It's been a long couple of weeks for me here at the hostel. The hostel itself has been great, the staff here are all wonderful and they've been super accommodating to me but I've been checking in and out repeatedly over the past couple of weeks and with working nights, it's been hell on my body. This morning I came home from work and had to checkout by 10 am so there's this internal struggle happening like, do I sleep for 2 hours, get up, rush and pack, or just stay awake? I always go with option 1 because frankly by the time I get home at 745 am, I'm pretty much dead. The problem is, you wake up from a 2 hour sleep feeling like you were run over before laying down, it's pretty awful lol
What I'm happy about is that I move in to the long term residence as of the 27th which basically means I pay a cheaper price per week and can stay in the same bed and room permanently until I find my own place. This is exactly what I need right now, some stability. Although I've gotten quite used to the hectic lifestyle I've had since I arrived here in Dublin, I crave some kind of stability. Back home, although I worked abundantly and was always busy, I always had a bed to go home to, food to eat, and family and friends close by. Although I've met some cool people here, went for breakfast with a guy, chatted up some of the long terms etc., I haven't really made personal connections that I would consider to be crucial to my happiness. There is a girl from Canada I work with who's had quite a colourful life and I intend to ask her to go for a pint or 6 so we can chat about her crazy life.
What I'm getting at is the yearning for some kind of stability is strong right now. All of the craziness that has surrounded this move like immigration, tax appointments, looking for a place, checking out of my bed a million times, trying to save money, and abandoning the things I love like cooking new recipes and having my own kitchen space, have all sort of made this trip extra crazy to me. Although I do crave stability, it's certainly made this experience more than I could have imagined in that I know I'm much stronger than I thought I was. Don't get me wrong, I'm a pretty strong bitch, but all of this has certainly tested my mental capacity and I feel like I'm coming out on top.
What's next? A month or two of just work and sleep, saving euros, and trying to be as cheap as possible when it comes to eating out and unnecessary spending. Those are my biggest challenges, especially shopping. I stumbled into Penney's which is like Walmart from Canada / U.S. on steroids. Everything was so cheap and there was so much selection, it was the biggest test I've had since I arrived here lol I love to shop but at this point, I have no space in my suitcases and no storage for anything new so I have to watch myself lol Ugh, the trials of being an expat in Dublin :P
Last night was hard for me guys. After finishing up a chat with a Brazilian guy whose name I can't seem to remember now (thank you booze), I started to feel really lonely and started missing my family and friends hardcore. You know, he was telling em that he didn't think he could do what I was doing because he didn't think he could be away from his family and friends for that long. It kind of resonated with me, I'm already missing everyone immensely and it's only been a month, how the hell was I going to make it an entire year?
After our chat and a few more beers, I started chatting with a couple of my friends from back home along with my dad and I started venting about how difficult this process was and how much I missed everyone etc. and honestly, I went to be thinking last night that I just wanted to go back to Canada and be done with this experience.
This morning however, I woke up feeling like I was not even close to ready to abandon this opportunity. This visa is a once in a lifetime visa, I can never apply for it again. I can't possibly piss away this opportunity because I'm a little homesick can I? The answer is no, I refuse to go home until I know that I've exhausted every opportunity and option to make things work here. Yes I'm frustrated that I don't have a place and now can't afford one for a month or so. Yes I'm upset at the amount of money I've blown since I arrived here paying for hostels and food and everything else without actually having done any of the tours of Ireland I came here for. Yes I miss my friends and family so very much, but the fact is, everything will still be there when I am finished with this.
I decided I was going to give myself a deadline. By Christmas, if I still don't have a place and still am struggling to make things work here, then and only then will I consider going home. It's way too early to think about leaving especially considering there were so many reasons I wanted to come. I haven't done any tours of Ireland as I mentioned, I haven't visited other European countries that I have excellent access to, and I haven't tried hard enough yet. I was exhausted last night and emotional from booze, simple as that.
Guys, moving abroad has been one of the biggest challenges I've ever faced for so many reasons, but it's also the coolest experience at the same time and has really demonstrated to me that I'm capable of achieving anything I want to achieve. The same guy who could barely speak in front of his class 4 years ago is now living in foreign country, making Immigration and tax appointments, navigating a new life completely alone, it's time to be more proud of myself and less sad about things that will still be ready for me when the time comes.
