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Live! From the New Flat! Its Tee!

So here we are!

My new flat has:

A dishwasher.
A real live thermostat for the heat. No more area heating.
Really nice furniture, although the leatherish couches could use a scrub.
Pretty drapes and finials on the curtain rails.
Dark slate tile in the kitchen.
Laminate hardwood look floors in the lounge, dining area and bedrooms.
Light slate tile along the hallway.
Wide enough hallway to hold some bookcases.
A brand new gas hob and electric oven with separate grill.
6 person dining table and 6 chairs.
Very comfy bed. Simon thinks its too hard, but I like it.
Recessed halogen lighting through out.
Plenty of electric outlets.
Cable hook ups for 3 TVs (although we’ll only use the one in the lounge, its nice that we have the option in each of the bigger bedrooms).
A tub that is actually longer and deeper than our other one, which was long enough and deep enough for me to soak up to my chin!

What we still need are some more bookcases, a washer/dryer (there was a washer here, but the landlord wouldn’t put in a washer/dryer, so they took the washer out and we’re going to buy our own. Yeah, Mom, I forgot to tell you that. Sorry.), another towel rail in the en suite bathroom (what is with these flats and only one small towel rail? Are married couples not suppose to lease them? Or are they suppose to be so in love they only use one towel? YUCK!), a microwave oven and some other odds and ends.  We are also less than pleased with the fact that the kitchen sink is even shallower than the one in the old flat, which we didn’t think was possible.  Obviously people who live in City Centre aren’t suppose to actually cook in their kitchens.

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Sorry For Not Updating For A Couple of Days

This week, the last week of the month, is pure hell at work.

You see our Board of Directors meets the first Thursday of the month.  So our papers for the meeting go out the Friday before.  That’s this Friday.

And these days, I write them.  I proof them.  I bind them.  I post them.  And next week? I minute them.

So, yeah, updating not so much happening when I get home from work.  Pretty much when I get home from work, I pack and then fall into bed.

Move – 2 days. YIPPPEE!

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So I’ve been in Belfast just over 4 years. And boy, has the city changed.

In some bad ways, i.e. traffic has gotten worse, but mostly in good ways.  There are more stores opening all the time.  The huge Victoria Square Shopping Centre, a real live actual mall (we have a mall, but it is tiny and boring) is opening this year (whoohoo House of Fraser!  (no relation) They carry Donna Karan!).  We just got an Ikea.  We are turning into a real city.

We get more tourists now, also. It helps that Lonely Planet named Northern Ireland one of their top destinations, but I think we would get more regardless, as the troubles are over and we have neat things in this country like Giants Causeway.

And then there is the Ulster Fry.  The national dish of Northern Ireland….fried egg, bacon, sausage, Irish soda bread, fried potato bread, baked beans (optional), black/white pudding (optional) and fried tomatoes and mushrooms.

Gotta love a country where the national dish hardens your arteries.

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Moving is Interesting

We’ve spent all day today packing. We move in 6 days.

The strangest thing is the refrigerator. We use it as a Rogues Gallery of pictures, mostly of our nieces and nephews, of which we have 12, in an ever changing display. I packed all of those pictures today. Now there is just a blank ‘fridge. Its kinda disconcerting, actually.

There are boxes everywhere, empty bookshelves, blank walls. I have no full length mirror to check my look over the next week. Although I keep glancing at that section of wall, expecting it to be there. All that meets me is wall.

I took my last bath in our current bathtub today. Its a great tub, very deep, I can soak up to my chin, fully covered all the way to my feet. I doubt the new one is as deep.

I told Simon I was feeling a bit sad. He looked at me like I’m nuts, since I have been bitching about this flat for over a year. But this flat has some great memories. A big group of my family eating Chinese in the lounge a few days before my wedding. The same group eating Fish and Chips in the same place a few days later. Simon and I curled up on the sofa watching movies. Good times.

I really can’t wait to move. But we’ve been here for 4 and half years. That’s all of our married life.

Bye flat. See you in the funny papers.

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Why I Love Living in Belfast

This is a re-post from my now pretty much defunct LJ (not the one under my maiden name, the *other* one under my maiden name that hasn’t been updated since…October 2005!). With some changes.

