Thursday, 22 November 2012

November in Dublin

This has been a great month to live in Ireland, I can't explain why I'm just so happy! This month started out great when I took my roommates Tiffany and Rochelle to Switzerland for a long weekend. It was a good weekend, but we didn't get to do as much as I would've hoped...I think I was just being overambitious in my planning.  We got in Thursday night, explored Basel on Friday, went out to a few of the local watering holes on Friday night (including Steine Grill...would a trip to Basel be complete without it?!). Saturday we travelled around with mom to Germany for lunch, and then to France to experience the Alsace. We went to the small town of Riquewhir, which was buzzing for the Saturday. Tiffany and I did some wine tasting, because Rochelle wasn't feeling too well. We then drove to Colmar, which was slightly disappointing because I remember it being great around Christmas with the market.  Unfortunately, we were a few weeks too early for the market so there wasn't too much going on in the town but it was still a nice stop.

The gorgeous day we had to see the Alsace
The next day mom, dad, Tiffany and I went to Gruyere for a day trip. Rochelle was feeling better, but still wasn't in the mood to go out for the day so she skipped out on it.  We went to the Cailler chocolate factory, which was kind of ridiculous but a lot more entertaining than I thought it would be! PLUS you got all the free chocolate samples that your little heart could desire! Then we went to the Gruyere cheese factory, which was more disappointing but at least it didn't take too long. We had lunch there, which was yummy (I had rösti with gruyere cheese and poached pears mmm).  Then Tiffany and I went to explore the local castle (I can't remember the name) in the rain. It was a good day!

Tiffany reallllly enjoying "Cherry the Cow" talking to her about Gruyere cheese

Mom and I at the Gruyere restaurant

The next day we weren't too sure about what to do, so we walked the hour walk to Augusta Raurica in the rain...not all of us were happy campers haha. At least we got out of the house! Then we took the train to Basel from Kaiseraugst to go to Lily's Stomach Supply for lunch - always a delicious choice! Unfortunately that was the end of our weekend, and we headed to the Zürich Flughafen later that night.

A couple of weekends later, mom and dad were back to visit me in Dublin, which was really great. It was mom's big 5-0, so I had a room booked for them at The Merrion. I think that they were very impressed with the room and the hotel in general. I used my pull to get them a nice, refurbished room with a garden view, so I was very happy they were happy :) I had set up the room before they got there with cards, presents, wine, etc. We did a lot of shopping that weekend (but of course!) and went out for some really, really good food. We went to the new Jamie Oliver restaurant for lunch on Saturday, and I had made reservations for us at a highly recommended Thai-Vietnamese restaurant on Saturday night. They were both fantastic! Happy Birthday Mommy!

Other than that, I have started my two month stint in the Cellar Restaurant. It has been okay so far; I've been working the breakfast service, which has been fine but I feel like I haven't been getting all the training I need. I've been out on the floor for a couple of shift, which has been okay but I think that the restaurant could stand to be more organized. Other than that, I love everyone that I've been working with and the past 3 weeks have already flown by!

We're all slowly getting into the Christmas mood at my apartment. I bought a new Christmas CD that we were playing, which is always key to getting into the Christmas spirit. I know that Christmas is just going to sneak up on me again this year, so I'm trying to savour the next few weeks. I know I have been in Dublin for over 6 months now, but it's just starting to hit me now that I am over halfway done and I am going to be very sad to leave this beautiful country.

That's all for now!
Jennalyn xoxox

Saturday, 13 October 2012

The Best. Apartment. EVER.

The title pretty much says it all! As of September 29th, I have been living with three beautiful ladies who I am fortunate enough to call my friends: Veronica, Tiffany, Rochelle (and Jenna), aka the best roommates ever! The apartment is cozy, but it is wonderful. 

