Sunday, January 30, 2011

Taxi Cab Confessionals

There are approximately one cajillion taxis in Dublin. For a city of about 2.5 million (which is considerably less than a cajillion) people, that's a heck of a lot of taxis. If you're in the city centre on a Friday or Saturday night you will see more taxis than people. In the olden days of three years ago you might have waited hours for a taxi to finally pick you up after a night on the lash. But nowadays you'll have drivers practically getting in an accident just to get to you first. That's what happened to me last night as I stood there and watched them battle it out for my fare. It was actually a little flattering. Everyone wanted some Kim.

I get in the taxi, clearly looking like a tourist with my Nikes and Steelers hat, and the driver immediately starts in about the sorry state of the taxi industry in Ireland (it's every man for himself out there) and the shitty government's hand in all of this. I understand he was a little flustered from the near accident he just caused, but I can't help but think he clearly wasn't hired by Irish Tourism to sell this country to foreigners. So, he goes on and on about Ireland and how it's headed down the crapper and I say, 'Yes, I know. I've lived here for two years and I'm well aware of the problems in the country.' Well, this causes him to go quiet. Yes, Mr Taxi Driver, I might be an American, but I am not a tourist that you can drive all around town before getting to my destination. I'm a local.

Once he knows I'm a local the conversation completely changes. He asks me why I'm here and I explain my husband is Irish.
"What part is he from?"
(Well, with his strong Dublin accent I knew this wasn't going to be a popular answer) "Cork".
He visibly bristled at this answer.
"Are you going to be moving back to America?"
Yes, we're planning on it.
"When? Within the year?"
Yes, he has his visa and we're going within the next 6 months.

Right, that's our emigration plans....let's move on to:

"What does your husband do?"
He works in higher education.
"What do you do?"
I also work in higher education, but I haven't been able to get a job in the two years I've been here. There's nothing out there and that's why we're going.
(He agreed with this and thought it was a good thing that we're moving. He then went on to tell me about how he's starting a course so he can get out of the taxi rat race. Every taxi driver under the age of 60 has told us he's starting a course. Lord knows where they're all going to work.)

Okey doke.....(un)employment status? Check!

"Do you have kids?"
No, no kids.
"Are you planning on starting a family?"
Why yes, Mr Taxi Driver, we are and I appreciate your concern in these matters! (Okay, I didn't say it quite like that.)

Once we established the status of my fertility we moved on to accents...

"Where do you think my accent is from?"
(This can be a touchy question in Dublin. He was clearly born and bread on the northside.)
"So, you're saying my accent is from the northside and not D4?" (Crikey, it's not like I said Ballymun!)
Well, yeah. I live on the northside (you're driving me there, remember?), so I'm pretty familiar with the accent!
"I'm from Raheny. The heart and soul of the country!" (That was added so I was sure to know that contrary to what my Cork-born husband has brainwashed me to believe, Dublin is the capitol of Ireland.)

He was pretty impressed that I could understand him. I was impressed too. I typically let Wes do all the talking when we're in a taxi because I don't have a clue what they're saying. For the record, he thinks the Donegal accent is the nicest accent in Ireland. I couldn't confirm that since I'm not sure if I've ever heard it. He threw out some Irish celebrities with the accent, but I didn't have a clue who he was talking about so he gave up.

Alas...our 20 minute trip was coming to an end....

Great, just drop me off here! Thanks, have a good night!
"No problem. Good luck making your little Corkonians!"

Friday, January 28, 2011

One of my new favorites!

I was checking out Abby's blog the other day and you should too. Not only does she have an adorable son, she takes some pretty cool pictures. On top of that she posts about fun things like this Ira Glass finger puppet from AbbeyChristine's Etsy shop!

I love Ira Glass! Can a 35 year old woman (with no children) buy finger puppets? Is that weird? These are the cutest things ever! She also has Bob Ross, Lloyd Dobler, Johnny Cash, Charles Darwin...need I go on!?? Just think of the stories you could make with that cast in your finger puppet show....

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Just a little housekeeping

I'm bored with my blog and I needed a change, but I'm wasn't ready to give up the birdies!!! I hope I can get some inspiration to make some little tweeks here and there. I was thinking about reincorporating my food blog into a tab on this blog, but it's not doing what I want, so I may just keep it as is. Blah. If anyone has any suggestions on things cool things they've seen out in blog land, I'm up for suggestions!

Friday, January 21, 2011

I went in to buy a salad....

and ended up walking out with these (in gray). They're totally cute and totally useless to me here. That's right, they're work shoes (aka 'smart shoes' here in Ireland). Do I have a job? No. I guess I was feeling pretty hopeful yesterday. I envisioned myself walking in the door with my new smart shoes, logging onto my email, and being offered an interview! Does that ever really happen to anyone? That's a rhetorical question. Please don't leave comments about miraculous job offers you received.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Birthday Wish List

I'm going to try and spruce up a gray January and get excited for my birthday! What gets me excited are the presents. No surprise there! Here are a few I wouldn't mind opening on my big day!

This is the biggie! My current camera is fancier than a point and shoot, but not much more than that. I bought it before I moved to England, so it's almost 5 years old and starting to show it's age. Dropping it at the Dublin Marathon hasn't helped it either. I would love, love, LOVE a digital SLR camera (this is a Canon EOS Rebel T1i) and a few photography courses to go with it!

We're definitely getting this print when we move to the US, so I'll be getting it even if it's not for my birthday! Our friends have the Paris one which I love, but the London one just seems more appropriate for us.

Orla Kiely makes lovely bags and I can't leave Ireland without one! Right!? Well, that's what I keep telling Wes! Ha! I love the flowers on her new bag. (Sorry about the tiny picture!)

Alan Ardiff is an Irish jewellery designer who makes some really cool stuff. Some of the designs actually have pieces that move! This little fish doesn't move, but I think it's really sweet.

It's no secret I love wearing my FitFlops in the summer. They are the most comfortable flip flops out there, hands down. I have no idea if they tone your legs, as their marketing suggests. In fact, if you saw my legs you'd probably call their bluff. I just love them because they actually have arch support and my feet don't ache by the end of the day. I would love a pair of their boots to wear during those months that the flip flops are inappropriate. That's a lot of months here in Ireland!

Friday, January 14, 2011

It's been a busy week!

It's another one of those weeks when lots is going on, but nothing seems worth writing know, lunch with friends, kicking this chest cold, donating things to the charity shop, getting Wes' US visa, grocery shopping, vacuuming our previously soaking wet know....WAIT! WHAT!? {insert sound of record scratching to a halt}


I kid, I kid....that's right...we're moving to the US and the government will now officially accept my husband! I would do a cartwheel, but there's not enough room in my apartment. All in all it took us just over five months to complete the process. Not bad at all, really. In fact, we could have done it quicker, but we drew out some of the bits of the process because we had an idea of our time frame for moving. Five months of paperwork, medical appointments, and payments all culminated in a 5 minute interview. When we walked up to the window, the guy greeted us by saying, 'Someone did their research. All of your documents are in order and everything is correct.' WELL, my chest puffed up and my husband said he thought I was going to start doing a jig around the office! Ha! I felt like the teacher just gave me an A++!*

So, expect this blog to take a turn to the stresses of an international move. I'm afraid that finding a decent and affordable shipping company is going to be harder than getting the visa!

I didn't want to take a picture of Wes' passport, so instead you get a picture of the mysterious brown envelope that everyone talks about on expat boards.

And no, we don't know when we're going. I keep telling people either when one of us gets a job or six months from now since that's the amount of time he has to activate the visa. Finger's crossed the job comes first!!! Thankfully, he can now tick the box on job applications that he's legal to work in the US!!!

*This is the clear behavior of someone who has been unemployed for two years. Wes wondered if the guy would write me a letter of recommendation.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Recipe time!

A great meal for cold winter nights!

Beef Goulash

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ten favorite pictures of 2010 - You Capture

This was a lot harder than I thought it would be! Here they are in no particular order....

Here's to more fabulous pictures in 2011!


'Dynasty' is more than just a TV show

I was listening to the Slate Political Gabfest shortly after the death of Ted Kennedy. Discussing the Kennedys had Emily Bazelon complaining about political dynasties in the US. She had two examples, the Kennedys and Senator Harry Reid's son who was the 2010 Democratic nominee for the Governor of Nevada. Her comment made me laugh out loud and all I could think was, 'Don't move to Ireland!' Her head would probably explode if she tried to make sense of the government here! It's no secret that nepotism runs strong within the Irish government, but when you read that one in four politicians here come from political families it does (or at least should) make you shake your head in disgust. This article reads like a complex family tree.

Maybe you're thinking, 'Big whoop! So they got elected based on their family name! I'm sure they're still qualified for their position!' In response, I'll give you one of the more famous examples of nepotism gone bad:

One of the most famous of these family dynasties is the Lenihans. With Ireland being in the news so much these days, you all may recognize the name of our Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan Jr (Brian Lenihan Sr was the Fianna Fáil Tánaiste in the 80s). Well, his brother, Conor Lenihan, was appointed the Minister for State in charge of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Natural Resources. Prior to this appointment he was the Minister of State in charge of the Department of Foreign Affairs. In September 2010 he made headlines by attending a book launch of an anti-evolution book written by one of his constituents. That's right, the Minister for Science was at an anti-evolution book launch. Hmmmm....

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Best reads of 2010

2010 Reading List
Looks like I read 19 books in 2010. That's an okay number, but not great. I would have preferred a nice, round 20. I should have been able to easily reach this number, but while I was in the US I was too busy eating and watching Hoarders to actually read anything. I don't like to set myself up for failure, so my goal for 2011 is 20 books.

The one book from this year I'd be most likely to recommend is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

The most enjoyable quick read was The Help by Kathryn Stockett.

The biggest disappointment was Julie and Julia by Julie Powell.

The one book I'd never recommend was No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy.

What books did you read this year? I love book recommendations, so let me know if you read anything interesting!