovered we would need to drill new holes in the wall to hang our newly acquired rods.  I asked him if he knew anyone that had a drill we could borrow.  Except, I didn't say "borrow"...I said "barra." And I was told it was a "barra" in a typical Derry accent.  So there ya go. 

Okay, now I have a date with Sky TV which we just had installed and can I say...hallelujah!  We get all my favorite American shows with a special hallelujah for the HBO shows. So...see ya later!

Friday, March 25, 2011

What is a sheowwww?

I've noticed the similarities in commericials here in Ireland to ones back in the States.  Sometimes it is just the same commercial with an English accent thrown in there and sometimes it is the same commercial jingle and dialogue except a different product, but more or less, these commericials are the same.  Every time I came to visit before I moved to Ireland, I took note of a few commericials and it is no different now, so I thought I'd share these lovely wee finds with you.  I don't know why these entertain me so much but they do. Perhaps they will entertain you as well.Enjoy!

Windshield, Windscreen, same dif!

 The American Safelite commercial:

The Irish/U.K. equivalent:

Changing a letter and an accent but still the same. Hair loss is no joke!

The American Rogaine Commercial:

The Irish/U.K. Regaine equivalent:

Apparently, cleaning bottles can talk in BOTH countries!

The American Mr. Clean Magic Eraser commercial:

The Irish/U.K. equivalent:

Okay, well I couldn't find the video for the equivalent anywhere online, but it does exist, I swear.  I saw it once and it was almost exactly the same as the American version with the uneducated talking bottles, except instead of Magic Eraser it was advertising a spray cleaner, the name of which escapes me at the present moment.  I just really wanted to post the American version because I love when he asks "what is a sheoww?"

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Poop and cats

Yep, that's what's on my mind right now.  Poop and cats. 

Why poop?  Well, because the pipes in our nearly 150 year old building (estimate) that Barry and I live in clogged something awful today and whoa, what a nightmare it was trying to unclog months or years of crap (literally) and other things that have clogged up the plumbing.  Well, I wasn't the one having to unclog the pipes.  Luckily, we had a plumber who did it and who in all honesty deserves a metal for what he endured and fixed today. 

What I did have to clean and fix however was the poop water that spilled onto our pristine bathroom floor which had managed to shoot up from our toilet outta nowhere. Insert gagging noise here. Don't worry, we were able to remove some of our newly purchased items which you can see here so they weren't ruined. 

So after an afternoon of plumbing unclogging or whatever and poop water cleaning, the flat is back to its pristine status once again...thankfully. 

So where does the cats part of the title come in?  Right here.  Because now, I'm going to cry about how much I miss my two furry punkin heads Charlie and Fox.  Apart from seeing them on Skype, courtesy of my brother, the cat whisperer, I haven't seen or petted or heard their sweet purrs in two weeks and four days!  And, it will be another several weeks until I return to the States to pick them up to bring them back to Ireland with me.  I wuv u Charlie and Fox!

Luckily the cat whisperer is staying with them and making sure all their feline needs are met down to snuggles, treats and of course...poop scooping duties.

That's Charlie on the left and Fox on the right. 

First night of Zumba in Derry

So, I began my first night of teaching Zumba in Derry last night at Pilot's Row Community Centre and like, WOW, it was wonderful!!!  Had a wonderful turnout with close to 30 there which is the bomb diggity for the first night!  Thought I'd share some photos with you from class:

Friday, March 18, 2011

St. Paddy's Festivities

It was my first St. Patrick's Day in Ireland and I went to the parade.  I thought that would be pretty sweet given we don't celebrate the holiday with a parade in America.  I didn't partake of the green beer and drink-until-you-puke festiviites since I was on babysitting duty, but the day was pretty cool.  And, by pretty cool I mean, like, the day was friggin' freezin'.  And, it was fun.

Gettin' all ready for the parade!

Me with my shamrocks pinned to my coat.
Warmin' up at the M&S Cafe after the parade.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tale of a babysitter

This week Barry's sister and brother-in-law have been out of town without their two children which means this week Barry and I have been babysitting these lovely children. Well, let me clarify, actually it has been me that has done most of the babysitting since Barry has to work 12 hour shifts at the shop.  Yes, 12 blissful hours of what I'm sure is not nearly as difficult as babysitting a ten and a seven year old.  Don't get me wrong...I'm crazy about the younguns...but, I'm exhausted. 