Our first weekend here was an extravaganza - we had a housewarming party that ended at the club "Howl at the Moon" (thanks Doug!) which was so much fun. On that Saturday we had our Canadian Thanksgiving for all of our Canadian friends (and a few honorary members as well).  It was a fantastic night even though it made everyone feel homesick, and the food was a great success. Everyone brought a different Thanksgiving-y dish, so we had a huge buffet to satisfy everyones' needs.  Veronica and Rochelle cooked a 15lb turkey, affectionately named Frankie, which was disgusting when he was uncooked, but I have to admit...I had a little piece of Frankie.  I couldn't not, though! It was Turkey Day, it would be wrong not to eat any turkey! We had probably around 20 people over, which was pretty ridiculous but it was good fun.

Living with these girls has been so much better than any of my other apartments, and it's nice to have someone to come home to at the end of the day.  We have Kyle staying with us for the week while he visits, which has been a treat because everyone wanted him to stay with them (we are the lucky ones :) ). You can see him in one of the pictures below modelling our apartment haha.

Kyle in the living room

The living room and dining room from the "balcony"

I made that shelf! €16 from IKEA, what a steal!

Kitchen, where we cook things.

My and Rochelle's room...very very cozy! But it's actually
perfect for our needs (pretty much just sleeping)

My little space and the closet with the dresser I made :) Those pictures hanging
on the wall have followed me to every apartment in every country I've lived in.

If you want a live tour of the apartment, let's skype :) 

Tonight I'm on my way to another housewarming party - tis the season!


Friday, 28 September 2012

Apparently I love the stress of moving.

Since Zen left, I have been working in room service. I am absolutely loving it - the team is great, and so is the job. It's nice because there's such little contacts with horrible is that to say? Haha but after working in the Drawing Rooms with guests constantly bothering you, it's a nice vacation! It's a very hard department to predict, because you never know when the phone will ring. Because of that, we have to be constantly preparing for it to get busy.  

Now, I won't bore you with work talk any longer. In other news...

I'm moving again! I know what you're thinking..."Jenna, didn't you move less than 2 months ago? Weren't you loving your new apartment?" Answer: yes, I was loving it...when I was the only one there. Once my roommate got back from her backpacking trip, that's when things turned sour. I'm sure that she's a nice enough girl, but we don't seem to have anything in common and I don't feel very welcome in my own home.  So I'm moving in with three close friends tomorrow, and I could not be more excited! It's still in a great location, and even better I'll be living with people I can actually have a conversation with :) I'll give out my new address when I know it. I expect lots of mail!! (Jess and Bailey, you did a fantastic job at sending things at this apartment, keep it up! Everyone else...step up your game.)  

I'll post pictures of my new and improved apartment once I'm in there. 



Sunday, 9 September 2012

Ireland and Scotland

This post is a sort of extension of my last post with pictures. If you didn't get the vibe from my last post, it was so amazing having Zen here for a too short two weeks, and I'm already counting down the days until he visits again! It was a great opportunity for us both to see new parts of the world, which we took advantage of.  

As mentioned, we first went to Belfast. We were so lucky with the weather we had (what happened to typical Irish weather?), especially for visiting the Giant's Causeway. This was probably my favourite part of our holiday, and was something I looked forward to seeing for a long time. We were not disappointed with the Causeway or any of the other parts of the tour; we had beautiful coastal scenery to look at for the entire day.

Zenon at the Giant's Causeway
 The Black Taxi tour was very moving and like nothing I'd ever done before. I was completely ignorant about the "troubles" before visiting Belfast, so it was an absolute eye-opener.  I never realized that part of the city was still divided - the wall dividing the Protestant and Catholic parts of West Belfast has been up longer than the Berlin Wall was.  The murals on the Catholic side were my favourite, and they're constantly being updated to showcase current issues. The picture below was of my favourite mural: there was a curfew on the Catholic part of West Belfast at one point, which essentially meant that the people could never leave their homes. After a few days of this, the women banded together to try to end the curfew by marching in the streets, pushing children in prams and carrying bread and milk to feed the hungry Catholic. The gardai (police) couldn't do anything to stop them since they weren't being threatening, and this effectively ended the curfew. Moral of the story: women are capable of anything!

