Our container Arrived

It snowed, proper snow fall. Not very thick, but it snowed. Some parts of the country had heavy snow falls, we had enough to paint all the fields in white and to keep the new South African in the village out and about in the cold.

I was as excited as a child in a toy shop, and walked up and down our road taking pictures and just enjoying the magic of being here.

It’s funny how this road can actually be so busy sometimes depending on the time of the day but on that day it was quiet and I was the only one out on the road and outside. I visited the neighbours twice with my red cheeks & red runny nose and spontaneous smile, I could not stop being so happy. 

I also started saying it’s fecking cold ‘cause that’s what they say here, and believe me January and February are cold months. …And so is March although I won’t say that out loud.

I walk everyday and now I have dog treats in my pockets because I stop at houses and speak to the dogs and hand out treats. Firstly because it is kind of lonely I don’t have anyone here to talk to (until husband gets home) and the neighbour whom I visit at least once a day and we chat a bit and sometimes I stay for tea. 

I had to tell them I don’t drink black tea I prefer coffee, they have one tin of coffee that probably no one has touched in a while. They don’t drink coffee at all, so I think this tin is for the strange visitors, like me. Mentioning that herbal tea is my prefered drink and I got the raise of the eyebrow from Joe. He’d rather have coffee than herbal tea and he hates coffee, that was his reply 😀 

The dogs here are different, I always laugh and when I chat to my son I keep telling him how the dogs in Ireland are just so well behaved. 

Firstly they don’t bark at people walking past the house. They don’t run out the gate and chase you. 

The gates are wide open, I’m living in-between farms and house gates are never closed, unless cattle are being moved down the road, they are permanently open. So if dogs are in the garden they don’t run out. 

The ones that do bark are the small cheeky ones, and the ones that do make a run for it stop way before the gate. 

That’s when I learnt some of them have a collar and there is something in the garden walls or across the floor that stops them (shocks them) from passing the invisible barrier.  And I started speaking to the four legged friends at the garden walls where they could come and greet me and take a treat. I learnt the names of some of them from their owners and that’s how most of my days were spent. 

I baked twice (hand mixed) in a pyrex dish and started counting the days for our container to arrive. Cakes are a flop here and I need my Kenwood and backing stuff and all other goodies we have packed. I have started thinking about what we packed and can’t wait to get some of those boxes. 

Finally the day arrived, it was a marathon of a day, 18 Feb, the truck in the driveway with help from our neighbours and two friends we unpack the container and drop boxes in every room and every corner of the house. Mainly I stood and looked at the numbers on the boxes and would direct the traffic – box 36 kitchen, 40 that’s for the room…..and we quickly had the house full of boxes and all our things were here. 

Happy Unpacking. Yip it was a nice feeling, and now suddenly the house and cupboards are full and the house is not as big as it seemed. The cupboards in the bed rooms are quite small so we had to do some creative packing and hanging and folding of shirts and pants. 

Everything arrived with not a single scratch, we did our own packing. Volumes of bubble wrap and cling wrap, everything tightly packed and it all arrived here beautifully. Nothing broke. We did a great job and I think the company we used (Seven Seas) did a good job too in transporting everything safely. 

In the middle of the happiness of being here and unpacking our things and making it official that we now live in this beautiful place, my mother had surgery and had a pacemaker implanted, the day before the container arrived she was in hospital! We were in lockdown still, and so neither my sister (Italy) or I could go and spend some time with her during this ordeal. 

New Year New Country

Can you say that? New Year New Country. I can because it’s true. 

I arrived in December, exhausted and equally excited about the new adventure I was about to embark on. Christmas in Dublin, I landed here on the 19th of December and dinner guests were confirmed, we would not be spending Christmas evening alone but with friends. 

And so it was, we all squashed around a little dinner table only two chairs and one make shift bench with cushions I got very last minute to make it more comfortable and easy to sit on. 

I didn’t see too much of Dublin or shopping malls either we were in lockdown and after Christmas we packed and moved. So from Swords in Dublin to a small and I mean small village near Ballinasloe (170 km from Dublin and 60 km from Galway). This was now home. 

The arrival in Kiltormer was a wonderful delightful surprise. The house we are living in is a beautiful beautiful home and I am so very happy to be here. 

