It's such a weird feeling knowing the place I've called home for the past year is soon to be just a memory you know? Like, I could honestly see myself staying here long term but I was denied on my extension to my visa so I've had to accept that it's actually time for this chapter to end with a new one beginning.
When I say I could see myself staying here long term, I'm not really factoring in the reality of living here, I am solely basing this off of my comfort level here. The fact is, Dublin is just too expensive to rent and frankly, after living in a hostel for the past year, I want my own space if I'm going to get an apartment. I couldn't fathom living among another household of people after this. I miss having my own space to keep all of my bathroom toiletries and such. Carrying my gross plastic bag filled with my bathroom products has worn out its welcome I'll tell you. Not to mention I've been living out of a suitcase which has also lost its charm.
If I could bring the weather here home with me I'd be a lot happier I'll tell you. It rains here sure and there are times you might not see the sun for a few days but the temperatures here are much more in line with what I appreciate. The winter was cold but not Canada cold, I didn't even wear a winter jacket once this year. The summer can be warm (to my standards) but not Canada warm lol I didn't miss the 40's outside with humidity, in fact, I don't ever want to deal with those again. One of my best friends is getting married next August and I am already dreading the idea of sweating outside for hours in those awful temperatures lol
Honestly, there's a lot I'm going to miss about being here but I've accepted that it's time for me to leave. I'll enjoy this last month here to the best of my ability that's for sure. Oh, and I can't wait to see Rome in a few weeks :)
I just booked and confirmed my flight back to Canada for October 7th. It's actually officially official now, my working holiday in Ireland is quickly coming to a close and feels even more real now that I am set in stone with a return date. All the feels this morning I'll tell ya, it's absolutely crazy now to think that a year has passed and it's time for me to go home.
I'm obviously super excited as I've said before to see my family and friends but it's so weird and saddening knowing I'm saying goodbye to Dublin permanently so soon. This past year has been so amazing but it has also made Dublin feel like home to me. Initially, I didn't know how I would like it or whether I'd ever feel comfortable here but here I am now, 11 months in and feeling like I could have stayed here permanently. It's insane how quickly this year has flown by but it also means I have to really make the best of the limited amount of time I have left here.
I also booked a trip to Rome for the end of September because I put out a poll asking everyone where I should go and it was pretty unanimous that I needed to go to Italy. I wanted to do Greece but after speaking with my sister, we decided I should wait and she would save her arse off and we would do Greece together late next year so I'm ok with that. As long as I know that I'll eventually see Greece, I can go on with my life lol
I can't tell you how weird it is to accept that this chapter is actually coming to an end. I mean, it was inevitable right..but it still feels so weird. Any time there's a big change in our lives, it feels sort of surreal until things get back to normal and this is just another one of those situations. I know I'll be sad when I leave but I also know I'll be so happy to see all of my back homers again so there's good and bad here but the good will certainly outweigh the negative.
Let the countdown begin.
It's so crazy but since it's basically August now, I can officially say that I'll be coming home next month. In less than 8 weeks, I'll be returning home to Windsor Ontario where I will gladly see all of my family and friends again. At the same time, I'll be saying goodbye to some amazing people here in Dublin, an amazing opportunity, and an experience that most definitely changed my life.
Time is such an interesting thing you know? When I first got here to Dublin, coming home seemed like forever away and now here I am, planning to return in September and it seems like just yesterday I arrived here again doe eyed, hoping for an amazing experience. I feel so blessed to have had this opportunity because I have learned quite a lot about myself this past year on top of having the opportunity to do some travelling across Europe and meet some amazing people.
I still plan to take at least one or two more trips but at this point I can't confirm where they're going to be. I'm being indecisive and also have to try and save money for when I come home so that I can hit the ground running. I need to have money for so many things when I get home and thankfully, the Euro is worth more than the Canadian dollar so whatever I bring back with me will be nearly doubled when I transfer it over.
How do I move on from this? What a weird experience going home is going to be. Will I be able to just move on from this without wishing I could go back every minute of my life? It's weird. It's like dangling a permanent vacation in someone's face that secretly has a time limit. Would I live in Dublin forever? No, I don't think so, but I could have stayed for another year at least to continue to travel through Europe. There's so many reasons I wish I could stay for a while longer but as I said, the time is running out here so I need to get myself back in to Windsor Ontario mode.
