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Life in arrghland

A blog about the life of an alien in a little town in Ireland…

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Kerry

Out and about in County Kerry

Winter Blues

Every winter in Ireland, I suffer from a light to medium case of the blues. I don’t know how to get over it but every year it starts out as a mild case of down town funk and progresses steadily to a medium level depression and pessimism.seasonal-depression

This is in stark contrast to my excitement for the Christmas season and the enjoyment to look forward to from having family around. I feel like i’m slowly losing my tolerance for the cold weather, the wind, slate, snow and darkness. Coming from a predominantly sunny and hot country, I complained for years about the heat but my body was used to it. Moving to Ireland was a bit of a shocker in those terms. How do people survive with all year cold weather. Even the Summers are cool and wet!

I am now convinced that I could never retire here so I have to start working on a plan that will allow me to live in a hot climate in oh about 25yrs.

I don’t know how much longer I can take living in such a cold and wet country. How do you get over the winter blues? Please share because God knows, I need a few pointers.

7 Days of erm..Dating.

Last week Hubby and I were having a conversation about how since I started working full time we’ve barely said two words to each other every day. Opposing work schedules, a commitment to fitness and an active social life had seen us reduced to a ‘how was your day’ benign conversation every night as he walked through the front door and I schlepped upstairs to bed. So I came up with a great idea to have seven full days of date nights. In a way, to cram 6 months worth of date nights (we usually have one a month), into 7 days.

The first day was as fun as you might imagine. We talked, we giggled, we had erm..fun times. It was great!

We struggled by day three. We still had a lot to talk about but two days straight of late nights and early mornings was beginning to take its toll on me. Hubby was still up for anything and excitable as usual. But then he gets to sleep in the next day till noon because his work schedule is different from mine.

By day 5 and after staying up till 1 am in the morning with my eyes barely open as I stumbled up to bed, I gave Le Hubs a warning to not plan anything the next day that kept me out of my bed after 11 pm. This was an almost impossible feat considering he does not come home from work till 10 pm most nights!

On the 6th day we both agreed we’d made a mistake. We were both royally exhausted and I was already planning a solitary escape for the weekend. We both tried very hard to gather enough excitement for the evening but agreed we were relieved there was only one more day to go. Day 7 is today. I suggested that for the last day, we should just have a blanket picnic in the living room, in front of the fire and watch Christmas movies. That’s all I’m fit for at the end of a very busy week.

I think I’ve had enough dates to last me till next Summer!too_tired_for_sex

Drained

I am an introvert. Some of you already knows what this means in terms of where I get my energy from. I always need to recharge otherwise I’m bad company in spite of my love of people. So this October was a challenge in of itself.

You see, not only is October my birthday, but a few of my cousins and friends are also born the same month. What this usually means is that my social life tends to explode during this time of the year. Normally I can control said social life to an extent as it’s not every year my friends and family members make a fuss about celebrating their birthdays. But for some reason, 2016 was the year everyone decided to have a big party all within days and weeks of each other!

My birthday is on the 16th so I decided to celebrate the following weekend on the 22nd. It was a milestone birthday so I wanted to throw a BIG cocktail party. Understand this is going out of my normal element but I kinda felt like I had to do something to mark the new milestone age. Yeah, I’m not doing that again soon!bdaycake

Turns out, two of my friends (with birthdays on the 12th and 17th) had been planning a joint birthday celebration complete with fancy dress for the same weekend too.Then a couple friends who had a destination wedding a month ago, also decided to throw a wedding party for those who couldn’t make it abroad, for the weekend of the 29th.

Inlaws 40th wedding anniversary this year? You guessed it. Early October! Friend’s hen do before getting hitched? Same day as wedding party! All this with my job, teaching Sunday school and the plethora of activities we planned for the teenage church for two weeks of the month. Insane!

I feel like I’ve been smiling, grimacing and eating cake nonstop since the first week of the month. How do people with super packed social lives do it? I am royally exhausted!

Time for a spa break I think and no friends invited thankyouverymuch…

Two Irish Seasons

Winter and Pre-Winter. Both with generous lashings of rain.

While everybody is getting excited about Fall weather and talking about finally wearing layers and season appropriate colours, We here in the south of Ireland are silently grumbling about the fact that it’s been kinda like Fall since July.

You think I jest? Nah. For the past few years, Summer weather has been skippingirishweather Ireland entirely and visiting our neighbours up North instead. Seeing pictures of my friends in London wearing shorts and tank tops in June was the one thing guaranteed to bring up the green-eyed monster of envy as I sat in my sitting room with a blanket carefully tucked around me.

This ‘Summer’ of 2016 was the absolute worst. After waiting impatiently for the Sun to burst forth following (a very short) Spring, We were delighted to have a solid week of sunshine and warm(ish)weather in June. Then there was that slightly sunny week we also had in July. That’s it folks. Summer was officially over.