It's been an emotional roller coaster but I'm determined to give it 100% before I make any kind of decision about returning home. Being an emotional wreck is no fun but sometimes you just gotta let it out :P
Being in a hostel has been an incredible and humbling experience. You don't realize how much you've taken for granted until you're sharing it with 8 - 20 other people every day. For example, sleep, I certainly took for granted how easy it was to fall fast asleep in a room I was the only person staying in. Luckily, midnight's have been great (I can't believe I'm saying this) because most of the people in the room have either checked out or headed out for the day by the time I get home in the morning to sleep. My days off are another story, tonight for example, there's a full house and most of the boys have gone out for the night. This means I'll most assuredly have to sleep through them all getting home and likely being noisy, snoring, and other noises that will definitely screw with my sleep.
Bathroom time, I'm lucky to find an available bathroom to use for work everyday. I've had to get crafty and steal bathrooms from the other floors because there's just no way I can go to work without showering and freshening up. Cooking, laundry, me time, etc. all of these things are given up to stay somewhere the prices are cheap. But, this also comes with the opportunity to chat with people from all across the globe and hear their stories from their home countries. It's an amazing and awful experience all at the same time. This brings me to my story, the story of Ken.
Ken is a local man who stays at the hostel from time to time, when he's not here he's likely staying at another hostel because this one is fully booked and he waited just a touch too long to rebook. He's a lovely older gentleman who has always been extremely kind to me. Ken suffers from some kind of mental disability, one that I have no right to diagnose, but it's blaringly obvious that he struggles with speech and has tremors. All of this aside, he's a delight to converse with. he always asks me about how my job is going, if I've had luck finding a place, or just general conversation. I enjoy our conversations.
Recently, Ken suffered an injury at work that left him unable to work for a brief time. He remained unusually positive, happy to have a bed to sleep in and somewhere to relax at days end. His positivity has always helped to remind me that things could always be worse for me. That I could always be in a worse situation, and that's important for me sometimes because I've had moments where I've been incredibly down.
Tonight as I sat and ate my dinner, Ken came into the kitchen and greeted me as he often does. We started to chat just about general stuff and that's when he told me he had nowhere to stay tonight. I asked him about other hostels and he told me they were all booked up. He mentioned he was heading to the local homeless shelter after his laundry finished. As he whipped up a quick sandwich, I couldn't help but tear up. How could this man have no where to stay? This sickens me. So I asked him if he had been dealing with this his whole life and he said he's been bouncing between hostels for a while and this would be the first time he really had no options.
As we continued to chat, I felt overwhelmed with sadness for Ken. How could this man have no options? How can a country have nowhere for someone who works and obviously has some kind of disability to go? As we continued to chat, I asked him if it made him nervous to have nowhere to go for the next two nights and he smiled and said he was back in this hostel come Sunday and as long as he had, "Somewhere to lay me head down." that's all he needed.
As we finished up our meals and cigarettes, I told him I really hoped he was able to get into the shelter tonight and he smiled and told me that he'd figure things out. I walked away after telling him to take care and returned to my room. As I sat there, I couldn't help but feel incredibly sorry for Ken, but also feeling uplifted by him. He didn't complain, he wants nothing out of life but just to live and have somewhere to sleep. He remains incredibly positive despite life seemingly throwing him one curve ball after another, how can that be? There's been at least 5 days out of the last month that I've been here that I contemplated whether I could handle this. Whether I was capable of living like I was, nearly broke and unable to afford an apartment, living in a hostel with no luxuries that I was comfortable with, alone etc. and here is this man who might be on the streets tonight smiling and asking me how my job was...
Today, Ken reminded me that positivity is such a powerful tool. It can carry you out of the darkest times and it always helps when you think things can't get any worse because frankly, they can. I still have a roof over my head for now, I have money for food and smokes (which I need to quit yes I know :( ), a job, and relatively good health, so I need to just chill with the self pity.
There is a housing crisis here that is evident to me. There are going to be days that I can't afford to go tanning, days that I might not eat out like I'd like, days that I might feel like I can't do this any more, but I'll always think of today with Ken. How he smiled his way through things that I would otherwise crumble from. What an amazing guy he is, and if I decide that I can't do this anymore, one thing I will have learned is that that's ok because as long as I'm content and happy with my decisions and what I have achieved, nothing else matters. I will forever be grateful for everything I have. Thanks Ken.
