Expat

7 American Chains Dublin Needs

7 American Chains Dublin Needs, Ranked by Urgency

7 American Chains Dublin Needs

Land of the Free, Home of the best fast food in the world. I LOVE living in Dublin, but oh how I miss the greasy French fries and overly-generous portions of American fast food. There’s really nothing quite like it.

And though Ireland does have a few US chains like McDonalds, Burger King, and KFC, they’re just not the same. The portion sizes are smaller, and they just taste different. (That’s probably because they’re lacking the artificial ingredients found in the States that are illegal in most other places because they aren’t meant for human consumption, BUT STILL.)

I’ve gotten used to, and mostly forgotten about, fast food places they have in the States that they don’t have here in Dublin. But then, every once in a while, I’m reminded. Someone utters the word “Popeyes” and I start foaming at the mouth. I wasn’t even a huge fast food eater back at home, but as soon as I hear magical words like “Taco Bell” uttered, I’m a goner. What’s that phrase again, “Distance Makes the Heart Go Fonder?” Well, that’s exactly what I’m suffering from.

Now, keep in mind that I’m from South Louisiana, and I realize that some of these chains aren’t everywhere in the US. But for me, these are THE best and the American chains Dublin needs, like, STAT.

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Iceland

My Iceland Video Diary – September 2016

I’ve been reminiscing on Iceland SO much lately. The glaciers, the volcanic landscape…it’s only been a few months since I’ve been but I’m already DYING to go back! It’s such a unique place with the most unbelievable natural beauty. There’s not really any other place like it.

When my friend Ciara and I went last September, we saw glaciers, beaches, waterfalls, and mountains. We got to snorkel in the Silfra Frissure, go glacier hiking on Solheimajokull Glacier, and take a dip in the Blue Lagoon. Such diverse landscapes and such varied activities, all in one trip!

Usually, a take a few videos when I’m traveling but I don’t really think much of it. And I certainly don’t do anything with the footage other than a few Instagram video posts. But I decided to try my had at a little bit of video editing. I love editing photos so why not try videos, too?!

So here is my short, shaky Iceland video diary with footage from my trip in September 2016.

Any video editors out there that can give me any tips, please do!
Let me know what you think in the comments below!

 

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A Letter To All Expats

A Letter to All Expats

A Letter To All Expats

It’s officially the 1st Friday of 2017! Woohoo!

With holiday shopping, busy work hours, and a crashing MacBook (I bought myself a shiny new laptop for Christmas, yay!), I really failed miserably posting at the end of 2016. Like, really failed. Like, I haven’t posted since late October. Whoops!

But I got to go home for the holidays and it was absolutely amazing! I didn’t get to go home last Christmas, and that was my first Christmas ever away from my family. Although I spent Christmas in London that year with friends and had a blast, in all the fun I was having I still couldn’t help thinking about how much I missed being home for the holidays.

Well, this year, I DID get to go home and it was everything I wanted and more! Even though it was a hot Christmas and New Year in Louisiana (no shock there), it was full of family time, dogs, catching up with friends, INCREDIBLE food, and an amazing trip to New Orleans!

Although I absolutely love living in Dublin, I felt myself getting sad that I had to go back after my visit home came to an end. Which is weird, because I used to dream of getting the hell out of Louisiana!

But being an expat, it’s SO easy to get homesick. Even though I’m having the absolute time of my life, I still find myself yearning for home sometimes. I really miss certain aspects from home – my family, my friends, my dog, my room, the simplicity, the amazing food – and it’s always hard to leave those things after a visit home.

Not all expats were lucky enough to go home for the holidays this year. I know there were many of you who didn’t get to be with your family on Christmas Day. And I know how hard that was. Being an expat is an amazing learning and growing experience, but it’s natural to be homesick, no matter how much fun you’re having.

As I’m fresh off the plane from Louisiana, I share many of the homesick feelings a lot of expats feel over the holidays – either from not being able to go home and missing it, or going home and realizing how much you missed it and having to leave.

I’m with you. We’re all in this together. But come on guys – we expats are amazing. I mean, we moved to another country for crying out loud! Of course it can get hard sometimes but we’re brave! We’re adventurous! That’s why we’re here!

At the beginning of last year, one of my good friends wrote me a letter and put it in an envelope that read “Open ONLY when you’re having a bad day.” It took me a while to get around to open that letter, because I wasn’t having any bad days. Life was good. I was in Dublin, living it up! But eventually, those homesick feelings that creep up periodically came back, and it was time to open the letter. It rang so true for me, and will ring true for anyone living far away from family.

I’m sorry you’re not having a good day. If you’re homesick, we love you. If it’s work problems, fuck ’em. If your studly boyfriend isn’t treating you right, go make out with his hot friend.

