Sometimes you just need to get away

Hey guys,

So I had been on a good track of writing once a week but alas due to on thing and another I haven’t written in a few weeks. Today marks my 1 year anniversary of starting this blog. Where has all that time gone?

So, over the last few days there have been some pretty drastic changes to my life. I quit my job in the hotel where I worked. At long last. I loves the job I had but I began to despise the place where I had it. During my first week there,  two chefs  left along with two managers.  This immediately had alarm bells going off in my head and I remember saying it to my mum who encouraged me  to stick it out until I found something better. And I really did. On Monday, I start working in one of the biggest banks in Ireland for 10 weeks as a summer student. This is an amazing opportunity for me as I am studying Commerce so it is practical work experience in an industry that I might end up going into one day.

So due to getting this new job, I am also moving. I’m moving in with my Grandparents as they live near to where I will be working and I will be able to walk to and from work everyday. I haven’t spent a summer at home since I was 13 so the thought of the possibility of doing it this summer didn’t sit well with me.. at all.. especially with my Instagram feed being full of pictures of people on J1’s (In the USA on a student summer working visa) or on amazing trips to places like Thailand or Malaysia. As it is it’s still kinda depressing to be working for the summer but I will be surrounded by family who I am really looking forward to spending some quality time with.

Another big thing for my was passing my  theory test so I can FINALLY start learning how to drive 😀 In Ireland, you first need to do a test detailing the rules of the road and that kind of thing. You are given 40 questions out of a possible 900 (I think) and you need to get at least 35 right. You then need to do 12 driving lessons before you can attempt to do your driving test and be allowed drive by yourself. Basically its a money racket but alas I can’t do anything about it…

Some people may be wondering about the state of my love life after my last post. My answer is I don’t know what is happening. I went of to that going away party and I realized how much I was going to miss the guy who is moving to Dublin. I wanted to have a proper conversation with him but it wasn’t the time or the place to pour my heart out.. Add vodka to the mix and I would have ended up in floods of tears. What we did manage to talk about was him having a lot on his mind, me being one of those things. When I was going home, he kissed me and that was the last contact I’ve had with him. And I miss him.. A lot. Before I developed feelings for him, we were friends who spoke all day every day. There is a big difference between speaking all day everyday to having no contact at all and I miss my friend.

That being said, I had a lot on my mind so I took off for a few days. More like a week, When I quit my job in the hotel, I told myself that I would give myself 2 weeks off to just be able to catch up on missed sleep and have some time to myself before starting the new job. So last week, I went on an adventure 🙂 I went to visit two of my best friends who live in different parts of the country. I went to Monaghan first where I visited my friend Grace. Myself and Grace have been on many adventures together and I miss her when I don’t get to see her. When I went up, we took it easy and drank A LOT of wine… But sure when on holidays I might as well 😛Snapchat-2011600122

A few days later, I traveled back to Meath, back to my home town where I lived until I was 13. I stayed with another really good friend of mine there, Ciara. We have been friends since we began primary school. That was 16 years ago. It had been a long time since I had gotten the chance to spend proper time with her so we really enjoyed our few days. We went on an adventure into Dublin where Ciara introduced me to scrumdiddlys ice cream and an amazing cocktail bar in Rathmines called Copan, where all the cocktails are €5. It.was.awseome.

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So I hoped you enjoyed this post, I felt guilty for not writing but I had no laptop with me on my  travels and it was nice to disconnect for a while. 🙂

Thanks for reading,

Love, Kathy ❤

My top 5 things to do in Belgium

Hey guys,

So my last few posts have been more about the disaster that is my life and not about the traveling adventures that I originally started this blog to post about. There will probably be more personal posts but this one is all about Belgium 🙂

When I was in school, I studied French and I wanted to improve it so I thought about going to France for a summer to work when I was 16. I did some research and discovered that I wouldn’t be paid for working in France due to employment laws so a friend of my mums, a French teacher, suggested that I go to Belgium. As it happens, the place where I worked for the summer when I was 14 had a sister place in the French-speaking region of Belgium so off I went. I spent 3 and a half weeks working in the kitchen of a hospitality/ residential conference center about 45 mins outside Brussels. I  worked hard and I was working 5-5.5 days a week so I didn’t get to travel enough as I would have liked.. So I went back for longer the following year 😛

