Well I am 6 months into working full time in Dublin and what have I done?? Good question. Well for one thing, I have not written on my blogs because I have been so busy. I think it's a trend I go through- blogging and then avoiding it. Don't get me wrong, I always THINK about blogging... but then life get's in the way. The only site I seem to keep updating consistently is my Pinterest page.Now I will attempt to recap the last 6 months...
Theatre... As noted on my Aesthetically Pleasing blog earlier this fall, we went to see a show at the Abbey Theatre: Picture of Dorian Gray- FABULOUS production and I'm now a huge fan of the Abbey's production quality and creative endeavors.
Christmas... We spent in Donegal- my home away from Vancouver. I love it so much. On the ocean, with fresh air and surrounded by stunning views. I feel so relaxed there. Not to mention the wonderful company of Emmett's extended family. You never know who will drop in unannounced for tea. The kettle is always on and the stove is cranked up so its nice and cozy. Have I mentioned how at home I feel there?
On top of having a good ol' fashioned Irish Christmas- filled with Christmas Eve Mass, opening gifts on Christmas Eve and eating Christmas dinner at 2pm we brought a Matiachuk tradition by making/decorating my mom's famous Graham Cracker - Gingerbread- Houses! That's right, I had planned this ahead by bringing graham crackers from Canada to Ireland cause I couldn't find them anywhere in Ireland. That was loads of fun and I'm so proud to have passed on a tradition! (Last year we had surprised them with stockings for everyone- also a tradition their house has not done in the past).
New Years Eve.... We had a quiet one in Belfast. We watched the London countdown on TV, curled up with Friends reruns and an open fire! It may sound like a regular evening for other people but seeing as our apartment in Dublin has neither a TV nor an open fire, it was a lovely little retreat! Plus our anniversary is Dec 30 so it was a nice quiet celebration of that too.
St Patrick's Day.... we went to Castlebar & Westport for a wonderful weekend away! Got to spend a great evening catching up with Adam & Yvonne (Emmett's brother & brother's girlfriend)- and even meeting Yvonne's parents. Then on to Westport to visit our good friends Brian & Kristyn (last time we saw them was for the GAA All-Ireland final in September, as they live in London) and have a relaxed and more traditional Paddy's day. I find the best evenings are the casual ones that naturally flow. We spent the afternoon/evening chatting away with drinks at Shane's (Brian's brother) where more friends slowly joined over the evening. We didn't even notice the time pass and it was midnight before we walked down to the pub. The pub was filled with locals and musicians playing some good ol trad music. To be honest it could have been any other night in the pub- it wasn't filled with tourists or gimmicky green beer (in fact I don't think you can get that anywhere here in Ireland!) it was just good craic! When we made it back to Brian's family home in the country (about 3) we stayed up eating a feast of fresh grilled salmon and about 10 more cups of tea- then all retired around 4. Rounding it off we traveled the weekend by train so we had a nice relaxed train journey to get back to Dublin- its hard to beat a good cup of tea and the country side passing you by! It was a great weekend.
Easter- Back to Belfast & Donegal! We are definitely trying to make the most of family time here. spent one night in Belfast and then on to Donegal. In Donegal we had a fun night out at the Bailey. Emmett's old stomping grounds for busting a move! It was great to have almost all the siblings on a night out. I have to say that going to a country night club is a COMPLETELY different experience than a city one. For one thing, everyone is picked up in a small bus from their local pubs in the 'minibus' around midnight and is transferred to the nightclub-of-choice for that night.... could be anywhere from a 30minute to an hour drive away. You buy your dance pass from the buss- gets you your bus right to the club, into the club and your bus ride home at the end of the night! Depending on where you live along the way back from the club you could be dropped off first (to your door!) and it only take 15 minutes or you could be dropped off last- if you live the furthest away and it take upwards an hour and a half! Well we got home around 430 and after a quick bite to eat I went to bed- however the rest of the clan stayed up till about 6! I don't know how they do it :)
DIT Architect's Ball (April 11): This year the theme was prohibition and I was pleasantly surprised how well everyone dressed for the event! People really got into the theme of the evening and there were some great outfits. I've posted a couple photos of the night below :) Too bad the event was on a Wednesday night, would have stayed later if I didn't have to get up for work the next morning at 7! Also there was a gypsy wedding going on at the same hotel our event was at! I am thoroughly jealous of all the people who snuck into the gypsies dance party! By the time I got wind of the event it had been closed off - but I was fortunate enough to see a few wedding goers in the lobby! I would have loved to get a couple photos of their fashion choices but I opted not to intrude!