The Protestant side of the wall, covered in encouraging messages of peace

The next weekend Zen and I went to Glasgow; neither of us had ever been to Scotland, so it was a real treat. We were only there for a few short days, but we made good use of our time. The first day we had a few hours before we could check into the hostel, so we did a hop-on-hop-off tour. I can't remember too much of the history from the tour, but it was a great way to see the city initially because it helped us get our bearings.  That night we went out to a local pub (Zen wanted an "authentic Scottish experience") and ended up meeting four Swedish business men and two Scottish men and had a grand ol' time drinking with them! Quite the bizzare experience! 

A little groggy the next morning, we woke up early to go on our tour of the Highlands and Loch Ness. The weather was quite awful that day, so we didn't get too great of views of the mountains. The landscape was really unique, though; the mountains looked like huge ski moguls to me (but maybe that's just me).  The tour ended up taking a bit longer than anticipated because of an accident en route, but it didn't throw us off too much. We weren't thrilled with the tour - we didn't stop too much even to take pictures. The driver would sometimes point something of interest out, but would hardly slow down for us to take a look at it.  It was a 13 hour day, which is far too long for a tour, so I think next time we won't be quite so ambitious with our sightseeing. 

Zen in front of Loch Lomond
Me at Loch Ness
 Our last day in Scotland we went to Greenock, which is about half an hour away from Glasgow and where Zen's grandparents lived before moving to Canada. His Grannie has a picture on her fridge of a particular intersection in Greenock in the 1970's, so we spent most of our time there searching for the crossing so Zen could take an updated photo of it.  We had lunch there, where Zen tried haggis (what a bad vegetarian, eh? But a good Scotsman, I suppose), which looked nothing like I thought it would (probably for the better). 

The last few days we spent in Dublin were great - we had beautiful weather and were able to visit Howth and Bray. In Howth we went on the same hike I had done a couple of months ago, and in Bray we sat on the beach for an hour or two. Zen was adamant about swimming in the ocean at least once this summer, so he crossed that off of his to do list - even if it was freezing. While he was swimming in the Irish Sea I was bundled up on the beach.

Me (top left) in breathtaking Howth
Zen going for a dip in Bray
 All in all, it was a fantastic holiday, but like always it was too brief.  Hopefully the next few months go by quickly and it won't be long before my family (and possibly Zen) is here for Christmas. 

Hope you're having a good start to your fall :)

Monday, 27 August 2012

Irish Times with Zenon

Just a quick post to update you about my life here in Dublin. I, unfortunately, don't have any pictures in this post because I haven't had the chance to upload them onto a computer yet. Zen got to Dublin on Thursday morning, and it's been so splendid having him here! We've hardly spent any time in Dublin so far, so we still have a lot of sightseeing to do around this area. We went out with some of my friends on Thursday night - I think Zen was quite jet lagged but he was a trooper and danced with us anyways! On Friday we took the train up to Belfast and were there for a couple of days. I'll explain more of what we did later; in a nutshell, we did a day long tour of the Northern Coast (highlight being the Giant's Causeway) and on Sunday we did a Black Taxi Tour, which taught us all about the history of Belfast's "troubles" over the past 40 years. Our tour guide was a taxi driver who lived through the troubles (he told us he's has a gun held to his head on five separate occasions). The city itself wasn't very pleasant (although Zen liked it) but the history is rich and they still have a lot of work to do until the city can be peaceful again.

Today Zen and I went to the Merrion for some tea and scones, which I think he liked! My favourite part about that was being able to use the guest washrooms, which I had never seen the inside of before! They were so fancy!!! I guess that's to be expected, but when you use the drab staff bathrooms, it's quite the contrast.

On that note, hope you have a wonderful evening. We're off to Fitzgerald's Pub to meet with the usual USIT Monday night crowd.

