I work at Haapsalu Vocational Education and Training Centre as a Coordinator of External Relations. I am managing international projects and writing blogs about them. I like my work with young people because they make me learn new things all the time. Meanwhile, I like travelling and spend a lot of time in Ireland because of my personal life :)
I am a lucky person because of my work, without that, I could have never travelled so much. Sometimes I don’t realise it because of all this responsibility and planning and taking care of so many things and people. But despite that, it has brought me together with lots of nice people in different countries and let me see lots of great places. And this year I have decided that I start to like it more again because it keeps me focused, gives me something to look ahead and doesn’t let me think too much about my feelings and such kind of stuff that I am not able to change.
The first time I visited London in 1997 because of my job in tourism and we visited a big Tourism Fair and spent there a marvellous week. As I had attended an English biased school in the totally Soviet country and all my knowledge had come from my students’ books it was like a fairy tale come true and I felt like stepped into a student book all this week. But besides all these tourist attractions I got my first musical experience with “Cats” and that’s where it started.
The second time took very long and in 2014 I went back with my English class students, who were also my colleagues from our school and this time I got my second musical “We Will Rock You”, just some months before it stopped. Wow, that was something really great and I knew that I must go on and keep going.
And that’s what I did. I just worked myself into it, and as a coordinator of international relations at vocational school, it wasn’t so hard. I found a partner school in London and added London to our students’ exchange and now I have sent about 30 students to practice in different companies and it has given me a chance to visit London more often. Yes, it is work and yes, it was also because it’s quite easy to arrange a quick weekend visit to Dublin but it hasn’t worked out like that as much as I thought. But it has worked pretty well to see some more musicals. It’s good that they have got day-time shows when the students are working and it’s always possible to get a ticket to some of them. So, for now, I have also seen “Mamma Mia”, “Wicked”, “Matilda”, “The 42nd Street” and in this January “Dreamgirls”.
And walking back from the theatre I also took some photos of dark London full of lights. And of course, I wanted to pass again the theatre where they play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and just beside it found a house with a sign “The spice of life”. That’s exactly what the musicals are for me – the spice of life, and I need some spice in my life.
There are not too many photos of this Christmas time. It doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything to remember. Even if things are so different, even if it has taken so much time and effort inside myself to accept it, even if I can never totally accept it, there have been nice, lovely and unforgettable moments and lots of love around me. I cannot deny it and I am learning to live with it, at least I am trying. I know that I am not perfect and sometimes it feels like I’m on the American mountains or on a rollercoaster and sometimes it feels that there’s a rollercoaster running inside me and I never know if I am up or down. It takes so little to get from up to down and it’s good that then up again.
But the GPO was decorated for Christmas as it has been every year. The Belvedere Boys were singing and having their sleepover outside for charity. The streets of Dublin were lighted with Christmas lights. The shops were full of people and sales. Even the Luas had started to run and I had even a chance to try it.
And I got some nice presents, some really nice presents. And we together also got some nice presents – 2 gift cards to 2 nice restaurants and we tried them both and even more. So really, I have never visited so many restaurants in Dublin than I have now since this June 2017. But I would give back all these restaurants and trips and everything if I could change the life back. But I know that the God or whoever decides these things won’t make this deal with me. And I know pretty well, that this is the way of thinking that I mustn’t do, so that’s why I said that I am learning to live with it and I am doing my best.
But the food was good, both in Salamanca and in Zaragoza and we enjoyed it a lot. And it reminded our Barcelona trip and the fantastic tapas that we got there. And we will go there again one day, not for this birthday but we definitely will.
It seems that Santa has noticed me again 🙂 it has started to happen since my close connection to Ireland, so it makes me think that maybe he’s Irish and doesn’t live on the North Pole at all. Ok, I know that he isn’t but being together with someone who really likes Christmas and when he’s Irish, it just makes you think like that. And it also makes you like Christmas a bit differently than before – it feels like you are a child again who gets excited about all these lights, shop windows, TV-programs, cute little bric-a-brac in the shops and of course the presents. It’s a good feeling and why can’t I enjoy being a child again after my own children have grown up. Actually, it feels nice to be spoiled a little and it really feels amazing to be loved so much.
And now I would like to send my wish somewhere there – and this is my only wish and it has to be heard. Christmas time is the time for all the wishes and miracles to come true and I just have only this one. I hope that it reaches the right place.
Here is what Santa said to mewith the help of The Love of My Life 🙂 And there are just 15 days to count, so I am almost there.
Halloween has always seemed a very American thing for me and I was quite surprised when I found out that the tradition has originally started from Ireland. As I knew that we were starting to make the Jack-o’lantern, I wanted to find out where that tradition had come from and found a story about Stingy Jack who tricked the Devil and after his death was not allowed to enter neither Heaven nor Hell. So he has been wandering around ever since and using a burning coal in a carved turnip to light his way. To keep him away from the households, people started to make the same kind of lanterns and put them on the doorways during the Samhain, which is a Gaelic festival held after the harvest time to celebrate the end of the autumn and the beginning of the winter. When the Irish started to emigrate to the States, they took this tradition with them, but as there were no turnips in America, they started to use pumpkins instead.
Another new thing that I had never heard before was the Halloween Brack – a sweet bread with raisins and sultanas. It tasted a little bit like a sponge cake but the most interesting part was hidden inside the Brack. In the past, the Brack was used as a fortune teller and you had to be quite careful when eating it because it couldn’t be very safe to bite a coin, a stick, an old cloth, a pea or even a ring but these things were hidden in the Brack and every single one had a special meaning. When you found a pea it meant that you were not going to marry that year, not the worst thing that could happen. Finding a stick was much worse – you would have an unhappy marriage (and a broken tooth sometimes), the cloth would mean bad luck (but probably didn’t break your teeth), the coin would show that you would become rich and the ring, of course, meant that you were going to marry soon. Nowadays only rings are hidden inside the Bracks and you don’t have to worry about the bad luck or unhappy marriage.