I will try to thoroughly enjoy my friends and time remaining here knowing it is coming to an end.
Ugh, I'm starting to get so sad. I'm leaving Ireland in approximately two months and although I knew this day was coming and was initially super excited, the reality of going back to Windsor Ontario and being like, normal again is really leaving a bad taste in my mouth. I've had this amazing opportunity to travel and kind of live this extraordinary life here in Dublin and I can't seem to picture myself going back to Windsor and just doing regular shit again.
Obviously there are some good things, like seeing my family and friends again but I'm also back in Windsor lol. It's not a super exciting place to live and there's honestly not a lot to do. It's depressing lol With that in mind, I've started really thinking about what comes next and what I want for myself in the immediate future.
I still have to put a lot of thought into moving to New Zealand for some time. The deterrent is simply the flying for 15 or 16 hours. It's a looooong flight and I just don't know how I'd handle something like that when the flight from Europe to Canada nearly has me in a straight jacket by the end of it. Not to mention, everything is pretty far away from New Zealand in that it won't be as easy for me to travel like it was here. What's been great about Dublin is it's literally 4 hours maximum to get from place to place whereas I;m looking at 8, 9, 10 hours to fly out to various spots for travel. It's a lot for me to ponder.
For now, I'm just trying to plan to get readjusted to my life back home. I know the weather sucks, I know it's boring, but it's home. I have a very important wedding to attend in August and after that, I will kind of decide what my next step is. If I do decide to take the working holiday visa for new zealand, I'd be leaving in September or October of 2020 which gives me about a year to put away all of the money required to make it work.
Planning for the future sucks guys. I think it was easier before I had this experience because it's like now, I'm always going to be looking for the next adventure as opposed to short term planning like before. I'm always going to be working towards something better than what I have lol Ugh, we'll see what happens but I know I'm getting sad about leaving Ireland. That much is for sure.
Another Pride has come and gone and I must say, this was one of the very best ones yet. For the past few years, I would either forget to book the time off or just not care about going out and celebrating so this year was fun because I was hyping it up to myself for over a month. It's so fun to have something to look forward to especially something like this that brings so many people together for one purpose, to celebrate being happy and proud.
Compared to the Pride in my hometown of Windsor On, this was definitely bigger and much better. Interestingly, I recently looked at a map that showed which countries were the most gay friendly and both Canada and Ireland made the top of the list. I've had my share of problems in Canada when it comes to being gay, particularly when I was younger. I've had it all thrown my way you know? I've been ridiculed, teased, and had stuff thrown at me for crying out loud. However, as I've gotten older, I've noticed that things for myself anyhow have gotten much better and I think I would agree that for the most part, Canada is pretty progressive.
Dublin however is a different story. I have experienced absolutely nothing negative here in all honesty. The people here seem so tolerant and when comparing the pride here to my city, there's really no comparison. Nearly every business had flags or decorations and even the apartment buildings would have individual apartments displaying flags or deco, it was actually such a cool experience. It was evident to me that Dublin and Ireland belonged at the top.
The parade was much bigger and much better than what I had expected although they could have had some more floats as opposed to people marching but other than that, there were thousands of people celebrating. As for the parties, super fun! We had tickets to a block party that was pretty phenomenal. Two separate areas each with their own bars and stages, live music, singing, and so much dancing. I really had a blast and was so happy to see so many people coming together all throughout the city just to celebrate with no negativity.
Next year, I might drag my arse to Toronto where I know the Pride's are always bigger and much more fun or I might just ride the high of this one and sit the next one out lol We'll just have to see but this was truly a wonderful experience!!
With less than 3 months until I'm back home in Canada, I've really started to ponder all of the things I'm going to miss about being here in Dublin. There are so many things I know I'm going to miss when I get back to good ol' Windsor and now that it's almost time for me to go back, I can't help but start to really get sad about all of this.
First of all, the people I've met for sure. All of the people at my job who I've grown to love over the past year. They have made that job so much more to me, it's been such a great experience for me. I won't miss working nights lol not even a little bit, but the people there for sure I'll miss. Also, my very best friend here that I've literally spent the past year laughing with, getting drunk and getting messy with, going out to eat with etc., I'll probably cry when I say goodbye to her.
