Thursday, November 29, 2012

He liked it so he put a ring on it

It's about time I shared my good news on the blog. We are engaged! At the end of the summer, in early September we went on a last minute trip to Mallorca- also known as the 17th German state- based on the number of Germans who live and visit there. We stayed near Cala Millor on the north east of the island- not party central but lively enough, and we loved it. The beaches are stunning- albeit a little crowded at times. You can have a lovely holiday without breaking the bank. We also rented bikes one day and found a little cove with beautiful clear sparkling water and away from the other tourists.

On our last night we went out for a nice meal and after some Sangria the GerMann suggested a stroll on the beach. Halfway down the beach he proposed. I'll keep full details of the proposal private but it was perfect! Who says German men can't be romantic?! I burst into tears when I realized what was happening but managed to get out a "yes"! I was on a complete high after the engagement which lasted about a week until I started thinking about the enormous task ahead of me of organizing a wedding. We (though mainly I) have decided to have the wedding in Ireland. I figure I have moved to Germany and will be here long enough, I can at least have my wedding back in Ireland!

I have also been blown away from the response to our engagement. When I put the announcement up on facebook (easist way to share the news!) I got about 50 comments and "likes"! We have also received lots of engagement cards and even presents which we weren't expecting at all. And everyone is really excited for us.

So the last two months I have been really busy with all the wedding planning. I know everyone says this but I had no idea how much is involved in organizing a wedding! It is also harder when you don't live in the country. I've been back in Dublin twice already since getting engaged- checking out venues and bridal shops! Initially when we discussed our ideas for the wedding, we both agreed it should be small and intimate. Though our ideas of "small" are completely different. Mine- about 80 guests, him about 10! I negotiated up to about 50 guests but when I started working on the guest list I realized it would not be enough and people would end up feeling upset at not being invited. But also you only get married once and I would like the people in our lives to be there to share the moment with us. So now we are at 80 guests which we are both happy with.

I believe there are some women who have their whole wedding mapped out and when they get engaged they know exactly where to start. But I was never like that. I had vague visions of being in a lovely dress and walking down the aisle in a church, but in terms of what style dress or colour schemes or even what sort of venue I would like, I had never given these things much thought.

Looking at the wedding planning checklists online can be overwhelming!! But better to take each step at a time. My first point of call was to try to book the church. I was surprised how many dates were already booked up in the church for next year. The initial date we wanted had an 11am time slot which I feel would have been too early, or a Friday, which I also would prefer not to have as I know it is more awkward for guests. But we booked a time slot two weeks later, on a Saturday at 2pm in August. Perfect.

My next step was looking up venues. I began searching through all the possible venues within an 1hour or so drive from Dublin. Initially I was spending ages thinking about which place would be best, and the GerMann also looked up some info on the venues. But then just as I had picked the ideal venue and was day dreaming about it, I sent them a quick email to check availability, only to find them booked already! So then I tried another place nearby- also booked!

At this stage I started panicking that all the best places would be gone already. So then I emailed about 20 different places checking availability to get the list to work from. We ended up having to rule out loads of places due to them being booked, or having minimum numbers on a Saturday (like 150!). Then we were down to about 10. Of that list we further narrowed it down to 7 which I visited in Ireland all in one day with my Dad!! Yes, it was a tiring day!!

After that we narrowed it down to two and the venue is now booked. So I do feel like things are slowly but surely moving forward!!

The next thing is hopefully to settle on the dress. I have been bridal shopping in both Germany and Ireland. The advantage of getting the dress here is that it is easier to go to the dress fittings, but it would be a pain trying to get the dress and everything to Ireland. Here's a photo from a bridal fashion show I went to here.

I think that there is universal wedding dress fashion in that when I compare German magazines to Irish or American wedding magazines or websites I don't see a big difference in the styles. However, after going to a few German bridal shops here, I have noticed there tend to be a lot more of the traditional big puffy dress styles. With lots of ruffles or flowers. Like the dress on the far right in the picture. Not quite what I'm looking for! Hopefully I'll find the perfect dress soon.

