Saturday Mark was scheduled to work at the Dublin Food Coop for a few hours, so I spent some time trying to finish that damned silk dress that has been hanging over my head. But then after a while I had the brilliant idea that since I had to bike to our evening plans and couldn't wear the long dress I'd had planned, that I should make myself a quick little number, ala Cinderella. So I set to work with a cowl-neck top pattern that I have been wanting to make as a dress. I sped along, but alas, I only got about 3/4 of the way through the dress before I had to jump in the shower in order to leave and meet Mark. We had tickets to see A Certain Ratio at The Button Factory. So I put together a bike-ready ensemble and ran out the door.
The show was enjoyable, though not so well attended. When we first walked in, we were among only a handful of people there. The opening band was not unpleasant -- they weren't horrible, but they didn't blow me away either. Then again, I'm trying to remember the last time a band or musician blew me away...hmmm. We realized, when A Certain Ratio hit the stage, that we'd been sitting next to two of the band members (the female singer and the guitarist). They put on a good show:
Then we headed over to Seomra Spraoi for the Queer Spraoi Ball, but sadly by then it was already midnight, and Seomra Spraoi had turned into a pumpkin and they weren't letting anyone else in, which actually was understandable since the event was to end at one am. So as a consolation prize, I agreed to grab "just one drink" at Fibber Magees. We biked back towards town and popped in.
I don't really mind the place so much, but when you walk in, you do get smacked in the face with the smell of hairspray and farts. That's really the best way to describe it. It's a strange melange of folks who congregate there -- from normy dudes to metalheads to goth chicks to what Mark would describe as "hipsters" -- and there are always really horrendously bad patent leather garments (usually boots you'd imagine a stripper would wear or a corset), bad dreadlocks, 90s-style manic panic hair, and someone asleep. On this night, the place was particularly trashed because there had been a show, so there was broken glass all over the floor. But still, even though it sounds like I'm cutting down the place, I actually don't mind it there. Good people watching, as you can imagine. And if you're not in the mood to talk, you can watch people play pool. Or you can place bets on who is going to fall asleep next.
Yesterday I volunteered for most of the day at Seomra Spraoi in the kitchen for the cafe that was open from 3 to 5. This happens every Sunday, and if you haven't been and you live in Dublin, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT. There's a suggested donation, which is always very, very reasonable (I think yesterday it was 4 euro), and you get to stuff your face with the most delicious vegan food. We made a lovely eggplant,zucchini, lentil dish with brown rice, served with a mixed lettuce salad and a cucumber mint salad, multi-grain bread, and then this amazing dessert topped with this toffee sauce. Yum yum yummmm.
Spending the day there, I was able to speak with some new people I'd never met before, as well as those I had, and all in all keep working on establishing ties in my community here. In particular I spoke with a woman who happens to be getting her PhD at Mark's school -- not in the same department, but in a kinda-sorta related one, and I think they would probably have some things to talk about if they met, so I hope to see her again around town.
Even though I was totally beat, I relaxed for a couple of hours at home and then Mark and I headed over to Cabra to spend time at the pub with his parents and uncle. They were all very lively and had the gift of gab last night! But by some grace, I mustered up the energy to be attentive and enjoy every second of the story telling without yawning once. Mark very happily reported his good marks, and they seemed quietly proud of his work. I always enjoy going up to see them because it reminds me of why I am here, because sometimes I do get down in the dumps and even a little homesick. But being with Mark's family makes me feel like I have family here, even if it's by marriage. I'm starting to feel a sense of belonging, anyways, if only the beginning of that emotion. And I suppose that's the first step in shirking the label of stranger.