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Ireland Personal Travel

February + March Recap

Remember that time that I really thought I had updated this more than I actually had?

Yeah…. sorry about that (again).

Since we last spoke two months have FLOWN by and I am literally one month away from leaving Ireland. I have a funny feeling I’ll be back at some point in the future, but plans can change as we all know. I really should have kept up with this more because I know I am going to be missing some things so let’s just go by the highlights of February and March:

February:

  • Landed in Dublin without any issues with my flights or luggage #praise
  • Settled into my apartment: cannot be more grateful for my location/accommodation/situation
  • Got my car and a driving lesson: obviously asked for an automatic. Only minor mishaps have occurred thus far *knocks on wood*
  • Working lots (but it’s what I’m here to do so obviously)
  • Work night out with the girls and lads
  • Hanging out with friends from past visits
  • Joined an Expat Networking Group that I should probably interact with more…

 

March:

  • Pancake Tuesday: instead of Fat Tuesday they have Pancake Tuesday and they eat pancakes and crepes all day! It’s wonderful and I think this should happen on a monthly basis 🙂

  • St. Patrick’s Day: I sadly had to work that day so by the time I got home all of the parades were over and most people had already been day drinking enough to pass out so that night was actually pretty quiet. Totally did see piles of vomit everywhere #typicalIrishday

  • Nights out with the girls

 

  • Got my first Thai massage: very different than the normal Swedish massage of which I am accustomed. Instead of the normal rubbing movement in circles they just like push the area in one direction. It was less relaxing during the actual massage, but the after affects were better than my normal Swedish one. Also – you can’t beat 40 euro for an hour.

  • Ate ALL the Indian food: My apartment happens to be right around the corner from one of my favorite Indian places from my previous visits: Diwali. UGH SO GOOD. I seriously went 3x one week…. twice. Please refrain from judgement.
  • Hung out with friends
  • Went shopping: Hello, VAT Tax 😉
  • Hiked on Dublin Mountain the first good weather day I had (somehow subsequently got lost while still following the trail)

  • Hurt my foot out dancing (or potentially from the hike)
  • Saw Beauty and the Beast, 50 Shades Darker, and Logan.

April will be a little more coherent because all of those events happened not too long ago so I can still remember them.

These past two months have been amazing and I relish getting out of my comfort zone, but at the same time that is not without growing pains. I am an extrovert and I love being around people (not to say that I don’t enjoy alone time, but I digress). It is very difficult for me to try to be a tourist without also having someone here for activities. I probably would have utilized my weekends better in the beginning had I realized that was going to be such a big challenge for me. I am starting to accept it and force myself to still try new things even though I am alone. In April I did have some friends come see me and I easily packed more into those weeks that the rest of the time exponentially. There have been many #solobrunching experiences and lots of lonely walks around Dublin. When I am at home in Texas I am also usually alone, but I don’t really need to explore things there so I generally don’t think about the loneliness. I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t travel well alone. You would think that I should know this by now, but it is still a weekly challenge for me during this period of time. Now that the weather is finally nice on weekends I am really trying to get it together to go do the rest of the activities on my list.

 

Side note: I think all of my family have been lying about our non-Irish heritage this whole time.

Look at the names on these pubs! BOTH SIDES REPRESENTED

 

I promise the April update won’t take as long to reach you as this post has 🙂

Happy Reading!

-Savvy

Ireland Travel

Dublin for 3 MONTHS!

Yes, you read that correctly.

My dream of living in another country (if only for a short while) has finally come true! I get to be in Dublin, Ireland for THREE WHOLE MONTHS! This time I have an apartment and a car like a real city dweller. I am incredibly nervous to drive! I got my car today, but my driving lesson got moved to tomorrow. I had to drive the car around the block to park it in my garage and I thought I was going to have a panic attack. The driver’s side is on the opposite side AND they drive on the left hand side of the road instead of the right. #firstworldproblems

 

This time I flew to London before getting on a short flight to Dublin. I made some nice friends in the DFW airport in the American Airlines lounge and one at the MAC makeup counter. Everyone was so nice and chatty that day! Since I left on Valentine’s Day there really weren’t that many people at the airport, which made getting through TSA a breeze. There are still no direct flights to Dublin directly from Dallas, but I think I prefer to fly to NYC and then to Dublin rather than London first. If I go to London first then I have to do customs there AND in Dublin. The Heathrow airport is HUGE too, so if you are ever using it for a connecting flight make sure that you allow plenty of time for your layover. I had three hours, which may have been a tad generous, but I could see where on a busier day (it was the 15th by then) where you would need all 3 hours. Also, remind me to not look like a total slob if I ever fly into London again. You should have seen the drastic difference from everyone in the lounge vs me after an 8 hour flight. I was frightening.