Any wedding planning tips from anyone out there?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Football and Zumba

Well I haven't been blogging much lately as you might have noticed. Sometimes life just takes over. What have I been up to? Well, as a couple, our social life has taken off a lot recently, which has been great. When we moved here, neither of us knew anyone so it has been challenging building up a circle of friends, and it takes time. But lately we have even had to turn down invites!

I have started a Zumba class. Zumba is the new craze which recently arrived in Germany. It is a mixture of dance and aerobics. There are Salsa elements, hip hop, line dancing and some parts that even resemble Irish dancing. It's surprisingly good fun and a really good workout! You will be covered in sweat by the end of the one hour class. My Zumba teacher is a mad German woman who whoops and cheers the whole time and gets really into it. She told us that one of the women in her classes lost 7 kilos in one month from doing Zumba twice a week! 7 Kilos is over one stone!

We also had visitors. Family and a friend from Ireland. The weather was lovely and sunny and everyone had a great time. By this stage, nearly two years living here I also know all the best places to show people- beautiful lakes for swimming, great views, restaurants with delicious food and of course the best pubs!

I also have a busy (and expensive!) Summer ahead of me with lots of weekend trips planed back to Ireland- for two hen parties, for a wedding, for my Dad's 60th birthday, and then of course I'll also go back for Christmas. The GerMann and I are also hoping to go away together for a sun holiday at some stage. Probably to Mallorca, also known as Germany's 17th federal state, as so many Germans holiday there! I guess we'll have to get up really early and put our beach towels on all the pool chairs just to keep the stereotype going!

Everyone has been going European cup crazy here. Or Europa-Meisterschaft as it's called. It's impossible not to get sucked into the excitement a little! All over the place, there are these so called "public viewings" where a big screen or TV is put up and you can watch the game with lots of other people. Whenever Germany were playing and when they scored, people blew horns and cheered, and when Germany won a match there were fireworks and people doing an "autokorso".

When some Germans first explained the term to me, I actually thought they were talking about joy riding! But actually there is nothing illegal about auto-kursing, it's basically when they get into their cars and drive around blowing the horn at passers by and waving the German flag and generally celebrating. In the car.

Unfortunately Ireland lost all our matches and got knocked out of the tournament fairly early. During the match against Italy, I was flying home. When the plane landed the pilot told us all that we were "2 nil" down. It took me only a few minutes to leave the airport and get to the bus area where the aircoach ticket seller told me the score was then "4-nil". So that was disappointing!

The football is over now and in case you are living in a cave and didn't hear, Spain won. The next big football competition will be the World Cup n 2014. Hopefully Thierry Henry's hand won't prevent Ireland from qualifying for the World Cup next time around! By that stage maybe we'll have a car, and if Ireland win a match I can go "autokorson" around the neighbourhood!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Liebster award

I had not heard of "The Liebster award" so had to google it. It seems that blog authors can nominate as many as five other blogs they like, as long as these blogs have less than 200 followers. A nice way of helping the smaller lesser known blogs. I was nominated by the 'The Highly unlikely housewife'. Thank you, I love your blog too!

The award comes with some conditions that each recipient must satisfy when accepting:

1. Choose five up-and-coming blogs (with fewer than 200 followers) to award the Liebster to.
2. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
3. Post the award on your blog. List the bloggers you are giving the award to with links to their sites. Leave comments on their blogs so they know about the award.

Ok, so here are my nominations:

1) Somewhere between facebook and flickr sits fiona
A Scottish expat living in Berlin with partner and two kids.

2) Heather goes to Deutschland An American girl living in Bavaria

3) A not so desperate hausfrau An American expat living in Karlsruhe with her husband.

4) Nine and ninety nine An American expat living with German husband and little dog in Germany.

5) The Highly Unlikely Housewife Mother of two living in the UK with her other half.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Colourful eggs hanging from the trees, it must be Easter!