So to do shopping, any groceries, the closest town is 19km away, it’s ok I enjoy the drive past all the sheep and cattle fields into town. But January I didn’t do a lot of that, we only have one car and husband needs it so he can get to work. I’m home cleaning and unpacking the two suitcases full that I brought with me and his two suitcases + everything he has bought for the kitchen. Everything is spacious. The house is big and easy to clean…..only because there is no sheit 🙂 like, no ornaments, vases, plants, little wooden boxes, or candles, books, and African curios that I’ve been collecting all my life. Nada. Just the bare necessities. And believe me that is all one really needs, seriously. 

We settle, we get to know the landlord and his family, they are our neighbours and lovely people. I visit the shed everyday a few times a day to see the cows. I take long walks and most are filled with me stopping to admire the scenery rather than walking for exercise. January was the most awesome month. Finding puddles of frozen water from the cold, little streams melting in the sun rays. Seeing the steam from the breath of the cows when they moo. The sheep don’t seem bothered with the cold. The cows are all in sheds for the winter. 

Greeting people on my walks, the cold freezing my eyelashes and tears on my face, tears that just appear from the bitter cold (not me crying). On weekends we light the fire place and it’s like a warm hug. I LOVE my fireplace in the lounge. We had a TV already and so bought one piece of furniture a TV stand, so the lounge is the best place to be in. 

We do have two lounges though, one is just kept neat all we have is the house furniture and there is one sofa there that I like to nap on, it’s near a huge window and the sun shines on my legs in the afternoon. It’s almost romantic, I really love this house, the large windows and light that comes in everywhere. 

We had some light snow, the excitement is there every morning because every day is just a blessing and a surprise to be living here. I still can’t believe it. 

Weekends we go out exploring places near by, it’s like mini holidays on weekends. I have started a beanie collection because – vok it is really cold.

When I need something quickly for breakfast or my lunch I have to walk (5km there and back) to the only place in the village that sells anything you can eat. It’s the local petrol station and a little shop with some bread, yoghurts, eggs, sweets, newspapers, biscuits, you know basic of basic. 

But at least I have that option and I did that walk a few times when I was really in need of something. 

By now some people have heard that there is a new family in the village. On one particular day at the shop the lady behind the counter knew I was the new face and to make double sure she started a conversation, then commented on my accent. 

You not from here are ye? 

No, I’m new in Ireland and I’ve just moved here to Kiltormer. 

Where are you staying?

Oh, I don’t know the name of the street – she quickly interrupted me – 

Are you the South African? Yes, I said very surprised. 

….So turns out she knew exactly where I was living because our landlord is her brother-in-law. 

One day I was on my walk and a car driving past me stopped and the conversation started with _ Hi, are you the South African? 

I was asked that four times by four different people I met along my walks. 

It’s a funny thing living in a small village and being the new one in a foreign country. 

Fast Forward and Rewind

One whole year and I blogged once! I don’t know why only the one.

But I want to post my one year in Ireland.

I am clearing my drafts and saved posts that never made it out!

When it is all up to date I will try and continue with the Irish adventures as seen by me…

Fast forward, rewind or pause.

Enjoy what’s coming.

Randomly from the Sky

This is a bit late now but it’s time to catch up, so let’s catch up. 

In my last, long time ago post of November 2020, I briefly mentioned some of the craziness that had been going on in my life during lockdown

Fast forward to today and here I am living in Ireland!!! I don’t even know where to begin, why did we do this and why Ireland? So many people ask me this. 

So….no, this move was not for the same reason as of most young families – they move because of their small children (schools and education etcetera etcetera) our children are grown up and young independent adults and they are still back home. It was obviously not about small children but it was to be close to our children. You see, they had been saying for some time that they wanted to travel more and wanted to experience living and working in Europe, they still say that and will do it when the time is right for them. 

We knew that, one day, the day would come and we would want to move to be as close to them as possible. We shocked ourselves and the boys for sure, when they realised shucks these two old farts are doing this move before us. They are leaving us before we leave them, it’s not the other way around!! 

We had been thinking of selling our house and downsizing for some time, started talking about having a smaller place. Or buying somewhere where we could retire….on our holidays the visits to small dorps were always the most appealing to me. That’s where I wanted to settle one day, where ever peace & quiet lived, and preferably near the ocean. 

