Category Archives: Expat Life

It’s easy being green: What St. Patricks Day 2015 looked like

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Hello y’all!

It feels like ages since I’ve blogged, but that’s probably because it has been ages since I blogged.

What have I been up to? Dance training, starting and finishing Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Orange Is The New Black), job interviews, reading some new fun stuff and celebrating Paddy’s Day. ‘Cause hey, when in Ireland, do as the Irish do.

Last year I spent the 17th of March  on the couch – surrounded by Lemsip, tissues and glasses of flat 7UP (the famous Irish cure-everything). Therefore I decided that this year, everything should be green but my face.

I met up with a friend in town to watch the parade in O’Connell Street, right smack in the middle of Dublin City Center. But the thing that is actually most fun on St. Patricks Day is just watching the green crowd. People who try to walk and   apply temporary tattoos of shamrocks and rainbows and harps to their face at the same time. People who have completely leprechaunized themselves. People who have GoPro’s glued to the green hat they are wearing while holding a selfie stick to be sure to capture every shade of green around. It was pretty unbelievably amazing.

As it was a tad cold and quite hard to see the parade (I saw most of it throw camera screens of people a few rows in front of me), my friend and me decided to watch the last half of the parade on TV, followed by the Irish movie “The War of the Buttons”, a movie I’d totally recommend.

Cheers Paddy.

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A walk through the hood

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Okay let’s settle this first. I saw the dress in white and gold for a whole morning, until I don’t know what happened but suddenly I could only see it in blue and black. What even is life?

For today’s blog post I thought it might be cool to show you around this neighbourhood of mine. I moved here last December and can now call myself a proud Coolminion. Coolmine is located somewhere between Clonsilla and Blanchardstown in Dublin 15. It doesn’t have that many interesting features, but it is supposedly kinda close-ish to a castle. Only a 30 minute walk from where I live, and if I wanted to take a bus out there it would take me around 40 minutes to get there. Dublin buses are special. Since the weather has been quite fierce for the last few weeks, I’ll save the castle for a non-rainy day and will report back to you guys later.

I discovered the #1 Takeaway Restaurant just after Lent had started. Bollocks. I hadn’t given up on some food in particular, but I did promise myself to not get any takeaways. Only a month and a bit to go, no biggie. Welcome to the hood, bro. SAM_0699 SAM_0714 SAM_0742 SAM_0707 SAM_0732 SAM_0698 SAM_0718 SAM_0739 SAM_0748

10 Ways in which Dublin has changed me

Aston Quay, Dublin

Aston Quay, Dublin

Having moved to Dublin from the Netherlands a bit over a year ago, people sometimes ask me if I have changed anything or much since. In general, I don’t think I’ve changed all that much (although I’m also not a 100% sure if I’d be the best judge of that). But there are some things I do differently now, and here’s a list of them.

1. I kiss people less often.
Okay I should probably explain that right? In the Netherlands it’s custom to kiss each other three times on the cheek (left, right, left) if you haven’t seen the other person in a while, if it’s someone’s birthday, if you’re happy to see someone, or just because you feel like it. In Ireland, I still haven’t really discovered THE way of greeting someone. I think it’s two kisses, but not always and since I was so used to three, I’ve had quite a few awkward encounters in which I was suddenly kissing the air or bumpin’ heads.
Instead, I now opt for a high-five or just spread my arms like wings ready for take-off, so people know hugs-a-comin.

2. Money talk.
Dutchies tend to be a lot more secretive about money stuff. Here, straight up questions like “What did that cost?” are a lot more common and I’ve become more open discussing money stuff too. “12 euro on sale, New Look.”

3. My parsnip intake has increased by a 100%.
It’s just not a hip and happening vegetable in the Netherlands. Good story.

4. I walk a lot, lot more.
Even when I had a bike here, I opted for walking most of the time as not all the roads are bike proof. Also, the public transport is complicated and terrible.
Walking is the way to go.

5. A sea of tea.
I drink more tea with more milk, and leave the teabag in my cup so it gets nice and strong. This has nothing to do with someone telling me that “taking your teabag out is for wimps”, btw.
Also, I bulk buy tea now. In the Netherlands there’s usually a lousy 20 teabags in a packet, over here the small packets contain 80, and regular packets of tea 160.
Favourite tea? Barry’s. Runner up? Tetley’s.

6. Face paint.
I’ve started using a lot more make-up. Women tend to wear more make-up here, especially in or for their jobs, and I started to feel shabby and bare without any, as if I had put less effort in.
Also, eyebrows are life.