Germans get really into celebrating Easter. They buy all these colourful painted eggs and hang them up in their garden. They also buy bunny pictures and statues and put them up around the house. And everywhere you go, people are wishing you a "Frohes Ostern" -happy Easter. It is normally a time for families to get together and enjoy a big meal, typically lamb. And they even buy each other presents. It is a little like a lower key Christmas!

Disappointingly though in my eyes anyway, they don't have Easter eggs! I'm talking about the big Cadbury's chocolate ones. What they have instead are chocolate covered rabbits. They also have some little chocolate eggs with cream inside, a little bit like Cadbury's cream eggs, though not as tasty!

I am delighted that Spring is here. It's a time for new beginnings and without going into too much detail, my job situation has recently improved a lot. I am still working in IT but I have had a career change in the industry into web development, which I am loving. Career wise, I also realise that I am enjoying more opportunities than I would be if I was still living in Dublin, where unfortunately the job situation is still pretty bad, from what I hear. It is times like this that I am glad to have emigrated to Germany.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Wisdom teeth removal, part two

My final two wisdom teeth were removed last week. It actually turned out to be THREE teeth! I'll start at the beginning...

Warning: detailed and slightly gory account ahead.

If you read about my experience the last time you will remember that it all went well expect that a nerve ending was damaged/broken during the surgery. It ended up taking nearly two months for new nerve endings to grow and for me to regain full feeling on the left side of my chin and mouth.

When I phoned up the dental surgery this time around, I said in German that I would like to make an appointment. The receptionist replied "ah hallo Frau X!" (where "X" is my actual surname). I must be the only native English speaker with a bad German accent going to my dentist! I went ahead and made the appointment to have my last two wisdom teeth removed. As the date approached I was a little apprehensive but far less nervous than the first time around as I knew what to expect and also I knew that it wouldn't be that bad. Uncomfortable and unpleasant but over in under ten minutes. Unfortunately I was wrong!

I arrived at the dentist and as usual there was a lot of waiting around- he is a busy man! A half hour wait before I got the injections. This time he gave me about five injections- I don't think he wanted to leave anything to chance (last time the injections were not fully effective). But I was left to wait over an hour as he told me he wanted to get through the other patients first and not just do my surgery "zwischendurch" (in between). That was fine with me, I didn't want my surgery to be rushed while his mind was elsewhere, though it was also no fun waiting. Even though I had gotten wisdom teeth removed before, and logically I knew it should not be that bad I was starting to get more and more nervous.

Finally at about 12.45 he was ready (my actual appointment was for 11am.) First a trainee younger dentist comes in and introduces himself and I started worrying that maybe he would be doing the surgery despite being unexperienced. But no, he ended up just observing. There was also a dental nurse with one of those sucky gadgets to suck up the blood and saliva. This time round, the wisdom teeth removal was A LOT worse! My bottom tooth must have been in very deep because the dentist was roughly pulling it for ages and ages before he could get it out. Very unpleasant! This time I also felt pain occasionally.

One of the teeth, the top one, was under the skin and had to be cut out, and then I could hear the dentist, and the trainee and the nurse saying something about "ein dritter Zahn" (a third tooth!). I was wondering if they meant one of my existing teeth was too close or what. I also understood them saying that this third tooth would also have to go. The dentist then said "blasen" to me and squeezed my nose shut with his fingers. I was not sure what that word meant and I thought at first he was telling me to stop breathing through my nose during the surgery. Oh man, it was already unpleasant enough as it was! But then I realised he meant to blow out my nose. So I did and then the three of them- the dentist, trainee and nurse starting talking about this so called "Blasen test". The nurse said she had learned about it in university. This had not happened during the removal of my first two teeth and I had no idea what was going on.

I also felt something fall on my lap at one stage and the three of them laughed and said they would get it after. After all the teeth were eventually removed the final stage was the stitches. This also seemed to take much longer than the first time around. By that stage I think I was chanting in my head "please God, can it be over soon!".

