Monday, September 28, 2015

Day 5 - Last Night Reserved at the St. George B & B

Got up late - 8:10. Got around and went down to breakfast. I had two eggs, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, and toast with black currant jam and tea. Found that my fitbit battery was low so plugged in before heading out for the first walk of the day.

I went to the post office first because I was told they would give you the exchange rate, but not charge a commission. I had to wait in line for a bit, only to be told that they do not buy US, they just sell it. I had to go to a bank after all. Most of the banks open at 10 am, but the Ulster Bank opens at 9:30 (they say half nine here). I waited in a very short line for an available teller, but she couldn't get her computer to give her the latest exchange rate so I was asked to come back later. I walked around town until 10 and then went to AIB instead. I exchanged money with them at the rate of 1.1393 less a commission of 6.35. I then took some to the Ulster Bank just so I could do a comparison. They didn't give me a detailed print out, but they used the rate of 1.1504. I am guessing this reflected a commission of some type as well.

At any rate, I now had the cash to rent an apartment if the one I was being shown today was what I wanted at a rent I could afford. I walked back to the B & B and chilled for a bit. My fitbit was now fully charged so I wore it for the rest of the day.

My second walk of the day was around town and then to O'Brien's again for tea and a sweet. Today I had a rhubarb crumble. Fabulous!! Had to go for another to work that off. Browsed a bit in Dunnes and TKMaxx looking at bed linens and towels because some rentals do not include them. Then back to the b&b to await a call from Karol who was going to show me an apartment just down the road. 

She set up a meet at the apartment for 2:30 and I was blown away by it. I am going to try to do a video tour tomorrow and share it on Facebook. It rents for €650, which is just less than the $755 I was paying in Jackson.

The owner of the apartment just called to tell me that she is golfing tomorrow, but her husband can meet me at the place at 10:30. He will have keys and the lease for me to sign. I will hand over October's rent + one month's rent as security deposit. I will need to ask questions about how the gas and electric works and get info on internet access.

The first thing I will do after getting the keys is to walk down to Dunnes to buy laundry supplies and bed linens. I need to do laundry before I do anything else. I bought tea and shortbread this afternoon so I could have my first afternoon tea in my own place once I get the clothes hung out on the line. I have a very private courtyard and patio so I can even hang my unmentionables without prying eyes looking at them.

So step one will be completed tomorrow, then I just have to wait for notice from the electric, gas, or internet company addressed to me at my new place and I can open a bank account and purchase health insurance. Then to the Garda to check in with all my paperwork so that I will be given permission to stay. Yay!!!

Remember this record does not include my morning walk. I'm pretty sure I walked off that sweet that I had with my lunch at midday. I do think I am going to have to do more walking tomorrow to work off the steak and chips I had for dinner tonight though.

Hope to have pix and/or video of my new place tomorrow.


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Wexford Town - Day 4

Had a pretty bad night. There was a Cycling Against Suicide group here for two nights, both bicyclists and motorcyclists. They were pretty quiet the first night, but last night they were pretty loud. I turned in around midnight at which time the first group returned - loudly! Got to sleep after a bit only to find that another group returned at 1, and at 2 and at 3. Needless to say I stayed in bed until 9:50, quite late for me.

Got up and showered and took myself down to breakfast where I had 2 eggs, sausage, grilled tomatoes, hashed browns, beans and toast and jam with tea. Quite lovely. I waited until the noisy cycling group left before heading out for my first walk of the day. I walked in a different direction today and found myself looking at evidence that it is Fall Autumn.

I took more pictures as I walked around town:


Also on my walk I crossed the Wexford Bridge again where I encountered a man throwing a ball into the water for his dog. I asked him how the water temperature was and made a nice comment about his dog which got him to come up to talk. He asked how long I was in Wexford for and when he heard my answer, he inquired what brought me to this town. In answering him I mentioned that my grandfather had been born in County Carlow and mentioned that his name was Michael Fenlon. Imagine my surprise when he told me he had a son who lives in Bagenalstown and is married to a Fenlon. Such a small world.