7. I play the lotto now.
Had never played it until moving here. The Irish are partial to a gamble and there’s countless betting shops about. Paddy Power, Ladbrokes, Boyle Sports. I’m not even sure if those type of shops are a thing in the Netherlands.
Since in Dublin prices-for-everything are rocketing through the roof (just an example: 6,50 euro for a pint, no problem), I might as well join in on the hunt for a pot of gold. Also, there’s a bit more of a buzz around the lotto here. Especially when it’s announced there’s been a big local win, there’s quite some speculation going on.

8. I eat more pureed soup.
In the Netherlands soup is usually almost see-through with big chunks of vegetable. I enjoyed the Irish pureed soup a lot more, until that time someone said they thought it resembled baby food. Oh.

9. Jaysus.
A few classic local expressions are now incorporated in my day to day vocabulary. The favourite among the dance mums in the class, “Ahh jaysus”, was first to escape my mouth. “Ahh lads gowan…” and “that’s gas” followed soon after.

10. “This will make for a good story.”
The Irish attitude towards bad luck and unexpected events made me more relaxed about certain situations. I’ve seen two of my teachers chuckle over a lost house key: “Oh dear, what are we to do now?” A group of dancers had their car break down on their way to the World Championships and all the while laughing they told me the adventures they went through to get there in the end. “It wouldn’t be a proper journey without at least one car breaking down, right?”
Been on a pub crawl with a group of friends and lost several items (a phone, a coat, money, glasses)? No problem, we’ll just do the whole pub crawl again tonight and get our belongings back.
Things that would upset or annoy a lot of people, the Irish don’t seem to be bothered about too quickly.
Why worry about things you can’t control? They are adventures and they’ll make for a good story.

A fine ol’ Sunday

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It’s Monday and I am already longing for the weekend, when it was a just simpler yet sweeter life. To savour as much as possible, lemme just jot down this incredibly peaceful didnothingmuchanditwasheaven Sunday.

I strolled to Blanch Shopping Center, which now only took me 20 mins instead of an hour, thanks to my flatmate who showed me how it’s done. Went into Argos and finally bought a bedside lamp. It’s cheap and plastic and blue and close to horrifying. A real nightmare come true. But until now I only had a “big” light that could only be switched off from across the room, so getting to bed in the dark was quite an adventure. This bad boy is gonna save me either some bruises from bumping into every piece of bloody furniture while getting across, or save me from crawling which is what I opted for after my legs had turned 50 shades of purpely blue from trying to walk the route.

Discussed the possibility of having some naughty leprechauns somewhere in the house. My flatmate told me her keys had gone missing twice. Both times she was forced to jump out of her window (she’s on the ground floor, calm down) in order to get to her job in time, and both times she found them back in a place where she had already looked several times. Since I am on the first floor and jumping out of my window is not an option (well only the one time then, and then I’d be pretty much stuck anyway), I am now sleeping with my keys.

I finally finished reading “The Woman who Went to Bed for a Year” by Sue Townsend. I got it as a bday pressie back in October but due to some busy times I only managed to get through it now. I don’t read a lot of books at the moment, or at least not quite as much as I used to do before and while doing my bachelor in Literature (*gasp*). Nevertheless I really enjoyed this one. It’s an interesting piece that’s incredibly funny, even though the underlying tone and context (dealing with life’s disappointments) is quite sad and even sinister. I liked how the book formed, besides describing main character Eva and her dealings with the world, a framework for countless of histories, background stories and anecdotes. Not one character is boring, and not one character is a 100% likeable which makes it all the more interesting.

Other things I have done this Sunday

-Tried to sort out socks, make ’em matching. Remembered Dobby’s opinion on the matter. Stopped and watched more HIMYM.

-Discovered “we” have a Lidl. Bought stuffed mushrooms and salmon and courgettes.

-Had a lil bag of Randoms. Unfortunately there were no foamies in there. Sob.

-Skyped with my folks.

-Saw Esmee Denters the Voice UK audition. What a comeback. Rock on girlo.

-Played more Hearthstone, obviously. There was one extraordinary draw situation in which I won in the very last moment with just one point difference. Victory.

11 Pictures Showing Why Dublin Is The Sassiest Of All Capitals

I’ve lived in Dublin for a year and a half now, and as the snapshots on my phone here will suggest, there is no city quite like it.

Stay epic, you!

onesieThe fashion. I mean look at this gangster in his onesie, basically winning at life.

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And we go the extra mile on March 17th (St. Patricksday).

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Organizing unforgettable  birthday parties is no problemo.

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And cleanliness is like, everything.

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Naming shops? Dublin likes to keep it real.

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Real.