Anyway, finally it was all over and the dentist said well done. He then told me that I had had a third tooth which was also taken out. "Es kommt ganz selten vor. Wahnsinn!" It is very unusual. Crazy! he said.

He also told me that I was not allowed blow my nose for a week. I think my facial reaction was like "huh?". He then told me that during the "Blasen Test" when I had blown through my nose, air had come out of the tooth (the third tooth I think). So presumably a vigorous nose blow could dislodge the stitches. When I stood up I noticed that one of my teeth had fallen on my lap. The dentist asked if he could keep my three teeth. He probably wants to take photos for the dentist journal about the woman with the extra tooth. When I looked at my watch after it was all over it was 1.20pm. So the surgery had taken about half an hour. I was very glad it was behind me!

My face has been extremely swollen, and I look like a chipmunk, but otherwise I am recovering well! I went back for a check-up at the dentist on Friday and he told everyone that I am "eine tolle Frau" (a terrific woman).

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Two days in Berlin

So I have been MIA from my blog lately, sorry about that! I have been meaning to write about my Berlin trip for ages now but never seem to get around to it. There was a long weekend here in February and the GerMann and I decided to go on a city break to Berlin. Neither of us had ever been there but had heard amazing things about it.

Firstly, we were expecting it to be cold that time of year. I had come across this article when I was researching the trip beforehand. From first hand experience I can confirm that Berlin is VERY COLD in February! It also snowed one of the days we were there.

What were my impressions of Berlin before visiting? Well the Brandenburg Gates came to mind of course and the Berlin wall, but also images of a built-up city with lots of concrete and graffiti but also a sort of cool trendy artistic vibe.

We arrived late on the Saturday and were flying back on the Tuesday, so we only really had two full days. Of course we didn't get to see everything Berlin has to offer. We saw the Brandenburg Gates, including the Holocaust memorial nearby, we visited the DDR museum, we spent a morning exploring Museum Island, we did the Berlin Unterwelt tour, we went to the Reichstag and we did our own little pub crawl.

The TV tower:

The Berlin Unterwelt tour was recommended to me by a friend. We arrived about fifteen minutes before the start only to find the English speaking tour booked out. So we booked ourselves on the German speaking one starting an hour later and went off to a cafe for a snack in the meantime. Now I didn't understand everything in the tour but it was still very interesting. You aren't allowed take any photos though unfortunately so I can't put any up on the blog.

Basically during World War two whenever there were bomb scares, as many people as could fit would hide out in this underground bunker built beside the underground train station. It gave the impression of safely though it actually was not built well enough that it could have withstood a bomb. You could walk through all the various rooms for instance a medical area, the Nazi quarters and so on. It reminded me a bit of a prison and I also felt a bit claustrophobic! Some of the air-strikes would go on for hours and the people would be underground in these airtight rooms that were gradually running out of oxygen.

In order to visit the Reichstag, you need to first register online at least three days in advance. You also have to decide then whether you are going to do the tour and what time slot you will aim for. There is some security once you arrive at the Reichstag at your allocated time, just like in an airport, but it went quickly for us, and the Reichstag is definitely worth seeing. It's free to visit and that includes an audio guide.

View from the top:

We spent an enjoyable few hours one morning exploring museum island.

The DDR museum is very small- I think it only took us about 45 minutes to look at everything, but it was interesting. I would have hated to live in the DDR I can tell you!

We were staying in a hotel in East Berlin a few underground stops away from the centre. We got a good deal through Animod.

This is how the traffic light green men look in Berlin, I love it:

Even though the weather was very cold in Berlin, it was dry and sunny and we really enjoyed our trip and would recommend Berlin to anyone. I imagine it would be even nicer there when the weather is a bit warmer as I did see lots of outdoor tables and beer gardens that were closed while we were visiting. Even though it is a big city, it never felt that overcrowded unlike Munich, though granted I have only visited Munich in the Summertime.