I think I'm finally getting everything in order y'all. I have a bank account, my tax number is on the way, a job I enjoy, and a cold that I believe is finally on the way out. I have a lingering cough that doesn't seem to want to quit but compared to how I felt a week ago, everything is on the way up. I must admit, it's been a stressful week trying to organize everything especially with trying to find a place. I've had 3 places I was supposed to go and see only to have them sell the day before (or day of) that I was supposed to go and view them. I must admit, it's quite a frustrating process.
What I have decided is to just try and let it all go. The hostel I'm staying at has been really good to me. I've been able to book 2 more weeks with the potential for more in the same bed if needed so the prospect of being homeless is off the table which is super great. I'm going to stay at an Airbnb this Saturday because the hostel was booked so I'm looking forward to sleeping in my own room. I imagine it will probably be one the bets sleeps I've had in a long while.
I have the weekend off so I think I'm going to take Sunday and visit Galway. I keep hearing how wonderful the city is so I figure I should probably take the time and bus out there. I believe it's a 2 hour journey back and forth but if I leave early enough, I'll be able to spend most of the day there and have time to take pictures and such. There's so much of Ireland I want to see so I must admit, trying to get adjusted has been quite annoying because I'd much rather be travelling and sightseeing lol
Other than that, everything is fine over here. I miss my family and friends a great deal but working and starting to chat with coworkers and such has helped. I just enjoy being social so having a week or so where I wasn't really having too many conversations was very difficult for me. It seems everything is on the way up now so it can only get better from here :)
Omgosh guys, i feel like I got hit by a double decker bus! I've finally hit my two days off and they couldn't be more well deserved at this point. I just finished a 7 day stretch, 6 of which were midnights, battling the cold from hell I might add. Yesterday after work, I was able to sleep less than three hours before I almost missed my Irish tax number appointment which would have royally screwed me, and then I was able to get another 2 later in the day before midnights again last night. This turmoil preceded today's checking out which ultimately meant I could not sleep, I left my keys at work and had to rush back and back to the hostel again with 45 minutes to spare. I slipped in a quick shower, rushed to pack, and headed out for 7 hours of debauchery to pass the time before I could check in again to my new room all the while lugging around my laptop on my tired, weathered back. I'm physically devastated at this point.
Tonight I'll be heading out to a viewing for a room that I'm pretty certain I'll take regardless of what it looks like because I need a room to myself. I'm so over living out of suitcases, sharing bathrooms with 20 other dudes, and trying to sleep when everyone else is waking up. This has been a seriously stressful and draining week, BUT, it hasn't stopped now has it? The point is, this experience is definitely making me stronger because there's been moments where I thought I didn't want to endure this anymore. Today being the lead example, I haven't slept in literally a day and I don't intend to sleep away one of my days off. Essentially, I'll be up all damned day and night and that's just the way it is.
I truly hope this place works out for me, I miss cooking. I miss writing recipes and testing new ideas in the kitchen. I especially miss grocery shopping lol Loserish I know but man, I love grocery shopping, it's where the inspiration begins! I just miss home cooked food as opposed to eating out. Since I've been trying to cheap out until I start getting paid, I've been eating 3 euro sandwiches and the occasional fruit cup, I'm over it.
I needed to rant y'all, that's it for today! Expect lots of new recipes soon if I get this place <3
This has probably been one of the hardest weeks of my life. I started my midnights position at the hostel which has been going super well. Both of the midnight guys are super friendly and helpful, it's a great atmosphere. I'm still struggling to get into the midnights groove though, I worked midnights back home for about 2 months and ended up quitting my job because it was wreaking havoc on my body. I'm going to stick it out though because the other option is returning home to Canada with my tail between my legs lol That just won't do.
This might all be compounded by the fact that I feel like I have the plague. This cold / flu has literally destroyed me guys. I wake up feeling ok and within an hour or so, it starts to get worse and worse until I feel compelled to contact the morgue and let them know I'll likely be arriving later in the day. I finally picked up some medication at the pharmacy today so here's to hoping I start feeling less like I'm going to die soon because I tell you, this whole midnights transition has likely been especially difficult because of this horrid illness. It's debilitating being sick and being up all night I tell you.