Jenna and Zen :)

Thursday, 9 August 2012

New apartment

Hola! I have successfully moved into my new apartment, and I love living downtown! My roommate's gone for the next few weeks, so I have the room to myself with is A-okay with me. My space is pretty small, but I don't really mind that much - it just means that I have to be more organized! The best part is the living room/dining room because it's really bright and open and we have really nice couches. Here are some photos (taken on my phone - sorry for the low quality but I was too lazy to charge my camera) to give you some idea of what it's like:

My bed and things - small but good enough for me!
The rest of my room. This is Maria's bed and our shared closet and chest of drawers.
Dining room area
Living room area with big balcony
Living room/dining room/kitchen
I met with Ana (the girl who I'm replacing) yesterday and she helped me move everything in. I was unpacked within an hour - a record for me (I normally take at least 3 weeks to unpack suitcases after a vacation). I felt a little strange unpacking while she was there, because if I was her I would feel weird about someone moving into the room that was mine for the past 3 years.  She was really helpful and nice though, and showed me around, how to work the washer/dryer, how the bills work, etc. We got along really well, so it's a shame that she was the one moving! I haven't seen too much of my flatmates otherwise. As I said, Maria is backpacking for 3 weeks so I won't meet her for a while; Priscilla works 2 jobs and attends classes so she's apparently never around; and Evelyn goes to school as well so she's gone for most of the day. 

Today I went for a run because I wasn't afraid I would get stabbed if I left my apartment (like I was on Cork Street haha). No one's dangerous here - there's only harmless tourists who are constantly taking pictures with the statue outside of the gates. I love living here so far! Come visit, and you will see how awesome it is!

Much love xoxox

Tuesday, 7 August 2012


I MOVE TOMORROW WOOHOO!!! I am almost all packed (aka I still have a lot to do) but I think I'll work best when there's pressure applied (meaning an hour before I have to leave).  I have two suitcases full so far, and I expect all three of my suitcases to be unbearably least my new apartment has an elevator! I'm moving at 1PM tomorrow, and I'll definitely be posting pictures of my new place once I get there. My roommate is backpacking for the next 3 weeks (or so I've heard) so it'll be a few weeks before I actually meet her. At least I'll be able to get settled in without disturbing her.  

Other than that, I still have my exam on Friday to study for. And Zen gets here in just over 2 weeks!! What a great month :') 

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Busy Week Ahead

August has been a great month for me so far...and it's only just started! I've been working non-stop, but it has made the days go by quicker.  I have a lot of things on my mind for the upcoming couple of weeks: 
1. I am moving in 4 days! I'm really excited to move to my new apartment, which is in a better location and I hope will have roommates I can relate to more. It'll be strange sharing a room with someone again (like first year university) but I know it's only temporary and I think (hope desperately) that she and I will get along fine.
2. I am writing an exam for my online course next Friday...and I have A LOT of studying to do! The problem is when will I have time to do it?
3. Zen is coming to visit at the end of the month! I'm most excited about this news!!! He gets here August 23rd (in 19 days!!) and I'm already planning how we're going to spend our time. I think we will tour around Ireland a bit, but spend a majority of our time in Dublin. I have a lot of people I want him to meet and a lot of things I want him to see :)

A lot on my plate, it seems (as well as working 7 days in a row...)! Once this week is over I'll be relieved and I hope I get the chance to relax...something tells me that that might not be the way it goes, though! 

Friday, 20 July 2012

Touristy with Barnes

Bailey came and visit me this week, and it was glorious! We had a really great time and we did lots of touristy things, which I always love. I gave her a nice little surprise by meeting her at the airport, and then we went out and got a glass of wine, tapas and idea we've ever had! On Tuesday we went to The Human Body Exhibition. It's the one where they have the real peoples' bodies on display, after being stripped of skin and muscles, etc. to teach the spectators of the human body. I was really excited to go, but I have to say I was a total baby when I got into the exhibition; even within the first room I was freaking out, because it's such a strange concept that you are in this room full of dead bodies. In any case, I don't think I'll be going back any time soon. They didn't allow you to take pictures within the exhibition, which is fine by me because I wouldn't want to look at those pictures anyway.

