Tag Archives: Expat

Ideas and drafts that never actually made my blog (yet?)

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Before starting this blog I had this irrational fear of running out of ideas merely a month after starting. Fortunately, quite the opposite has happened. Since starting, more and more ideas are coming to me. At the moment I have two notebooks that I use for blog ideas (there’s always one missing, until I find it and then the other one has gone) and they are overflowing with doodles and anecdotes and keywords. It’s more than I’d ever be able to write down.

I guess I am quite an impulsive blogger, and go with whatever excites me at that moment. And yes, sometimes that’s just a sandwich, and sometimes thoughts on expat life have my preference. There could be tons of reasons why an idea or draft didn’t make my blog, and this list will give an inkling of what might have happened along the road to Blogville and why some drafts will always stay drafts. A list of  blog post ghosts, if you will.

1. The picture on top of this blog post was made around a year ago, I think. I was walking through St. Anne’s Park and suddenly came across this type of roses that are officially called Paddy Stephens. I thought it was the cutest thing ever and promised myself that if I’d ever start blogging (I had been playing with the thought for years), Paddy Stephens was definitely going to be featured. The blog post was going to be called “Paddy Stephens, we meet again”, as I’d go back to St. Anne’s Park and take a picture when they were fully bloom – a sentimental rant on the change Paddy and me had made in the time we hadn’t seen each other (I was going to be slimmer and richer, for sure). Sadly, I moved away from that area of Dublin and don’t think I’ll be going back any time soon, as I now live closer to the Phoenix Park.

2. “Give it up for Lent” – pretty self explanatory this one. I never posted it because I was busy and late with it, but also because there wasn’t much I gave up (takeaways) and just not much to say about it in general.

3. “I slept in a Castle, I’m now only two talking birds away from becoming a Disney princess.” So this happened a few weeks ago. I was going to sleep in the Castle Hotel Oud Poelgeest near Leiden, and had planned on something of a review, or some awesome pictures. Or transcribe the spectacular dialogue with a ghost I was definitely going to meet. Turned out the actual hotel was not IN the castle, but overlooking the castle. It was awesome altogether but I couldn’t put myself to blogging about it as I didn’t get any closer to becoming a Disney princess.

4. “Greetings, friend” Was going to be about playing Hearthstone, an online game I became addicted to over Christmas. There just wasn’t much more to add to what I already mentioned in a weekly round up blog post, bar the fact that Hearthstone is the bloody bees knees and everyone needs it in their lives. Oh, I did start jotting down the names of characters I had been up against because for some reason I though that would be cool: Mr. Dickbutt, Optimus, YOUMADBRO, Lobo and BeardedCake.

5. “Three shower gels from Boots I adore” Quite frankly, I just thought you guys wouldn’t give a shit.

6. “Puns found in the Metro Herald”. When I moved to Coolmine I started commuting daily by train, and was thoroughly enjoying the puns the Metro Herald journos made. I really really really love puns. Especially Harry Potter related puns. Make a Harry Potter related pun and I’ll probably go down on one knee and offer you onion rings. Okay where was I? On a Friday I decided to start make pictures of the puns in the paper, and on Monday I read that it was Metro’s last week before taken out of print. I had a few pictures by the end of the week, but they weren’t the best pictures or puns so I didn’t go ahead with a post on that. 7. I hadn’t named this blog post yet but the plan was to bake a Chocolate Courgette cake and share the recipe and my thoughts. Chocolate and Courgette cake was a hip and happening thing on Tumblr and blogs a while back and I definitely wanted to try it out as people had been raving about it. Also I wanted to go all Masterchef on it and experiment and throw in some jelly beans or chopped up pistachios or thyme and bake magic. Besides having had much time to do it, I’m also just not much of a baker, I like cooking a lot better and I feel I’m a tad better at it.

8. “Books people read on the train”. A project I officially gave up on this morning, for a number of reasons. One being that people just don’t read much books on the train anymore, or at least not as much as there are people looking at their phone. Another, more important reason was the fact that it made me feel like a right creep. I wanted to make pictures of the books being read/held by people, without those people being visible or very recognizable (’cause taking pictures of unknowing strangers and putting them on the www is not cool), but that’s a bloody hard thing to do. This morning I saw someone read a book and was at the angle  of shooting a picture that wouldn’t have been creepy, if there wasn’t a person next to me looking weirdly after seeing me opening the camera on my phone and point it at a stranger. And then pointing at my shoes as a distraction. Let’s just say it didn’t work out.

9. In one of my notebooks, I read the sentence “I’m a hamburger snob now”, which I obviously thought at that moment was a phenomenal title and subject for a blog post, I just can’t for the life of me remember what this was about.

Bloggers out there, do you have ideas or drafts never reaching their final form and what are the reasons behind it?

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.