That pretty much brings me up to speed on the last 6 months big events. In between the big events we find reasons to eat out at new restaurants, visit family in Dublin, go for long walks around the city, attend some causal gatherings at friends homes or pubs and I always find time to do some shopping. In the coming weeks & months we'll be heading to Wales, Italy and more of the Irish country side (showing my parents around!!). Will have to update again soon!
Temping is probably the most common work for someone with a working holiday visa in Ireland. Why? Because over here there are contract or permanent positions (permanent means full or part time on-going work where you don’t sign a contract) and most institutions do not look favorably on hiring a foreigner for a “permanent” position. Temping however seems to work out well for most foreigners since it doesn’t tie you down and allows you to take off or move whenever you please. The down side to temping is that the positions can range from a day to months. This means, you are constantly waiting for a phone call to let you know if there is work.
When I first arrived in Dublin I jumped on the chance to sign on with recruiters (had done my homework and made arrangements before I arrived). So I signed up with a few the first day I set foot in Dublin. From Sept 11 to Oct 16 I worked 12 out of 25 working days in offices usually as a receptionist. Not too shabby for my first month in Ireland. Also I had multiple calls for short assignments while I was already in contracts. So I thought temping was an alright solution until I found a more permanent one- which is what I was hoping for!
My life changed drastically on Oct 17. I went for an interview with a recruiting agent for a permanent position in a fashion buying & design office. The position: an Office Assistant. However, the very fact that I would be working along side the buyers, following up their paperwork and assisting within one of the largest suppliers in Europe was a dream position for my career. The interview went well and I was booked for an interview with the company, Styletex.
I am so excited to announce I got the job!! What an amazing opportunity, I actually can’t believe how privileged I am to be working in my field, permanent, in a recession, in a foreign country. I did however work really hard and spent countless hours writing cover letters and new cv’s- I have about a million different ones saved on my computer. But still, I feel really blown away that I managed to get such a great job, after only a month of active searching in town. Thankfully because I am applying for DeFacto and will then be granted an extension visa I was eligible for this position. If it wasn’t for that, I probably wouldn’t be in the running. I am so thrilled and so so thankful; I can hardly contain my excitement. Styletex supplies to some of the biggest names in high street fashion and beyond, so I really can’t express my joy to be apart of that office!! I start on November 5th so I have a wee bit to go before I dive head first into a very busy schedule. Can’t wait, it will be such a great new step in my career. Now only to get involved in some theatre and I will be a very, very happy camper!
We had to have a Thanksgiving dinner or it just wouldn't feel like October! For most of us in that photo we are proud Canadians (hence the Canadian flag!), other than the one Irish guy (Emmett- who technically is almost Canadian, as he has his PR), a neighbor from the south (South Carolina to be exact) and an Aussi. We all got together on Friday night to celebrate the Thanksgiving weekend which doesn't actually exist in Ireland.
All of us are SWAP participants (on a working holiday visa) except obviously Emmett, but he knows what it's like since he went to Canada on a working visa many moons ago! The dinner was pot-luck style so the wonderful hosts cooked the Turkey & it's dressings and we all brought dishes to share- Emmett & I brought scalloped potatoes :) . The food was so good!