The ring was wrapped into a small piece of soft paper but it was quite hidden anyway 🙂
I really enjoyed the decorated houses and the dressed up people here and there. In the city centre, I met a girl with scissors in her head and on our way back home there were lots of dressed up families walking around, probably going to trick and treat. And of course, lots of children came to knock on our door and got their candies. Just one girl said more than “trick and treat”, she asked a tricky question.
And why I am writing this today and why I am surprised that the American, British and Irish children get their candies for just “trick and treat”. It’s because today it’s Mardipäev (St Martin’s Day) in Estonia, and we have also quite a similar tradition here to dress up and go from door to door. It’s an old tradition and is also connected with the end of the harvesting season and the beginning of winter. On that day children dress up as men and go from door to door, sing songs, make jokes, even dance and then they will get their candies (or apples or nuts or some money) and they don’t say “trick or treat”. They tell the story that they are poor Martinman beggars who have had a long journey and who want to come in to warm their toes and fingers which are aching because of cold 🙂
This morning started with blue sky and even the weather app on my Iphoe didn’t warn me that it could change. So we planned to drive to John F. Kennedy Memorial park to enjoy the sunny day, summer feeling and the last day at the seaside home. But the weather was not our friend today, so just a bit after getting started, the big grey clouds turned up and hid the sun and very soon it started to pour rain. We didn’t turn around but hoped that it will pass and so we reached to the park with totally heavy rain and wetness all around. As it seemed to clear up a little, we left the car and went to look for the tickets and then Sean’s sister came to a genial plan – we took the horse and carriage and got a horseman who was a real hobby botanist and gave us a good overview of all the trees that we passed.
Ireland is rich of US presidents who in some odd ways seem to descend from here or are connected through some relatives. JFK is not an exception. His roots go back to Dunganstown and his great-grandfather left Ireland in 1848. Probably for the same reason as all the others, to escape from poverty and look for a better life. JFK visited Ireland in 1963 when he visited his family farm and went to see his relatives. the John F Kennedy’s Memorial Park is dedicated to his memory. It’s a huge area with a collection of over 4500 trees and shrubs. The rain stopped when we were driving in the carriage and everything was so green and fresh and smelled so well. All the photos are taken from the carriage when it was driving 🙂
When our horse ride was over the rain was over too and we enjoyed some tea and cakes and watched the local children’s’ party on the playground and just wandered around.
Before going back I was taken to Heaven. We drove up and up and again up and reached almost to the top of the world where you could see almost the whole Ireland. Ok, I am exaggerating a bit but it was very high and the view was unbelievably beautiful and I guess it was possible to see almost the whole County around you. If there’s a real Heaven somewhere, I’d really want to imagine that I could sit there on the edge of the cloud and look at the whole Ireland for ages 🙂 I am not going to write that it started to rain again, and the wind went quite wild, and my summer dress, which could have been a right thing to wear on the photos of such an amazing place, wanted to fly away and I had to run back to the car, taking the photos on my run and staring around to catch a bit more of that beauty.
It was a perfect thing to go to visit the Dunbroady Famine ship on a rainy day like that. Dunbroady famine ship was one of these so-called “Coffin ships” that carried thousands of immigrants to North America between 1845 and 1851.
The trip lasted for six weeks and all the passengers were picked into the ship like sardines in a can. The wealthier passengers who were able to buy more expensive tickets were allowed a bit better circumstances but actually, it seemed awfully terrible anyway. All the second class passengers had to live together in the hold of the ship and the whole family had to sleep in the same bunk bed, despite the number of people in the family. So the number of the passengers was much smaller when they arrived at last because a lot of them died and were buried in the ocean.
The part of the poorest passengers
When you want to visit the ship you have to take a tour and the guide gives a good overview of the life of the passengers who were immigrating because of the big Famine in the middle of the 19th century. To make it more attractive there are also two actresses who play the part of the passengers and tell their stories. One of them is a woman of the upper deck and the other is the poor one who has to live in the hold with all the other who couldn’t afford an expensive ticket.
Dunbroady Famine Ship, New Ross
Irish were not the wanted ones
After the tour, it is possible to wander around on your own and take some photos and that’s what we did. The rain hadn’t stopped. We had a tea at the cafe and drove back home. It was pretty dreadful to imagine the lives of these big families who just wanted to afford a better life for their children.
The tickets to the tour were made after the real tickets of the people who had really immigrated by that ship. The ticket proved that the passenger had paid and was ready to board a ship. You can also see the amount of food that every grown-up passenger was afforded and that’s very little.
Duncannon is a lovely place in southwest County Wexford, located just on the coast of the sea and with magnificent views. It was the first place where I got to see the tides in a real life and seeing all these people walking their dogs, children and partners at the coastline is just like stepping into some novel that I love to read.
Today, after coming back from the little trip to Hook I felt that I want to belong to these people whose everyday life involves walks at the ocean and so I took my camera and went to wander around and find out what the ocean can tell me. Actually, it gave me a lot of nice colourful gifts and I spent more than an hour playing with them and my camera. Of course, when I found out that I had put the crab’s skeleton that I found totally upside down, I was a bit upset of my simplemindedness but it was the first time for me to find a crab 🙂 I enjoyed being a child again, almost wanted to start to build a sandcastle. Maybe the next time.
During the two day trip to the seaside my biggest wish was to go and see the Hook again. I just wanted to feel the wind and the ocean and let it blow my mind. It was a short trip but I got my wind and my ocean and I know that we will come back here one day and then I have time to go down on the cliffs and sit there and watch the ocean for hours.