That night we met up with a few friends and went out on the town (to Dicey's, a popular bar in Dublin on Tuesday night). Part of the dance floor is outdoors, and since this is Ireland of course it rained. It was such a fun night though! Lesson learnt: dancing in the rain with your girlfriends is always a fun time :)

On Wednesday we lounged around for a few hours and made ourselves a delicious breakfast of eggs, toast and baked beans. We then went to the Guinness Storehouse, which is only a 10 minute walk from my apartment. The tour was cool, and I could remember snippets of being there before. What I noticed mostly was that it was very loud, as there were tonnes of people and videos on the tour. We ended our tour at the very busy Gravity Bar with our free pint (and in my case, half pint) of Guinness. Lesson leanrt: neither of us like Guinness that much.

On Thursday it was sad saying good bye to Bailey because we never know when we're going to meet again. She's off to San Fransisco and Hawaii this weekend...I don't know how it'll compare to Dublin, but I'm sure the weather will be better!

Have fun on your holiday, Barnes!
And good night everyone else :)

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Weekend Alone

Hello all,
This past week was my first week back in the Drawing Rooms (after my one month stint in the bar). I'm not sure which I prefer, because they're both so different...but the bar is definitely a lot more relaxed. This week has had fairly good weather, so I've been spending my days on the Terrace serving people tea while working on my tan.

This week I also started apartment hunting on a whim. On July 1st I was hanging out with Rochelle and Tiffany, and decided to just search the web and see if there were any apartments that looked good (I wasn't even seriously considering moving) and within an hour I had two appointments to view some rooms. So I decided that I wanted to move from Cork Street because, to be honest, the area is pretty sketchy and at least a half hour walk away from anywhere I want to spend my time. I looked at about five apartments, and found one that I love! I'm going to be moving on August 8th :) The apartment is shared with three other girls and I will be sharing the room with a Venezuelan girl. It's in an amazing location (right across the street from Christchurch Cathedral - very central) and the rent is 200 Euros less than what I pay now (because it's a single bed in a shared room). I'm really excited to move, even though it's in almost exactly a month!

I had yesterday and today off work, and I decided I wanted to do something worthwhile. Yesterday I went to Christchurch Cathedral with my current roommate, Maria. It was really interesting and there is a  creepy crypt beneath the church. My favourite/the weirdest part was the mummified bodies of a cat and a rat. Apparently someone found their bodies in some organ pipes...the cat was presumed to be chasing the rat and they both got stuck in the organ, and their bodies were preserved fairly well (although skeletal and gross).

Today I slept in late and went to the coastal town of Howth (pronounced Hoath) for a few hours. To get there it's about a half hour ride on the DART train.  It was a gorgeous day and perfect to go on a hike! The views were breathtaking and it was really peaceful hiking by myself. It took me about two hours to do the trail; afterwards I bought a sandwich and a fruit salad and had myself a little picnic by the ocean. Here are some photos (but to get the full effect you'll just have to visit and come on the hike with me!)

Kind of awkward taking pictures of yourself, but it had to be done!
Hope everyone else is having good weather and a relaxing summer!

Friday, 15 June 2012

The Cellar Bar

Hello friends and family - yes, I am still alive and I am sorry for not writing much (especially to you, Jess).  I have completed a week and a half in the Cellar Bar, and am really enjoying it! It's funny how I've only been there since June 5th, but it feels like that's where I've always worked; I'm sure once I go back up to the Drawing Rooms it'll feel like I never left! The job description is pretty much the same in the bar as in the Drawing Rooms, so it wasn't too hard to adjust. The atmosphere is a little more relaxed (so are the clientele, which is a relief) but it's still a five star establishment, so the standards must be maintained.

