Autumnal musings on a damp morning at home

So I missed October.  Not actually, but in writing.  I have excuses though.  A few of them are good (travel! work! really nice weather for getting outside while I still can!), but also a general creeping of laziness, perhaps brought on by loneliness.

Seeing friends here and there over the past several weeks, has been absolutely great.  Hi Lou, Melissa and, especially, Jeff! And Skype, FB chats have also been good, though the technology hasn’t always performed as I’d like.  But there are special people I’m missing, as well as the general friends-in-certain-places vibes (Boulder Beer, Fate, people to go to shows with, and the like). Not that I haven’t been finding pubs that I enjoy, but the conversations don’t always happen. Sometimes they do, of course, and I’m making more of an effort lately (put down the Kindle, make eye contact) to chat.

I’m sure some of it is that I’m closer to being settled here in Ireland- the big “must do this before I can do that in order to actually live here” checklist is mostly ticked off. There are still small annoyances I’ll figure out how to get around, but it feels more real and less like an episodic event/long holiday. Thus less endorphins in general, coupled with less daylight and the not knowing when I’ll see any good friends again leads to wasting more time on the Interwebs and less time actually doing something useful or interesting. Which could still be on the computer of course- working on my French, or blogging for example.  Or going to the gym-even though I’m on the Minto for about an hour a day, I’m not walking enough.  Also not really doing any yoga other than a quick few minutes in the morning. All of which perpetuates the sluggy feeling.

This month, I will attempt a little more outreach, and a little less avoidance. I will visit the National Aquatic center (home of the gym as well as other fun things). Sunday, I finally have a planned gathering with friends of friends from Seattle, so that will be good.  Next week, I have two Dublin cycling events- the regular meeting, and my first volunteer gig, handing out information along a cycle route, though I’m not exactly sure where yet. Then, Dave Matthews Band on Friday! There’s a Climate march/rally next Sunday as well. And following that, a brewer’s meet-up with the Ladies craft beer society on my birthday.  Finally, U2 on the 23rd.  OK, I can see that it’s getting better already!

Life on the job-front has been good, with occasional outbreaks of stress.  This is fine, otherwise, it wouldn’t be called work.  Learning a bunch and working with good people while getting to bike to and fro is pretty sweet actually, even if I do have a validation report to review this weekend. Reminds me of some times at Amgen.  The CO site is officially shutting off the lights on 12/23, though many of the remaining folks are leaving in the next week or so. The shutdown gave me the kickstart to this adventure, so I can’t be too peeved about it. All off to new challenges, but it is still a sad event for Boulder/Longmont.

Ok, shutting down for now- off for groceries in the rain. Hugs to all.

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The trials and tribulations (and carping, grousing) of being robbed

No need to Facebook this whole thing, but I seriously needed to vent. Figure only the diehard friends/family will click through, so I appreciate your good vibes in advance.  And, since I’m not filling out any more on-line forms as I had planned to do tonight; well, I’m overdue for a blog post.