After returning to the b&b for a rest, I again went out walking for my afternoon "meal". I've gotten in the habit of having a pot of tea and a sweet for my midday meal. Today I returned to O'Brien's and had an apple tart with my tea. The best ever! Their tarts don't have a flour crust, instead they have some kind of cake bottom and top. Don't quite know how to describe it, but I wanted to lick the plate when I was done.

I changed $200 into €169.49 at the airport when I arrived and am just about out of euros. I've been advised to try to exchange money at the post office because they don't charge a commission like banks do. I will let you know how that goes when I blog tomorrow night.

Just returned from my last walk of the day and found that I had walked a good number of steps again today.

As you can see, I took three walks today with the longest one in the middle. That seems to be my pattern so far. I was thrilled when I came back to the b&b to find the internet was working again. I toasted myself a bagel (I bought some at Dunnes a couple of days ago to keep in the fridge in the common sitting room) and had that for dinner. I am set for the day.

Tomorrow I am hoping to see the apartment just down the block and if it is like it looks online, I will agree to rent it. If I did my calculations correctly it will rent for about $650. The beauty I looked at the other day was about $800 (about $100 over the top end of my budget).

I really need to get an apartment soon so I can do laundry. I am just about out of clothes. I have plenty of clean underwear and socks, but just about out of clothing. Trousers I can wear twice, blouses not so much.

I hope to have more of interest tomorrow since banks and realtors will be open. Cross your fingers that the apartment is what I want, then I just need to open a bank account, get health insurance and then take all this information to the Garda and see where I go from there.

So excited!!


Day 3

It is Saturday and there is no apartment hunting today, so I got up and got around for an 8 am breakfast of two eggs, one sausage link, fried mushrooms, beans and toast and jam, with a pot of tea. Then I left to walk around town down unfamiliar streets but still leading to the quay. I started at the southern part and walked to the north end and across the bridge and a bit around and then back across the bridge and home. I saw this wall on the way down Johns Street.

And this picturesque doorway arch.

A couple of boats I tried to sketch.

I'm none too pleased with this, but I must start somewhere.

I hope to see improvements in my drawing with time.

After a clean up and rest, I headed out for my midday repast of tea and sweet. Today's sweet was a lovely blueberry muffin at O'Brien's. It was yummy. Walked some more to work off the muffin and wound up with more than 10,000 steps by dinner time.

Walked back to the B&B where I again had some down time, then headed out to find dinner. I chose to eat at White's Hotel in the Library bar. I had fish and chips with mushy peas. Not the best I've had, but good nonetheless. Almost forgot to add that when I left the hotel to continue walking I found myself outside a salon where a friendly young woman gave me a pedicure. My toenails were a disgrace, but I didn't find time to clean them up before leaving home.

Anne, this one's for you - I know how you love rocks!!

When I got back in for the evening, I started this post only to find that the internet was out. This is the first time I've been able to get back on since then. Stayed up late in hopes of sleeping in so I didn't show up for breakfast before they were ready for me. I am really loving this town so far - so walkable!! And such friendly people.


Friday, September 25, 2015

Day 2

Up around 7, had a shower and went down to breakfast where I ordered oatmeal with toast and jam and a pot of tea. Michael called the oatmeal porridge and it was quite different from my idea of oatmeal. It was quite wet and there was no evidence of oats, just a goopy mess. I added a bit of fruit and brown sugar and it was tolerable, but I won't be ordering it again.

I walked about town again and stopped at Dunnes to pick up some essentials

Oops, the cookies were an extra, but they jumped into my basket when I went by so I took them home. I actually went there for shampoo, lotion and toothpaste. Just about everything was 1/2 off so I only spent 10 euros for the whole lot.

I brought those back home and and relaxed for a bit before deciding to head out for a walk and lunch. While I was walking an estate agent called to tell me she could show me an apartment at 2:30 in a complex called Redmond Cove. The area is just north of the train and bus station and is very close to the quay. 

I had lunch at Green Acres around noon. I had duck confit with mixed greens and beets. Fabulous, but much too pricey for my usual repast. The place was fabulously lovely and I enjoyed the experience very much.

While waiting for my appointment to see the apartment, I strolled about town and ended up on the quay - no surprise there. I met a woman walking her dog who frequently walked across the bridge and around the other side for a bit before walking back. She invited me to join her some time and I surely will.

