clevermynnie: (see us waving)
You know, I think I finally feel socially integrated into Dublin. Close friends, less close friends, people to call last-minute, weekend catsitters, workmates to grab lunch with, a decent knowledge of what stuff is like and who would be into which thing... and it only took what, 17 months? I think that may be slightly faster than Philly was, actually, though the circumstances are somewhat different.

I really like living in new places, but the social acclimatization always takes longer than I want it to. But yay, I made it there eventually. :)
clevermynnie: (al fresco)
I was in a cafe with an American friend of mine, and an American sat down next to us and asked if we had come to Dublin "with Groupon". There are Groupons for that?! Uh, no, we live here.

One huge perk of living outside the US is that I no longer have to pretend to care about the Super Bowl. And, for local sports that everyone else cares about, I can plead foreign ignorance.

At improv recently we had a set of scenes with accents, which alarmed me since there are very few accents I can do convincingly. And then my group got given "northern Irish" as an accent, which I could probably pick out by now but I can't really do Irish, or Scottish, or the weird mixture that is northern Irish to my ears. So I did a terrible half-Scottish accent, and yelled "jayyysus fookin' chroist" when an imaginary gear fell on my head, and this went over well. Sorry, Ireland, for making a mockery of your swears.

flashes

Jan. 29th, 2013 03:29 pm
clevermynnie: (al fresco)
The last week has been busy but mostly good. We had friends over to brew, saw live jazz at KC Peaches where I should just live from now on, played games with friends, oh and my improv class continues to be the best thing ever.

I'm back in the swing of running more regularly, after a bit of a break last November and December. It feels really good even though the weather at the moment includes things like strong winds whipping half-frozen rain into your face. But last week something bizarre happened, where I went on a nice group run, got home and sat down for 20 minutes to eat dinner and watch Parks and Rec, and got up to find I had intense and localized pain in my lower back, on one side of my spine. I hoped it would go away overnight but got worse the following day, which was alarming since I wasn't even sure what I'd done exactly to cause it. I kept flashing back to the last few weeks of high school swimming, where I suddenly got some sort of back injury while at dance team, which didn't get better for weeks, all while I was trying to qualify for state competitions in backstroke. Finally some "alignment" from an off-hours chiropractor my coach knew seemed to instigate my back getting better, but the whole thing was confusing and frustrating, and having sudden inexplicable back pain just took me back to that time! Fortunately it seems to be getting better, having improved a fair bit after two days of no workouts but plenty of ibuprofen and ice, with only a slight relapse when I did my weekend long run.

Also, pre-live-jazz I walked around Tradfest with some friends, this festival with a bunch of traditional Irish music on various stages. It was pretty cool, at least in places, and prompted me to look up more about uilleann pipes, the bodhrán, and the history of harps in Ireland. But also they had some dancers for some of the reels, and I just had such strong flashbacks to the last times I saw my grandmom, and the Riverdance DVDs she was always watching. I wish I could have talked to her about coming here.

staycation

Dec. 22nd, 2012 09:19 pm
clevermynnie: (see us waving)
For the first time in basically ever, we are not going anywhere for Christmas! Meaning that this last week was largely a week of holiday parties with no travel planning or last minute errands, and now quite a bit of time stretches out in front of me with no particular priorities. It feels luxurious!

I think the prospect of not seeing friends and family abroad for Christmas is partly helped by the fact that we have a fair bit of travel lined up for early next year. And I'm really excited by the prospect of a Christmas Day sea swim, assuming we can get somewhere festive and fun which is a bit complicated but probably doable. We're meeting some people for Christmas dinner as well which should be great, and I am insisting that Ben and I do stockings for our first Christmas morning chez nous. As for the rest of the vacation, I'm thinking sports, piano, reading, and maybe even some writing... and probably a fair bit of gaming and movies. This time last year, I was excited to be in Ireland, but still settling in, unemployed, piano-less, and getting back into running. Whereas now... now I can bask.

paperwork

Dec. 3rd, 2012 10:26 pm
clevermynnie: (Default)
I've been doing all the paperwork to extend my contract to the end of my fellowship, which is mostly a boring series of chores but also kind of inexplicably exciting. I will be here for another year and a half, hooray!

Today I went to the immigration office, sat around reading the New Yorker for ages, and finally was reprimanded for not having enough space in my passport for new immigration stamps. That's pretty cheeky, Ireland, taking up FIVE PAGES of my passport with your enormous stamps and then complaining that you can't put yet another full page stamp in. I was planning to get a new passport anyway (costs about the same as getting more pages sewn in and you can request extra pages from the get-go), but it takes long enough that my immigration card would have expired, and so after explaining this they gave me my new card and stamped on one of the blank pages in the back. And charged me the newly doubled fee, but whatever, I don't have to go back until 2014.