After I landed in Dublin I was greeted by Brian from the relocation company who was to collect me from the airport and help me get adjusted. He normally collects people who have never been here before, but I was super easy since I’ve already been here twice. If you’ve never had someone holding a sign for you at an airport, it’s fairly exciting. I’m sure you all know by now how much I like to feel like I’m famous so that only helped my ego, which is totally unnecessary according to some. Brian was super great and didn’t even act phased when I totally tried to get into the driver’s side because I forgot that it wasn’t the passenger side in my jet-lagged haze; not the first time I’ve done that and it probably won’t be the last. Brian had picked up some groceries for me prior to the collection and helped me take them up to my new apartment along with my luggage. He did question my need for 4 suitcases for a 3 month stay… and after unpacking I also have questioned my decisions. I asked for more hangers… I will still need more. #sorrynotsorry

Brian took me on a drive to the office since I generally don’t really pay attention when my cab drives me there at 6:30am. Coffee might have to start becoming part of my daily routine again… I normally don’t have to be at work until 8, but here they start at 7 since traffic can get so bad. We drove all around just getting acquainted with the route and then we walked around city centre getting used to this new location. His son works at Lush, which happens to be one of my major stops every time I’m in town. It’s way cheaper here than in the States and the dollar is almost flat with the Euro (aka I need to shop more). My skin is going to look ah-maze-ing after all of this salmon and skincare.

Every time I visit this city I learn new things. I will be here during several major holidays to include Easter. Back in the states we have Fat Tuesday before Lent, but here they have Pancake Tuesday! All day they eat pancakes! People have tried to pull jokes on me with things like this before (like feeding Leprechauns) so I totally didn’t believe my coworker when she told me about this wonderful day. It is in fact a thing and work is bringing a Crepe truck for lunch that day! (Also, they pronounce them creps, not like grapes with a c instead of a g)

I have just spent the past few days getting used to the time change, arranging my apartment, and getting back into the swing of the city. I still get American holidays so I don’t have to work on Monday for President’s Day, but obviously that’s not a normal holiday here in Ireland. I also have cable TV here, which is a very nice treat since I only use Amazon Prime or Netflix at home.

I do miss little Karma and my friends. I am hoping that people come to visit since I managed to bring a queen sized air mattress with me. Brian and Melissa are coming in mid-April and I am so thrilled to have them! Tara potentially will come for her Spring Break, but has lost her passport… so she’s got to straighten that out. I haven’t planned any weekend trips here yet, but my friends are all very exited to do some little road trips. I am fortunate that I’ve made friends in previous visits who are excited to hang out while I’m in town. Last night I went out with Marie and one of her friends. Last time I was here Marie posted a picture with me and all of her friends were like “Who is your new friend? Why don’t we know her?” which sounds to me like a slew of new friends to be made 🙂

Stay tuned for the rest of the adventures!

-Savvy

Ireland Travel

Last Leg of Europe 2016 – One Night in Dublin

I am never excited to leave somewhere. I have always had separation anxiety and I don’t handle goodbyes well. When I was little and my mom would tuck me into bed I would make her stay with me for FOREVER even though I knew she would be in the next room and I would see her later when I woke up. I try to handle this better as an adult, but leaving somewhere is still really hard for me.

After Berlin I flew back to Dublin to pick up the majority of my stuff from work (and a few things left at the hotel… oops!) I stayed in a really cool Air Bnb near the Kilmainham Jail…. not exactly right next to the heart of Temple Bar as advertised, but it was nice anyway. I met up with some of the girls from work for one last dinner. We went to Elephant and Castle, which is right next to one of my other favorites, Boxty. I had never been, but was very happy with the choice.! If you happen to go there I recommend the wings. I also finally rode the Luas (their rail system)!

