Saturday, April 28, 2007


A friend asked me last night whether I wasn't anxious about the idea of living in Ireland. I had to say "no, I'm not." That came as somewhat of a surprise to me too, but, on further reflection, I have to say I'm really not. I know it's going to be a major culture shock - Ireland is not America, no matter that they're both English-speaking - and I'm going to be starting a new job, finding an apartment, making new friends, etc. But, the truth is I know I can do it. I don't have any real concerns in that regard. The real issue for me right now is just not getting too caught up in all the inevitable hitches to go along with changing jobs and moving country.

Actually, one thought I have been having about Ireland is the strangeness of having so little direct contact with my soon-to-be employer. All the nitty-gritty details are being handled by the recruiter, and a few by the HR department. But, except for the Skype webcam interview I had, there's been no direct communication with the actual unit I'll be working with, and even that whole interview process was managed/directed by HR. That's so strange to me. With psychology jobs, I'm used to dealing directly with whoever the head psychologist is of the unit, mano-a-mano/shrink-to-shrink, with HR only coming in at the end to handle the necessary paperwork. This process, on the other hand, has been much more driven by the paperwork and less by the professional side of things. Don't get me wrong, I'm extremely thankful for the involvement of the recruiter and all they're doing (except in some cases, see previous past), but it also feels like they're the guard at the gate. Hopefully, once I have the final contract offer, the paperwork will stop being such a barrier and I'll finally feel like I have access to the unit/program itself.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Funk-induced ranting

Remember my earlier post about things I hate (see #3)? Why do people, even professionals in a business environment, think nothing of backing out of their given word? In the last 4 days, I've had 3 specific promises broken outright by the paperwork facilitator girl at the recruiter's office. After telling me time and time again, "I'll call you at such and such a time. Is that OK?", she then proceeds to NOT call! These are not promises I've solicited, but completely spontaneous on her part. Don't tell me you're going to call if you're not sure! It just makes me MORE anxious! Don't you get it?! Yesterday, I fell into a huge funk because I was on edge waiting for the 2nd (or was it the 3rd) promised call that never came. I was so preoccupied and disappointed that I couldn't even enjoy the work "party" we had. I even refused cake!! When I saw today's email, again promising a call later today, my immediate thought was "You lie!" And, I was not proven wrong.

The long and short of it people, is that I still don't know what the outcome is of the big review meeting (for Irish professional licensure) that was held on Friday. At this rate, I'll get the d-mn notification in writing before I hear anything from their "inside source".

Monday, April 23, 2007


It's been awhile since my last post, I know. I was 1st preparing for and then spending time with my sister and her family who've been here for the past week. Whew! I love having them here but kids definitely make their presence known! I spent all this time cleaning in preparation for their coming - it's really the only way I can get myself motivated to clean the house - and then, literally within 60 seconds, there was stuff everywhere. There's only so much you can do to keep up with the crumbs and papers strewn everywhere, not to mention the unidentifiable sticky stuff :-)

Well, it's all been worth it to spend time with my sister and 2 loving kids who think I'm the greatest. It's nice being the aunt :-) My sister and family finally left at midnight last night and it was very sad. This is the last time they'll visit me at my house here, at least for a very long time. I expect to see them at Christmas though, so it won't be too bad, and there's always Skype and the webcam for video calls.

I had a brief episode of "freaking out" about the move last week when I realized how close the date for the Psychological Society's meeting to review my qualifications for Irish validation. This led to a brief flurry of emails and calls with the recruiter who did a great job reassuring me and calming me down. Then, Friday came around and I completely forgot that that was the day! Of course, that was largely because my sister and I had been spending the previous couple of days identifying and tagging items for my yard sale on Saturday. This generally went well, though I did have a bit of a sulk (she would say that was understating things a bit!) about having to get rid of so many of my books. My babies! She just doesn't understand why I need to hold on to them after I've read them, not understanding the appeal of having familiar "friends" to turn to when I'm bored, anxious, or just need an escape. Well, she got most of her wish, though I still refused to give up any of the ones by my favorite authors and I still have quite a pile left, if much reduced from before. The yard sale wasn't a roaring success just because the committee (this was a community yard sale) did a poor job of advertising it beforehand :-( I made more money than I thought though, and I'm motivated to doing another one by myself soon.