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People leave sweet lil messages…

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And are not bothered to mind each other’s kids. Cute.

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Dublin serves some classy food as well.

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See? Oh… Why Judy, you so silly.

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And after a long day of being epic, Dublin sleeps peacefully with some help of one of his local legends, Mattress Mick. Good on ye Mick.

Now, what’s the craic with you?

4 things that happened in the past week

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1. Corner Shop I saw this fabulous name for a corner shop located in just a residential area. Took this picture from a moving bus, that’s why the quality isn’t as good as this shop deserves.

2. Mr. Cab Driver My apartment hunt led me to meet one of the most lousy cab drivers ever. It was early morning and I was running late for a viewing (as my bus left without me before that, sob), and because I didn’t know the area very well I decided to hail a cab, ’cause you know, cab drivers usually know their way around and I would be much quicker. When I told him the address he barked at me that he didn’t know that address, it was not his neighbourhood. He started driving up to the estate that I mentioned anyway but after that there wasn’t much progress and at some point we were just going back and forth on the same road. “Do you have any mapping system?” I asked innocently, thinking he might have maybe just forgotten about that option, though it would be kind of strange. “No, why?” he barked back. “Can’t you look it up on your phone?” He then procedeeded to ignore looking at my phone while he shouted at every person that was passing for directions. FML.

3. Silver Polish* When already packing up some stuff for a competition weekend I discovered the silver cup that I had won the year before and now needed to go back had turned to a vile dark brownish/blackish colour, making it look like a piece of Voldemort’s soul had been living in it for the past year. Since I didn’t have any silver polish at hand and not much time the next day I had only one option and that was trying to find some in the spare half hour I had between work and the leaving of the bus towards dance class. I zig-zagged my way through Talbot Street, asking in any shop that I thought could or might have it. I got mixed answers to my simple question, ranging from “Just use vinegar” to  “Our candles are in aisle 4”. But my favourite was “What, for shoes?” Yep, uhu, that’s me, I wear silver shoes. *If you ever find yourself looking for silver polish in Dublin, head for Dunnes Stores and ask for Silvo.

4. MSN Messenger Due to my laptop breaking down and me switching to my wee aul’ Netbook, I was happily reunited with MSN Messenger when a pop up greeted my while starting up. It has been years since I last logged in and I decided to have a look around to see who was actually still uses it. I securely counted and there was no one there… But seeing the screen again made all the memories come back. Sentiment! The attention seekers who logged in twice per minute just so their name would keep popping up, jokers logging in under “Anonymous”, the people with a line from a song in their name, people with a heart and a date behind their name, overused smilies, songs or pictures that took three hours to transfer… Probably my best memory from Messenger was the group conversation with my whole class on the day we got our exam results and the chaos it caused when someone kept silent all of sudden as we knew he or she was getting the result at that exact moment. Today’s youth don’t know what they’re missing…

More sentiment: MSN sounds https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z30oQIEzzvo Do you have any funny or noteworthy Messenger memories to share?

See yas! xx  – We All Live In A Yellow Submarine 😉 😀 🙂 !!

Lost in a cornfield and chased by zombies…

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…Doesn’t really sound like a dream scenario, right? And yet, since I went to Farmaphobia in 2013 I couldn’t wait to go again this year’s Halloween.

So what is Farmaphobia? It’s an annual Halloween event in county Meath where a farm gets turned into this majestically creepy place with four big attractions. Last year I kinda tagged along with my friends to see what it was like, not expecting to actually be amazed or creeped out. I mean, I was 24, just moved across the pond and started my big new first official job. Bitch please, what could possibly scare me?

Turns out, in a place like Farmaphobia, even a malformed tree or a chunk of your own hair will scare you. And it’ll be amazing.

Last year, the indoor maze called “Contagion” caused the biggest frights. You are obliged to wear some kinda gas masks in this maze whilst using a paintball gun to shoot the already infected zombies before they catch you. As if this wasn’t nerve wracking enough there was the unfortunate fact that the masks kept coming down our faces, blocking the already not so clear sight. My tactic was to just cling onto a friend hoping for the best (totally forgetting about the paintball gun and just trying to scream the zombies away. Smart.). My other friend had it worse, all deserted in the middle of the chaos she kept bumping and walking into a wall, not being able to see because of the mask. Help came from unexpected direction: one of the zombies couldn’t face this situation any longer and guided my friend into a non-wall direction.

Needless to say, we didn’t find the much needed antidote to save all human kind from the virus. Sorry lads.