You’re amazing. Honestly, you’ve turned your life into something worth living – never forget who got you there. Y.O.U. You took a risk, and you’re rocking it. You’re a kick-ass friend, a bold, brilliant woman, & someone I’m proud to call my friend. Remember, we’re only ever a plane ride away.

There’s nothing you can’t handle or figure out – you’ve proven that. Only a few people have the balls to do what you’ve done, don’t forget that. Don’t let whatever is causing your bad day to break you. Be strong, because you are.

I love you, friend. Drink your worries away, get some takeaway, and get back to being the bright, lovely, charming betch you are meant to be. See you soon.

I figured those words could help anyone who’s feeling a little lonely right now. They certainly helped me.

If you ever feel lonely or homesick, just remember what you’re doing. You are living, breathing, walking, traveling, seeing, experiencing, touching, learning, and immersing yourself in an entirely different place than what you were surrounded by for most of your life. Do you know how ballsy that is? I mean come on. This expat life is a sometimes scary ride, but an exhilarating one.

You’re amazing. Keep on rockin’.

 

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Hiking the Wicklow Way

Hiking the Wicklow Way: Glenmalure to Glendalough

Hiking the Wicklow Way

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Ireland has some of the most amazing natural landscape I’ve ever seen. With the rolling green hills, beautiful coastlines, and breathtaking cliffs that Ireland is famous for comes many, MANY amazing walking/hiking trails that offer people a taste of the natural beauty.

Being from the completely flat Louisiana, I try to take advantage of the landscape I’m surrounded with here. I already shared all about cliff walking in Howth (which was AMAZING). But during my time here in Ireland I’ve gotten a chance to do a few different hikes. It’s great for getting some fresh air, clearing your mind, and seeing some unbelievable sights.

…Weather permitting of course.

Well, one amazing hiking trail in Ireland, that’s easy to get to from Dublin city centre, is the Wicklow Way, in County Wicklow.

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Irelandmonth4featured-01

Irish Life // Month #4 recap and photos

So, as always, here is my obligatory post recapping yet another month of life here in Ireland! This past Monday marked the anniversary of our move here, bringing month #4 to a close!

And holy crap, what another whirlwind of a month! The expat adventures never end, which I guess come with moving to a foreign country. It’s like…I’m still doe-eyed and loving it (I call it the “Honeymoon Phase”), but I also really feel comfortable and at home here.

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Ireland month #1

Irish Life // Month #1 recap and photos

Ireland month #1

I’m a little late on writing this post, as technically last Thursday marked a month of living in Ireland. But, that just goes to show how insanely hectic life has been since I moved here!

Just for a little background info, my friend Maggie and I moved to Dublin on a year-long working holiday authorization visa. When we moved across the Atlantic at the end of April, we had no jobs and no places to live lined up. Not nerve-wracking at all, right?!

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Expat

Expat News / Updates / Freak Outs

Expat

I’ll admit it, last week I was hard core slackin’ on this blog. I didn’t post quite as frequently as usual, I was slow to respond to sweet comments, and I didn’t get to do much browsing of other people’s blogs. And I missed it! But I’ve been SO busy starting to really prepare for my big move to Ireland.

Obviously I knew that moving to another country was going to take some pre-departure planning. But I guess some stuff I really hadn’t thought about, such as:

  1. Am I going to have to get a new cell phone? (Yes.) Can I just use the phone right now and change out the SIM card? (No.) How much is it going to cost for a plan over there? (No clue.)
  2. What the heck do I do about my bank? My bank charges foreign ATM and credit card charge fees so I’m going to have to get a new bank account over there for the year. Because I’ll have to have a way to deposit my checks from my job (when I get one). Which brings me to…
  3. I NEED A JOB! I’ve been sending out résumés CVs but its hard to be like “Hey! I don’t actually live in Ireland yet, but I will in about 6 weeks so you should totally hire me!” I am so eager to work and would LOVE to find a job in the creative field, but if I don’t have any luck, I’ll just start off working retail or service industry and maybe have better luck finding a job once I’m actually there.
  4. PACKING. Every now and then my mind wanders over to how the heck I’m going to pack in 1 (let’s be honest, probably 2) 50-lbs suitcase for an ENTIRE YEAR and I start having severe anxiety. If I had my way one whole suitcase would be just shoes. But obviously, I’m going to have to cut it down. And then…also…COATS. I have so many cute ones, but those things weight SO MUCH. So, packing is going to be interesting…and amusing…and frustrating…
  5. Can’t really apartment flat hunt too much since I don’t know where I’ll get a job and therefore don’t know exactly where in Ireland I’ll be working/living…
  6. It’s really starting to hit me that I’m not going to see my parents, grandparents, and friends for an entire year….I don’t think its fully hit me yet (and probably won’t until I’m at the airport), but its definitely starting to freak me out a little.
  7. I’m starting to wonder about little things like “I wonder if they’ll have some of the same brands of medicine/shampoos/makeup/random products over there that I use over here?” Not that its a big issue or anything, its just those simple little differences between countries that I’ll start to learn from and experience.