And putting together the passport renewal stuff makes me realize how much has changed! When I got this passport seven years ago, which was my first, I was super excited about getting into grad schools and taking my first trip abroad! Since then I didn't get into grad school, worked super hard and did, went abroad for the first time, moved in with Ben, married Ben, was miserable in grad school, finished grad school, moved abroad, and somewhere in there became a scientist. And now live the sort of lifestyle where I need an extra large passport. AWESOME.
clevermynnie: (Default)
I got an announcement for an R&D scientist job, in Northern Ireland; amongst the long bit at the bottom about being an equal opportunity employer, they mention that they 'specifically welcome applications from the protestant community who are currently underrepresented in this job category'. I've never seen a job ad request applicants from a specific religious community before, and this just below the bit about how they don't discriminate based on religion. Are Protestants really underrepresented in science positions, or generally in Northern Ireland? Is this common in job ads there, or anywhere?

I told Ben and it and he said: 'well, leaky pipeline, you know. Episcopalians drop out every step of the way.' Which, yeah, I kind of resent the appropriation of protections for helping women and minorities into fields where they are underrepresented, by one of the most common religions in those fields! Are they worried about too many Catholics from down south, or foreigners, or what? There must be some worldview in which this makes sense but I'm not quite seeing it.

too long

Nov. 4th, 2012 10:23 pm
clevermynnie: (Default)
A conversation that took place this weekend:

Ben: When is Thanksgiving, anyway?
me, jokingly: Thursday!
Ben: Yeah, but what date? And wait, isn't Thanksgiving on a Wednesday?
me: *silent shock*

We have only been outside the US for a year and Ben has forgotten what day of the week Thanksgiving falls on.
clevermynnie: (and then?)
Entry n in the list of ways it has been easy to be immigrants in Ireland: Ben's immigrant registration card expired, and when his parents got here and told the immigration officer they were visiting him, the officer looked him up and found that he needed to get his card renewed. Ben's parents figured they were in for hours of detention, a la US Immigration Control, but instead the officer tried calling Ben, and then told his parents to have him get the card renewed. That was it! He was also out of the country at the time but had no problems coming back in, and went to get the card renewed today. Ireland wants it to be easy for educated professionals to immigrate, and it is. And that helps the country as a whole! Taking notes, US?

Also, we went to see the Asgard yesterday, a historically significant ship that was designed by the same guy who designed the Fram (my favorite ship ever). I told Ben that when we have made our fortune we have to get a boat, and I was utterly serious.
clevermynnie: (and then?)
Entry n in the list of ways it has been easy to be immigrants in Ireland: Ben's immigrant registration card expired, and when his parents got here and told the immigration officer they were visiting him, the officer looked him up and found that he needed to get his card renewed. Ben's parents figured they were in for hours of detention, a la US Immigration Control, but instead the officer tried calling Ben, and then told his parents to have him get the card renewed. That was it! He was also out of the country at the time but had no problems coming back in, and went to get the card renewed today. Ireland wants it to be easy for educated professionals to immigrate, and it is. And that helps the country as a whole! Taking notes, US?

Also, we went to see the Asgard yesterday, a historically significant ship that was designed by the same guy who designed the Fram (my favorite ship ever). I told Ben that when we have made our fortune we have to get a boat, and I was utterly serious.
clevermynnie: (and then?)
When I moved here, my knowledge of Ireland consisted primarily of the following: a few family stories, familiarity with the writing of James Joyce, and the sense of depression that came after slogging through The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism. I knew a little about modern Ireland from a postdoc I worked with in grad school who was Irish, but once I got here I realized how little that was. Even though Ireland is not hugely culturally different from the US, there is so much context that I don't know and find myself picking up. Contrast this with moving to Philadelphia, which was thousands of miles from where I grew up but nonetheless central in history classes and such. So this post is about some bits I knew next to nothing about before coming here.

competing narratives, partition, religion, place names, language )

So, this is one of those really obvious things, but I am finding learning the history and culture of a country other than my own very interesting, both for its own sake and as a lens on the country where I grew up. We have now been in Ireland for a year (!) and we’re still just scratching the surface.
clevermynnie: (and then?)
When I moved here, my knowledge of Ireland consisted primarily of the following: a few family stories, familiarity with the writing of James Joyce, and the sense of depression that came after slogging through The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism. I knew a little about modern Ireland from a postdoc I worked with in grad school who was Irish, but once I got here I realized how little that was. Even though Ireland is not hugely culturally different from the US, there is so much context that I don't know and find myself picking up. Contrast this with moving to Philadelphia, which was thousands of miles from where I grew up but nonetheless central in history classes and such. So this post is about some bits I knew next to nothing about before coming here.