I have to be honest, I really haven't been out to a whole lot of "swap" events- and even though this one was more of an unofficial event, it was really wonderful to meet up with a bunch of Canadians! It was great just to have a bit of home chat, and have the craic (Irish much?) with people who understood what it was like to be away from home during a holiday- one that didn't even exist here. I haven't been out to many swap events partly cause Emmett is back in school here so we aren't out partying it up like many people who are traveling- we cook at home, study in the evening and take it easy on weekends- sometimes running errands or visiting family. It's partly because we traveled all summer and we spent our play money and now its time to work more (aka I need a job) and not spend too much while still enjoying the city we live in :) However seeing as I am often more of a home body - the quieter Dublin life is ok by me- as long as I get my fair share of the Theatre & Arts scene :)
So you ask, if you haven't been living it up with swappers, partying and doing all the touristy things Ireland has to offer than what are you doing here?!?!
Well first let me get it straight- it's not that I haven't done the touristy things before! There are still many I haven't done- which I am kinda saving for when my family or friends come to visit so I'm not repeating everything again. I have been to Donegal (where Emmett's family is from) and it is by far my favourite place in Ireland, been to Belfast, West Port, Galway, Castlebar, Limerick & Derry- in Dublin I've seen the Book of Kells, Trinity, the Guinness Factory & tour, and even been to a Christy Moore concert at Vicar Street (one of the most romantic surprises my boyfriend has done for me :) so believe me I'm not missing out on touristy things- and I will definitely partake in more. But for now I'm really actually quite happy to settle in as much as I can and become like a local: discover my favourite antique store, local pub or place for a good evening session of Irish music- which is of course the Cobblestone. I love walking around the city taking in the Georgian houses and the diverse communities.
Since Emmett & I are fans of architecture and theatre we focus more on those elements of the culture. We made it out for a walk around during Culture Night as well as heading out for a fundraiser at the The New Theatre. We missed the fringe unfortunately- and I was pretty gutted to be missing all my friends in the Vancouver Fringe as well- but we saw The Dubliners at the Gaiety Theatre (post soon to come in Aesthetically Speaking), and we have tickets for the Abbey's production of Picture of Dorian Gray which we won off Twitter. So I am slowly working at getting involved in the theatre scene, actually working on shows instead of just attending them is still to come! Aside from theatre we went around last weekend to a couple buildings for "Open House Dublin". As Emmett is studying Architectual Technology and I really enjoy & appreciate Architecture we chose to take a walk around Collins Barracks and the Trinity Long Room Hub (Humanities Research Building at Trinity) as they were on the Open House list ( and free!!) and we got a bit of an inside look at these iconic buildings.
I have to say, we have done a wee bit of partying mainly on the weekend for the GAA final (Gaelic football) and Donegal won, so it was extra brilliant! Note who I was supporting- based on my colours! My friend however was not so lucky, sporting the red & green for Mayo! Still we both had a great time at the Big Tree watching the game while our boys were off with tickets at the game.
I think for now that gives you a bit of view into my first few weeks in Dublin, now that I write them out they seem rather busy! Not to mention I have been temping here and there, but I will save that for another post. Anywho, until next time (& Happy Thanksgiving!!)
I have started a 3rd blog and if anyone reads my blogs they will probably wonder, "Why!?! She can hardly keep up with her other 2!" And yes you are correct however, my goal with this blog is to keep friends and family up to date on my day to day life since I am living in Ireland now, away from Vancouver. So to recap here is a quick time line to get you up to speed:
June 5 2012: Hannah (and affectionatly know as Hali to some of you) & Emmett left Vancouver on a cross Canada train tour!
June 26 2012: We fly to the UK and start a few weeks traveling in Holland & London.
July 12 2012: We fly to Northern Ireland and spend the summer visiting family! (Emmett working in London for a good portion of it too)
September 11 2012: We drive to Dublin and move into our new apartment!
That pretty much brings you up to speed, here is our cross-canada video we created to document our train trip!
Just trying to keep a running record of my life here in Dublin!