This year the walk through a cornfield was the most creepy experience. Getting lost, being chased, feeling hands in your neck and whispers in your ear… You really bond with the people you are walking with. Until roughly the end of the route. As my friend put it: “Once you hear the sound of a chainsaw approaching, it’s every man for himself.”

So long, Farmaphobia. Until we Meath again.

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This cutie was so good as to pose for the picture… Before he started chasing me down the premises.

Things That Happened To Me While Apartment Hunting In Dublin Last Year September

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Before I arrived in Dublin last year, I had booked myself into a Bed & Breakfast for two weeks to give myself time to find an apartment. I thought that that would be more than enough to find a suitable shared palace for me and copious amounts of dancing shoes but sadly enough I had overlooked one tiny detail: It was the beginning of September and the beginning of a new university year. Which means students. Students looking for accommodation everywhere.

However, my terrible timing was not my only struggle. It seemed that people will just say anything in their online add to get their space rented out. I found myself  in quite some ridiculous situations.

And so here’s a list of things that happened to me while apartment hunting in Dublin last year.

-My eyebrows absolutely hit my hairline when I saw a tiny bedroom with a chair crammed into a corner. Hang on a sec, didn’t the add say that the room would be around 18m² ? “Well, we added space for the kitchen, ’cause you know, that’s a communal space…” FML.

-During this apartment hunt, I probably walked more than I ever did before in my life. I learnt “close to”, “nearby” and “just a 5 min walk” are very relative terms. Also “to share with one flatmate” can mean three.

-One house I saw was turned completely upside down. After stepping in through the door, you first passed a sitting room, a kitchen and a long hallway leading to some stairs. The bedrooms were downstairs and it was super dark as there was only a tiny window. Cave-style. Darn strange.

-I was in touch through phone and text with a nice girl to have a look at an apartment that was a the perfect location for me to go to work and the city center. When visiting though it became clear that the girl I had been in touch with wasn’t the person who was renting out the place or was living there, but her sister. If that wasn’t strange enough I was sat down during this visit and made to answer questions for about 25 minutes. Mind that only the sister asked things and the landlady just stared at me.

-The two people looking for a  non-smoking, clean, tidy and professional to share their house had a living room with a beer can tower and an inflatable crocodile. And a few ashtrays.

-There was this one address that I was just never able to find. Could be me though…

-After arriving at another seemingly near perfect place I was told “Sorry dear, I just rented this out 10 minutes ago, honey”. I doubt she was sorry.

-I saw three tall guys walking a Yorkshire terrier pup. That has nothing to do with apartments but it was a pretty endearing sight.

Writing this blog I am just after hearing I’ll need to move out my current room.

Another hunt.

I can’t wait.

Trinkets Galore: Visiting Merchants Yard in Clontarf, Dublin 3

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Last weekend I decided to do what I’d been planning on doing forever; visiting the Merchants Yard Market at East Wall in Dublin 3. I used to spent a lot of my weekend mornings in the Netherlands searching for gems on all kinds of markets and I actually started to miss it for a bit. A quick Google search showed me that I lived kind of close to a very big market.

A Yelp User described the Merchants Yard as: “This is a truly odd, bizzare, strange and grotty place.” Naturally I needed to see this for myself. The Merchants Yard wasn’t hard to find at all; already from the beginning of East Wall there were signs everywhere. Aside from those, the hipsters strolling around with fluffy purple teddy bears, beaded chandeliers (okay there was only one), dusty guitars and carrying old leather suitcases were a pretty big clue I was heading in the right direction.

2 3 5The boot fair wasn’t at all that interesting to be honest. But against all flea market etiquette, it was already 3 o’clock in the afternoon when I got there. To find the real treasures I should’ve been there the minute the market opened. My bad. The indoor market was the real deal. Omg, so many  knick-knacks.

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9O-kay, nothing to see here. Move along!

6I think I found this place the highlight of my visit to Merchants Yard. They have, well, you can read it right on that door. Also, it smelled unexpectedly nice, a bit like a church.


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SAM_0082Eventhough there was quite some awesome stuff and the fact that I was really tempted to adopt Hagrid, a gazillion of books and a dusty aul piano I’ve been really good and only brought these four items home. I only realised today they are all floral… A plate and a bowl that’ll definitely cheer up every meal, a bracelet, and…The mother of all trinkets: a tiny box that almost nothing fits into, but that looks really pretty. It has some Russian writing on it also and I wonder what it means.

SAM_0070Going home I discovered a pair of shoes hanging from electric wires. I thought it would be a quirky prank and laughed. Talking to my local friend about what I saw she said it’s actually a sign for drug dealing and that that’s a meeting spot. Oh Dublin, you never fail to amaze me.