I will always have fond memories of Belgium. I made some amazing friends there, some Mexican, Guatemalan, Spanish and even a really good Irish friend. I also had my fair share of accidents there 😛 I had one really accident prone day when,in the morning, while cutting an onion, I nearly took the top off my finger.. That afternoon I then had an argument with a gate and the gate won, thus resulting in me getting a spike of it through my foot.. Fun times 😛 There was no major damage, just crutches for a few weeks, serious antibiotics and painkillers.. Twas grand 🙂 It happened on a Sunday and I was planning on flying home the Tuesday so I was grand.

Despite my spending so much time working, I got to do a significant amount of traveling. Here are mt top 5 places to go in Belgium.

  1. Grand Place, Brussels.

Both times I was in Belgium it was in June/July, Grand Place was one of the first places I visited and I was blown away by how beautiful it is. It is surrounded by Gothic buildings, including the town hall. Every two years in August, an enormous “flower carpet” is set up in the Grand Place for a few days. A million colorful  flowers are set up in patterns, covering the entire square.

Grand Place

2. Manneken Pis

My friend Ruth really didn’t like this guy but I’d recommend checking him out, especially if there is something going on in Belgium at the time. When I was there the second time, it was during the last soccer world cup so he was dressed up as a soccer player. In reality, he is a tiny bronze statue who pees into the fountains basin.

3. Bruges and Gent

These two towns are absolutely spectacular! I only managed to get to them both once but they are stunning. Both are on built on canals and they, much like Venice are used to get around on.The streets are narrow and cobbled and old. They are both just so beautiful.

4. Leuven/ Louvain

The thing about places in Belgium is that they have names in both French and Dutch. Louvain is a university city much like the one where I live in Ireland. It is quite easy ti tell when the hour is up as the streets get busier with students moving from class to class. Myself and Ruth spent about 3 hours sitting in McDonald’s in Louvain next to the window on the first floor just watching people move through the streets. It is another lovely city, possibly my second favorite, my all time favorite is still to come. 😛 It was Louvain where I finally found my Yves Rocher shop that I had spent weeks looking for. Yves Rocher is a French cosmetics company that I came across in France. I love their stuff but you can’t get it in Ireland so I always make sure to stock up when I’m abroad.

Leuven city hallLeuven

5. Antwerp

Antwerp is where I want to be proposed to. It is my favorite place in Belgium. The first time I was there, I was walking down the boardwalk with my Mexican friends Isabel and Nancy and I saw a couple in front of us with their kids and it was at that moment when I decided that I wanted that to be me. Me and my over active imagination saw that man proposing to his girlfriend on that same boardwalk, them going there to have their wedding photos taken and then going there with their kids. As their two little girls ran ahead of them, with us still walking behind then, the couple wrapped their arms around each other and kept walking. Yes, I am a completely hopeless romantic but I wanted that. My friend Blaithin has been told to inform any future men in my life of this wish of mine 😛 Antwerp is also famous for its diamonds. When you come out of the train station (which is spectacular as well) there is an entire street of diamond shops. The best place to window shop 😀 In my opinion, it is a must visit for anyone going to Belgium.Oh and they have a chocolate shop that sells ‘Chocolate Pills’ because.. Duhh chocolate fixes everything.. 😛

antewrp docAntwerp Choc pills

So I think I turned my top 5 places to go in Belgium into a ‘why I love these places’ but i hope you enjoyed reading it. I had so much fin looking through all my old photos and re-reading my travel diary to remind me of all my adventures. The most important thing I took away from my trips in  Belgium are my friendships. I was working with Isabel and Nancy. They are both from Monterrey, Mexico and I am still in frequent communication with Isa who is currently studying a semester abroad in Santiago, Chile. I knew Ruth before we went away together, we had met a few times but we wouldn’t have been friends. Her french teacher (the friend of my mums) encouraged her to come with me and now I know, no matter what, Ruth is there for me. She will be at my wedding.