I had to get to the airport pretty early, but with my new Global Entry customs pass getting through the lines was a breeze! I should have invested in it a long time ago. As mentioned previously in my post last year, Dublin Airport is one of the few airports in the world that let Americans go through customs before actually going back to America if you are flying directly to the US. It saves sooo much time! It’s also probably the #1 reason I don’t take a detour through Heathrow before coming home. If you went Dublin to London to Dallas then you would have to do customs back in the US. It’s all you own personal preference, but now that I know how easy Global Entry makes the customs process I may chose the London route next time.

If we can avoid another Chicago Disaster of 2015 then life is good. I made all of my flights, nothing was delayed, and all my luggage made it home with me safe and sound. Couldn’t have asked for a better trip!

I have been back for a few weeks now and I still speak as if I was just there. Dublin has quickly become one of my favorite places and I hope to be able to visit again in 2017.

I hope you enjoyed my European Adventure for 2016. Stay tuned to see what 2017 brings!

-Savvy

Dallas Personal

2015 Recap

Happy New Year, Readers! 

I hope your 2015 was amazing and everything you wanted it to be.

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Here is a recap of a few exciting things that happened in 2015:

  • Went to IrelandIowa, San Francisco, and Austin
  • Bridesmaid in Lauren’s wedding in May
  • Took two cooking classes
  • Saw several of my friends get engaged
  • Created new friendships, let some old ones go
  • Ran a 5k
  • Lost 30 pounds
  • Explored more of Dallas, Denton, and Ft. Worth (plus surrounding areas)
  • Started this blog!
  • Had some professional victories
  • Saw Maroon 5 in concert
  • Celebrated Galentine’s!
  • Went to a Murder Mystery Dinner
  • Celebrated many friend’s birthdays as well as my 24th birthday

There were so many highs and lows to this year, but I can definitely say I learned a TON and hopefully will be taking some new habits into 2016.

Some goals for 2016:

  • Run another 5k (and potentially a half marathon)
  • Lose 50 more pounds
  • Pay off my couch and eliminate unnecessary spending
  • Spend more time with my dog and my friends
  • Focus more on my blog and professional goals
  • Travel to Ireland and Italy, hopefully Virginia and Colorado, potentially some other places
  • Celebrate my 25th Birthday!
  • Get back into reading at least one book a month
  • Start the MBA process
  • Take better care of my skin {even though that might mean no more tanning ;(}
  • Cook more (since I got new pots and pans for Hanukkah!)

I am sure there are other things that I would like to accomplish for 2016, but honestly I think this list will cover the whole year and then some. I am already trying to figure out how to prioritize my life for these next 12 months.

Holiday Recap

I had a great Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. There was so much going on in such a short time frame, so sorry for the lack of updates (because I know everyone cares so much lol). I blogged a little bit about Hanukkah already so I won’t bother your with more of that.

Christmas went well. My sister came back to town and will be here for a whole month so we’ve been hanging out. She made me these really cute little embroideries for my travel wall in my house so my best friend came over and helped me hang them along with some other house stuff. I will have to post a house tour on here in a few weeks when I FINALLY finish my Travel Wall in my living room/dining room. I’ve only lived there for almost a year and a half….. no big deal. 😉 We went to my Grandma’s house and I hung out with my little second cousin, Liesel. She is seriously the cutest/happiest baby ever. I’m in love.

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We have so many people in such a small house so my sister ended up getting the special chair in the Annexed part of the house next to an extra table.

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We were tired of having the same food for Thanksgiving and then just a few weeks later for Christmas so we decided to add some Mexican flair since a good portion of my family is Hispanic.

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For New Year’s Eve I was supposed to go out in Uptown with some of my friends. Unfortunately I got kinda sick the day before and it has lasted several days. So last night I ended up just going down the street to Julia’s house and playing games with her, her family, and some significant others, which was exactly what I needed. We had a really great time and I got to see some of her siblings that I don’t normally see. This morning my dad made New Year’s Day brunch since I decided to spend the night.

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Karma and I tried to get it together in time to make a Christmas card this year, but it’s going to end up being more like a New Year’s card (if I even hand them out) (probably not, let’s be honest).

We both wish all of you happiness for the New Year! Let’s make 2016 the best yet!

