Tuesday, February 24, 2009

'Im taking a little break from working on my novel, since I'm stuck (what else is new). I haven't updated much because I haven't been doing much of anything, to be honest. I'm in the strangest kind of purgatory. I'm still looking for jobs, and sending my fashion design portfolio, which is now finished, out to local designers. So far I've only received one response, which was very complimentary, but she does not employ any staff. I offered myself as an unpaid intern but haven't heard back. I'm just going to keep trying to find out where the apparel companies are, and sending them my work. It's hard to figure out who the wholesaler/distributors are and who the start-to-finish design houses are, but with research you can get an idea.

Dublin Fashion Week is coming up in March. They haven't announced the designers to be featured this year, which is annoying because otherwise I could email them and offer myself as an intern for last minute sewing/errands/whatever. Because it's an industry event, tickets are on the pricier side, and being broke, I won't be able to attend. I had sent an email to the webmaster asking if there was a way to volunteer in order to gain access to the show (the way you can do in theatres as an usher), but I never heard anything. It's kind of a bummer. What's more of a bummer is not having my sewing machine. I could be making stuff to sell on etsy right now. Not the ugly crap I was making before, but inspired objects. Ah well. What can you do? Maybe St. Patrick will buy me a used machine for my birthday.

I'm going to try to tackle two questions I have been getting lately from friends back home:
1.) How are you liking Ireland?

People don't realize what a difficult question this is for me to answer. Of course if life were simple, ultimately I'd like to say, “Great!” And in a lot of ways it is great. But life being great doesn't have much to do with my country of residence at the moment. Feeling like you have a great life is a state of mind, no matter where you are. So, I have enough to be thankful for and to keep me in good spirits most of the time. Ireland hasn't been so cruel as to squash that!

However, am I doing what I would like to be doing? Am I with the people I'd like to be with? Well, let's see. Since coming here, I have had the time to finish a decent portfolio, which in two and a half years since I left school I hadn't managed to do, so that kicks ass. And I'm with Mark, which is of course entertaining – mentally and intellectually challenging every day, the most necessary ingredient to fun. And I am unspeakably happy about getting to know his family, an opportunity I never thought I'd have a chance to get. So those are all really good things.

The frustrating things are of course not feeling like a contributing member of society because I haven't been able to get work, and the resulting financial troubles that come with no income. I desperately need to call Sallie Mae, but knowing that I have nothing to give them, I haven't. My credit card is overdue. At my age, I know these things shouldn't be happening. But I also know it's only temporary. It always is. And it's only money, after all. When I'm dead, no one is going to be like, “Oh her! She's the one that let her school loan go 46 days overdue that time.” But I can sense that not working the resulting frugality is keeping me in the house. I know that going out and walking around, or going for a bike ride is free, but for some reason I'm making the very poor decision to stay in a lot of days. I can't make up reasons to leave. If I were in Boston, I could call any number of people up and say, “Jesus I gotta get out of the house. Let's do something,” and that's all I'd need. Here, it's like hmmm....another lonely journey into town... At least it isn't raining every day, the weather is warming up, and the days are getting longer though. I can't describe how much of a difference that makes. The daily rain was starting to get seriously aggravating.

I've been really strangely shy about making friends here, even with people I'm somewhat acquainted with. I can't figure out why. But I need to email some people and just ask them to hang out. I can't stay in every day and night. I know it's not good for me, even though I don't feel especially in a panic or anything. But sometimes, I do get a little sulky and homesick. And I get a sort of child's voice in my head that says, “I wanna go home!” But I just know that there are people here who I could be good friends with. It's a big enough city! It's just a matter of first meeting them, and secondly getting to know them. I tell you though it's hard when you get to a certain age and you don't have college to do the friend-making for you.

2.) How is it being vegetarian in Ireland?

It's kind of a pain in the butt, to be honest. First of all, there isn't a wonderful array of fake meat products here in grocery stores. All those great morning star strips and the crumbles, and the fake ribs, and the variety after variety of veggie burger, not to mention chick'n pattie? Not available. We can't even get Tofu or Tempeh in the grocery store at the end of our street; we have to either go to an asian market or the really big grocery store like a mile away. As far as I can tell, Vital Wheat Gluten is just flat out not available in Ireland, so making my own seitan is out of the question. One thing that you can get rather easily is Dried Soy Mince, which, when you add boiling water to it, is essentially like TVP crumbles. Thanks to Linda McCartney, you can get vegan sausages in most stores. As far as restaurants go, it's about the same. There are several vegetarian restaurants in Dublin, so that's cool. People seem to understand the word “vegan” here and don't mock it like they do in the States. For those vegetarians who can't stand fake meat, then you're all set here I guess.

The other weird thing is that the nutritional yeast doesn't taste the same. It doesn't have as strong a flavour. I asked my sister to send me some from the US! There are stores around town that sell what we need, so we get by just fine, but it takes more effort. And I sure miss Market Basket's prices!

That's it for now I suppose. I am going to try to go back to my “real” writing. I'm trying to take advantage of my time off while I have it. But sometimes I must admit that it's easy to get caught up whiling away the hours on the computer, chatting with friends from back home.

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