Many conversations later and I don’t even know how we got to this stage the idea of leaving South Africa appeared. And so we decided to come to Europe to be close to family, 90% of them living this side of the world and the other 10% in South Africa and Australia. 

So why Ireland? 

Well why not?

It is in Europe (hahaha) it’s English speaking and it has sheep. It has mountains, cliffs, beaches, castles, great accents and some confusing not so great ones. Potatoes, and lots of sheep. Damn, everywhere you look there is a green field with sheep on it. Literally. And of course the fantastic weather (she says with some sarcasm).

We visited Ireland in March 2020, got back home and painted our house. We put it up on the market and it sold so quickly. We sold furniture and we started packing, bubble and cling wrap everywhere and 103 boxes later our belongings were packed and shipped. There was no turning back. We were emigrating. I get hives just saying this. 

Husband left for Ireland in September and suddenly I was left alone in an empty house. My younger boy, our dog and the echo of an empty house, our last few nights alone. 

It was the most insanely stressful time of my life and I don’t know how I survived this period in my life. But survive I did!!

Anyhoo we made it here and now that we are here the kids can say they have a place to stay in Europe, as soon as bloody covid lets us travel.

I remember once reading that moving house or building/construction of your house was up there as one of the most stressful life events. I did a quick google search and actually can’t find anything that says that, it seems the list of most stressful life events has changed a lot in the last few years. Which makes sense. 

But in my search I found this image, which I think is very funny unless it’s not funny!  

 

Lockdown, what have I done?

In the second half of lockdown I stopped baking.

No I lie, I still baked in the second half of lockdown a little less but I still baked.

I continued to respond to the hadeda calls and to freak out the neighbours. I moved “office” a million times. It was so frustrating how the other humans in the house thought it was ok for me to move around all the time trying to find a table or quiet spot to work from. I really started missing the office.

Our team embarked on a virtual resilience coaching session which was a really good way to actually feel like you belong to a team. This was something I treasured because I had been feeling a little bit like I didn’t belong. Also my boss gifted me with 3 one-on-one sessions with a coach. What an experience! I only wish we could have had more…he affirmed a lot of what I already knew and gave me back some self-respect. We have some similar childhood experiences, we shared our stories with each other and laughed a lot, he made feel comfortable and understood and he gave me so much positive motivation. 

I bought a ticket to a Marc Lottering comedy show, which was a really fun Saturday evening for me. Virtual shows were popping up everywhere, it was amazing to see how entertainers continued to entertain during lockdown, people around the world supporting them. Oh I also watched my other favorite comedian, my cousin Barry Hilton, a live show.  

In the virtual world ‘care packs’ made an entrance. I received an awesome care pack filled delicious treats for a weekend movie night for the whole family. Even Charlie, our dog, was spoiled with some biltong!  

I went back to art classes when our lockdown levels were eased. Not a lot of painting going on, a lot more talking and catching up, but it was good to just be back in my little corner and to paint again. Food for the soul.

We also managed a family lunch to celebrate four missed birthdays, as lockdown new levels allowed for travelling. That was fun, there was lots to catch up on, the dessert table was overflowing as usual and we had more choices there than in the main meal. Nothing surprising for our family. 

And so lockdown has been good, a little frustrating sometimes, but good. And I enjoy working from home, but really miss interacting with real people and miss my colleagues. Zoom and Teams videos are not real enough.

Somewhere in this madness I opened a TikTok account! Yes I did, and I’m loving it! My videos are mostly embarrassing but everyone else’s posts are a lot of fun and some are even educational.

I got myself a new laptop Hubby gave me a Macbook Pro for my own personal use, and I don’t know how to use it!!! There will be tears next time I want to blog I’m sure, next post will come from the apple. 

Also we sold our house! We said goodbye to some of our favorite places in SA. We packed our sentimental things and moved. Hubby is in Ireland and I will be joining him soon. We are emigrating and while Europe enters its second lockdown we will be setting up our new home.

Yip we have done some interesting things during COVID times. I call it the art of adapting. Adapting to change, to uncertainty, to not knowing what tomorrow holds. Adapting to the unknown. Adapting to times when plans cannot always be made. This is our new norm….