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Ireland

The Sad Return

Hello Again,

Of course that time had to come…. That unfortunate time where I have to go home. Hardly ever am I happy to go home. I get settled somewhere, I start a routine then it gets ruined. As most of my friends will tell you, I do NOT do well saying goodbyes and tears are fairly inevitable. Go ahead and bring the Kleenex as a precaution.

Alas, the time did come for my trip to Ireland to end. I like to think of this as Phase 1 with more to come, but honestly who knows if or when I will get to go back. I’m hoping for the best, but expecting the worst per usual. I woke up the morning of my flight to discover that it had already gotten delayed a little bit due to a storm in Philadelphia where I was flying into. Not a bad way to start my day since I already didn’t want to leave. I had stayed up wayyyy too late the night before and had done a terrible job of packing so I jumped on that and then had breakfast with a coworker who was coming to relive me. Pretty soon the morning had flown by and I was off to the airport.

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Once I arrived at Dublin’s airport I found that my 11:30 AM flight that had gotten pushed back to 1:30 PM was now pushed back to 4:30 PM… Cool. I jumped into one line only to realize 10 minutes later, oh I can actually be in this line to get my boarding pass. I wait in that line allll the way until I get up to the front only to find out that I was supposed to stay in the first line. Long story short, I had to wait in multiple lines for several hours for them to just give me my ticket and put me on a different connecting flight back to DFW. Such a mess!

The cool thing about flying directly to the states from Dublin is that the Dublin Airport is one of only a few places in the world outside of the US where you can do American Customs before even reaching the states! However, I wish I had known that once you get through customs, there is literally NOTHING in that section of the airport. I sat there for four hours hungry and without an electrical socket. Good thing the battery in my laptop lasted as long as it did or this post would have been a tad less enthusiastic.

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Fortunately the flight delays were over at this point and I did get to leave Ireland at 4:30.

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I got into Philly around 8pm, which is the WEIRDEST thing to have an exceptionally long day like that. My layover was basically two seconds long and then I got crammed into the tiniest seat I have ever been on in my entire life. Thanks, US Airways for giving a shorter-than-average girl about zero leg room. What if I had been three inches taller? Being 5’5 is usually only a struggle when there is something I need on a top shelf, not when sitting on a domestic flight to Dallas. That plane could probably not have been more disgusting and I will be avoiding US Airways in the future. I had to fly them a lot in college since it was either them or Delta that left from my college town, but now I live in a major city and don’t have to be stuck with choices like that anymore.

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I got to Dallas in one piece and so did my luggage! I picked up another suitcase while I was over there and I had no idea if all three of them would make it, but we did it! My bags were also some of the first on the luggage belt so that’s alway a plus.

My little gremlin, Karma, was happy to see me again too 🙂 That is always the best part about coming home.

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Even though now that Ireland is over (for the moment at least) I will still keep posting about travel, life, Dallas, and anything else I want! 🙂 Check back ever so often to see what I have going on and if you have any suggestions for me for topics or things you want to hear about send me a message in the comments!

Happy Reading!

-Savvy

Ireland

Daily Activities in Dublin

me in the park

Hello, Readers!

Just wanted to post some of the fun things I did around the town in Dublin during my weeks here. Things close fairly early here during the week so you’ve really got to plan if you want to do something else besides eat!

Speaking of eating… go check out my guest posts over at The Mizu Blog to see where I ate while I was in Dublin! I went to a lot of amazing restaurants and had a fabulous time with some great people. We also started #LiveTwEATing some of our meals so go check out the Twitter feed as well!

I already posted about the Guinness Storehouse and Riverdance. This week I went to see the play Once, which also has a movie that I have never seen, but apparently is very good. Musicals can either be hit or miss with me, but this was a hit. It was very different than all of the other musicals I have ever been to. There were normal audience members in the first scene since a good portion of it is set in a pub. All of the actors stayed on the set the entire play, but would sit on the sides and watch the other scenes as they happened. It was at the Olympia Theater right in the heart of Dublin and was opened in 1879. The chairs are VERY small, but fortunately I was seated next to a pole so I only had one seat mate!

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After seeing Once, I decided to do what fancy people do, as suggested by one of my many taxi drivers, and go to The Shelbourne to get a glass of champagne. My bartender tried to persuade me to order a bottle so that way I would get a dozen oysters. As much as I love a good oyster, I politely declined his offer.