Spring has certainly arrived in Germany and the weather has been fantastic lately which has been putting me in a great mood. I was also very happy to make the Top 100 International Exchange & Experience Blogs of 2012 list- my blog is at number 65! So thanks again to everyone who voted for me!

Friday, February 10, 2012


The weather has continued to get colder in Germany this past week, I believe it is only -10° degrees today, so it it is perfect weather for staying in and watching a dvd.

There aren't very many really well known German films. The only ones that come to my mind right at this minute are Run, Lola, run and The Lives of Others. Both well worth watching by the way! Most of the time I either watch American films dubbed into German in the cinema here (just not the same!) or wait until they come out on DVD to watch them in English. Occasionally films will be shown here in their original language.

I decided to try watching a German film for a change and picked Kokowääh which has gotten decent reviews.

The film revolves around Henry, (played by well known German actor Til Schweiger), a single scriptwriter living in Berlin. He has several women on the go and lots of unhappy exes. One of these exes, Katharina has since become a famous and successful author and she asks him to help her work on a script for a movie which is to be made based on her book. There is still clearly chemistry between the two of them but we learn that they broke up because he did not want children and was too stubborn(dickköpfig in German, literally 'fat headed') and immature.

Soon Henry finds out that eight years ago he fathered a child when the girl herself, Magdalena(played by Til's real life daughter Emma), turns up on his doorstep out of the blue with only a letter explaining the situation. Henry is none too impressed needless to say and he phones the mother up on Skype, who has flown off in New York in the meantime. He tells her that he can't stand children and he can't even cook. Instead of regretting her decision to leave her child in his care, she simply reminds him that he makes a delicious "Kokowääh", which is a French meal involving chicken in a white wine sauce, Coq au vin.

The story is somewhat predictable in that you kind of know from the start that Henry is probably going to end up having a good relationship with his daughter and learning more responsibility in the process but the film still has lots of really funny and touching moments and is enjoyable to watch. I would definitely recommend it.

The GerMann's verdict: "really good. Great for a German film".

Have you seen Kokowääh? What did you make of it?
Images taken from official website:

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Winter wonderland

You know you are addicted to blogging when you go out for a walk in the cold with the sole purpose of taking photos for your blog! I awoke today to find a beautiful winter wonderland. On opening the blinds I must admit my first reaction was actually "Oh no, it's snowing!" Last year we had snow in Germany for months and I was completely fed up with it by the end! It also caused me to miss my flight home for Christmas, so I now have cooler feelings towards the fluffy white stuff.

Up till now the winter here has been lovely and mild.Similar to an Irish winter but without all the rain. That is the kind of winter I prefer- cold but dry with fantastic blue skies. Here's some photos I took last week.

However there are Artic winds coming to Germany this week and the weather is about to get A LOT colder. As low as -15 degrees even! Elderly people are being advised to stay inside. I was actually surprised at the number of them I saw out and about just now, many even cycling, ignoring the advice and not looking too bothered. Lots of very active pensioners over here!

Despite my initial negative reaction on seeing the snow outside, there is something really beautiful and majestic about a blanket of pure white snow everywhere. It is so lovely at this stage before it gets all mucky and icy!

Cast your vote

I am really excited that my blog has been entered into a competition:
Top 100 International Exchange and Experience Blogs” of 2012 (also known as IX12).
So thank you very much to whoever nominated me for this! And thank you to everyone who votes for my blog.

To vote, go here
Scroll down till you see "Dubliner in Deutschland".
Select it and then scroll down to the "Vote" button at the bottom of the page.

You have until February 12th to vote. But why not do it now, before you forget! I would be delighted to just make the top 100 list at all! In the meantime, I shall go and work on my award acceptance speech...

 Vote the best IX12 blog

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

German cakes

German cakes and pastries.... they are the reason why I have gained about a stone since moving to Germany. Oh, and the fact I cannot stop myself from eating them!
But I am determined that this year I shall make more of an effort to exercise and stop eating so many cakes. Easier said than done of course. I need more willpower!