In other news, I contacted the vegetarian Society of Ireland again and offered my services to them. I'd love to contribute to their page and try and revitalize it. I've noticed they are lacking updates and from what I've been told, they are lacking volunteers as well. it would be nice to lend my expertise to them and maybe leave my mark on the vegetarians of this country lol Any way I can help and perhaps get things going again for them would be wonderful! I'll be attending World vegetarian Day this weekend which I'm super excited about, so hopefully I can meet some like minded people there.
I still have no bank account which is kind of frightening as I get paid next week. I would love to be more diligent but I'm sick as a dog and need to sleep. By the time I wake up, the banks are either closed or closing so soon I won't make it on time. I've made appointments with two different ones and haven't heard anything back yet. I need a bank account and I need it quickly.
Other than that, I'm loving Dublin so far. The people all seem to be super friendly and I've not once felt unsafe. That's huge when you consider living in a larger city, safety is a big thing right?
I'm feeling a bit anxious about starting the new job tomorrow. Surprisingly, I'm not really nervous, I'm more just ready to get the ball rolling here. It will be so great to have a reason to get up and do something every day, plus, it will keep me from spending as I'm often tempted to do. I come from a past that includes a big shopping problem as well as a problem with the management of money. I got the help I needed and can now keep from overdoing it, but boy oh boy it's tempting to stop in places and peruse. I won't even allow myself to window shop for fear that it will lead to uncontrolled spending, sad eh?
I'm also anxious to get into a place and start cooking again. It's been great eating out here or there but even that I've cut out in the last few days. I allow myself a latte or two throughout the day, and a cheap sandwich from the local mart, aside from that, I'm trying to avoid overspending on food. I've noticed a few extra pounds hanging out around my midsection so it's probably for the best that I scale back on the eating out.
I started responding to places today. I tell yah, it's fairly nerve wracking trying to find the right place for the right price. Ideally, I'd like to spend less than 600 euros each month which is totally achievable, it's just the location that has me a bit fried. I really want to live within walking distance OR short bus ride but some of the places that fall within my price range are in completely different parts of Dublin altogether. I expect to be living with 3 or 4 people as that's what the people do here because of sky high rental costs which is fine, more people to eat my food and give me opinions and feedback :) I found a few that are close to where I'd like to be so here's to hoping I hear from one of them in the next few days.
It's all a waiting game now y'all.
Boy howdy is there ever a lot of things one has to accomplish just to live and work overseas. I feel great about everything I've accomplished to date but believe me when I say, there's so much more that I have to do before I'm actually settled.
Now that I have a job which I am super excited about, I have to get a few more things done before I can even begin to be paid. I have an appointment to get a PPS number which will allow me to be paid (basically it's a tax number) which after I receive that, I then have to go to a bank and pray that they will issue me a bank account. From what I hear, the Irish bank account process can be quite difficult. I've basically been told that if one rejects you, go right down to the next one and try there. Ultimately, there's plenty of hoops you have to jump through to get the ball rolling. I'm prepared to do whatever it takes but it certainly makes me wonder, why is it so easy to apply for this visa and come here but everything you have to do once here is so bloody difficult? Seems odd that the first part is super simple and everything that follows is basically torture.
Aside from that, I'm super excited to start my job this Friday. I'll be doing training during the day before heading right into midnight's Saturday and Sunday which I've been told are the two busiest days of the week at this hostel. I'm obviously ready but admittedly a bit nervous as well because I really don't know what I'm up against. Whatever the case, I'm super ready to just hit the ground running and kill it. Who knows what opportunities will come from this right? I might hate midnight's, but if it leads to opportunities that are on other shifts, I can handle it for a few months.
Nothing else is really new with me. I'm starting to look at places today which I've also heard can be hell on earth. I honestly don't care where I stay or what it looks like so long as I have a roof over my head and can afford to live lol
I'll check back in in a few days with an update!
These last 5 or so days have really been exceptional in Dublin. Not just because of the city, the travelling, or the beauty, but because I've accomplished more this time in 4 days than I did in nearly 2 weeks the last time I was here. I've activated my phone, fixed my GNIB card mixup, had an interview that led to an interview for a position I know I can take on, and navigated the city. I'm so very proud of myself. I tell you, being an introverted extrovert has its ups and downs. I've managed to initiate convos with some of my hostel roomies, although I'd prefer they started the convo lol I've also come to realize that I absolutely love this time to just be me, understand what I want and need, and also test myself. It's something that I've needed for a long time and I truly hope this helps break me out of whatever remaining shell I'm still entangled in.
