Timoleage, Kinsale and others

Ok, after the shameless self-promotion, I’m going to write some more about my weekend. Well, I’m going to try. Is anyone else getting bored of me banging on about these places? I kind of am. *Sigh*. Here goes, I suppose.
So, as I mentioned, I went to a local fashion show in Timoleague on Friday night. This was quite amusing. I’ve never been to a proper fashion show. I’ve seen two (one at my high school, and the other at my Norwegian high school), and was involved in one ‘multicultural’ one back in Minnesota, where I got to pretend I was a German child and wore liederhosen. So, with that disclaimer, that fashion shows are not exactly my cup of tea, nor am I an expert in them, I thought this one was pretty darn cool. It was a fundraiser for the local GAA (the athletic association), and all the local women had turned up. Not only had they turned up, but they had ALL gone ALL out. Every single women looked stunning. Hair, dress, make-up, jewellery, it was incredible. I had dressed up a little, as much as I feel I can these days, with my limited au pair wardrobe (I had thought it might be an opportunity to meet an interesting man, as well, seeing how I’m absolutely no good in bars/pubs/nightclubs/every-other-place-that-people-meet-people. This statement alone should indicate to you that I have been to very few fashion shows before. Of course there were only women in attendance. The only men there were 6 elderly gentlemen providing security and checking tickets), but the local Irish women put me to shame.
The great thing about these women was also that they were out for a good time, and a good time was had. I was told by several women that they must think they were crazy, that Irish women partied harder than Irish men if they got the chance, and they were certainly getting the chance that night.
Unfortunately, I was driving home, however, so I couldn’t actually partake in the festivities. I spent most of my time with my eldest charge, as her mother was working at the fashion parade. This gave me the distinct feeling of being a kid again, running around backstage, peering over fences at people below, looking at the market stalls, staring at all the pretty ladies, going and buying chips and going to the fun fair, whilst waiting for my host mother to come back. 
Being an au pair in general has made me feel like I’m in some sort of generational limbo-land. I’m not quite an adult/parent, but I’m certainly no longer a kid. The kids will let me play along with them, but they don’t let me discipline them (or they react badly to it when I do). The adults let me sit and chat with them, but I still feel a bit like the 12 year-old who has been allowed to sit up late for a special occasion.
Anyway, back to the fashion show. I had a fantastic time. It was kind of interesting to go out and do something very different from what I normally do. I get so caught up in theatre and acting and writing sometimes, that I very often get stuck in a rut and don’t try new things. And new things are good. New things are always good.
Speaking of new things, I spent Saturday with my new host family, who I will be moving to in September. They live in Kinsale, and have two little boys, one who is 3 and the other who is a baby. It was a little awkward to begin with, but once I played with the little man and his trucks for a while, I was suddenly very popular. It was very funny and interesting seeing the immediate differences there will be in looking after boys rather than girls. For example, I sat down and watched an episode of ‘Tractor Ted’ with him, which told us about all the different things that are harvested in the Autumn time. I was also given an in-depth description of each one of his tractors, their jobs and names. I learnt more about farming in that one morning than I have ever known. For the past 6 months its been Barbie DVD’s and instructional videos on how to braid hair or make cornrows, and for the next 6 months its going to be harvesting and bailing. Oh the things you learn.
The day was lovely, however, the Little Man is gorgeous and Baby Brother is also very cute. Despite being spat up on (he is a baby), I was disturbed by the instinctive, hormonal reaction I had to him. I picked him up and it was all, ‘Oh, he’s so soft! Oh, he smells so good! Oh he’s so little and precious! Oh, I must protect him from all harm and danger forever and ever and ever!’ I also met Darling Cousin from next door, who is the same age as Little Man, and they are great friends. They spent the afternoon playing around the garden, ‘going’ to various places in their vehicles (She had a car. He had a tractor), like the swimming pool, or to a wedding. To me, he seems bright as a button, very imaginative and well-behaved. Of course it was one day and you never know what it’s going to be like when Mum isn’t around, but I’m looking forward to it.
It’ll be interesting looking after a baby as well. I found it so odd that he didn’t talk back. Of course I know you have to talk to them so that they learn, but after a while you do feel like the conversation is going in circles somewhat. I’m sitting there having a whole conversation with him, ‘Oh, aren’t you cute? Oh, shall we play with this? Oh, will we give you a bounce?’ and not so much as a nod of the head. Honestly. How does he expect me to know what’s going on? I’m not a mind reader.
Some of the girls from Bandon were meeting me later that night in Kinsale, but I had some time to kill, and it was a lovely sunny afternoon, so I decided to sit by myself in the park after dinner, write and listen to some music. There were all sorts of people about, hippies drinking and smoking, families, teenage sweethearts. After about 45 minutes, I was approached by one of the hippies, which was more than a little odd. He’d walked across the park to come and talk to me. He had clearly been drinking, also had been smoking, and he sat down to ask what I was doing. Normally I run a mile from this sort of encounter, but I decided to embrace it. He asked me to come over and chat to him and his friends, and I thought, ‘Hell, why not, its a sunny day, I’m in a public place, what’s the worst that could happen?’
I know you’re waiting for the twist, or the bad news, but there is none. His friends were all very lovely, though perhaps a little tipsy, and we didn’t have a lot in common. But we bumbled along trying to make conversation, finding out about each other’s backgrounds. There was one very drunk Frenchman who couldn’t remember my name (he called me Tiffany, as well as thinking I was American), who advised me to ‘go with my heart for the next 10 years’. That I would want to go with my head, but I should ignore it, because if I didn’t go with my heart, I would always regret it. Interesting. Eventually they got up to go to one of their houses, as the Frenchman was very drunk and needed to lie down, but I decided that was a little too adventurous, even in my current mood, so I went to the pub and waited for my friends.
We had a great night, dancing to a fabulous cover band and then heading next door to the nightclub. After much drama, screaming into mobile phones and meeting up in various dark streets, we eventually found our way to our taxi and I got home around 3:30am. Not too shabby.
So, with all the excitement, I’m really looking forward to the move to Kinsale. I think its a beautiful town, and it’ll be nice to be on the water again, much as I thought I wasn’t a water person.

Jennifer Hawkins. Not one of the models in the Timoleague Fashion Parade

Alright, I’m really phoning this in now, so I’d best leave it. I’ll write again when I’m more enthusiastic, less tired and have more jokes. Promise.


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