As long as I can remember I have had a sweet tooth. In restaurants I tend to read the dessert menu even before picking my main course. And I am lucky that I was naturally slim and able to eat what whatever I wanted and have never needed to diet. Since moving to Germany however, I am noticing that I cannot just eat absolutely anything without weight gradually creeping on.

It's actually also well known that moving in with your partner causes you to pile on the pounds. Women tend to match their dinner portions to their partner's, forgetting that men can get away with more calories and then there are the countless nights in on the sofa together or big fancy meals out. Add that to living in Germany with a bakery supplying delicious cakes and pastries on every corner and it's a recipe for... lots of fun times eating cake!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Fictional expat versus reality

I have recently been watching old episodes of Sex and the City. The final few episodes in particular struck a cord. In case you have not watched the show I will sum it up. The lead character, Carrie, is dating a Russian artist (in the final season) who asks her to move to Paris with him indefinitely. After he asks her she spends the rest of one episode thinking it over and she has a big fight with one of her best friends who does not approve of her new man or the idea of her moving. I thought I would compare my decision to move to Carrie's...

1) Carrie does not speak French, but she plans to learn.
I studied German in college. My level was rusty but I had a good basis on which to build on.

2) Not all of Carrie's friends like her boyfriend. They mainly find him arrogant and Miranda says she does not recognise who Carrie is with him. I also think they have only been together for less than half a year.
Luckily my friends and family all like my GerMann and think we are a good couple. We had also been together before so even though we were only just back together for a few months it was not as much of a gamble as for Carrie.

3) Carrie quits her job to move to Paris. She cannot write her column about dating in New York any more and has to give that up with no idea what she will do instead.
I was unemployed in Ireland and struggling to find work in the recession and my chances of finding something were probably slightly improved in Germany where the economy was stronger. So luckily my career has not been affected too much. Though for a lot of expats it can be, especially if they do not have the language. It is worth thinking about before moving over.

4) Carrie loved living in New York. All her friends were there and that was her life. That said, she was excited about the opportunity to move to Paris, and see more of the world.
Well I loved living in Dublin and all my friends and family were there so that was also a difficult decision for me!! At the same time, it can be exciting living somewhere else- visiting new places and meeting people from all sorts of walks of life. People are more likely to regret things they did not do than things they did. Even expats I have met that have made the move but it has failed for whatever reason- for instance they move over for a boyfriend but it does not work out- do not regret the experience and what they have learned from it.

5) Carrie does not have much in common with her Russian boyfriend. He is also a slightly temperamental artist and he leaves her on her own once she moves over and he is not very sympathetic or understanding when she has problems adjusting to her new life or when she is homesick. She is also expected to fit her life around his. He makes very little concessions for her to make the transition easier.
Having a supportive partner is very important for expat couples! My GerMann is very good at listening to me and being understanding when I am feeling homesick or lonely or just complaining about things! That said, we do sometimes bicker about the differences between our countries and which place is better! I think that's normal.

6) Ok one area where Carrie would win is money! When she moved to Paris she stayed in a gorgeous hotel studio room paid for by her wealthy Russian boyfriend. For me the move was without a doubt expensive especially during the first few months. Flights back and forth to Ireland bringing things over, having to sell my car back home as I won't need it any more, supporting myself while looking for work, paying my share of the deposit on our apartment, rent, new furniture etc etc

Overall I concluded that Carrie's trip was destined for disaster whereas my move to Germany is still going reasonably well thank God! I enjoyed the episodes "An American in Paris" which shows what happens when she moves over and the sparkle fades. At first Paris seems very glamours and exciting but soon she starts feeling very lonely as she has not got much of her own life going on there - no friends, no job. She becomes overly reliant on her partner. A lot of expats can relate to this!