competing narratives, partition, religion, place names, language )

So, this is one of those really obvious things, but I am finding learning the history and culture of a country other than my own very interesting, both for its own sake and as a lens on the country where I grew up. We have now been in Ireland for a year (!) and we’re still just scratching the surface.
clevermynnie: (Default)
"Blight Warning

Weather conditions conductive to potato blight are likely in coastal areas of the west and northwest for a time Friday night, Saturday and Saturday night, returning again on Monday. Some opportunities for spraying today Thursday.
Issued at 14:00 on 30-Aug-2012"
clevermynnie: (Default)
"Blight Warning

Weather conditions conductive to potato blight are likely in coastal areas of the west and northwest for a time Friday night, Saturday and Saturday night, returning again on Monday. Some opportunities for spraying today Thursday.
Issued at 14:00 on 30-Aug-2012"
clevermynnie: (smile)
I ended up having a very nautical-themed (pashmina afghan!) past weekend. The sailing class that Ben and I were supposed to do for our anniversary got rescheduled to last Saturday, so we showed up and it was not cancelled for high wind! Hooray! We went out on a racing yacht with three other students and an instructor, and spent about three hours sailing around Dublin harbor. The instructor was great at having us rotate jobs, so that we could each try out controlling the rudder, the main sail, and the jib. There were many other boats out for the day, because the Tall Ships festival was on and had several associated races, plus many people were clearly trying to catch a glimpse of the tall ships themselves, which were mostly docked along the Liffey for the festival. But we stayed clear of the more crowded areas and sailed around, which was really fun as long as there was wind. It was rainy off and on, but it was sunny as well, and we were all in waterproof outer layers so the rain wasn't a huge deal. Overall it was a lot of fun! I did start having some bad seasickness at the end, when the wind slacked off and I was getting hungry, but I made it back to shore without incident and next time I'll know to take Dramamine. The school running the class does a whole series for both yachts and dinghies, and the prices are actually pretty reasonable, so perhaps we will go back in the future!

And then, on Sunday we went to the Tall Ships festival for a bit. Every year they apparently do races around Europe, and this year Dublin was the final port. We had been seeing the ships as we went around town earlier in the week, and popped down to see them get underway. There were smaller and larger ships, all pretty cool looking, but one of the best parts was seeing this enormous ship, with crew all up in the rigging to set sail once they left the harbor, being towed out of the mouth of the Liffey, everyone on the shore waving and the crew waving back!

I've also been seeing ads around for the newly restored Asgard, which is apparently on display at one of the national museums here. It was designed by Colin Archer who designed the Fram, and is most famous for being the ship that ran guns to Howth in 1914, which sparked or supported several important bits in Irish independence. I will have to go see it!
clevermynnie: (i carry your heart)
Last Thursday was my fourth wedding anniversary, and the first anniversary we've celebrated in Ireland! We met up after work to go sit in a park and exchange presents. I got Ben an engraved lighter and golf lessons (because he had been wanting us to try golf together but neither of us has any idea what we are doing). I messed up the lighter a bit, since it wasn't the preferred type for cigars, but he still liked the gift (I think I had exhausted my gift-giving mojo but maxed out Ben's goodwill by also getting him a few beer-related articles of clothing recently, randomly when the opportunity arose). He got me the Cafe Paradiso cookbook, from the restaurant we loved in Cork two weeks ago, and promised to make me three dinners from that book with any dishes I wanted, including cleaning up and sourcing any weird ingredients. Which was a perfect present! And then we headed to get tapas at this pub near our house which has a really good deal for tapas on Thursdays.

We usually alternate who plans anniversary excursions, and since it was my turn this year I wanted to do some new things in and around Dublin: I signed us up for a sailing class and then dinner at a nice restaurant that does Irish food in a modern way (what I mean by this is that they use vegetables, since traditional Irish food is usually mostly meat, dairy, and potatoes). But I think I had tapped out my planning mojo as well over the last few weeks, what with our trip to Cork and all the stuff we did while my friends were here last weekend. Because, we took the train down to Dun Laoghaire for the sailing class, had a quick lunch first, and then got to the sailing school to find the doors locked! I called them, and they told me the course was cancelled due to excessive wind! Apparently they'd tried calling me but had one digit wrong in my number, and didn't try email because it's still 1995, so we were at the big sailing harbor with all the boats but nothing to do. We made the best of it, and got 99s and walked out along the seawall that encloses the harbor. We could see lots of sailboats already out, between us and Howth to the north, and it was very pretty. We even saw another boat out from the school we had signed up with, but maybe they went out earlier or had more experienced people or something. Our course is supposed to be rescheduled, so hopefully at some point we will get to go sailing.