Even though I feel like I've been hit by a train, it has been fun and also very educational.  Since this is just my second week residing here in Ireland, I'm not quite settled and used to the accents, the appliances (since I've had to *gasp* do some light cooking and washing for the gals), or even the fruit juice that has to be diluted with water before drinking. 

For example, the other day, the oldest one was telling me what she wanted from the chippy (that is a take out restaurant for my American readers).  What I thought she said was "pattered sausages."  So, I asked if this particular place had "pattered sausages."  After laughing at me, I was told she actually said BATTERED sausages.  Oh, okay well that makes more sense.  Still having some trouble with the accent as you can see.

During an after school snack the other day, the girls were eating some fruit and I asked if they wanted some juice since there was a bottle of orange pineapple juice in the fridge.  "Aye" they both said.  So, I went off and poured them two glasses of the juice and gave it to them.  They happily drank the juice.  It wasn't until about FIVE hours later when seeing Barry that they told him and ME that I was supposed to dilute the juice with water.  Hmm...I had no idea.  This is something that is completely different here versus in America.  Most juices have to be diluted before drinking here even though they come in large containers that look like they have already been diluted...very misleading.  Bless their little Irish hearts for drinking the juice even though I'm sure it tasted like pure syrup.  They were afraid of hurting my feelings they said.  Ah well, lesson learned.

Preparing to do my first load of laundry here was also an adventure.  Seeing as how the washing machines are completely different here, I wasn't quite sure where to put the detergent.  After standing in front of the washer and examining it from every angle and after numerous phone calls to Barry with questions, I finally did figure it out.  But, the whole process of loading the clothes in the washer and actually turning it on took a good thirty minutes. 

But, I am slowly coming around.  I still somewhat feel as if I have suffered a head injury and I'm having to relearn everything that was second nature to me, but I feel a little more confidant.  I even offerered to fry the little girls some sausages this morning for breakfast...which I have never done before.  Feeling a little like Mary Poppins or Holly Homemaker, I was quite pleased with the outcome until the oldest one told me I had burned them and she couldn't eat them.  Oh well, another lesson learned. I'm still a Mary Poppins trainee I suppose.

Even though I've struggled to aquaint myself with living here in a few minor ways, the babysitting has also been fun.  Saturday night, we sent the girls on a chocolate Easter egg hunt during commerical breaks of a dating show called Take Me Out.

Monday night, they made Barry look very pretty with a tube of my lipstick.  It was very nice of him to do this...especially since the youngest one has given him the nickname of Mr. Grumpy.  I, on the other hand, have earned the nickname of Mrs. Shiny Diamond.  Mine is sooooo much better than his!

Gawgeous, Dawling!

Then, yesterday, we made T-shirts out of glitter glue and markers to wear to the St. Patrick's Day parade.

I think I have a couple of up and coming artists on my hands, don't ya think?

Tomorrow, we're headed to the town to watch the St. Patrick's Day parade and partake in the activities going on.  Stay tuned...more to come!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

0 for 2

The weather finally broke here in Derry.  Since I arrived on March 5th, it has been quite rainy and cold.  We even got a little snow, but most of that white devil stayed in higher elevations as you can see from the photo below.  Thank goodness.  I've had it up to here with snow this year!  We had one of the worst winters in a while in West Virginia and I know Derry did as well.  Thankfully, today was nice and I was able to go for a long walk in the warm sun. 

Pic from a few days ago...snow in the mountains.  This pic was taken from inside a warm house 'cause I ain't goin' out in all that.

Since we are babysitting my sister-in-law's two little girls this week, we are staying outside of town at her house.  So today, while the nieces were at school, I decided I would walk to the hub's shop.  Since his sister's house is a little outside town, I knew it would be a good long walk, and I was willing to take the risk of blisters and foot pain because it was so nice out and I needed some exercise.  Plus, the route I was taking had a few important stops.  One, I needed to stop in to the local Curves to see if they would be interested in having a Zumba in the Circuit class.  Two, I needed to stop back in to the doctor's office to drop off my registration papers. 

