Tuesday, August 26, 2008

First Week at Work

Hi Everybody,

Well I started my new job yesterday. So far, so good. My two office-mates, Bronagh (pronounced "Brona") and Michelle are both new as well, so the three of us will all be figuring things out together, which is nice. They both just finished their social work degrees at Trinity College in Dublin, one a bachelors and one a masters, and are both really nice. I'll have nine families to start out, but I haven't gotten my case files yet so I don't know what kinds of issues I'll be dealing with. We spent a lot of the day trying to get our office organized and setting up appointments to meet with some of the service providers in our area (housing/homelessness agencies, drug rehabs, family centers, etc...) because these are the kinds of services we will need to be getting for our clients. Sooo...we're gonna be going around this week and next to get to know what kinds of resources are available. I had computer training all day today to learn the system we use to do casenotes, referrals, child abuse notifications and how we put new families into the database when they enter the system. All pretty basic but mandatory training. Unfortunately it was kinda designed for people with very little computer experience so I was sorta bored a lot of the time. I have to go back for another day of training on Friday and then I'll be an expert at the "Social Work Information System". Haha...

Tomorrow we're visiting a community development organization and a family resource center and Thursday we're going to women's shelter, I think. It's nice that we get a few weeks to get oriented with the area and the services before we're meant to start working with our families.

No real news besides that. Just excited to start working. Thanks for singing Happy Birthday to me on Sunday! It was actually hot and sunny here that day so I got to lay out in the back yard and read a book all afternoon! (Although here, they call it the back "garden"). I'm trying to spread American-isms here though. I've got Steve's 2-yr-old nephew saying "yikes!" and I'm working on "later dude". And Steve and his sister Ruthie have started saying American words like "sweatshirt" (they say jumper here) and "stuff" and Ruthie swears she's starting to talk with an American accent. She's even using the Chicagoan method of ending a sentance in a preposition...she asked me yesterday..."do you wanna come with?" haha...I'm contagious!

Right, well, I'm tired so I'll leave it at that for now. My office is ugly and miserable at the moment because its a gov't building with no character, but Bronagh and Michelle and I are determined to fix it up so I'll post pics once we get it looking a bit more presentable.

Love you all and miss you, especiallly Linny, although I talk to you nearly every day...Good luck to all the kids going back to school soon and congrats to Auntie Laurie for getting some of your life back during the days! Ha!


Monday, August 18, 2008

Adventures of Travel Teddy

Travel Teddy hitchin' a ride to Wales in Steve's back pocket... TT having a morning coffee break on the ferry...TT hanging out over the bar at the Porterhouse...TT sippin' on a glass of oyster stout...TT taking the bus home after a long day (Can you see him?)

It's raining. Again.

Bonjour friends and family...

How is everyone?? Some of you guys have been asking about where I live here, what's the house/neighborhood/etc like... so here are some pics to curb your curiosity!
First we have a pic of Dublin City Center first...thats the River Liffey in the front. That's what a lot of the "downtown" area looks like, although "downtown" isn't really the right word for it...they just call it "in town"...Then there's a shot of Travel Teddy after too much Guinness. He's been having a lot of fun lately, so stand by for more pics of him soon. Moving on, you'll see a shot of the coast. I was out for a walk on my birthday and thats where I was walking. It's about five minutes from where I live. Next is a pic of the house I'm living in...and last but not least, Steve and me after my bday dinner. So, hope you like the pics.
Yesterday we took the ferry to Wales because I had to re-enter immigration to activate my work permit, so stay tuned for Travel Teddy's "trip to Wales" pics. When we got back to Dublin we went to a place called The Porterhouse, where they have Oyster Beer! They shuck live oysters into the tank! Eek! It's so delicious though. Anyone coming to visit must try it. Today I have to go to an orientation meeting for my student work permit thing...its mostly for Americans who just got here, to tell them where to go, help them find jobs, apts, etc...so it's a bunch of info I don't need but I have to go anyways, to get my ID card. ugh. At least maybe I'll meet some nice people.
Thanks for all the birthday wishes! Hope Jaimee and Sam had good birthdays too! It's raining again...good thing Linny sent me a sweet pair of Kate Spade Wellies for my bday!! Love them Lin. And I will use them ALL THE TIME!
Love you guys, talk to ya soon!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Rain rain go away...

Hi everybody,
I'm slowly but surely getting more pics on here. This time you'll see a great view from a doorway in Santorini, the Grand Canal in Venice...doesn't it look fake? like a movie set??...the Amalfi Coast just north of Naples, Italy, and me "falling" into the gondola parking lot just off St. Mark's Square. Back here in Dublin things are lashing (dublinese for rainy) and gray at the moment, but wait 20 minutes and ya never know. This morning Steve's sister Ruthie needed to go into town for an appointment so I took Cillian (her two year old...are you guys starting to remember the names or should I keep re-explaining who everyone is??) to Stephen's Green, which is a big park in the middle of the city. It was warm and sunny, and we walked around a bit and went to the playground, then met back up with Ruthie and made it back just before the rain set in.

