Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesday may be a little late for a weekend re-cap, but oh well! Here it is.

So I've started socializing, just a little, and it feels good. Interacting with humans: good. On Monday I went over to Seomra Spraoi to help them set up their new space, which is less than a ten minute bike ride from our apartment. I was a little surprised at how uh...unfinished it was! A bathroom was being constructed, and a kitchen area. The floors are cement, and the place was more or less in disarray. I rolled up my sleeves, and was set to work planing and sanding the corners of the posts around the kitchen so they'd be nice and round and smooth to avoid injury. An Italian woman, Sabrina, came by, and she and I worked together. We didnt' talk a whole lot, because the planing and the sanding was quite loud, and we had dust masks on. But we made some conversation. People stopped in and out to help and do other tasks, and it was just nice to be out doing something among people. My arms started to ache, and my hands and feet were freezing cold (there was no heat in there and the door was wide open) but I stayed until the job was nearly done. Sabrina and this other guy, Mark, talked to me about how hard it's been for people to find work of any kind. I felt sort of comforted that it's not just me having a hard time with it. After a few hours of work, when I felt that my poor post-surgery shoulder had had enough, I went home covered in saw dust and quite satisfied with myself.

On Wednesday I met a girl named Lisa, a friend of an acquaintance, for tea at Bewley's on Grafton Street. I was curious about Bewley's because I have sort of an "in" for working there, if I should decide to take it, because the catering company I worked for last year is owned by Bewley's. I just really didn't enjoy food service that much is all. But aside from that I was concerned because their uniform seems to be a short sleeved black t-shirt, and it's been my observation that tattoos are really not socially acceptable here in Ireland. And, well, there's no way around that except for a long-sleeved shirt for me. So I asked one of the waitresses about the uniform, and it seems like they might be flexible. But man I really don't want to degrade myself to working at Bewley's. Not with 7 years of college and all the work that I've done to get myself out of the working class. I don't mind working with my hands, I don't mind manual labor, but the service industry fills me with rage at this point, and the eras of my life when I've had to do it have been really miserable in a lot of ways (though I worked with a lot of great people while catering!) So we'll see. I'm just going to bear it in mind as a possibility, but hope that it doesn't come to that.

Anyways, Lisa was a real peach, and we had a very pleasant tea, and I look forward to hanging out with her again -- we talked about the fact that our respective partners don't enjoy girly things so girly movies and shopping and such will be in order. And she seems to be a music fan, so maybe we'll go to shows together as well. She lives in Smithfield, and Mark likes that part of town, so maybe we can go have some drinks as well. I think it will be good. And we have plans to go to the Dublin Co-op Flea Market on Saturday, which I am really excited about!

Friday I had a job interview, and it was for a job that I might have wanted to do -- a machinist (that's sewing machine)/Pattern Maker/Fashion Designer job. It was an ad I answered on Gumtree, and I had received a call on Sunday or Monday asking if I'd come in for an interview up in Swords. As long as I could get there by bus, I didn't care where it was! As it happens, the 41C to Swords swings right near the house. It was about a 35 minute ride, and a little stressful because her only directions were that it was in a community center next to a place called the Millenium Pub. The funny thing about Ireland is that everyone seems to give out directions based on where the pubs are. And I mean everyone. I had gone online and tried to find directions as best I could, but when you're on the bus and you're in a foreign place, and (as it turns out) the pub you're looking for doesn't exist, it gets a little hairy. I asked the bus driver for my destination about five minutes after we'd passed it, so I got off and hiked back. No big whoop. But when I got to the place, all I found was another woman waiting to be interviewed. She said she'd been waiting 45 minutes for her 3:15 appointment. She'd tried to call, but the phone was clearly off. We continued to wait, hoping for a break.

We waited another ten minutes or so, and then finally a middle aged woman with short, messy burgundy hair, missing teeth, and a baby stroller, walked in and told us that Jeanne, the interviewer, had been unexpectedly called away by a client emergency -- something to do with one of their biggest clients, so obviously it had to be attended to immediately, she sent her apologies, but we could leave our CVs and she would be in touch. I left my CV along with a CD on which I had burned a .pdf of my Portfolio. Then the woman and I walked over to the bus stop together to catch the bus back to Dublin.

She was from Germany, and seemed to be in her early to mid-twenties. I sadly didn't catch her name, but we made very nice conversation on the journey back to town, and I have to admit that I was happy again to be interacting with someone, and hearing stories of people's experiences. She told me about her Irish friends who are getting laid off, and how hard it has been for many people. I really feel like one issue making it difficult for me at the moment in finding work is my nationality. If I'm up for a job against Irish nationals, there's just no way, in this economic climate, that I'm going to be considered. People are very sensitive about non-nationals coming in and taking up Irish jobs. So I need to apply for jobs where my education and experience are a real asset and make me uniquely qualified. This is a challenge, but not impossible, since I do (finally!) have a decent CV.

When I got home, I was pretty grumpy and forgot all about the show at Seomra Spraoi, which would have been a fun time. Instead, I sulked at home all night. On Saturday I headed over to Seomra Spraoi to help cook for the opening weekend event. I was helping Damo, a very nice guy I'd met on Monday. The place looked much improved! The bathroom was finished, and the posts I'd worked on were finished in linseed oil. People were gardening out back, and there was semblance of order in the place with a bookshelf and a little 'zine library area. I was commissioned to make some signs, drank some delicious coffee, and ate Damo's perfectly spiced soup and salad. I sat with some really friendly girls -- one from California, and another from Galway. But once lunch was over I decided to go home for a bit.

