Today marks exactly a month since I’ve been in Ireland.
Today is also Eid-al-Adha – the very first one I have ever spent not at home with family.
Honestly? I’m not homesick yet. I miss Malay food, oh yes. I have had dreams about it; phantom smells are almost a constant. But I don’t yearn for home home. I have slept on many different beds since I got here and they have been varying degrees of comfort…but I still don’t miss my own bed yet. Maybe it’ll come, maybe it won’t.
So a little recap on my life in Ireland thus far. The Hozier concert exactly a month ago was, needless to say, phenomenal. It was wonderful to see Andrew and his crew again. I swear he can do no wrong.
The part of Belfast where the troubles occurred made me depressed, but the city part was surprisingly nice. I made a friend through Couchsurfing and she took me out for a day. I also went to a play one night (random, I know) and got to talking with three girls who were also watching the play. Talking to strangers is my jam.
I attempted to couchsurf in Dublin for two nights. But the host’s home turned out to be filthy as all hell and I only stayed for one. I didn’t even bother changing out of my clothes or brushing my teeth (!). It was pointless being clean if everything around me was filthy. I had to scramble to find a place for the next night. That wasn’t cool.
I was meant to stay for two months in the B&B in Western Ireland, right? I didn’t. Workaway dictates that the max number of hours a Workawayer works in a week is 25 hours. Well, instead I was working five hours a day, seven days a week. So 35 hours a week. After the first week I decided that I couldn’t be fucked with like that. I plotted my escape and wrote to multiple hosts – most of whom didn’t need help anymore. I was so scared I would need to cut my trip short. If I didn’t find a new host there was no way I could fund this trip myself for two months. But someone did write back and she asked me to come. So I left the B&B – just 10 days after I came.
My new host agreed to let me come only 10 days later so I could travel. I headed to Galway for a few days, where my fellow Airbnb guest was a madcap middle-aged English lady. We hung out together a lot and she made me laugh the whole time.
Next was Killarney, where my fellow Airbnb guest was a retired American who offered to take me along on his drive to Dingle. I was planning on joining a tour for that trip but instead saved not just on the bus tour but lunch and dinner. Woohoo for free stuff!
And then finally, an item on my bucket list – Skellig Michael. I have never mentioned it before but it’s been a dream of mine to visit since I read about it on a travel blog one year ago. I was nervous – it’s only 600 steps to the top with no handrail, after all. And I’m the sort of person who will trip on air. But no, I made it, with pictures to prove it. My legs ached for days afterwards but it was worth it.
The next day I did the Bray Head Loop Walk, all 7km (4.4 miles) of it. The views were magnificent, and there wasn’t a single soul at the top save for the cows. I exercised the self-timer function of my camera and looked totally silly running and posing in order to outrun the self-timer. But the cows didn’t seem to care. Coming down, I was struggling a bit on a steep part and prayed no one saw me. I was embarrassed. But someone did see me and asked if I needed help. She held her arms out to me, I took them, and we proceeded to spend the rest of the day together having lunch and going to another attraction I hadn’t heard of before and now we’re FB friends. I highly endorse talking to strangers.
Since then I’ve been at my new host’s in Waterford, in the south of Ireland where it’s supposedly warmer than the rest of Ireland. Lies. True it doesn’t rain as much (so far) but it’s still cold as far as I’m concerned. My body has acclimatised to the weather a tad, but not enough. This body was made for hot and humid. (I still complain in hot and humid, but hey.)
Anyway, I’m an au pair to three kids here. Sort of but not really? Cuz the mum stays home. She just needs an extra pair of hands. And she really does. She doesn’t know how to control her children. It drives me crazy. A lot of crap the children do will not fly in my household. I made the oldest kid put his toys away today and he asked me why he needed to do that. I’ll bet he has never been made to clean up. I know the dad does it when he comes home from work. I also made him put his plate in the sink when he was done eating. Totally new concept for him but very basic in my (and most Asians’) household. He’s a good kid. He did it all. And long may it last.
I don’t know how long I’ll stay here. Supposed to be a month but I might get bored. The parents are really kind. I work just a couple of hours a day plus weekends are always off. Plus they want to pay me €50 a week. Now who am I to say no to that? But the kids are a handful when the mum is around. The mess they create is incredible and she doesn’t even try to teach the kids to clean up. I am learning what not to do from her, for if/when my time comes.
So yeah, we’ll see. I am enjoying my freedom of choice. Life should always be like this.