The bitterness is real people and I may never get over it. Bah humbug to Fall and all those stores already putting up Christmas decorations in early October.

Irish weather has made me a grinch.

Race week

September is race week in my little town Ireland.

For decades, people have been coming from all over the world to see some of the best horses (and jockeys) in Ireland come try their luck in North Kerry. Can I14362621_10153873894201056_1146743205206809394_o admit that I absolutely love my town during this week? Well I love it and I hate it just a teeny weeny bit.

The town heaves with the masses that week, lots of families pour in because of the amusement center set up and I must admit this is one of my favourite parts of the week besides seeing the horses. I spent Friday night walking around the amusement part with a friend who was determined to see me die on on of the rides. She did manage to get me on one of them but that won’t happen again. Nope. Not for me!

Ladies day is also a sight to behold. I loved seeing young teenage couples dressed out to the nines in both age appropriate and not so appropriate clothes. Young love eh? It’s my favourite day to go but I had to work so boo!

I did go to the races on Saturday
which is the last day of event. I backed a winner three times out of the eight races of the day (I only stayed for seven races tho). It’s my best record yet.

Night time is wheumbrellan it gets crazy during race week. The pubs are full to bursting and so are the sidewalks. The chippers are open till the wee hours of the morning catering to the ones who need greasy food to soak up all the alcohol drunk during the night time revelling. I don’t particularly enjoy the part of trying not to hit the drunks that stumble unto the road without a thought to their life or mine but that’s another rant i’m not ready to get into today. You should definitely try to attend one when you’re in Kerry.

Melancholy

I’ve been feeling a bit down lately (read sorry for myself). One myth about living in a small town is that community feeling you’re supposed to experience living in a geographically small area where you’re bound to bump into the same people day in, day out. Wrong!

I’ve since discovered that living in a small town can be one of the loneliest experience ever. What do I mean?

Coming in as an outsider has it’s benefits. You’re not bogged down by historical social norms and can just be yourself. You can challenge the status quo and engage in discussions where you share your perspective gained from travelling the world. There is also the added bonus (or maybe not if you’re a bit of an introvert like me) of pretty much drawing attention wherever you go. Be it because of my Afrocentric hairstyles or my clothing, I tend to garner attention wherever i navigate in town.

Most people are friendly. A comment about your gele turns into an animated discussion about fashion around the world. A compliment about your braids may become an invite to coffee and a request to please please braid their own hair too. Because of these interactions, most people (read Le hubs) tend to think I know a lot of people and have a lot of friends. I thought so too in the early days only to find out that friendly as the small town residents may be, you are probably still considered an outsfixedw_large_4xider. Great for small talk on the side walk or even in a coffee shop but not close enough to be invited home for the same cup of tea.

And here lies the cultural difference. Nigerians are by nature very friendly. We are friendly especially to foreigners and to each other especially in diaspora. To the average Nigerian, an invite to visit one at home even to a relative stranger or acquaintance is not unheard of. It is an invite to start a friendship. It means I think I like you, I’d like to get to know you more, pop by my house. To the average Irish, an invite to their home is reserved for family and real close friends. Although an introvert, I’m quite a social person. I enjoy having people over just chilling listening to music and having nibbles. I love nights in with friends as much as I enjoy going out to the cinema etc. Living in a big city means you tend to form relationships with friends with different interests. You know who to call to go out for drinks and who would drop everything for a night in with some vino and bad TV.

I’m finding that living  in a small space that time may have forgotten can be limiting. It’s been a tough time adjusting my expectations of small town life here in arrghland. I’ll write more soon…

A food blog? Why not?

I post so many food pictures on Instagram that i’m thinking it may be time to create a food and recipe blog! Frankly i think my fb and instagram friends are getting sick of it but i seriously love cooking and making up my own recipes. I like the idea of challenging myself in something I already love doing and seeing where it may lead. On the other hand, do I really need another social media outlet that i have to update and keep interesting?

Just so you know, I have:
8 facebook pages (yikes!)
1 instagram
1 wordpress
1 tumblr
2 twitter account (1 related to a fb page)
1 Pinterest
1 Blipfoto

Hmmmmm…. Decisions, decisions… Yes I think I may be crazy!

Suya - Nigerian smoky BBQ

The Holidays are over: here are some bits

In no particular order-
Church nativity play
Carols
Dublin at Christmas
Church christmas dinner
Christmas day
Family
General silliness

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Home is where the heart is

Almost 3 years after I moved to small town Ireland, I am just beginning to feel at home. Home in my own skin, in my own house, home as I navigate through the streets, as I shop, as I start to chit chat to shopkeepers and fundraisers. At home as I see someone I know while driving, scream happy new year and become a surprising recipient of a quick sloppy kiss on the cheek.

My heart is finally here…

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