Friday, September 18, 2009

Culture Conscious

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I woke up for my meeting with Ann-Marie at 9:30. I wasn’t sure how casual or dressed up to go, but I decided on dress slacks and a black turtleneck that seemed to work well. As I was getting ready I realized I should have printed out a CV stating all my experience with children. I had about 20 minutes to type one up and get it printed next door. I made it five minutes early to the interview. We sat down to talk about what I would be required to do and when. She thought I was here for about a year, so it was disappointing to learn I would be leaving before Christmas. She wanted someone till June when their schooling ends. However, she had no doubt I would be good with the children. She liked my resume and that I was a swimmer since her children are as well. She especially liked the fact I was American. So far all her nannies have been foreign and the children love it. It is a great way for them to get to know another culture and learn. I would like the same for any children I have one day. She has two girls 9 and 10 and one boy 5. They are old enough to play on their own and friends in the neighborhood, but I would still stay with the boy. They live about 2 miles from city center – about a 30-40 min walk. I would probably rent that bike if they hired me so I could get there faster. It sounds like a wonderful opportunity. I would work 12-6 T,R,F and still have Mondays and Wednesdays to do whatever and work at the café. I would actually have a full schedule! It would greatly cut into the ability to travel and limit me to day trips, but it would be better than trying to find stuff to do all the time. And I’d be making money instead of spending it. I prayed about it, and whatever the outcome is what is meant to be.

I went out the pharmacy to try to figure out what kind of bandage this adhesive but nonstick to wound stuff is. I had only a piece of it left and no packaging indication as to what it was. The pharmacist wasn’t sure either, but told me to try another place. They thought it might be duoderm, but were not sure either. It was not in stock if it was. I was told to try the pharmacy out near the university beside the hospital. They would have a better bandage stock. This was a walk, but I didn’t have anything on my agenda at the moment. I found the pharmacy and they had the duoderm!! Pharmacies here are not like at home. There are not all these rival brands competing against each other. They all seem to be individually owned. On my way back I made a few detours shopping. I had not really explored the retail side of Galway with the exception of begging for a job. I bought one 7 euro dress and that was enough to satisfy. I picked up some spinach and red onions from the grocer and went home to start on dinner. I heated up a late lunch of pie leftovers and started on putting together a pasta fresca. I chopped up spinach, red onion, roma tomatoes and parsley. I mixed balsamic vinegar and olive oil and let it sit while I boiled penne pasta. I drained the pasta and mixed in white wine, balsamic, olive oil and parmesan cheese. I combined the two mixtures and stuck it in the fridge for later.

Zach and I purchased plane tickets to London. The dates we wanted changed in price drastically, so we picked a different week later in October. If I do get the job babysitting, I had given her the dates I would be unable to work. Hopefully switching weeks won’t be a problem. I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. I feel like it is 50/50 right now anyway and I hate waiting. I want to know, so I can make plans. I need my plans even though they are subject to change, I just want to make them!

For dinner, I reheated the pasta and topped it with feta cheese. I cooked a loaf of garlic bread Zach had and dinner turned out rather tasty. Pasta without tomato sauce…that’s a new one for me.

Monica had asked me to be at Amnesty from 7-9. They open till 8 on Thursday because like Friday and Saturday are out big shopping days; Thursday is Ireland’s. When I got there I saw one customer and then Marie-Ann and another volunteer were sitting down having scones and drinking coffee. She asked me to join them. The scones were getting dry and needing to be thrown out, so we enjoyed them instead of wasting them. Since it was so slow, she had decided to close early. Usually the have live music on Thursdays as well, but the band did not show up. Marie-Ann loves chocolate as much as I do and there is a whole box in the storeroom of delicious milk chocolate that’s out of date. It’s fair game for the employees though. She offered me some of that too. By the time I finished off half a bar and a hot chocolate. I could feel a little bit of a rush and a headache coming on. Chocolate overload! I helped clean up and close down the shop. Monica showed up at the end asking if I wanted to go out for a drink. I declined on the drink and I was feeling really tired, but since I got off earlier than expected I told her I would join her. We went to Blue Note, a pub/bar popular for its music venue. I really liked the atmosphere. We sat on the side patio, which is also the smoking section. Minus the hazy cloud (which could have added to the ambiance) it was cozy with heat lamps and dim lighting. I really enjoyed out conversation which ranged from things like languages, accents and expressions to relationships, Geminis (which both of us are, but not really horoscopes), and social customs etc. Grace, from Amnesty, showed up with some friends and came over to our table to talk for awhile. Both of them are easy and fun to converse with. That makes a big difference in how much time you can spend around a person. I asked Monica if she minded me asking (after her third cigarette) how many she usually smoked a day. Too many she said, but after her next two packs she was quitting and quitting sugar as well. I just said that other than maybe one or two people, I’m just not used to people smoking and I was curious because I’ve noticed that the majority of Europeans smoke. We left Blue Note around 10:30 and walked over to Monica’s apartment. She lived just across the street in a cozy 3 bedroom place she shared with Spanish girl, Loraine who I did not meet, and another girl who is on a dig excavating something in England I think. She had wanted me to see some pictures she took with her camera. I think that will be one of my first investments when I get a salary – a nice camera. It makes a world of difference in quality, but you just have to be willing to lug it around and learn how to use it. She asked if I was heading home, or wanted to stay. I said I would stay and she made us cranberry green tea. I think I’ll start getting accustomed to drinking tea in Ireland like I acquired a taste for wine in Italy.

Monica knew we drove a lot, but she was amazed to think about how often we really did drive. We drive ten minutes walk down the road. I would drive to Sarah’s house three blocks over. There are many places I could walk instead of drive, but it takes longer, it isn’t as safe because usually only the drunken bums without cars walk, and the sidewalks end. America is not as structured for walking. It’s very spread out. I have not once walked to buy my groceries (unless I walked to the Piggly Wiggly at the beach a road over) and often even if I did, especially at home, we could not carry all the items back with us. It usually covers the trunk and we make two to three trips to get them from the car into the house. How would the salad last she asked. I’m not sure, we use them and then get more later, or go without for a bit till we go back (salad, not just what we put dressing one, but veggie items in general). Another custom she can’t believe on the American TV shows and movies she sees is not taking ones shoes off at the door. I walked into her apartment and was just walking around. She suggested I take off my shoes and make myself comfortable. I don’t like sock feet that much because my feet get cold easily and heaven forbid I accidentally step in water with socks on! But she said it again to take off my shoes and asked if it was not customary to do so. I said I rarely do unless I’ve been in mud. She said shoes are dirty and then they track through the house and don’t most Americans have carpet. That must be awful if you don’t take off your shoes. I thought about a minute then came to a realization that we drive. We don’t walk. Our shoes wouldn’t be half as dirty as if we walked everywhere. She thought this was a good deduction as well. There is always the old standby that Americans as always in such a hurry that taking the time to get the shoes off and back on would be too much out of our fast-paced lives to endure. I really just don’t like cold feet.

We watched a little TV, but mainly listened to music. A lot of her stuff I had never heard before because unless you really look for it, world artists are not readily available like they are outside of America. The rest of the world constantly listens to a of it, but it seems like America has a shield around it and radio stations for the most part only play American music, o musicians that have made a presence in America. She showed me a TV guide listing of the shows in Norway. Mostly American, so they must learn English in order to watch TV. Kind of unusual. It seems that the culture and social aspects of America have much more influence than the political side.

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