As I mentioned before, The Merrion is part of the "Leading Hotels of the World," and to be part of this elite group they must pass all inspections with flying colours (I think the passing point is 80% or something like that?). Internally, there are dozens of "checklists" completed every week to make sure that the departments are all up to par in case an inspector shows up. I have worked roughly six shifts in the Cellar Bar, and have completed two checklists thus far...the first being on my second day! I got a lot of help with the first checklist from my colleagues (as I was just learning), but did the second one all on my own. I got an 86% on the first and an 80.6% on the second, which is apparently really good :) Quite pleased! It was nerve-wracking the first time because the people evaluating me were the Food & Beverage Manager and Assistant Manager, but it's ultimately for your own good so you can learn from your mistakes. It seems strange that I've completed two in the Cellar Bar already but didn't do any checklists during my three weeks in the Drawing Rooms (none that I know of anyways...)

Other than that exciting news, I am sick and have taken two and a half days off work this week. On Tuesday and Wednesday I left my bed only a handful of times, but the rest was good for me. They don't want me working in a restaurant if I'm contagious, anyway!  I'm feeling a lot better now and am going to head back to work tomorrow. I don't have any plans for Sunday (the bar is closed on Sunday, so it's nice to not have to work!) but if the weather's nice I might want to venture outside of Dublin, or perhaps go on a picnic...or both! I'll take lots of pictures, don't worry!

Love you, hope you're having a good summer
xxx Jenna

Thursday, 31 May 2012


I can't believe I've been in Dublin for almost a month...and I left Canada over a month ago! Time is just flying; I can only imagine how fast the entire year is going to go by. It's been a nerve-wracking, happy, exciting and full-of-new month, but it's been great and I wouldn't trade the experiences I've had so far for anything in the world.

There have been some changes to my life within the past couple of days. My roommates moved out and I have new ones moving in tomorrow. They're a young, Italian couple who moved to Dublin to learn English. I don't know how long they're going to be staying (I don't think they do either) but they're very friendly and I'm sure they'll be good roommates. There might be some communication issues but I will try my best to help them learn English and it'll be grand! ( they say in Ireland).

The other change is my department at work. I had my last shift in the Drawing Rooms for a month; for the next month I will be working in the Cellar Bar. I'm really excited about it because it will be a different pace and more relaxed atmosphere than the Drawing Rooms (at least that's what I hear). There will definitely be a steep learning curve - for example, I need to learn the wine list (25 white, 25 red). But it will be a great learning experience! When June is done I'll move back to the Drawing Rooms to work for another 4 months (I think that's the plan, anyway).

And possibly my favourite news to report this time...I get to see my mom tomorrow! I'm not sure what we're going to be doing, but it'll be fun I'm sure! I owe her a meal at a nice restaurant, so that's at least one thing on the itinerary. I'm sure the visit will be too short, but it'll be amazing to see her in any case.

Happy June, everyone!
Love, Jennalyn

Monday, 21 May 2012

Wicklow Day Tour

This past Friday my friend Rochelle and I went to the county of Wicklow for a day trip. It was my first time out of Dublin since I got here, and even though the weather wasn't the best, it was still a great day! We had an early start and were touring around for about 8 hours, but most of that was spent on the bus. First stop was the Glencree Valley ("glen" means valley, "cree" means heat = heart of the valley) where we had our coffee stop and had a little snoop around. Then we drove through the Wicklow Mountains which had a very different bog landscape to what I'd seen before.

Bogs in the Wicklow Mountains
We saw where some of the scenes in "PS I Love You" and "Braveheart" were filmed, as well as the Guinness estate on Lough Tay (which means "Lake Tea", if I'm not mistaken).

Rochelle and I by the Guinness Estate (where Paul McCartney wrote "Yesterday"!)
We went to a monastic ruin in Glendalough, which had a lot of eerie character and skewed gravestones.

