Well, I’ve made the big move up to the big smoke. Even though it still makes me have a little cry on the inside, I’ve packed all my stuff up and lugged it up the motorway to Dublin. Actually, that’s not strictly true. I’ve packed most of my stuff up and lugged it all the way to Dublin. The other stuff is still to be lugged.
In all fairness, Dublin has done its best to make me feel welcome. Friday was balmy and sunny. Saturday was similarly idyllic. As was Sunday. After my experiences there last year, it almost seemed too good to be true. It was like the world and/or Dublin was giving me a message: coming here in February 2011 was the wrong time to come to Dublin. We had to persuade you you hated Dublin to make sure you kept going to Cork, as there were lessons for you to learn in Cork (‘What lessons world?’ Shhhh… don’t interrupt). But, now, now is the right time to be in Dublin! And to celebrate, we will light your way with sunlight and daffodils! Huzzah!
I’m certain that at this point, the thought may cross many of your minds that in actuality, the reason for the sunlight and the daffodils is the changing of the seasons, and that this occurrence is usual and annunal and shouldn’t be read into too deeply. To which I say, ‘phish, you Doubting Thomases, it is clearly a sign, and even if it weren’t, pretend that it is so that I can feel better about my life choices, k, cool, thanks.’
In all seriousness, I’ve never been so happy about the changing seasons. When I was in Norway, I turned up halfway through winter, and I left halfway through winter, so I never had to experience the full 4 – 5 months of cold and darkness. I was getting pretty jackshit of it all by January, let me tell you. Since February, every day, I’ve been delighted to see the sun stay out that little bit longer in the evening: ‘4:30pm before it gets dark! Wow, that’s fantastic!’ And, gradually, its become acceptable to wear less layers when going outside. First, you stop wearing gloves. Then, you stop wearing a scarf. Then, you don’t wear a jumper as well as a jacket, and some days, you don’t wear a jacket at all, just a jumper! The feeling of freedom when you walk out the door and think, ‘Actually, you know what? I can leave my jacket at home! Providing, of course, that I return to the house before it gets dark or the weather changes and it starts to rain…’ There really is a difference in the air. Everything feels lighter. Oh, its so, so lovely. And there are actually daffodils everywhere. I realised this last year too, that ‘Daffodil Day’ suddenly made sense, when it never really did in Australia. ‘Oh, its Daffodil Day, because there are Daffodils everywhere. Of course.’ Did I write that in a blog post last year? I can’t remember. And I can’t be bothered going back and checking. I may have done. I certainly remember thinking about putting it in a blog post. Daffodils were very important when I first started looking after the little girls, because they were all over the road when we went on our bike rides. I remember stuffing 7 or 8 daffodils down the collar of my jumper, as my elder charge wanted to bring them home for friends, and then continuing to cycle down the road, nodding seriously to the amazed passers-by.
Anyway, its all about Dublin now, not Cork. I had my first meeting with the Literary Manager of Fishamble Theatre Company on Friday afternoon, after arriving in the city. The theatre company is in an old school building in the middle of the city, with and old-school black wrought iron elevator (like the ones you see in movies about Paris between the wars) and windows with flower boxes and views out across the cityscape. I don’t think I’ve ever grinned so much about being able to see into offices and over the top of heating vents. After a short, thought-provoking meeting, I was dispatched with a pile of 8 – 9 plays previously produced by Fishamble that I was to read before I started the next week, so that I could form opinions and ‘have a conversation’ with the Literary Manager when we next met. That was all I had to do. Read plays and form opinions. It was suddenly like, ‘I’m sorry? Where has this job been all my life?’ Of course, I’m sure things will be more complicated than that, but I left the office with more than a slight skip in my step.
That night, I met my new housemate, who is lovely, her dog, who is also lovely, and was shown around my new room and new house, which are beautiful. I went to bed early, very excited about the next day, when I would drag my crazily heavy bags from the top floor of my hostel to my new abode.
The next morning, I went to a training session at ‘Fighting Words’, a creative writing centre set up to inspire kids and teenagers and help them to improve their writing. It was set up by Roddy Doyle, and I’m hoping to do some volunteer work there. It seems like a truly wonderful place to work, so I’m looking forward to my first session.