So we stopped by a market and got some nice bread and other things, and then went home to play Dominion and hang out until dinner that evening. The place we went for dinner also ended up being somewhere Ben had been before, for a work lunch, but the food was delicious and so he was happy to go again.

Being with Ben is wonderful, as usual, but celebrating our first anniversary post-grad school made me so thankful that we made it through that experience together. And so thankful that it is over, we have nicer jobs, and we live somewhere really cool! Life is going so well right now, and we are really excited about so many things to come!
clevermynnie: (smile)
Until just now, we hadn't been anywhere much west of here in Ireland, so on Friday we took the train down to Cork for the weekend. It was very fun, great food and a lot of beautiful areas.

After getting in on Friday we headed to the Franciscan Well brewpub; we can get their Friar Weisse beer here in Dublin, but they had all their beers on tap there and we really enjoyed them (a blonde, a great lager, a nice casked red and a stout). We also lucked out there with Ben snagging the last chorizo wood-fired pizza just as they were stopping production for the night. But come morning, from the beer and changing our sleep schedule around, we were both feeling a little out of it. The breakfast at the B&B we stayed at was pretty amazing, and picked up my spirits significantly. Then we met up with someone I used to work with in Philadelphia, a native Corkonian (that's really what they say) who was back in Cork for a bit before permanently emigrating to the US later this year. He drove us to Kinsale, where we walked around a beautiful old star-shaped fort, along a grey beach, and then had lunch at a pretty amazing fish place where I had a salad with salmon and some other fish in chili sauce. Unfortunately, during this time Ben was feeling worse and worse, and ended up getting a migraine and sleeping in the car for a bit. We headed back to Cork, poked around some sights and the university, and then retired to the room for a bit so that Ben could nap and hopefully recover. He ended up feeling well enough that we went to this vegetarian restaurant for dinner, which he'd heard about from a coworker, and had another amazing meal there. I had a carrot and almond terrine, these amazing artichokes with citrus cream sauce, white beans, and saffron gnocchi, and then a really lovely berry pudding for dessert. It was actually really hard to choose because everything looked so good... I am considering buying one of their cookbooks but I need to do some research on which one would be best.

Fortunately, after a full night's sleep Ben was feeling a lot better, so on Sunday we headed off on a bus tour of the Dingle peninsula. I kept hearing over and over again how Dingle was one of the most beautiful places in Ireland, so even though it's again a couple of hours from Cork, it was completely worth going there. The bus driver gave a lot of history and current events in places we drove through, pointed out nice spots, talked about counties Cork and Kerry through the years, and of course also had some pauses to just play music as we drove. We stopped at the Inch Beach where it was raining, and worried that we were driving pretty far to see rain, but we really lucked out and after that it cleared up. We drove out to Slea Head, which is the westernmost point in Ireland and has an amazing rugged coastline plus views out to the Blasket Islands in the Atlantic. There was an interesting museum about Blasket Islanders (who left the island in 1953) and a lot of nice views, and then we headed to Dingle town and had a late lunch. I had nice fish and chips plus a Crean's lager, but Ben had what was apparently a transcendent fish pie, and told me that the fish pie had pushed the weekend into being a net positive experience despite feeling miserable for most of a day. Phew.

We spent the rest of the day getting back to Cork and then back to Dublin, to our cats and own bed. I have a list of a bunch of places I'd like to go in Ireland, and this trip hit some of them, but it also just gave me more ideas about places to go! Like Killarney, which I'd heard of but didn't realize how nice and outdoorsy it was until our bus driver told us about it and drove us by a nice view of Lough Leane. Next time!

photos, of course! )

slea head and cow

trinity

Jul. 12th, 2012 07:52 am
clevermynnie: (al fresco)
I took some photos of the campus where I work recently, in admittedly unusually great weather. It's such a pretty campus! Most of these are of the front square which is the oldest part of the campus, and you can see the front gate which is one of only three ways to get inside.

huge trees


Read more... )

fires

Jul. 3rd, 2012 06:41 pm
clevermynnie: (and then?)
There are huge fires burning in Colorado right now, the Flagstaff fire near Boulder and the Waldo Canyon fire which has already destroyed some homes in Colorado Springs. I know a lot of people in Colorado, because a lot of people from my hometown went up to Colorado for college and stayed, so this means my facebook feed is anxiety and fire updates and hoping for a minimal loss of homes and life. It's a familiar state of things, after the Las Conchas fire which meant that my hometown was under evacuation when I tried to visit my parents there last year, the fires that threatened San Diego a few years back causing many of my friends and in-laws there to evacuate, and of course the Cerro Grande fire which burned down part of my hometown when I was in high school.