The apartment was gorgeous, but a bit pricey. The deal breaker was that there is no balcony or any other outdoor space to hang laundry. I've been advised that indoor hanging is not recommended because it can lead to rot/mold.

I am looking at another apartment on Monday that may be more promising - it has a balcony, is quite close to where I am staying now, and is definitely in a more comfortable area of my price range. It has two bedrooms and two baths and from the pix I've seen online, is quite nice. I may have a place soon.

I must say I have been most fortunate to have chosen Michael's place to stay as he has been a font of helpful information. His employee, Mary, is also a charming and helpful lass. 

I haven't my fitbit app and won't have it until I find an apartment and open a bank account so that I can purchase an iPhone, but my fitbit band has been vibrating a good bit. Definitely getting my walking exercise these past two days.

Hope to "see" you tomorrow....

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Moving to Ireland

For most of my life I have been dreaming of living in a foreign country, to experience a different culture. Some of you may think that Ireland as an English speaking country is not exactly foreign, but it truly is.

I began to get rid of lots of "stuff" before packing for my life change. I sold all my furniture and my car and left with my DSLR, my computer and other electronics, and one carryon for clothes. I like the feel of freedom that getting rid of all those things gives me.

I spent the last night in the states with my friend Mona (we had an impromptu tea party with Grace and Divya (and, of course, the ever sweet Prisha). I stayed up far too late, but slept quite well on the bed provided. In the morning over coffee and toast, we talked about all the things I was hoping to accomplish once I got here, not the least of which was to announce that I was here indefinitely when asked by the immigration officer at Dublin airport.

My friend Jerome drove me to the airport where I began this adventure. It was a long day with a 5 hour layover in Boston, but finally I was on my way across the Atlantic. I was fortunate to get a friendly, interesting seat mate, an orthopedic surgeon who practiced at one time in Alpena; small world.

When we arrived at the customs checkpoint, I had rather a dour gentleman who didn't look at all pleased when I said I planned to stay indefinitely and was hoping to get a residency permit. He grilled me about what I knew about this idea and I was happy to be able to tell him my monthly income, my desire to purchase personal health care and my plans to check in with the Garda to get my permit. He gave me some important information regarding the order in which things have to take place - apartment so I have an address, bank account, health insurance, proof of income, and finally the 300 euros to the local Garda for my permit to remain. He took my photo against a metric height chart on the wall and gave me two months to reside here while I tried to satisfy the necessary steps.

I had the most friendly bus driver on the way to Wexford, who had lots of encouragement and information for me. Though I was falling asleep on the bus, I was able to take in the beautiful scenery on the way south from Dublin. The Wicklow mountains were spectacular and the sea views were quite pleasant. Since I'd been walking all around the town with the little yellow man from google maps, I was able to find my B&B with no trouble. The only thing the little man was unable to get through to me was that the walk was uphill all the way. My combined baggage weight was at least 50 pounds so I had a good workout on my way to St. George Guesthouse.

My room was not ready when I arrived and all I wanted to do was sleep, but I was served a lovely full Irish breakfast which included beans, grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, hash browns, 2 rashers of bacon and two sausages and an egg. There was also a lovely pot of tea with assorted toasted bread and jams. In no time at all I was in my pjs and sleeping deeply.

Upon awakening, I cleaned up and headed out. I walked down the shopping area which extends for quite a long way between here and the harbor, parallel to the harbor. I bought a pair of sunglasses (don't know where mine ended up, but I was able to get a very serviceable pair for 2 euros). I then went to Vodaphone and topped up the phone I bought two years ago when I was here. So while I am apartment hunting I can call agents to set up viewing appointments. No luck today, but am hoping to get around tomorrow as the weekend is approaching and I will have to find other things to occupy my time over those two days - not to worry, I will spend much time exploring this lovely town.

I am still quite sleepy and am waiting to FaceTime Payton when she is done getting ready for dance class. I'll then FaceTime Adam's household and then have an early night. I will try to post each day to keep you up to date on this grand adventure. If you have any advice or have experience with this kind of move and have anything to offer I thank you in advance.

Tata for now.....