I convinced Mark to finally visit Seomra Spraoi for their "Fancy Dress Party" event, and I'm so glad I did! People were dressed festively indeed, though we weren't out of place in our jeans. Even some of the men were in their fancy party dresses, which I loved. That's true commitment! There was a party game going on in the center of the main room -- musical chairs -- in preparation for a slapdash "makeover" featuring secret identity designers and rules that I couldn't follow, but it looked like great fun. I enjoyed watching it, because it was so unlike anything I'd ever seen back home. We don't have party games; we stand around lamely with our drinks in our hands and try to look like as indifferent as possible! I loved the spectacle of a game in the middle of the room with people drinking all around, and music, and people dressed up in crazy outfits, and pots of paint on a table for face painting, and funny hats, and a young girl as the MC who would occasionally break into Irish, even if most of the people didn't understand her.

We decided to move on, however, probably just as the night was gearing up there, and we headed over to Fibber Magee's, Mark's favorite local joint. It's where he metal dudes go. The first time he told me the name I started laughing because it sounds like a joke. Like, seriously? Fibber Magee's? But we headed over there for a couple of drinks. On our way out, we were flagged down by a group of people looking for Seomra Spraoi, and it was a great coincidence that we were coming from there, so it felt good that we could give good directions. I felt a little regretful that we were leaving, but felt confident we would have a good time at our next two destinations. For me it's a people watching experience more than anything. Just as we were getting our first pint, a band was going on. Their first song was actually quite good, but then the second one was sort of meh, so we went back into the bar. We had a nice chit chat and of course critiqued all the outfits in the room (and believe me, there is always a lot to critique when PVC is involved), and then moved on to our third destination.

It was a bit of a disappointment, because Mark had seen an online flier that said that it was free admission to the evening's Goth night at Peadar Karney's, but apparently it was at the door man's discretion, and I think that we weren't dressed festively enough for him (ie we don't dress one bit gothy) so he charged us each 6 euro at the door, which was kind of bullshit. But, whatever, he had some lame excuse and we didn't argue. But admitedly the music was of a much more industrial bent than the last time we were there, and there wasn't one song that inspired us to dance. And to be honest, hardly anyone else wanted to dance either. There were a few "hits" that got people up there, but it just was not my thing -- a lot of new stuff that I didn't know and I didn't get into. I guess I can't get into new goth, especially if it has an industrial tinge to it. And I remember when "goth" meant something entirely different anyways. But I digress...

However I was still quite satisfied with our evening. We stopped into our favorite kebab shop for late-night falafel and tahini fries, and had a nice bike race home (I won). I think I crawled into bed finally sometime after 4:30.

You're probably wondering when will this end....

Sunday, when we woke up, it was time for more Seomra Spraoi! Mark and I headed over there for a scrumptious vegan meal. Holy moly it was so good I couldn't get over it. There were like four different dishes, and each was a culinary experience. My mouth is watering just remembering the food. After we ate, there was a gathering of about 30 people and a person from each of the group that use the Seomra Spraoi space gave a 3-minute talk about their group and its aims. There are lots of really interesting things happening there -- people doing good work. Good, but hard, and probably discouraging at times. I definitely want to get involved with some of them though, and will keep my eyes open for happenings. Maybe I can be active here in Dublin in ways I never got off my duff in Boston.

Sunday night we went to the pub to meet Mark's parents, and had a great time as usual. They are just so very pleasant. Even if I am in a sour mood before we go see them, they always manage to make me laugh.

Jeez. Well I have more I could say, but I have to do something with my day besides write in this here blog. People often ask what it's "like" here. I'm not sure I'm describing it adequately. But I guess over time I'm hoping it will start to become cumulative.

And finally... Happy Birthday to my dear, beloved Father. I miss you always and think of you every day, constantly! I am so lucky to have been raised by such a caring, intelligent, funny, unique person. There's no one in the world like you, and you inspire me always to push myself and be myself, and to be proud, and also, to be a little ballsy too. ;)


  1. I have to say, again, that your blog makes wonderful reading and just flows along spewing information that I find interesting. The local point of view on foreigners, the catholic church and other points of view are fascinating.
    I wonder of the Fibber McGee was first in Ireland and then in the entertainment world is the USA?
    I am still trying for the headphones and my have them in a week or so.
    Thanks for the birthday greetings and I miss and love you, too.
    My med doctor says that my numbers are very good and my symptoms are much better. I am now weaning off of the prednisone. In about 3 weeks I should be completely off that med.

    I have been walking and it is a little scary because my BP is high and my pulse is anywhere from 90 to 105. The wierd thing is I can walk as well as I ever have with no problems (Well, maybe some gas stuff) I haven't walked in a couple of days and will continue tomorrow.

    I haven't had any luck sending these comments and I can't figure out what I am doing wrong~!

  2. I can see your comment just fine! I'm glad that at least one person is interested by my ramblings, haha. I'm glad that you are weaning of the prednisone - things must be improving then! Just remember not to push yourself too hard! You don't want to ruin all the progress :) xoxo