Thursday, April 1, 2010

Stranger in a Strange Land

So we came back early from Killarney because Tobie has a man cold.

Since I had a car at my disposal I figured I'd use my time wisely and go to the welfare office and apply for a PPS number (the equivalent of a social security number). Yes. I'd rather spend my afternoon languidly, doing something vacation-y like read my book...or worst case scenario...productive like writing one of my [insert plethora of cuss words here] papers. But no, I will be a responsible adult and get the PPS.

First of all I had the wrong address, parked in some random alley because I was so shooken up from a near fender bender, and then was given classic Irish directions*, "go tru the alley, turn at de cathedral, past the old hotel and it's there on de left".


There appears to be both a cathedral and old hotel on every corner in this country. 

Ok, so that is 2.5 hours of my life I will never get back. No PPS**.

I thought I'd cheer myself up by getting some groceries to make a delicious soup. Cooking always clears my head...forgetting of course that this is the day before Good Friday (i.e. the only day of the year that the 24h Dunnes is closed--actually). After getting rammed by a shopping cart and almost pushed over by a lady with a determined look in her eye and pickled beets in her hand, I settled into the shortest line I could find.

Yes. Things were looking up. Soup. As I was about to place my items on the counter the lady in front of me knocked over a giant jar of mayonnaise thus closing the til.

I should have stayed at home and chosen languid and vacation-y.

*There is a fairly strong anti-immigration sentiment here in Ireland. Especially because many Irish (wrongly) believe that the immigrants arrive and then go on welfare. So I was a little hesitant to ask that many passing pedestrians where the "welfare office" was with my foreign accent. Especially if you saw the part of town I was searching in. Let's just say lots of neck tattoos and broken bottles.

**Which once again makes me have the ultimate respect for immigrants that do not speak the language in their new country. Ok. I am fluent in English and have, oh 7 years of university under my belt and was almost having a crying fit on the street corner today in frustration. Here is to wanting to shake hands and congratulate every person I ever see who has started a new life in a different country.


GENOVEZ said...

yes I understand you, It´s kinda tough starting over in a new country...but despite all that stuff, we have to carry on hopefully...

OMDG said...

I hear you about the immigrant thing (and Luca does too).

Just stay home tomorrow. Oh, and forget about working on your [obscentiy] paper for the rest of the week. It's vacation for Christ's sake.

Beach Bum said...

Ugh. It can be disorienting! As I head to my fourth country in as many years this weekend, I am NOT looking forward to trying to figure out a new culture, where to find groceries, and how to get around.

I found in the UK that I expected to experience less culture shock, because we share a common heritage, and wasn't prepared for how out of it I felt.

No advice. Be well!

Maha said...

I laughed at Tobie's man cold (in jest, not spite).

But then I felt bad for laughing because you had a crappy day. It's always tough being in a new country but eventually you get the hang of things. Hope you get your PPS soon and have a great chocolate filled Easter :)

Albinoblackbear said...

GEN--Yes, tougher than I expected in an English speaking country with (what I thought would be) a similar culture.

OMDG--Ughh, I know. But it's a break from the piling on of work so I feel like I ought to chip away at the already formed pile of stuff I have to do. You know the feeling.

BB--I am also surprised at how out of place I feel here. Good luck on this next leg of the journey!

Maha--Ha! I know. Can't you feel the sympathy flowing from me??

Tobie actually emailed his parents telling them that the downside to dating an ER nurse is that they don't think you're sick unless you have a knife in your back. :)

Thanks--hope you are either relaxing or getting paid MAD EASTER cash this weekend!

Unknown said...

Loved the photograph on your page! Did you take it yourself? (If so green with envy) Hope you did manage to enjoy your hols in Ireland. Mmmm, I'm always giving my husband the wrong directions, too! I don't know if its in the genes - My paternal grandmother was Irish (Wasn't everyone's!!!) I stumbled upon your blog by accident I was leaving mine and obviously pressed the wrong do-dah. But I hope to come back - eliza

Josiah O. Morris said...

Glad you didn't shanked or something!

Dragonfly said...

I go to many lengths to avoid telling people I wasn't born in Australia. Saves a whole lot of hassle. I think my Australian accent is a bit stronger in the hospital as well.

Albinoblackbear said...

Eliza--Thank you! Yes I took it in Sept 2008 on a wonderful hiking trip in the Valhalla mountain range of BC, Canada.

Glad you stumbled upon! :)

JOM--Heh, as am I! Funny you should say that considering the nickname this city has.

DF--What I wouldn't do for an Irish accent...even one I could sustain for minor pleasantries.