What I CAN say however is that I miss my family terribly. I miss my friends of course as well but I've bonded so well with my family, especially since my mother's passing, that it's hard to fathom not seeing them for so long. I know a year really isn't that long, but it is when you love your family as much as I do. I know I'll get over it, and we talk almost every day, but it is definitely the hardest part of this process. Of course I want to live and experience, but I want my family just a touch closer lol Guess you can't have it all.
I had an interview today with a recruiter who was probably the coolest and most badass lady I've ever meant. I don't know how many times she said fuck, but it certainly made for a casual interview that helped release any nerves I may have had. I felt so comfortable and welcomed, she was really kick ass. Now I wait to interview tomorrow for a position in a hostel that I know I can take on. I'm looking forward to the interview and hopefully securing a job through it. It's super daunting knowing that money is limited and everything kind of depends on a job. Obviously, life depends on money, but this for me means staying or going. After last year's debacle, the last thing I want to do is return home defeated. That's why I MUST find work and make this happen.
Ugh, what else is there to say? I'm still super bummed about my brother and his girlfriend basically cutting me out of their lives. If only they knew how much I cared for my nephews, and my brother. As far as she goes, I could care less about her. She never tried to be a part of our family from the day we met her, I don't care about her. I care about losing my brother, and my beautiful nephews. I worked so hard last year to be able to come back to Ireland, it just stings to hear things like I don't care, or I didn't call enough. While she sits at home all day, I'm working 16 hours to make my dreams come true...and she held that against me. I'll never forgive her for that. Enough with the negativity though.
I think I need a drink lol I'm out.
As I approach my leave date on Monday, I've come into a time of reflection. This past year has been a bit of a blur but I've had the opportunity to learn some new things, strengthen relationships, and learn more about myself. Starting with the biggest and most important lesson I learned, to accept failure and use it as motivation to move forward.
Coming home so soon after I left for Ireland last year really crushed my spirits. Mismanagement and lack of preparation left me in a rather undesirable position and my only option was to come home. Although this originally destroyed me, I learned a lot from it as well. Coming home, I knew I'd return the following year so I knew I had to learn from my mistakes and make sure this time around went so much better. Failure is an unfortunate part of trying new things and it can really dampen your spirits, but it's important to look at the failure as an opportunity to improve and a reason to still be proud. You tried something! That's a big deal! I couldn't be more proud of myself for leaping into something so drastically different than anything I'd ever done. Until then, I'd never flown let alone visited a country overseas. Despite the failure of coming home early, there were so many things I succeeded at that I couldn't allow myself to be dragged down.
I learned about resilience and determination. I knew I was going back and I knew I'd have to work harder and save more to make this happen. I went back full swing into both of my jobs and worked my tail off this year to get ahead and save enough money to make this opportunity happen. It wasn't easy asking for my jobs back, but I was so grateful that both of my bosses welcomed me back. Without them, I couldn't have ended up in the position I am in now. I am so grateful to them but also super proud of myself. I left a good enough impression on them that they welcomed me back without pause. That meant a lot to me for sure. Nothing like feeling like an asset to a company!
I also realized this year how important relationships are. I did a rather terrible job of making and sticking to plans with my closest friends and I now realize that no amount of work should come between relationships. I recently had a falling out with my brother and his family and it kills me every minute of the day that I'm losing out on my nephews. With that being said, I know how hard I fought for that relationship so I refuse to allow myself to feel sorry about it. When I return, I'm definitely going to work harder to maintain the relationships that I still have. Attend more of the social functions, visit unannounced, and just try to be present more often. I know they know I was busy because I was trying to go back to Ireland and really enjoy the experience, but it still stung that I was so unavailable.
Lastly, I think I learned just how strong I am. I can truly achieve anything if I put my mind to it and that's exactly why I'm heading back to Ireland on Monday. I'm getting a 2nd chance because I fought for it, I worked hard for it, and I should be especially proud of that. Working one full time job is hard, but adding in a part time job as well was so much effort, but well worth it in the end. Here I am, moving back to Ireland in 3 days, and I think I'm actually ready this time.