So, off I went.  About twenty minutes into my walk, I arrived at Curves.  Wouldn't you know it.  They were closed for their afternoon break which lasts from about 1-3:30pm.  Insert curse word here.  I got there about 1:40pm.  Okay, so the Curves thing didn't quite work out but I still had another stop to make.

About ten minutes later, I arrived at the doctor.  I went to dig into my bag to pull out my registrations papers and Mutha F£$%*&!  I musta forgotten those!  I wanted to cry.  I was 0 for 2. But, I pressed on. 

Another twenty minutes later, I finally arrived at Barry's shop, tired, sweaty and what I'm sure is a blister about the size of a golf ball on my heel. I haven't looked to see how big it actually is yet. But, it was worth it--a little exercise in the sun never hurt anyone even though I didn't get Curves and the registration papers crossed off my list.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I can shop anywhere

In betwixt my unpacking I, of course, made a little time for some shopping.  I had to girl up Barry's bachelor pad a bit.  So, I thought I'd share with you a couple of my recent findings.  I hunted and gathered these items on the same day.  However, next time I will have to do it in small doses as carrying an armful of goods such as these is not fun when you have to walk down a hill and then up a hill to get home (if you recall, we no have-y a car-y).  Well, I won't do it again. I learned my lesson after carrying all these items home with me, tucked under my arms, the other night. It was a struggle and I have the bruises on my leg to show for it (because the shower rod kept hitting me with every stride). Now when I say I won't do it again, lemme be clear.  I mean I won't buy that many things at the ONE time again, I don't mean I won't ever buy anything again...ha...that's just crazy talk!

But, once I arrived home, bruised and out of breath, I was happy because I had been victorious in finding pretty objects to girlify Barry's crib and I had survived my 15 minute walk of retail shame with just a few minor injuries.

The new crystal light cover I discovered at TK Maxx...what a gem!

And, I so love this mirror!

I just had to have the red, I need more red stuff.  No problem! I will find it!

I'm so having an affair with a shower curtain and bath mat right now.  But, look at 'em...wouldn't you be too!

The next item I did not purchase on the same walkabout as I did the previous items. Yesterday, I had to stop in to the doctor's office to pick up some registration papers and I got lost happened to try a different way home.  But, how lucky was I that on my new route I discovered a shoe shop that had these awesome boots for £10?! Now, that's what I call a beautiful day!

This week Barry and I are watching his two nieces while their parents are, coincidentally, in America.  Stay tuned as I'm sure I will have some great stories to share!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The fall of Fort America

Well, Fort America came down over the past two days and I think we have our place in a little bit of order now, complete with a new sofa, which is what that blurry tiny picture above is.  Barry has had to take the past couple of afternoons off to help me unpack and organize.  Honestly, I think he felt he had to after I threw a box of hats and scarves across the room in frustration by my never ending task of unpacking Fort America (I don't handle stress well).  Now, Barry says I aimed the box at his face, but I think he's being a little dramatic.  In all honesty, I was aiming at his groin nothing in particular.  (Barry, if you're reading this...I wuv u and kiss kiss!).  For those not sure what I'm talking about when I say Fort America, check out my last post here.

Anyway, most of the unpacking is done and after we worked a few hours on it per day, we've taken little strolls around the town.  Yesterday, we went "down the town" as you would say here and walked around before going in to an O2 shop to activate my new mobile phone (which has not been the easierst to use.  I'm a BlackBerry gal and having a new touch screen Android operating system is proving quite a challenge).  It almost seemed like a different town than the last time I was here (May 2010).  The last time I was here, the town was bustling with people.  It didn't matter what time of day it was, you'd always see a crowd, however yesterday was quite different.  It was extremely quiet in the town, down every street and in every was eerie almost.  Just a striking reminder of the pretty crappy economic times we're in right now. 

One of the really cool things about being here, at least I think so at the present moment, is not having a car.  Coming from America, we need cars to get us EVERYWHERE.  Here, not so much.  It is a nice feeling to know that I don't need a car and therefore don't have to worry about car payments, taxes, insurance and all the other headaches joys of being a car owner.  Of course, the first time I want to venture around the country, I'll be cursing the day I ever said I enjoyed not having a car. 