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I walked through St. Stephen’s Green Park multiple times to look at the ducks and swans. I always meant to brings some bread to feed them, but clearly forgot each time. Apparently homeless people live in the park at night. It is very well kept and even though there are tons of “Keep off the Grass” signs, no one listens. I’m not sure what Ireland’s open container laws are, but I definitely saw more than one drunk Irish man with a can of beer chatting with his lads. The park is a very nice place to have a chat or just unwind from a long day. I could also cut through the park to get to the famous Grafton Street, which is where I went almost every single day.

Random street performer who almost burned me and herself

Random street performer who almost burned me and herself

My work threw a get-together for all of our teams at one of the hotels in Temple Bar that was way more fun than normal work parties in the States! They had tons of food and drinks and afterwards we all went out to this club called Dicey’s. It is right next to this other, super-famous club in Ireland called Copper Face Jack’s, aka Copper’s. I was told about it all of the time, but never got a chance to go. If I ever get to come back then I will make it a point to visit at least once. Everyone I met during my trip had a Copper’s story to tell me, so now I need one! People in clubs here don’t grind or fist pump, which I thought was nice, but odd. I love a good fist-pump (shout out to my East Coast college friends!), but I was THE ONLY ONE fist pumping at Dicey’s!! They play “cheesy-music”, which is like 90’s Pop, so clearly I love the club scene here. #britneyforever #byebyebye

I must admit that even though it is very touristy and overpriced, I did visit the actual Temple Bar. There are also a lot of good souvineer shops over there, which I had to visit a few times. I completely put off buying souvenirs until the very end of the trip, so sorry if I forgot anyone! Hopefully I’ll be back in the next few months! I am going to see if my work wouldn’t potentially give me a temporary transfer over here, which would be a-mazzz-ingggg!

I’ll post more later about my last weekend and my flights home. I am currently in the airport and it has already been a mini-fiasco so look for that one later!

Cheers!

-Savvy

Ireland

Wannabe Heiress

I’ve decided that I was made for hotel life.

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The Conrad Hilton is meant to be my home for the next four weeks, but I’ve decided that it should be a permanent move. I’m never leaving. Yes, please do call me a cab for in the morning. Yes, I will take an apple. Thank you for opening the door and cleaning my room for me. I hate doing laundry so yes, I will take some fresh towels.

 

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Ahhh, to be Paris Hilton…. Can I be Dublin Hilton? That has a nice ring to it. 😉

To recap my last few days, I got to the hotel and was immediately overwhelmed with how nice it was (clearly since I have now claimed it as my own). I took a nap for most of the day and then my coworker, Gabe, came to get me and we went to dinner.

The next day I started work and was given a small tour of both of our sites in Citywest Business Park. They are very nice and have an awesome coffee machine. How people aren’t fighting each other to be first in line, I have no idea. I met my team that I am training and they are all very lovely. They have taught me a bunch of new words that I will be fitting into everyday conversation as well as many interesting facts about Ireland. Did you know that Irish schoolchildren take Irish the way that US children take Spanish? I had no idea! BTW, Citywest has a swan crossing!

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My team decided to take me to an “American” type restaurant today called Eddy Rockets. It is very similar to Steak and Shake or Johnny Rockets back in the States. My burger had a hashbrown in it which I thought was a very clever addition and it should now become a staple.

My mother and I have been having some wonderful meals the past few days (and maybe one unfortunately one). Everyone here could not be friendlier. Irish people love Americans and I love them. All of my cab drivers have been very chatty and love to give me advice on things to see and do around the city.

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Tomorrow mom and I are going on a 13 hour tour to see Northern Ireland which will include Belfast, Giant’s Causeway, and a robe bridge. We are hoping to make a stop to see the Titanic museum and a castle where they are filming Game of Thrones!

On Sunday we are going to see the 20th Anniversary of Riverdance! Everyone has highly recommended it so we got really good seats and are going to dress up 🙂 I am very excited to be seeing this in Dublin.

I will add another post later. It is 9:11 on a Friday night and I am totally exhausted. My tour tomorrow starts at 7am so I’m going to get some sleep.

See ya later!

-Savvy