Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Friday, November 20, 2009

When I got to work this morning I had mixed feelings about seeing the guys sitting around in the make-up counter chairs and not unloading boxes. I was excited about doing nothing, but knew that would mean boredom or something new. Plus, I had gotten out of bed to sit around. The team leader said I could get trained on the tills today. Again I had mixed feelings about that. As it turned out, the delivery did show up about an hour late. It is normally a little over 100 boxes. Today it was over 200! No trying to keep busy today.

I’m actually starting to feel like I belong there. They still all know my name. Even a lady I swear I haven’t seen called me by name today - I have my name tag covered up by the way. I get called Jessie too, but with an accent I don’t really mind it.

I realized something today I found to be interesting. Not only do they drive on opposite sides, but the escalators are on opposite sides. I have almost done a face plant too many times with that one. The weirdest part is that they walk on the other side like they drive, I keep almost running into people. I asked someone at work today when we were going down the steps, which side they traditionally go up and down. It was opposite from what I would do! Weird.

After work I stopped by Teresa’s for the power bill. It had arrived. I also bought a bag of oranges to stick cloves in. I looked at the bill as I was walking home and found it to be horrifically expensive. I wasn’t sure why, but there was a charge of an additional 123 Euro I couldn’t see a purpose in and it was labeled “Arrears”. I looked it up on the internet and found out it was a debt owed for unpaid bills. This would almost always be a bad thing, but not today. I showed Zach, and he asked about the arrears too. We took the bill back to Teresa and she apologized for it. She said she had not looked at it, but discovered that it was a penalty on her part for not paying a bill in between tenants. I was thankful that she was accepting about it because I was ready to fight it if I needed to, but once again Teresa was as polite and accommodating as anyone could be. So the bill was paid off at a very reasonable price. A little less than I had expected it to be.

Often I forget that I am actually living at the beach. It is just a cold, windy, no sunbathing beach, so I guess it is easy to forget. The weather today was trying to compensate for the awful weather. It was actually sunny with not a drop of rain. I decided to go for a walk as far as I could take it down the promenade toward Salthill for some exploring.

The salty air was refreshing and the view was gorgeous. It must be nice in the late spring and earl summer in Ireland as long as it isn’t pouring. I noticed a jet ski ramp and thought how fun it would be on a warm day. I walked by the golf course and the driving range. I was surprised to see it. It made me sort of happy. It looks out over the ocean and makes for one heck of a golfing experience that is if you can actually ever have a nice day to play golf. If you tried to hit a golf ball here it would just come back and hit you in the face because of the strong wind.

I kept going. Past the diving boards that just out into the ocean. I actually saw people swimming. I saw one guy and just thought he was crazy. Then I saw an older woman getting out of the water and drying off, while another older man entered. I went down to test just how cold it was. I was VERY cold. These people must be members of the polar bear club or something. I hiked up to the cliff. The promenade ended just past the diving boards, but I kept going across the rocky beach. It was more desolate and the solitude was refreshing. I could still see people behind me on the prom, but it was open space before me with my destination just ahead. I have seen these green plateaus for months now and have always wanted to climb up one. I was thinking a bike would get me out here, but walking seemed to do the trick. I would have had to leave the bike back at the prom anyway. I passed a couple strolling on the rocks, and I could tell there might be a few more people on ahead from the footprints in the sand, which had to be fresh otherwise they would have been washed away by the daily rain.

I kept hiking, eventually the sand and rocks turned to mud and grass and I was headed up. It felt like a mini version of the hike in Connemara National Park. The weather was very similar too. I reached the top and made sure to stay away from the precarious edge made of mud. There was a narrow foot path I stuck to. The view was gorgeous. Hard to believe it was just about an hours walk from my apartment. I saw the person whose footprints I’d been following sitting on the edge taking in the view. We exchanged polite nods and I was on my way back toward town. I got my phone out to call Monica to see if she was back from work yet. Surprisingly enough, she was calling me.

I stopped by her house for a rest and a potty break. She asked me to go out with her for Amnesty bag packing. I was tired, but a agreed. I thought I would be doing the bag packing, but she actually just wanted someone to be support when asking the managers to pack bags.

Here you pack your own bags at the grocery store, mainly because they don’t buy as much as we do in one trip. So they don’t have employees packing bags. You do it as they scan. The employees at the register also sit down in chairs and don’t stand up.

When we got back to my apartment after setting up appointments for bag packing ( a common charity thing) I started making peanut butter balls and cookie dough. Monica helped to some degree, but was more distracted with The Extras Zach was watching on TV. The peanut butter balls are so yummy, and Monica and Zach proceeded to eat the ball without the chocolate! I had to swat away their hands. Zach seemed to know better, and stayed away, but Monica would come into the kitchen and sneak some to take to Zach! She got a call about babysitting for her guitar teacher, so she left to get some food before babysitting. She seems to love her lessons. Almost like two in one with relaxation therapy and lessons.

Zach cooked enchiladas for his dinner night and I whipped up some sugar cookie dough and set it in the fridge to chill for tomorrow. I’m getting excited about the Christmas party!

I got a call from Marta and Zach and I went downstairs for paella and barraquito. I was excited to try Marta’s version of paella, but then I found out it was the seafood variety. I said what the heck and ate it anyway. I ate the squid and crab, but I stayed away from the mussels. It was very flavorful, unlike some of the paella I actually ate in Spain. The barraquito is a special coffee drink that even I seem to like. Coat the bottom of the glass in condensed milk about the width of a finger. Pour in a shot of espresso. Pour in regular milk on top with some cinnamon and a bit of lemon peel. The layers look cool in a clear glass, but before you drink, you stir.

I took some peanut butter balls for dessert. We had many laughs as usual with Paula, Demi, Roberto, Marta and Jordi. Marta and Jordi leave for London tomorrow.

Hanging out with Monica today and then with the Spaniards and Roberto really hit home. Although I will be happy to get home and see friends and family, I will be leaving behind a group of people who have come to mean a lot to me. It makes me very sad to have a bittersweet goodbye. However, I do know that I will see them again. Maybe their next destination will even be America and I can play tour guide!

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