Saturday, September 5, 2009
8 Mary Street
Friday, September 4
I’ve moved into a new apartment! Wahoo
My address is:
c/o Teresa’s Green Grocer
8 Mary Street
Galway City, Ireland
I officially have little to no internet access right now, so my blogs are going to be limited. I am going to keep them written in Word and copy and paste every few days.
We had a 10:00am apt to see Teresa at her green grocery about the apartment. We asked all our questions, took one more look around and said “we’ll take it!” Teresa is a very nice lady in her mid to late 40s with a husband, John, and a son, Kevin. It was her son who had showed us the apartment the day before. She is very nice and helpful, but all over the place. She is a multi-tasker who seems to lose track of her tasks half way through.
The apartment is center city. Couldn’t have asked for a better location. The street it is on is not very busy, but its two blocks away from the busiest pedestrian street in Galway. On out street is a Turkish café, Mexican café, student café, convenience market, Asian restaurant, Chatter-net (internet), USIT student travel and the corner pub showing all G.A.A. sporting events. At the corner across the street is Eddie Rockets – Ireland’s version of Johnny Rockets. As soon as I get a job I’m going there to celebrate with an American style cheeseburger and milkshake.
We paid our deposit (well most of it. You can only withdraw $500 a day from the ATM and that’s a max of about 300 Euro – the deposit was 400 each). She was understanding and told us that we should give her less that 300 for now because we shouldn’t “leave ourselves stuck”. The deposit we will get back in December anyway. Rent for this apartment is paid weekly and it starts on whatever day you move in, so my rent is now due every Friday. Rent includes all bills (refuse, trash pick up, water) except ESP, the electric bill. We also do not have internet. The NTL (cable of Ireland) only has yearly contracts, so we aren’t sure yet what is to be done about that. There is no TV either, so regardless of the money, a job is needed for idle hands.
We immediately went back to the hostel (about 5min away) and packed up our things to be lugged across the square and down a few streets. Thankfully, it was not raining. It was so nice to set up in the apartment and take everything out of my suitcase.
We spent the whole day moving in and getting things straightened up. Two blocks over on the main street is a mall with a Dunnes Store. Dunnes Stores tell you to shop there because they’re Irish. The first one started in Cork some years ago and now they are everywhere. There are even two on the same square in Galway City. It’s kind of like Wal-mart, but not quite. They have men’s, women’s, children’s clothing, bed and bathroom, and a grocery store.
I’m big into grocery stores. I like to go to the ones that give me a good feeling. I don’t really know what criteria it has to match, but I just know. This Dunnes grocery is in the middle. I’ll go there because it is close and decent, but I’m in the market for a new grocery store (no pun intended ). It needs to be close though because I have to walk whatever groceries I buy in big tote bags back to the apartment.
Today we got a bed in a bag and a towel, washcloth, hand cloth pack to get us started. The apartments come fully furnished, but no bedding. The bed in a bag contains a pillow protector, a pillow case, a pillow, a mattress protector, a bottom sheet, and duvet. When we got this thing open, we found the texture of each of these items to be like that of a dryer sheet and 100% polyester. The bottom sheet might have some traces of cotton in it, but the jury is still out on that one. I’m accustomed to a flat pillow, so I can deal with that, but the sheets are going to need some additions.
I went back to Dunnes later to see if they had some soft blankets or something, but I found nothing of interest. My objective this time was groceries and a hairdryer; the latter of which they did not have. I got some pasta, pasta sauce, paper towels, TP, milk, butter, bread, olive oil, dish soap, pizza, OJ, soup and cereal. I had started out with a basket, but realized things were getting a bit heavy. I asked the nearest clerk where I could get a buggy. She said “a what?” I said “a buggy, a kart”. She said “ Oh, you mean a trolley dear. Those are outside the store near the carpark”. Great. I left my basket with a girl at the register (also called a till) and found a trolley for the remainder of my shopping. They do not bag up your stuff for you. That is your job, and you only get plastic bags if you ask for them. Sometimes you’ll even get charged for the bags, so I bring my own. I got the big bags from TJ Maxx at home and they work really well.
I got back home and decided to settle into cleaning. I had found John downstairs to ask for a mop and broom. The stairs here are covered on carpet in bad need of a vacuum, but the bedrooms have the plastic hardwood floors, and the bathroom/kitchen are tile. I swept the floors while Zach moped.
He had started a load of laundry, which is an interesting thing here. The washer and dryer (located in the kitchen) are one in the same. We still haven’t figured out if there is a dry only function (Teresa and John both did not know either). So far it takes about 3 hours for a load about the size of how much clothing you can fit in a book bag. I feel like most of our electric bill will be a result of the laundry. As for lighting, we have 3 skylights that bring in a good deal of light during the day when it isn’t too cloudy. The price of electricity at night is also cheaper than during the day, so that helps then too. The good thing about the washer/dryer is that we can run a load during the night and in the morning it will be waiting – dry (maybe a bit wrinkled).
After the floor dried, I decided to cook some spaghetti. I went downstairs to Teresa’s and bought a pack of peppers and an onion. She charged 2 Euro for all, giving me the onion for free. I talked with her a bit and I left the store beaming with a smile wide across my face. I had just bought fresh veggies from my landlord to make dinner that night just upstairs. I began cutting up peppers and onions. For a minute I got excited because the onion didn’t seem to take its toll on me, but just as I’d finished cutting it up I began to have burning tears stream down my face. I’ve tried the tricks. Doesn’t seem to really help. I saw some onion goggles in a cooking store in Charleston. They looked like ski goggles, and I’m sure the swim goggles I actually brought with me would work – maybe I’ll try those out next time.
I threw some stuff together, but I was surprised to find that the sauce was pretty darn good if I say so myself. I tried to toast some bread, but I couldn’t get the toaster to work. So far it seems like in Ireland you must flip a switch where the plug is in order for the power to come on. This happened to be my problem. I got it worked out and we had toast with our pasta. Zach and I sat down to our three person kitchen table and consumed some spaghetti. He said we could rotate the cooking, something he’s pretty good at evidentially so that was fine by me. Although, I feel like he is able to put away a lot more food than I am, so I must be quick to claim the leftovers for lunches!
We waited around for John to stop by to show up how to run the heat, ask about internet, and some other various switches. He showed an hour later than he had said. I made a cup of hot chocolate (imported from NC). It was wonderful; however, I learned that the majority of our cups are coffee only. They have a gold plated rim around the top. Metal can not go into a microwave. When I poured my milk and put it into the microwave, I did not realize that it was actually metal I was dealing with here until sparks started flying. Thankfully, I was watching it because I wasn’t sure about the dial/timing system. I took it out and investigated. Then switched it to one of the three cups we have not laced with metal and it worked fine.
After John came, I headed over to the hostel with my laptop since we had paid for that night at the hostel (11 Euro) I was going to get my moneys worth in internet and breakfast the next morning. I even got some printing out of it too. Zach went for a bit to do some stuff online as well.
Getting back to the apartment and falling asleep in dryer sheets was alright. The bed isn’t that bad. I hadn’t turned the heat on because I wasn’t sure about leaving it on all night. They are space heater in each room, not central heating. We have one in the bathroom too though for getting out of the shower and not freezing. It works rather well. I slept in a sweatshirt and footies. I woke up freezing a few times so I actually balled up in the fetal position – knees tucked inside of my sweatshirt and arms pulled in as well. I made it through the first night!