We then stopped for a late lunch in the town of Avoca, which was famous for being the set of the fictional town "Ballykissangel" (an old soap opera I think? Although I could be wrong). One of my favourite stops of the day was at the Avoca Wool Mill, where we saw rugs and things being handmade with looms. The colours in the mill were so vivid and beautiful! Avoca is a shop in Dublin that sells cooking things, clothes, rugs, candles, books, etc. and has a café with cakes to die for (at least that's what people say; I've never had any myself).

A man using a 120 year old loom to weave a rug.
All of the handwoven things in the store are supplied from the Avoca Mill, so it was interesting to see where and how they are made.  All in all it was a great day, and nice to get out of Dublin. I definitely want to do another day trip sometime, but perhaps I will plan for when the weather is nicer! 

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Settling In

Hello all,

I don't have too much to report on this week, and I don't have any of my own pictures, which is too bad. My first week of work went quite well (I think). Everyone has been very helpful in answering the hundreds of questions I have, and I have been learning quite a lot - not just about my current job, but about hotels in general, the hospitality industry, etc. I've loved every minute of it, which is a good sign that I'm in the right degree! The shifts are a lot longer than I'm used to (and in heels, which is good fun) but there's lots to keep me occupied.  I've attended four training sessions thus far, including the champagne training I had on my first day.  Yesterday and today was spent in the training room watching slideshows and taking notes on the history of the hotel (a really rich and interesting history, if you want to know you can ask me!), the different departments, fire safety and manual handling safety. As well as that, we had a tour of the different departments and a couple of the rooms.

I have Thursday and Friday off this week, so I'm hoping to go to Wicklow (on the coast, south of Dublin) for a day with my friend Rochelle. It'll be nice to get out of the city, and Wicklow is supposed to be very beautiful! 

I'll leave you with a couple of pictures of the Drawing Rooms/Bar No. 23 (which is where I'm working) so you can see where I'll be spending 40 hours of my week for the next year. The photographs were taken from the Leading Hotels of the World website (, which The Merrion is a proud member of.

The Drawing Rooms

Bar No. 23
Can you picture me working in those fancy places? Yeah, neither can I.

Hope you're all having a wonderful May! 
Love, Jenna

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

First Day of Work and Apartment

Dia Dhuit! (...that's hello in Irish apparently),

I had my first day of work yesterday, and my feet were killing me by the end of it! I got to The Merrion at 10AM, and got changed into my uniform and to The Drawing Rooms (the part of the hotel where I'm working) by 10:30AM. It's so different from working at a sports bar! I didn't really do any serving on my first day, but I was happy to clear tables and watch others because there seems to be a lot to remember: for example, when serving a customer tea, you never want them to pour the tea themselves, so there's a certain way to pour the tea for them. Another example is that all of the different menu items have a different place setting. I'm sure I'll get the hang of it soon, but it was a little overwhelming to begin with.

Possibly the best/funniest part about my first day was that there was champagne training! Two other servers and myself went to it, which involved learning about how champagne is made, different types, etc (and when I say champagne I mean only the sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France...the presenter was very clear about that!). Then we had a champagne testing; everyone thought I was lucky I got to drink on my first day! Apparently they have these trainings fairly frequently - tea training, coffee, red and white wine, etc. It's fantastic because many of the other people in the hotel are young and wanting to learn about the hospitality industry like myself.  Tomorrow some of us are going to go on the Viking Splash Tour  (click that to go to the website) and then out for drinks; it's a lot more interesting living here when I know people!

And, as promised, here are some pictures of my apartment:

My room, with my bed made (like it always is...)

My closet and photographs

The living room and dining room

The tiny and ill equipped kitchen 

Me out front of the apartment block. My window is the one on the bottom left.
So now you all have an idea of what my living situation is like!

Hope you're all having a great week!
Love, Jenna

Sunday, 6 May 2012

May 3rd-6th

My apartment is starting to feel a lot more home-y: I have clothes hanging in my closet, pictures on my walls and flowers in my windowsill (thanks dad!).  I have been trying to set up an Irish bank account and get some bills set up in my name (since my roommates are moving out at the end of the month) but it all seems to be a vicious cycle: you need a proof of residency (such as a bill) to set up a bank account, and you need a bank account to set up the internet/TV/etc. so I can't seem to get anything done. I've emailed my landlord and hopefully she can help me with some sort of document, but we'll see.