It's Steve's birthday today, he's 31! So for two days he's going to be 6 years older than me and I haven't been letting him forget it. But then on Thursday I'll catch up again and it's back to 5... No huge plans for my birthday, probably a nice dinner out somewhere. I talked to Auntie Laurie yesterday and she said you'll be celebrating Jaimee's, Sammi's and my birthday over the weekend, so eat some extra cake for me, okay??

Tomorrow I have a job interview with the HSE, which I think I've mentioned previously. Its the gov't social work agency here and getting a job with them would be fantastic. Plus, the office where the job is located is in the exact neighborhood where Steve and I want to get a place! We took a drive over there (to Stoneybatter) on Sunday and it's a really cute area with lots of cottages and little roads, and a nice main street with shops and pubs. We can't wait to find a place and get settled in so you guys can start flocking over to visit!! Anyway, wish me luck on the interview!

Other than that, just been hanging out. We rented "There Will be Blood" last night, the one about the oil wells with Daniel Day Lewis, but we both fell asleep before the end so we'll have to try to finish it tonight. Movie rentals here are only good for ONE NIGHT! Can you believe it??

Congrats to Ronny for getting registered for high school, it's gonna be a lot of fun! And Happy B-day to Jaimee and Sam, and hi and love and hugs to everyone else. No one is commenting on this thing anymore though, is anyone actually reading it?!? Grandma and Grandpa, haven't heard from either of you since my last emails a week or two ago, how are things? Love and miss you guys...

Well that's all for now. More soon!


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Photo Time

Bonjour family,

As promised, here are (finally) some pictures from the cruise. From top to bottom we have a huge mosque in Istanbul, a stall at the spice bazaar in Istanbul...Istanbul is such a cool place!, a gorgeous view of Fira, a town on the Greek island of Santorini (have any of the girls seen the sisterhood of the traveling pants? it was filmed here...), then you'll see me on a black sand beach on the opposite side of Santorini, and finally a hot shot of Yin and I sporting our super-cool helmets on our afternoon of riding 4-wheelers on narrow two-lane cliffside roads!

I finally found my camera cord so I'll post more in the next few days. Love and miss you!


Monday, August 04, 2008

Happy Bank Holiday Monday

Hi everyone,

So here in Ireland there are holidays for no actual reason. It's called a bank holiday and everyone has the day off just because! Fun! Today is a bank holiday and we had a nice one. Got up early, had some breakfast, layed around watching TV...then we went for a nice walk by the coast (it's really pretty here) and then made dinner. We made a pork roast stuffed with peaches, butter and thyme, with roasted potatoes, corn, and cheesy spinach. Mmmm...

Dublin is really far north, about even with northern Canada, so it doesn't get dark in summer until about 10pm. But then in winter it gets dark really really early... Right now it's 7:30, and bright and sunny out.

Tomorrow Steve goes back to work and I get back to looking for a job. My work permit will be valid starting Aug 18th, so I have two weeks to find something. Besides the autism school, one of Steve's friends works for the government social work agency, so she's sending my resume to all her bosses. Fingers crossed that something will come up soon.

How's everything at home? Are the kids headed back to school soon? Love and miss you guys!

Love, Ame

Friday, August 01, 2008

Hi hi hi

Hi guys,

Well I've made it safe and sound to Dublin, after a total of 12 hours in airports and planes! I had a one hour layover in Paris so I got a small glimpse of the Eiffel Tower during our landing! My last night in Barcelona was a lot of fun, six of us went out on the town (since the ship was there overnight) and since it was my send-off to Ireland, we went to three different Irish Pubs. Ha! Like I won't be getting enough of those over here!

I've spent the morning unpacking all of my stuff and getting organized. Steve told me he was going to put up some shelves for me so I'd have some space to keep stuff, so I was expecting a few plywood boards held to the wall with brackets. I was wowwed when I walked in our room and saw a huge, gorgeous wall unit/bookcase/shelving extravaganza waiting for me! I keep forgetting that he can actually build furniture! I'd take a picture and send it, but I can't find the cord to connect my camera to the computer and the memory card isn't formatted right, so my pics are stuck in my camera for now. Once I find the cord I'll post the photos from my last two cruises. Istanbul was really cool and the pics of the mosques are amazing.

After I finished with the organizing, I went to Penneys (which is like Target) with Steve's sister Ruthie (Steve is at work so I'm on my own for the day). I picked up a pair of dressy jeans and some corderoy pants and a rain jacket because most of the clothes I have with me are for hot hot hot weather! So I learned that in Ireland, "pants" means underwear...so if an Irish person was reading this, they'd think I was out buying corderoy undies! haha. I have to start saying "trousers" instead.

Now I'm just checking some emails and sending out resumes. I'm hoping to have an interview at a school for autistic kids in the next few weeks. My experience with Aubry, plus my social work degree should make me a pretty qualified candidate! Anyways, that's about all that's happening over here today. Monday is a "bank holiday" here, so we'll have a long weekend. No plans yet but if it's nice out I hope we can head to the beach or something like that. It's strange going from 90 degrees and sunny for five weeks, to 60 degrees and drizzly! I heard its been sweltering in Chicago lately...

Okay well, I think thats it for now. Love you all. Oh! Thanks to everyone who sent your love and support via email. It means a lot to me.