  1. The 5p is smaller than the 10p.
  2. People say to me “What’s the craic?”
  3. My boss laughs when I use the word “bloody” because he thinks it sounds silly in an American accent.
  4. My boss often says “Today’s a day for a pie and pint, we need a pub around here.” (my office is in the middle of no where, hence no pub)
  5. People say “aye” and “cheers” rather than “yes” and “thanks”
  6. Store clerks call me “love”.
  7. They shoot off fireworks for Halloween.
  8. Grown men call it a “brolly” (umbrella).
  9. We get a four day weekend for Easter (Easter Monday and Tuesday are holidays)
  10. St Patrick’s Day is another day off of work (in fact March is shaping up quite nicely this year…Monday 17th St Patrick’s Day, following Monday and Tuesday Easter Monday and Tuesday. 2 short weeks in a row!).
  11. We get July 12 and 13th off (for the Battle of the Boyne, whatever the hell that is, but there are lots of parades and its a Protestant marching thing)
  12. The summer in general is filled with short weeks. May Day Holiday, July 12 and 13, Late May Holiday, August Bank Holiday. There are actually 12 statutory holidays a year, at least for my company, since we get 3 days at Christmas. Its quite nice.
  13. Something else that happens in the summer is, quite often, the CEO will say “Its sunny. Its Friday. Everyone finish what they are doing and go home!” Sometimes as early as 3pm.
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My Accent

Its really very strange. I will go months and months without a single person asking me where I am from. And then 10 people will ask me in two days.

I don’t really have an answer to that question. I mean, obviously, I am from the United States. But then people ask me what part. The real true honest answer is:

I was born in Massachusetts. I grew up in Connecticut. I went to Boarding School and 1 year of University in NY. I finished University in Iowa. I lived in California for 7 years. I’ve spent several summers in Ohio. I’ve also spent several summers in Maine.

I usually just give the shorter answer: Connecticut, but I lived in California for 7 years before I moved here.

And then I get asked where ‘home’ is. If home has to be in the US, then home is California, hands down. San Francisco Bay Area, to be specific. Where my brother and his wife and my two nieces live.

So what I really want to say when I am asked where I am from? Belfast.

And what is home? Belfast.

And I really don’t see myself ever going back ‘home’ to the US.

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More About Me

So, as I am pushing this thing all over the internet, I thought I’d tell y’all a little bit more about me.

I was born in Massachusetts, grew up in Connecticut and have lived pretty much all over the US, with the exception of the deep south. I visit the deep south on occasion as my father lives on the Panhandle of Florida, or, as the locals call it, Lower Alabama. But I have never lived there full time.

I went to University at University of Iowa, graduated in either ’94 or ’95 (and you’d think I’d know, since I just uncovered my degree in the Great Flat Clear Out of 2008, but I can never remember. I suppose I could check my CV…) with a BA in Liberal Arts, Theatre Design emphasis. This is why I am now a Personal Assistant. And because when I got done with the damn thing I realized how much I actually hated working in the theatre. Well, I did then, I got over it a little later, but I really didn’t want to do it professionally.

I have gone through a long long process of medication and therapy to get to my current diagnosis of Anxiety Disorder and Borderline Agoraphobia (which is: an abnormal fear of being in crowds, public places, or open areas, sometimes accompanied by anxiety attacks. In case you weren’t sure which phobia that is! Thanks I can and do go out in public, but I would be perfectly content to never leave my flat again. Or ever talk on the phone again. If I could, I would live my whole life right here and use the ‘net for everything. I am not currently on any meds, and except for some insomnia, am feeling good!

I live in Belfast (well duh!) with my husband Simon. We’ve been married for 3 years. Our anniversary is 4th September 2004 (which I did not pick for the symmetry of the date (04-09-04) but I do like the symmetry of the date!). No kids. Yet.

Oh and in 12 days, I will be 39 years old. That’s 5th February, in case you want to send me a card or anything. 😉

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Things you probably didn’t know about Belfast, Part 1.

Did you know that the HMS Titanic was built here? Yup, she sure was, at the Harland and Wolff Shipyards, which still exist today.

The Titanic’s final work was done at the Thompson Dock and Pump-House, which also still exist today, although not in great shape. The Thompson Dock and Pump-House are now ‘owned’ by Northern Ireland Science Park, for whom I work (and no, I am not afraid of being dooced, as I am the Web Mistress from the Park and the only one who knows how to check our referrer logs!!).

NISP is currently refurbishing the Thompson Dock and Pump-House. The first works were done over this past summer and more work is being done now as I write this. We are trying to make it a tourist attraction that will be self supporting. The only way we could get it fixed up was through grants from Environment and Heritage Service, Belfast City Council and Northern Ireland Tourist Board. Our remit is as a Science Park, so it took some convincing of our Board to let us do it at all!

So, there you go, a small fact about Belfast that you might now have known. Don’t worry, there are more coming!

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Moving Sucks

So Simon and I spent the day packing.  Its maybe 60% done at this point.  Most of the books are in boxes, with the rest scheduled for tomorrow.  Then I want to pack up the kitchen and use the stuff that came with our (furnished) flat so it will be done and dusted.

I predict it will all be packed by the end of next weekend.

I am totally shattered.  I usual nap on Sunday afternoons but didn’t get to today.

Think it will be an early to bed night.  So I’ll probably be up at 5:30.  Yay!