Ok I might have gotten too deep, but hey, I’m an honest person,

Thanks for reading,

All my love,

Kathy ❤

Madrid Meetups

Hey guys,

Its been a bit if a hectic week! Who knew having 3 kids would be such work! Their behavior has been improving slowly so I’m hoping that’s going to keep going like that!

So I have me weekends free and last Saturday I met up with some other Au pairs who live in different areas to me in the city center! We were supposed to all meet up at 12 but of course I overslept and didn’t end up waking up until around 11.. Needless to say I didn’t get into the city on time! I went in any way and went shopping.. I honestly don’t know how I am going to get what I have bought home seeing as I decided it would be such a fantastic idea to bring just hand luggage. I then met up with the girls for lunch at TapasTapas just next to McDonald’s on Gran Via (McDonald’s is MAJESTIC by the way..) I had a tortilla, a typical Spanish dish that is made from potatoes, eggs and usually some onion too 🙂 It was small but gorgeous!

It was great to meet up with some of the other girls! There was a girl from France, who has just spent the last two years studying in Dublin, a girl from the Czech Republic, A girl from Liverpool in England and a girl from Finland! It was great to have such a diverse group and I really enjoyed meeting people my own age and just having a bit of craic!

Then on Sunday, I went on an adventure to McDonald’s in Pozuelo de Alarcón, where they have taken McDonald’s to a whole new level! You even get your food delivered to your table!! They also try new food in the restaurant and it’s just pretty cool!

Yesterday, I went on another adventure into the city center with another Au-pair who lives in the same village as me. We got the  Metro to Plaza de Espagne and went from there to Plaza de Cibeles along Gran Vía, only making a couple of stops along the way 😛 It was beautiful! While there, we met another girl for lunch and went to a place called El Diario near the Prado Museum. I had a veal burger that was possibly the nicest thing I’ve eaten since being here! It was so beautiful! In addition to this, the guy who served us he’d a great sense of humor and had us all laughing, despite speaking completely in Spanish!

We went from there up to Puerta del Sol, another tourist spot in Madrid and got the Metro from there. It took us over an hour and a half to get back here, it should have taken about 30 mins. The joys of Metro strikes and certain parts of certain lines being down!

I am enjoying the social side of being an Au-pair… That said, I wont be going anywhere until the Metro drivers stop striking and I can get from place to place normally!

Thanks for reading,

Kathy 🙂

3 cities, 2 countries, 2 months, 1 carry on

Hey guys,

So I am writing this after eating my last dinner with my famalam. I have just finished packing my bag and in about 4 hours time I will be leaving my house and Cork until the 1st of August. (Well that’s when I started writing this post..)

I wanted to write a post on how I packed for this trip. I am away for 2 months and just brought a carry on bag.. Yes I do think I’m slightly nuts.. I wanted to bring enough that I don’t end up living in the same clothes but not too much that I needed to bring a check on bag. I found that rolling my clothes was the best way to get them all into my bag. I was cursing myself during the week when I tried packing, I genuinely packed and unpacked at least 3 times!!

I am a chronic over-packer! It’s a problem I have.. 😛

I brought about:

  • 4 pairs of shorts
  •  A skirt
  • A pair of nice ankle length pants
  • A pair of gypsy pants (The ones with the tight legs and they are baggy then up the top and are high-waisted)
  • A Maxi dress
  • 3 swimsuits and a sarong
  • about a million tops (OK slight exaggeration, but I did bring plenty)
  • and lots of underwear and socks
  • I also brought a pair of runners, slip on shoes, two pairs of sandals and a pair of flip-flops.

Somehow I managed to fit all the above into my carry on suitcase. I also brought a ‘Personal bag’ with me which had my laptop, book, makeup, a small handbag with my purse, passport, phone etc., my chargers and of course some food 🙂 My laptop being the brick it is made the bag weigh a tonne and one of the straps broke off it before I even got on the plane (go me!)

Hopefully this stuff will be enough to keep me somewhat sane!

Until next time,

Kathy

Packing 2