There's the scene where she is sitting in the middle of a group of French people speaking French with her boyfriend and she just looks completely lost and left out. I have had similar moments at German parties where I find it difficult to follow the conversation but it normally gets a little better after the first drink! Then my accent improves and I have lots of interesting things to say! Or that's what it feels like anyway.

After living here over a year, I still have moments where I am with a group of Germans and they are chatting quickly and using slang and I can't quite keep up. Talking one-to-one is always much easier! That said, Germans are also normally very happy to speak English if they think you do not understand something. I get the impression that French people prefer to stick with French. They tend to be extremely proud of their language, whereas Germans think nothing is cooler than English!

What Carrie should have done was to try to find other expats to make friends with who would understand what she was going through. She could have searched online for meetups around the area. And attended some French classes- to improve her French and it can also be a good place to meet new people. Once you do get over the initial hurdles, life as an expat gets better I promise!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A New Year's Eve concert, a 30th birthday party to remember then back to Deutschland

I'm back in Germany again after two and a half weeks in Ireland. So it's time for a quick update.

Here is how our Christmas tree looked in the end!

This was the longest time I have been home since moving to Germany. The GerMann spent Christmas with his family then flew over to join me in Dublin in time for New Year's and after a week we flew back together. I spent the first week catching up with friends and family which was great- this also included a trip to Tipperary. I just love the cottages with the thatched roofs.
I normally find New Year's Eve can be a bit of an anticlimax. There is always so much pressure to have the best night ever and it can be difficult to decide what to do. The city centre can be overpriced and it is normally nearly impossible to get a taxi home. So house parties can be a good alternative. But I did that the last two years. This year in Dublin there was a lot organized in the city centre. What caught our attention was the New Year's Eve concert at college green. Tickets were only 10 euro and The Coronas, Riverdance and Paul Brady would be at it. The Coronas are great- I had seen them live before.

Finally something a bit different to do on New Year's Eve. But an outdoor concert in Ireland is very risky with Irish weather! So we were hesitating over whether to buy tickets or not. We headed into town on New Year's Eve anyway to meet up with friends and there was a really great atmosphere around Dame street and college green and it wasn't raining, in fact it was quite a mild evening, so we decided to go for it and buy tickets. I'm glad we did as the concert turned out great- and they had countdown with fireworks. Afterwards we meet up with friends for a few drinks in the International Bar and then Dakota.

Since the new budget came in, VAT has gone up in Ireland making everything more expensive except hotels and B&Bs which have had their tax reduced to try to entice more tourists to visit. What that means is that there are loads of fantastic offers at the moment. Through DealRush we bought a voucher for a lovely 4-star hotel in Galway at fantastic value (€119 for 2 nights B&B including a bottle of wine!).

Galway was beautiful- the hotel was perfect and we went for walks on Salthill prominade and ate and drank at some tradional irish style pubs and restaurants. Unfortunately the weather was quite rainy but if I recall correctly it rains the most in Galway out of everywhere in Ireland!

People over here always seem to be asking me about Irish food. Well, here are some examples of what we ate in Galway: Shepherd's Pie, Roasts and lots of fish!

Dublin also has some lovely areas of course.
Dun Laoghaire pier looked great all lit up.

We went for a walk around Kiliney beach one day and even saw some dolphins!
I also had my 30th birthday party while I was home. It was a joint party with my best friend and the whole night could not have gone better! It was great catching up with everyone, the venue worked out well and the cake my friend's sister made was amazing. My little sister also had a birthday while I was home and it was so nice to be there to celebrate with her.

In fact I had such a great time back in Ireland that I was dreading coming back to Germany a bit! But I think a lot of people feel a bit sad once the holidays are over and they have to go back to work. At the moment I am feeling rather frustrated with my career. That's the only area of my life right now that I am not happy with really. Am just not where I would like to be career wise and trying to figure out which direction to go. Am hoping the situation will improve over the next few months!

Returning to Germany was a little sad the first day but now I'm settling back into my life here again.Today I meet up with my other expat pals, which was a nice welcome back to Germany!

A few other pics from the trip: