I have been in country almost two months and within these two months I have had three different phones and two different phone numbers. I had multiple problems unlocking my iphone and then it relocking again and me having to pay to get it unlocked AGAIN. My newest phone adventure happened today. I woke up with a text from Emily suggesting lunch. Friday, I walked by a Mexican place in the city center that had also gotten really good reviews on YELP so I suggested that. After the half hour walk I arrived to the place to meet Emily and we realized that there was a cooking class going on in the restaurant so it was closed for the time being. We decided to pass the time walking around Temple Bar and through the various crafts and food markets while we waited for Azteca to open up so we can eat some oh so missed and craved mexican food. (I have learned that no matter where I go within Europe, the Mexican food is just a sad feeble attempt and is rarely up to my liking). Anyways.
We wander back to Azteca and find that it is still closed so we slowly start moving down the street and get our phones out to search for other places to eat. As I lift my phone out of my pocket, it slips out of my hand and drops. It didn’t just drop to the floor. Oh no. That would make my life WAY too simple. Instead, it falls between a grate into a 6foot deep shaft. GREAT! I gasp and then just starting laughing and thinking WTF am I supposed to do NOW?!?! I go into the coffee shop that we were in front of and tell the workers to see if they know of any way we can get access to the shaft below. The guy tells us that there is a door that leads to it but it is only accessible through the parking garage of the building next to us which is a private condo association. After about 10 minute stalking the door, someone finally comes out and he kindly enough leads us into the parking garage. I manage to get to the door only to see that there is a metal square-grated door with a padlock separating me and my cursed phone. We go back to the lobby and call the management emergency line and the very snotty woman, after only caring that I am in the building unaccompanied, tells me that there is nothing she can do until Monday when the caretaker is back on site and can get my phone out. I thank her and start praying that it doesn’t rain until Monday. Emily and I go back outside and are just staring at my phone below our feet with defeat when the worker at the cafe comes back out and says “I have a long stick, if you find some tape or something maybe we can stick it and then pull it up.” I respond with “great idea! We’ll go look for some tape!”
Emily and I head off down the street to look for a pharmacy, convenience story, grocery store, anything that could possibly sell duct tape or something of the sort. After going to several places and toying with the idea of possibly using denture adhesive cream, we come across a Tesco where we enter, split up, and start looking for tape. I find a salesperson and ask him where they keep their tape. He shows me but only scotch tape. I tell him my story and in the meantime i see his colleague giggling at my misfortune a few feet away. The Tesco employee ends up being really nice and goes in the back to see if he can find some duct tape for us and get the number for the Dublin City Council to see if we can get them to remove the grate somehow. He comes out with a roll of duct tape but can’t give it to us so he unravels a 6foot strip and gives it to me.
Emily and I head back through Temple Bar to the cafe as I am carrying this ridiculously long piece of duct tape and stretching it out trying to not let it fold in on itself/run into the hordes of tourists that are aimlessly wandering the streets. We make it back to the cafe is a near sweat and I walk in triumphantly holding up my tape when the girl looks at me, smiles and says “yeah so we used a stick to get it out shortly after you had left. Here is your phone.” I stood there in shock. I had no idea how they managed to get it out and was even more in shock that there was not a single scratch, dent, or break on it anywhere (it wasn’t in a case).
Since about 2 hours had passed at this point, we decided to try our luck with Azteca and, low and behold, it was open. The first 10 minutes of our meal was spent by me still being in shock as to how the phone didn’t crack or break, how the hell the cafe employees managed to get it out, and how amazingly friendly and helping Irish people are (except for the lady at the management office but I am willing to overlook that). I’m hoping that this is the end of the drama with my phone but for some reason, I have a feeling it’s not over. I wonder what my phone’s next adventure will be…
I had some errands to run this morning and since it is so nice outside today, I decided to randomly walk around the city. I headed towards the center and then past the center towards the water and back. These are the pictures I took.
This past weekend was filled with somewhat random outings and lots of fun.
A PC friend of mine’s cousin is moving to Dublin at the end of the month and was in town this past weekend to look at housing options and just get an overall feel for the city. Saturday, after walking aimlessly around town in the cold rain that initially started out as a school supplies search, I headed over to the Brooks Hotel to meet up with Emily. We then walked over to the Old Storehouse for some traditional Irish food, beer, and music which we then followed by making our way through the rain and cold to the Royal Dublin Society where we spent the rest of our night sampling some great drinks at the Dublin Craft Beer Festival.
Sunday, Emily and I met up around noon and took the DART train down to the sleepy town of Bray which is about a 25 minute ride south of Dublin. We stumbled upon the Harbour Bar which, coincidentally, was named one of the best bars in the world by Lonely Planet. Since we were there around 1pm on a Sunday, we didn’t get to experience much of the awesomeness. The bar, however, did have a very cool, rustic, atmosphere with lots of random rooms and sitting areas as well as a large lounge with a stage in the back where there is live music every Thursday-Sunday night.
After our short visit to Bray, following the advice of the very knowledgeable Rick Steves, we got back on the train and took it all the way in the opposite direction to the other end of the line in Howth. Howth is a very cute fishing town which we unfortunately did not get to see enough of during our visit there. We did stop into a random restaurant where we had some amazing seafood including steamed mussels, salmon, and fisherman’s pie while watching the local hurling championship.
Today marked the first day of classes and they honestly could not have gone better if I had dreamt them up. My first class that I had was from 11-1 and is about the Theory of Human Rights. The second class I had, from 4-6, is one of my core classes, Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict, which is taught by my program coordinator who is this fabulously passionate woman that seems extremely knowledgable within her area. After the syllabus breakdowns in both classes, I am more at peace with the workload even though I have a 150 page book that needs to be read by Monday.
On that note I can say that I’m finally okay with the fact that I am here and have faith that I’ll do well.
Harbour Bar Bathroom
Our Fav. Brewery
Sunset out my window
On the way to Bray
Here are some pictures of the room I have moved into. It makes me happy.
So here is what has happened in the past 10 days.
I met 2 other people staying at my hostel that are starting off at UCD and are also looking for housing. We headed out to the UCD campus on Monday to check out the housing situation over there and see if the office of off campus student accommodation could help us in any way. After wandering around the expansive campus, we finally came across said office and they were of absolutely no use. The girl working at the desk already told us all the information we knew such as which websites to search from and which areas of Dublin to look in. I had a huge reality check when I saw a poor 17 year old incoming freshman at the office also searching for accommodation since she wasn’t able to get on the waiting list to enter into the dorms. After seeing her, I knew I didn’t have it that bad after all and know that if that would have happened to me when I was 17, I would have just packed my bags and gone home.
I met Amelia through the UCD student message board. Amelia is a 24 year old grad student from Australia that is going through the same soul-crushing, self-confidence killing, tear-inducing process that I am. Needless to say, we bonded. We hung out at a Starbucks for an afternoon getting to know each other, consoling each other, and helping each other look for homes.
Monday and Tuesday I went and saw about 4 more places brining up the total to 10 places that I had looked at in less than a week.
Thursday I went over to Maria’s house in the burbs where I hung out for a little while. I had the pleasure of meeting her brother-in-law and two little nephews that moved to Ireland a few weeks ago and just started school. I got to practice my Romanian and know that I have not forgotten much yet.
Jentry a former colleague and friend of mine from my J.C.Penney days who is in town this week on vacation and I met up with her and some of her friends and had a wonderful meal of fish and chips and my first Guinness in country.
This morning I was woken up by a text message that read; “You can have the room” I HAVE OFFICIALLY FOUND A PLACE TO LIVE! I NO LONGER HAVE TO LIVE IN THE HOSTEL! YAAAAAY PRAISE BABY JESUS! I went over today to sign the lease. It’s an amazing location with a great view. It is in a young area with many young professionals and very close to lots of pubs, restaurants, and shops. It is about 15 walking from the center and a 10 minute walk to the bus towards UCD. It’s also about an hour walk to UCD so that is nice. I’ll post pictures of the inside once I get settled in but here is a picture of my street!
That’s about all I have for you for the time being. Below is the link to the Dublin Album. Enjoy!
Until next time,
So I landed in Dublin Thursday early afternoon and got to my hostel around 2pm where I checked into my private room and then just passed out for a few hours. At around 6pm I went to view a room that was up for rent which I later found out I didn’t get. Friday, I viewed two more rooms that I also didn’t get. Why, you ask? Because it has become dog eat dog in the renter’s game. Apparently there is a shortage of housing this year, prices have gone up, and UCD, along with many of the other colleges in the area have done little to assist students in finding housing. I have been watching the Dublin rental websites like a hawk and as soon as a new listing goes up that might work for me, I immediately contact the owner.
Saturday I met up with Saveta, a former student of Vasi’s from Singeorz-Bai. She is a few years older than me and has been living in Dublin with her husband for about 6 or 7 years now. She helped me get a phone and SIM card, a bus pass, and said she would try to help me find a place to stay. We hung out Saturday morning and it was just so nice talking to someone that understood where I was coming from that was willing to help me unconditionally.
After our meeting on Saturday, I had two more viewings and then curled myself up in my bed for a few hours before I was to head out to dinner with Matt, who was randomly in Dublin the same time I am, and his friends. I ended up going to bed fairly early on Saturday since I wasn’t feeling too well only to wake up to a cold this Sunday morning.
I didn’t have any viewings today and just kind of bummed around the hostel which proved to be quite beneficial. As I was checking into my new room (goodbye private room, hello 12 person dorm!) I mentioned how I am looking for a place to live and the girl and the registration desk told me that the hostel actually houses a lot of students and that I could get a private single room for about 160euros a month which is a little bit out of my budget but it does include all of the bills, high-speed internet, housekeeping, and it is in an awesome central location.
Depending on how the viewings go tomorrow, I will make my decision if I want to just remain at the hostel or keep looking for a room in a house for the upcoming year.
Things are looking much brighter and I can finally stop worrying so much and go out and enjoy myself in Dublin before school starts.
Wish me luck in finding a place!
My last week in Romania was spent at Jeremy’s site in Valea Calgureasca at the last ever PCRO GLOW/TOBE camp and I couldn’t have ended my service on a better note. The camp had an extremely rocky start due to an emergency change of venue about 4 days before the camp was set to start which, in turn, caused many other issues such as communication problems, travel adjustments, and lack of resources. Throughout the week we felt like we were flying by the seat of our pants trying to plan activities and constantly having to re-arrange the schedule.
This year was the first time SPV had a co-ed camp which included GLOW and TOBE together and it proved to be quite an interesting experience. Throughout the camp, we at the girls’ camp had our fair share drama and minor discipline issues that we had to deal with and with the boys being just one floor below the girls, we had a whole other set of issues that we didn’t even think about before hand. Despite the issues, the kids had a great experience and I do think there were more benefits of having the two camps together than withdrawals. And at the end of the day, if they went home with even a few pieces of knowledge and experience that empowered them and made an impact in their lives, that is enough for me and I can call it a success.
I also have to send a shout out to what i consider the best working team that I have been a part of during my service. We had three volunteers come from Moldova (Kim, Matt, Julie) along with having our very own Abby, Jon, Stephen and Jeremy and our HCN from SPV Andreea. The 9 of us formed a fabulous team and I enjoyed working with everyone and loved the passion and creative problem solving that everyone brought to the table.
I’m back in the states now which is just a whirlwind of emotions that I honestly haven’t processed yet. I also would like to announce that I do plan on keeping up with this blog once I head to Ireland at the end of the summer so you all can keep up with my misadventures.