  • First, my <large banking firm with whom I have generally had great service from> United credit card is here in Dublin-YAY!  (much sooner than expected, thus I didn’t plan for being at home)
  • UPS attempted to deliver to my gated apartment, which they could not access.
    • Therefore, I don’t have a cute “we missed you” slip, which means I don’t have a certain barcode/number which I COULD use to change the delivery on-line to my work address.
  • Hopeful for help, I spent too much time on phone with bank confirming identity. (I get it, but conversation could have been much shorter if he’d have listened rather than following script).
  • To find out that Dublin UPS wasn’t open to calls at this time (which he’d have known if <see above>, because I’d already tried that). I was hoping bank had special contact info.
  • So I have to call UPS in AM, hoping I catch in time to arrange delivery to work Thu. Cause it can’t slip to Friday because I will be at the Embassy trying to get new passport.
  • FOR which, I dutifully complied with filling out on-line forms, which I was going to print and bring with, BUT the on-line forms are not completely applicable to situation. System kicked me out once, saying not eligible for replacement (??!!); and at end of 2nd attempt, asked for the fee to be paid. Which I already knew I’d have to give in person to Dublin Embassy cause I have no freaking credit cards!!  In the form of cash or postal order, which I have to leave work earlyish in order to obtain, cause bank hours are weird here.
Sigh.
The good thing is that most people have been extremely kind and helpful.  From the pub manager and the police in London, to the folks at both airports that let me fly (hint-always have color photocopy of passport details page in all bags) and back into the country.  To my friends, and colleagues at work.  I’ve been given cash to get by, and offers of rides, or support as necessary, until I get back into the modern card/credit, trust-based world.  And so many stories of similar unfortunate experiences to make me feel less stupid-it happens to everyone, some people are just professional criminals….  And a really helpful, friendly customer service call to my current mobile phone company last night, ALMOST balances out today’s frustrations.
I just have to remember that it’s just stuff, just bureaucracy, just a matter of time to right.
I’m really lucky.
OK, thanks for letting me vent. Well, you didn’t actually let me but, I needed it anyway.

More on the just shy of a month post

Wasn’t sure how those photos would post but there we are.

Today was a bank holiday, last one of summer, and the weather cooperated, so life is good.  It’s hard to express how good the sun feels on the skin when it’s been missing.

My apartment is close to settled, though I need to acquire spices and the like; not to mention figuring out how to pay water and electricity. And rent; since I can’t add payees to my on-line banking without the security code that was sent to my now, non-existent US mobile. Ah well, will sort next week.

So today was  therefore, flexible, with no agenda.  Biked into city center via Phoenix park which was lovely. And then had to cross town via the quays along the Liffey…some scary moments but it has to be done if one wants to cycle for transport.  Roundabouts suck even in the park when people expect cyclists.  However, downtown, there are plenty of streets with bike lanes, bike signals and just plain mass.  The bus lanes are also bike lanes, and it’s nice to be able to read the real-time updates about which bus is arriving when, so I knew when to just get outta the way vs the next bus won’t be arriving for 12 mins so busta move!

Too many experiences, conversations to convey….upshot is: I am enjoying the heck out of this place and these people (weather being an exception, but for today). People have been lovely; helpful and kind, and at work, more so.

More posts later on culture and language.  Ah, the words and sounds…so many twists and tweaks.

just shy of a month

men
Sexist ad that I asked the manager about. He said the marketing guru is a woman and this is her ad. Ok then, I guess. The beer is lovely though.
Royal canal wha
And these gates, I simply don’t get. Nonetheless the pathway is gorgeous.
rare sunny day from pub across the canal
rare sunny day from pub across the canal, the pointy stone buildings contain my apartment.

First week with my Minto

Minto: so the bike is mint green, my first car was a Pinto- what else could I call it?

From the hotel, cycling into work is about 15-20 mins on way in (slightly uphill, depends on lights and weather-related stops to add/remove clothing). The latter of which has been required almost every day, as grey turns to rain, sun to hail (yes, but only for a couple of minutes) and, always the wind. Actually, it’s a lot like CO cycling except it’s cooler here, even though it’s supposedly summer.

Yesterday, I went exploring neighborhoods for the apartment-hunting that is to take place Tue and Wed next week. Included was a relatively short ride through a small fraction of Phoenix park.  Tons of walking, cycling, picnicking, and general nature-bathing opportunities abound.

http://www.phoenixpark.ie/ The Phoenix Park at 707 hectares (1752 acres) is one of the largest enclosed recreational spaces within any European capital city.  (2x larger than NYC Central park)

Getting braver on the bike, though I still tend to choose the sidewalks when the road has no bike lane.  Aside from the distinct dearth of cycle parking, many of the routes do have physically separated, marked lanes that are just wonderful.  I even found my first underpass, that turned into an over pass to cross the major circle highway, er, motorway M50.