More good news, I was able to secure a facility to begin teaching Zumba classes here.  Hooray!  I've missed teaching lately.  Lucky for me, the place, Pilot's Row, is close enough to walk to since, you know, I don't have a car and all. 

Tomorrow will be another teeny adventure.  My National Insurance interview.  Not quite sure what to expect when it comes to that, but I guess I'll know soon enough! 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I'm going to build a fort

Exhausted, I arrived in Derry this past Saturday.  I went straight to bed 'cause I was tired and 'cause I was greeted by the fifteen or so boxes I had shipped over the past several months and that made me sad.  The thought of unpacking those boxes along with my suitcases made me want to sleep for days.  Which, I almost did. 

At approximately 2pm on Sunday, Barry summoned me from my snuggly bed to come down to the shop where two little girls were anxiously awaiting me.  They couldn't wait to practice their American accents on me. 

The little girls, who decided to call themselves Cindy and Jessie because they think that sounds more American than their actual names, promptly greeting me with a bouquet of tulips and showered me with their Americanisms which mostly consisted of "Yeah, Man!" and "That's totally awesome, Dude"!  Cindy even told me I sounded nothing like what she expected me to sound, so I think I disappointed them a wee bit.  I'll have to work on my American accent a little more.  Here we are:

And, here is my mountain of boxes, clothes, luggage and shit that I have to work on unpacking.  I think perhaps I'll build a fort instead.  And I'll name it Fort American and I'll go there to practice my American accent and perfect my Americanisms.  See ya in a few days kids--once my fort is complete.Or, maybe once all this stuff is put away. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Racking 'em up

I'm happy to report that Ireland Ever After has received another award!  Ross at Painfully Optimistic has awarded me with the Versatile Blogger Award! Thank you so much!  I never thought my wee silly blog would be read and enjoyed by so many! 

There are some award rules with this.  First and foremost, random facts about me:
  • I still have my tonsils.
  • I used to be a cheerleader.
  • I have met a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
  • I got a tattoo when I was 15 years old.  No, you can't see it.
  • I would really like a brownie right now.
Second, I need to pass the award along to other blogs.  I pick...

The Hangover

And, I'm not talking the funny movie, The Hangover, which happens to be one of my all time favorites. No, there's definitly not a gorgeous Bradley Cooper in this version of the hangover.  I'm talking about my damned hangover.  Yep, you got it kids...I feel like absolute shit today.  Courtesy of a few bottles of Cabernet and Pinot Noir.

With my last week in America lunch and dinner tour well underway, I had dinner at Bridge Road Bistro with one of my college besties last night where we consumed a bottle of Australian Cabernet because Jerry the waiter said it was delish.  He was right, it was delish and we drank the whole bottle.  I'm not typically a wine drinker.  I know nothing about wine...if it is nutty, dry, fruity, whatever, I have no clue.  To me, it either tastes good or it doesn't.  Obviously the Australian Cabernet was yummy.

Well, by the end of dinner we still weren't done talking so the party continued at my buddy's house with a bottle of Pinot Noir.  Yeah, it was pretty good too, but then again I had been drinking and more than likely anything would have tasted good at that point.  The drinking, laughing and reminiscing continued until I knew I was drunk and I KNEW if I consumed anymore, the chances of me re-examining my recent food choices (i.e. puking my guts out) would considerably increase.  So, I got my butt home to go to bed. 

Once in my comfy bed, I struggled.  I felt the vomit stirring.  I didn't want it to come...I prayed it wouldn't come because I hate to throw up (who does?).  Mostly, I didn't want to puke because I had eaten a super scrumptulicious crab cake for dinner and I knew if I saw it in reverse, I would never again want to eat a crab cake and the Bridge Road Bistro's crab cakes are too good to never eat again.  So, after much internal self talk and reassurance, I managed to fall asleep without worshipping the porcelain God. 

The thing is, when I woke up today, hungover, I was mad at myself because I had a huge list of things to get done!  Trying to complete a checklist of running errands while hungover is NOT FUN! But, I put on my big girl pants and "took my oil" as they would say in Derry and proceeded with my errand running. 

As I sit here now typing, I'm still hungover.  But, I had a sweet time with my friend and I can't imagine wanting a glass of wine in a very long time.