After training the sun was STILL out, so I searched (with the rest of Dublin) for an outdoor table at a cafe where I could drink tea and attempt to bleach my hair back to the lovely blonde colour it used to be in Australia. I had planned originally to go and see some movies or theatre (now that I was in the big city), but it seemed ridiculous to spend such a glorious day inside. I got my tea, I got my outdoor seat, I got out one of my plays, and, then…. I was joined by an old Irish lady. Normally, I would be very happy to talk to old Irish people in this sort of situation, but, on this particular day, all I wanted to do was drink my tea, read my book and watch the people go by. I thought that if I went back to my book, it would become obvious to her that I did not want to talk. Not so, grasshopper. She was intent on talking to me, even if I didn’t respond. At the point that she told me I needed to be careful of my handbag, because there were many Romanians in Dublin now, and they were ‘all dreadful people’, I carefully excused myself and decided it was time to move to my new place.
Sunday was ridiculously lovely as well, I walked into Temple Bar to find a ‘Festival of Russian Culture’ (they don’t just have a Pancake Day, they have a Pancake WEEK), and then headed on to Phoenix Park, with most of the rest of Dublin. Again, I sat in the sun, and pretended it was Australia, taking off my jacket and sitting in 3/4 sleeves until the goosepimples on my arms convinced me that it actually wasn’t all that warm just yet, and I should at least get up and walk around before I died of hypothermia.
Today, I had to get up early to do ‘useful things’, including applying for my British visa. After the past 3 glorious days in Dublin, I was very surprised to open the curtains and find it overcast. ‘Oh well,’ I thought, forgetting everything I had learnt from my year in Ireland, ‘At least its not raining.’ Of course, the minute I walked outside, it started to rain.
I had thought I had prepared very well for the trip to the UK visa office, checking everything the day before, where it was, what I needed to bring, writing out directions, printing things, getting passport photos taken (which were NOT the most hideous things in the entire world – LIFE WIN) etc. I read a blog post on applying for the visa I wanted to apply for (Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa), and followed the instructions for what things I needed to provide.
Of course, everything went to shit, and I have to go back on Friday with more documents. But, at least they didn’t take my money and laugh in my face and say I was never going to get to the UK, which is kind of what I expected would happen if I got things wrong with my visa application.
But, in the meantime, I learnt a few very valuable life lessons, which are, as follows:
1) Do not listen to things written in random, out-of-date blog posts. And, I include my own blog posts in this categorisation. Disregard everything I have ever told you! Go forth and live your own life and make your own mistakes, free in the knowledge that if you turn up to the British Embassy after having spent 8 Euro on a cab, and spending 45 minute waiting in the rain and the cold to get through security, only to have them say you didn’t bring enough documents, at least you will know that it was your own mistaken advice you were following and not some douchebag on the internet’s!
2) I don’t know how I still don’t know this, but, Lesson No. 2 is that, when it comes to the Irish roads, Google Maps is as confused as the rest of us. It is probably best to just head out the door in the general direction that you sense something is, and hope for the best, asking for assistance along the way from friendly locals, or catching a taxi when all hope seems lost and your British Embassy appointment is in 5 minutes and you’re turning around in desperate circles so that all the other pedestrians avoid you, in case you start hurling abuse at them, or possibly also small rocks and sticks. And, yes, it was definitely Google Maps’ fault, and not mine, even if I did possibly right down ‘turn right’ when it should have been ‘turn left’, but no one can prove it, so bugger off and die in a hole. Ahem.
3) The rain in Ireland doesn’t stop. Or, if it does stop, it will start again. Always take an umbrella.
4) In Ireland, your shoes are never waterproof enough.
5) I don’t deal well with people jumping in front of me in queues, no matter what their reason or excuse. I feel that this should be a point in my favour when applying for my UK visa, as I am clearly in tune with important aspects of their cultural heritage. However, considering the Brits’ famous love of queues and queueing, I am surprised at their slapdash approach to lines in front of the Embassy. Truly, I was disappointed. People jumping ahead just because their appointment was at 9 am and mine was at 9:30am. If they had wanted to be on time, then they should have gotten there earlier.
So, I’m back in Cork/Kinsale for a day or two to finsih clearing out my old cottage, and then its back to Dublin. On a completely different topic, do you know a good way to get crazy amounts of hits on your blog? Write a post about an actor who then goes on to win an Oscar. My piece about Captain von Trapp has never been so popular. 115 hits in one day. Go Christopher Plummer!