So yeah, as excited I am for expat life, I’m also nervous/anxious/overwhelmed by what expat life holds. It’ll definitely be a big adventure, and the first couple of weeks abroad will be so crazy and stressful trying to figure everything out! And honestly, I haven’t found too many helpful resources online. But hey, what’s life without some chaos..right?

Any current, former, or soon-to-be expats out there who have any advice/words of comfort/tips? Would love to hear from you guys and know I’m not alone!

photo via

 

I'm Moving to Ireland!!!

I’M MOVING TO IRELAND!!!!!!!!

I'm Moving to Ireland!!!

Holy cow.

I have been dying, and I mean DYING, to finally share my big news! I have been looking into the Irish Working Holiday Authorization for months now. I’ve been preparing all the necessary paperwork, filling out the application, gathering documents, etc and I finally submitted my visa application to the Irish Consulate Embassy in Chicago a few weeks back. Since then, I’ve been waiting patiently to hear back from them, since it usually takes about 3 weeks.

Well, I got my approval email this week, so I’m finally approved for the visa which means I’M MOVING TO IRELAND FOR A YEAR, YA’LL!

The way the Working Holiday Authorization works for US citizens is that it allows anyone who’s graduated in the last 12 months to live and work in Ireland from 4 months up to a year. You have to submit documentation from your university and have certain funds available in your bank account, along with the application and a few other documents, but besides that its not super difficult to be accepted. Even so, I was still nervous about my application because I sometimes have the worst luck. But not this time!

This is literally a dream come true. I’ve always wanted to live abroad. I’ve always wanted to get out of Louisiana and live in a new, different place. So I figured, why not now? I have no pets, no boyfriend, a newly ended lease (so I’ll be living with my parents until I leave), no furniture, no reason to delay my dream any longer other than some student loans and the fact that people keep telling me its crazy. I just had to get the guts to say, “Ok. I’m doing this. I’m going to move to a foreign country where I don’t know anyone and just live there for a year.”

It took some convincing, but my parents finally came around too. Sure, the idea sounds a little crazy at first, but once you stop and think about it, is it really that crazy? Its something I want to do and although my parent’s initial reaction was to tell me to wait, why should I? If I wait and be cautious, something will always come up. I’ll have a pet or a super hot boyfriend I can’t leave behind (unlikely), I’ll have a mortgage, or various other excuses. NOW is the time to do something like this, when I’m young and don’t have much to my name. So finally, my parents came to see that and I got their blessing. (I would’ve gone anyway, without their blessing, since I’m paying for it all myself. But, I would MUCH rather have them on my side and don’t want to leave with them mad at me.)

Why Ireland?
1. Well, let me start off by saying that I LOVE Ireland. The people, the culture, the weather, everything. I’ve been lucky enough to visit Dublin twice, and each time has been amazing. I find the people there to be a lot like the people of the deep South, where I’m from – super nice, friendly, and welcoming. Everyone in Ireland loves their country SO MUCH, and wants to make sure you do too. They’re welcoming to Americans (something I can’t say for every place I’ve visited) and seem to just have a love of life (and Guinness). The landscape of the country is absolutely beautiful. Even though I LOVE Dublin, I also wouldn’t be opposed to living/working in another city like Limerick or Cork.

2. There are tons of other countries that have some sort of Working Holiday/Youth Visas that usually last for about a year. But many of the ones I looked at (I was specifically interested in New Zealand) can be used by anyone under 30. The Irish one, however, is only for people who’ve graduated in the last year. My time was ticking since I graduated this past May. So I figured I could always do another Working Holiday in New Zealand or somewhere else later, once I’m back from Ireland (if I have any money left).

3. The accents. Are just. THE BEST.

Sure, I’ll probably be working some random job that has absolutely nothing to do with what I graduated college in, and I’ll probably be living on a tight budget, and I’ll probably miss my family and friends so much. I’m showing up to Ireland and “winging it,” and have no idea what’s going to happen. But ya know, I would regret it more if I didn’t take this chance. I’ll be an expat in a new place. It’s the great unknown. And its just the best/most exhilarating feeling.

I’m aiming to leave late April and can’t wait to update you on my journey!