The travelling for sure. Europe is really an amazing place that I didn't get to see as much of as I would have hoped but what I saw was truly once in a lifetime. There's something so exhilierating about being in a new place and having to navigate everything from getting from the aiprort to the hotel using public transit, finding the local stores to get snacks, ciggs, or booze, and finding the yummiest restauramnts to eat at. That brings me to my next point...
The food. I absolutely love going out to eat and trying new restaurant in different cities. Honestly, give me a television show where all I do is travel the world and eat amazing food and I'm set. It's been so much fun getting to eat at all of these restaurants in all of the cities I've visited, probably the best part of this whole experience. I'll for sure miss the food.
I guess I'll miss everything. This has truly been a life changing experience for me. It's made me realize a lot starting with how much I truly love travelling and seeing new places and how much I love and miss my family and friends. Spending a year away was difficult for me but I've somehow made it all worth it. I tell you, this will probably go down as the best experience of my life.
I've been doing a lot of thinking about exactly what I want my next steps to be after coming home regarding traveling after this. I know I mentioned previously that I was considering getting the visa for New Zealand and spending some time there which is still a really good idea but there are a few reasons why I think this is not going to be the right choice for me.
Through this experience, I discovered I really do love traveling and seeing new places, it's been such a life changing experience. I love the excitement and anxiety that surrounds all of the new situations you are thrust into. Situations like finding a place to stay, figuring out a job, finding a hair salon you want to visit etc., although it was super stressful at times it was also so exciting and I would most definitely do it again. What this also taught me though was being this far away from closest friends and especially my family was much more difficult for me than I first thought.
Being away from my nephews, my dad and siblings, and besties, it's not an easy thing to do you know? As I said, I don't take for granted the opportunities I've had but I also recognize that I don't think I want to be away this long again with no way to get home easily if I decided to. Going to New Zealand would be life changing for sure but it is also over 15 hours away by plane which means there's even less of a chance than here in Ireland to see my friends or fam. It's just something I don't know if I want to do again anytime soon.
I considered going for only 6 months perhaps but the costs associated with the visa are much higher for New Zealand than they were for Ireland and if I went with the intention of only staying for 6 months, I feel like I will have spent a copious amount of money without benefiting wholly from the opportunity. I know I'd love it while I was there but frankly, almost seven thousand dollars including flight is a lot of money to save and if I don't honestly think I'll get the full experience out of it, it seems like something maybe I should rethink.
That brings me to my other plan which is to look into going away for the summer to Prince Edward Island and working in a hotel or B&B. This way, I'd only be gone for a few months, I could still do some traveling around places I have never seen before, and come back home sooner without spending every penny I have saved in a year. This to me sounds like something I'm more interested in at the moment. There's so many beautiful places in Canada I have yet to visit or explore so this would keep me closer to home with less time away which seems like the perfect fit to me right now.
I'm always changing my mind because I'm about as indecisive as they come but for now, this sounds like a wonderful plan!
Holy shit guys, Brussels was so much fun. It was so cool walking down the streets and admiring all of the juliette balconies, architecture and old buildings. I also had the pleasure of meeting up with a friend I met in Dublin for her last stop before heading back to Canada which was an added bonus. Overall, it was a fantastic trip but I must admit, it reminded me how badly I need to get back home and get back to eating good food.
Despite Brussels being a pretty large city, I struggled to find good for you food. I enjoyed one healthy meal that was wonderful, an organic chickpea waffle covered in goat's cheese, rocket, tomatoes, and avo. It was delicious but most importantly, required to break up the poor eating otherwise. I ate like crap the four days I was away, burgers, greasy falafel wraps, saucy fries and tacos ugh, it was just a disaster. My stomach is a complete mess returning to Dublin and I'm certain I gained 5 pounds during my trip.
It definitely made me miss being home and the diet I had back home. Salads, smoothies, home cooked food, more vegan meals..everything was just a lot healthier for me. I'm not complaining because all this travelling has been so amazing but it has been less than amazing to my body that's for sure. I honestly can't wait to get back into my healthier routine back home, I think aside from my friends and fam, that's what I'm most excited about.
Vacations are typically an excuse to be a little more lax with your dietary choices but when the entire trip is just one poor choice after another, it can be exhausting. I went shopping and bought myself all kinds of veggies to snack on for the next few days and hopefully reintroduce healthy food to my body lol I hope my poor insides remember what celery or cucumbers are.