It feels like every summer, either there is relief that enough rain came that year, or widespread fires in the southwestern states. And more often we get the latter than the former. It's part of the ecosystem, what those trees and those plants have evolved to survive, but decades of total suppression have raised the density of trees so high, and the bark beetle infestation has left so much dead wood, that the way things stand now is much worse than it would have been if the forests had gone on doing their natural thing. (Of course, fire suppression was adopted to save lives, homes, and the forest, but unfortunately our understanding of that forest was not complete.) The forest service is starting to do more brush clearing and controlled burns, but it feels like too little, too late. I remember going with my class to help gather up brush for a controlled burn... but controlled burns are risky, if the weather turns or the winds kick up then they become uncontrolled very quickly, which is how Cerro Grande started. There can be benefits, like the resurgence of the Kirtland's warbler which was in part due to a controlled burn that became a significant fire, because it turns out the warbler prefers to live in younger trees so that fire created a huge new habitat. But, there is always a cost. And in the southwest, the recovery is so slow. The Cerro Grande fire wiped out the forests on the closest mountains visible from my house, and after 11 years the brush had recovered and small trees were growing. But Las Conchas reset that clock, and to have trees the size that they used to be would take decades.

So when I read articles about whether the burning of the southwest is inevitable, I wonder. Is it, at this point? As we move out of an unusually wet period in the southwest, which with other factors has contributed to a population boom, is the region just a tinderbox? I hope not, for the sake of my friends and family who are still there, and for the sake of my childhood home.

Things here are so different. A month ago, I was hiking up in Howth and came across a patch where the gorse along a cliffside appeared to have burned. I was frankly surprised that anything is able to burn here, where it rains a little almost every day. But I checked online and there was a small gorse fire just before I went hiking, which was quickly caught and put out. This last weekend I went up there for a run, and found the whole burned area covered with big ferns! The gorse doesn't grow quite that fast but it's apparently highly flammable and has seed pods that are opened by fire, and recovers within months. I wish I could send some rain and speedy recovery to the southwest.

gorse fire ferns
clevermynnie: (and then?)
One of the first things I noticed when I came back to Dublin from the US at the beginning of the month was the massive proliferation of 'Vote No!' and 'Vote Yes!' signs all over the streets. This is for the Irish referendum on the EU fiscal treaty, Ireland being the only EU country to have a referendum rather than deal with the treaty in the legislature. I think the Yes and No arguments here sum things up pretty reasonably; people here aren't happy with either option, really. The referendum is being voted on today, and it's been really weird to see the increasing publicity for each side, see people passing out information on the street and trying to change minds, and be personally unable to vote. It actually reminds me a lot of being 16 during the 2000 presidential election, feeling informed but impotent... except that I haven't been immersed in politics here for years, and I don't have an official long term stake in what happens here since I only have a hosting agreement rather than a green card or citizenship. I can vote in local elections, though, for my city councillor. Just not in national elections, though in a country this small the distinction is much less than it would be in the US.

I am trying to think who deserves to vote more, 16-year-olds or non-citizens. You can tell from the paragraph above that I think that as a 16-year-old, I was more informed about US politics than I am currently informed about Irish politics. But, some 16-year-olds pay no attention to government, and if the path to citizenship is long then non-citizens could become very able to cast an educated vote. Of course, education is not actually a requirement, and anyone living in a locality is affected by the laws and government of that locality whether they are a citizen or not. And whether they are an adult or not!
clevermynnie: (smile)
One thing that I am pretty excited about is that several friends are visiting us in Dublin this summer. Enough people are coming that I ended up making a spreadsheet of weekends and guests, which also enables us to sort out our own summer travel plans. There's a lot I would like to do in Dublin and around Ireland, like day trips to Newgrange and Glendalough as well as out to Cork, Dingle, Galway, Antrim coast, and the Cliffs of Moher. But additionally Ben is interested in going somewhere in eastern Europe, I want to go up north, and we also have friends scattered around that it would be nice to see. And I miss backpacking! Real backpacking, with tents and such, not this business of traveling around hostels.

A lot of the Dublin area stuff I bet we could do with visitors, though. We just had Vicky stay with us, a friend from Penn on her way to summer research in Grenoble, and it was great taking her on my favorite runs, to the food market with the roast pork and Reblochon, and to the Book of Kells and the Long Room.

And! Budapest tickets booked for June. Yay!

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