The best thing about this weekend was my dad visiting! He was only here for a day and half, but it was wonderful to have a friendly face and someone to talk to and hang out with.  He helped me set up my room a little bit more, fixed some broken cabinets (you know how dads are), took me out for supper and toured around Dublin with me. We had a really great day on Saturday (sunny and fairly warm despite a forecast of rain).  We walked all over downtown Dublin: first we got a coffee and drank it in St. Stephen's Green (dad said that we had been there before, but I couldn't remember)...

then we checked out The Merrion (where I start work on Tuesday) and hung out with Oscar Wilde a little bit at Merrion Park...

next we walked alongside Trinity College then visited Ms Molly Malone. After that we walked down Grafton Street and then stopped for a delicious ciabatta sandwich and, of course, more coffee. After lunch, we explored downtown some more and came upon a really awesome shopping centre called the "Powerscourt Townhouse". Definitely a cool place to check out! 

Next we walked to the Dublin Castle, which (after consulting my map) was a lot closer than I expected it to be. It wasn't very busy and not as cool as I thought it would be, but it provided a beautiful backdrop for our pictures nonetheless.

We continued walking through small streets and came upon the eclectic Temple Bar area of Dublin. It was a nice surprise, and definitely a place I will be visiting more often! It's also where we went for a fish and chips dinner that was so bustling we had to try several restaurants before we could find one with room for us!

We then walked across and along the Liffey River which divides north and south Dublin. We didn't explore north Dubin at all (a task for another day). 

Lastly, we went to Christchurch, which was an area I was familiar with as I spent my first night at the hostel near it.  

Everything was really beautiful and we were blessed with the non-Irish weather to walk around in. Today dad and I tried taking the bus to see how that works. We waited at the bus stop for quite a while and when no bus showed we decided it would be better to walk than wait any longer; of course, as soon as we started walking about 3 buses passed us...oh well, we still found a quaint coffee shop quite near to my apartment, so it all turned out alright. 

I was sad to see my dad go, but when mom and him visit next I'll hopefully have more neat places to show them and more stories to share. And, of course, when I get homesick I can always head over to what must be the one Tim Hortons shop in Ireland for a Canadian cup of coffee.

That's it for now! Hope you enjoyed the pictures :)
xoxoxo Jenna

Thursday, 3 May 2012

First Day in Ireland


I got into Dublin late last night and went straight to my hostel. I had a terrible sleep there, partially due to the rock hard mattress and partially due to not wanting to miss meeting my landlord. I got into my apartment about 10AM (pictures to come later). My landlord and my roommates are very nice; my roommates are from Brazil and they're moving back to Brazil at the end of the month, so there will be new tenants moving in in June. 

Today I walked to the shopping area/downtown, which is about a 15 minute walk from my apartment, and got a new phone number and some other essentials.  Possibly the most exciting part about today is buying a week's worth of groceries for only 20! I start work on Tuesday May 8th, which is exciting but scary, so I'll let you all know how that goes. I guess there's not too much more to report on for now.

Love and miss you all!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Switzerland In A Week

I'm leaving Switzerland tonight to move to Ireland. I've had a lovely week with my parents and have done lots of things (and a lot of relaxing).  I went out for sushi with my mom and my American parents (LeAnn and Jasper), I went to Bern for the first time (can you believe it?), I went on some walks, I did some driving, and explored an old castle's ruins.  Here are some photos of my week at home.

The Bern Clock Tower

 Me with my neighbours

My beautiful and quaint town of Arisdorf

The Dorneck Schloss (castle) ruins

I can't wait to show you some pictures from my new home in Dublin! I just have to get there first...
Love, Jennalyn