I have 3 months left y'all, like, 3 months. Where the hell did the time go? I have to admit, the first two months were less than enjoyable and felt like a year in themselves but after that, things really started to fly by. I honestly believe the reason for that has been the travelling, what an experience it has been. I have seen some seriously amazing places and consider myself super lucky to have had this opportunity. With that being said, I also have come to the realization that I have 3 months left until I come home and so many places I have yet to visit.
Finances are going to play a big part in where I go in these remaining months because I have to also start planning for my return home which is going to be costly. I need to have money for the flight itself which is going to run me up to 600 euros because I have so many suitcases and then I need to have some support monies for when I return home in case I'm unlucky when it comes to my job and have to locate a new one. That period of time without a job could be costly as well so I'd like to have a nice security blanket of money in the bank for when I return.
Considering all of the money I need for returning home, my priorities are to travel to as many countries as cheaply as possible before I get home. I desperately want to see Greece, probably most of all I'd say. On top of Greece, I'd like to See Paris, somewhere eastern European like Romania or Prague, Switzerland, and Italy or Spain. I don't really know how I will manage to get to all of these places in what little time I have left but I'm going to try.
This week I'll be heading to Brussels with a day trip to Frankfurt Germany and then two weeks from now I'll be spending two days in Luxembourg which if you haven't seen pictures of, is like a fairy tale. I'm looking forward to these trips but I also must admit that the process of going to the airport constantly and security and waiting blah blah blah is kind of getting old lol When I get to these places I'm all for it but the process is getting tiring, I'll be happy to get back to Canada and avoid the airport for a while that's for sure.
There have been so many highs and lows when it comes to this experience here in Dublin for the past year but one of the very best things about this experience has been meeting people from all over the world.
Living in the hostel has had its lows for sure, I mean you basically forfeit any personal space or alone time which can at times be a bit overwhelming. There's also the fact that I have very little space to store food leaving me eating the same things all the time and as someone who was writing and testing new recipes and ideas every week, it's especially difficult to be eating the same shit every day. There's the not being able to have pets thing which is also not my favourite thing.
Despite all of this, meeting people from all over the world and engaging in meaningful conversation with them has far overshadowed any of the negative things about this trip. I've had the pleasure of connecting with people from every corner of the globe and it has really opened my eyes to some of the differences, struggles, and positive things about living in different parts of the world. You know, we all have our perceptions about different cultures based on what we've read or what we're told but often times, we couldn't be any more wrong.
Last night, I spent over 3 hours speaking with an older German lady about everything you can think of. We discussed her thoughts on living in Germany versus being here in Dublin and her perception of Germany was so different than what I had experienced in my four days there and also speaking with her shattered that age old perception that German people are cold. She was so friendly and engaging and really loved Dublin because she said she felt like people come together here and want to be together despite having to work which she said was so different in Germany. People there she said, only come out on the weekends and often times the streets are bare through the week because people don't care to go out or do things when they have to work the next day.
Also, she had a very fond perception of Canada despite never having been there. Canada typically is seen in a favourable light although I've had a couple older Irish people who still associate us with Britain and despise us for our connection. As I said, it's so interesting to hear other perspectives from across the globe, it just goes to show me that we all have our own misconceptions or ideas about people, places, or things, often because of what we read or are told but never because we have experienced it ourselves.
If this experience has taught me one thing, it's that people from all over the world have their own problems but that we are all the same. The grass is not always greener on the other side despite sometimes feeling like where you are is the worst, we all have issues. It has taught me to be more patient with people who speak English as a second language although I was never necessarily impatient, but it has taught me just how difficult being somewhere and not speaking fluently can be. I'll tell you, being in Germany or Holland and having people be patient with me and speak English to me was such a warm and welcoming feeling, it really made me appreciate the struggle that people who come to Canada with little English go through.
It has also taught me that we all need to be more open and helpful to one another. As I said, there's a general consensus that all Canadians are super sweet but having lived there, it's not necessarily the truth. I've witnessed the negativity in my hometown when it comes to immigrants, or homosexuals etc., I've seen the hate or lack of tolerance or understanding. The fact is, we as humanity need to be more tolerant and helpful to one another, we're all cut from the same cloth and face struggles in our everyday lives. That's why it's been so important for me to go through this, it really opened my eyes to so much about different cultures and different types of people. I've really grown this year and I think that's been the very best thing about this experience.