 IMG_20150718_172628111_HDR IMG_20150718_172518381

Today, more neighborhood explorations, and a bit of shopping.  Most of my clothes are in Belfast, awaiting customs clearance, and the workplace attire here is a bit swankier than what I’m used to.  At least Fridays are casual to the point that jeans are evident; otherwise, not so much.

And, I got hit on this morning for the first time. There’s an international cricket tournament of some sort in town and at least one or two teams are staying at this hotel. While getting breakfast at the buffet (full Irish), an older black gentleman started chatting me up, asking if I worked in Dublin. I told him I’d just started last week and was looking for a place to live. He said he could live with me then, as I am “a beautiful lady.”  It’s very common here for random housemate situations, as housing is not cheap-I’ve been contacted many times by guys (yes, always male) looking to share apartments and houses via an expat web community I joined. I gently said nope, that I need the extra bedroom for my visiting friends.  I asked how his team was doing.  They won yesterday and play a team from Papua New Guinea today; if they win this one, it’s on to the semi-finals.  I wished him well, and went off to eat my breakfast with a smile.

Required interactions of the civil and commercial sort

July 9th, First full day. Met with guide (provided by work relo service) @6. In Q by 630AM(!) for doors that open at  @730 at GNIB (Garda National Immigration Bureau).  Given #27 to be called. Handed over paperwork & passport about 9. Waiting for fingerprints…10:30 now. Blue lights in bathrooms to prevent addicts from finding veins…seems overdone to imagine it would happen in gov’t office, but alas.  Everyone here already has work permit; all have purpose, as Guide put it. Venezuelan, Brazilian, Ukraine, Canadian, Turkish, Iraqi, Fillipino, along with Indian & Chinese as expected. Haven’t heard any US yet. By 1032, have now had all my fingers scanned by optical reader, signed on pad followed by my govt official guy signature. Now to wait for name to be called whereupon I’ll get card and my passport back (never nice handing that off to someone) and then off to PPS office. A few Americans called, while I was waiting.
Walked out 1116 with magic card (which permits me to stay longer than the 90days typically afforded of Americans).  Many people in line were of various nationalities that require different visas in order to stay.
Now (noonish) in Q for PPS (this is equivalent to social security) number @Intreo office. Bank appointment needs to moved out till later in afternoon.  Also longish Q. Gatekeeper dude helped immensely by sending folks away who were unprepared or suspicious (girl with 2 big guys saying she needed it for driving, but apparently not). More photos and security questions. He wasn’t so pleased with my hotel address, but having my work contract printed out helped. Walked to bank of Ireland in Old parliament bldg. Bank lady also not pleased with hotel address letter, but was in sympathy simply because of the catch 22- Need bank account to get apartment lease. Oh, but, need address to get bank account… Circle as you wish.  She agreed to use my US address, as I still own my condo and I had proof of such.
Celebrated with guide at lunch in a Temple bar pub. Irish beef burger & pint o Smithwick’s pale. Live (classic Irish tourist favs) tunes at 1500, which is shortly after we sat down to my first real food of day.   Good conversation- I passed her test on the american gun craziness question…And she was helpful on my pronunciation questions.  More on the language later- a topic of much thought!
  • Next up-  going back to work happiness.  Is that weird?

Greetings from Dublin

I guess I have to start somewhere, so, as promised-here’s the beginning of my blog. The idea is to share my experiences and impressions as a brand new immigrant to Ireland.

I chose the title based on where I am now living, the alliteration (of course) and the various meanings of the word “delta” – http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/delta    We’ll just have to see what incremental changes occur over the next two years. I’m also a fan of rivers and triangles. Then there’s that song, but don’t pay no mind to the lyrics.

Ok, off to pick up my first bike, for immediate use around the hotel area.  My uber-commuter will come later, after I’ve sorted out my living situation.

  • Next up- notes from my day of dealing with the “powers that be” as required to legally allow me to live and work (and bank) in Ireland.
  • I start work tomorrow!!