Today, I'm supposed to get updated by the recruiter about how Friday's big meeting went, so right now I'm on pins and needles! Best case scenario, everything went well and my qualifications got approved. Then I'll be able to give my notice at work at the end of this week or the beginning of the next, and plan to make the move 6 weeks after that! It's actually pretty frightening how fast things are moving. I could be in Ireland by June! And, I have so much left to do. Help!!!!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A light workout

I think I'm going to need drastically step up my exercise routine at the gym. Apparently getting myself to Ireland is going to take more effort than I thought. Check out step #29!

Aarrgh! My link didn't work. But it was really funny, I promise! You can try it yourself by going to Google Map and getting directions from Raleigh to Dublin.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Things I Hate!

1) Companies that withdraw my favorite products/items. Am I that odd that nobody else likes the things I'm addicted to? I still miss, crave (and complain bitterly about every chance I get, even after almost 10 years) Ben and Jerry's Dastardly Mash ice cream. A combination of New York Super Fudge Chunk and raisins. Mmmm, creamy goodness! What is it about raisins that just makes the world a little brighter place?

Panera Bread also episodically will remove my favorite salad, the Fandango. And, now, Quizno's Subs has decided, in some flash of stupid corporate reasoning, to phase out the Cabo Chicken sandwich. It's the best thing in there you stupid, bureaucratic numbskulls! OK, maybe it's only my opinion, but there must be someone else out there who agrees with me? Tell me I'm not crazy and that that combination of chicken, bacon, chipotle mayo, cheddar cheese, spring mix and guacamole doesn't completely do it for you?!

2) Drivers who don't use their indicator. It's basic courtesy and consideration for everybody else on the road. Didn't your mother teach you any manners?

3) Unprofessional behavior. Getting back to someone in the timeframe you specifically promised, or at least letting them know that things are delayed, is also simple, basic courtesy. I got an email today telling me that the Saudi Arabia job I'd applied for 2 months ago is now approved. For all the money I could have thought to ask for! $97,000 in a country with no taxes would be equal to about $126,000 (gross in the US) + free housing and no transportation costs. If I'd received this offer 2 months ago, when they were supposed to get back to me, I would have been hardpressed not to accept. Of course, I would be having some second thoughts now, what with Iran rattling it's sabers and the rest of the Gulf states buying up weapons at an increased rate. But still, it would only have been for a year or two! Hmmm, and I've only accepted the "temporary" offer from Ireland, nothing's permanent yet.... I can almost hear my mother crying out, "Nooo!!!" Don't worry mom, I remember what you taught me about keeping a promise :-) Plus, now I'm already emotionally committed to Ireland. And, really, what's a few more bucks anyway?

I have to think that this is the Lord's leading, telling me that Ireland is where I'm supposed to be. And, in a way, I guess I get the best of both worlds - after years of feeling like I had so few options in terms of job availability in the U.S., now I know my skills are wanted somewhere!

OK, so I know there are only 3 things on this list, but it is Easter, so I'm trying to be thankful for all my gifts. Still, these 3 had to be said.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Ups and downs

Another of life's little humiliations: Volkswagen has kidnapped my car for the next week while they wait for the new version of an obviously defective ball bearing, so I'm driving a loaner. Lucky me that the local dealership's advertising strategy is based on egomania. For the next week, I'll be driving around town in a car with their logo and the title "Loaner" emblazoned in foot-high letters in the rear window! Now, I not only look like a geek, but I also can barely see what's going on behind me. Grrrr. If they'd listened to me 6 months ago when I complained (admittedly in girl terminology) of the "growly" engine sound, this would have already been taken care of!

Went to a reading by one of my favorite authors tonight. David Sedaris rocks! I didn't even mind sitting alone across the auditorium from my friends. We spent the whole hour and a half drive home repeating back our favorites of his stories and laughing helplessly anyway. My favorite ever? - 6 to 8 Black Men. A Christmas story with a twist!

Unfortunately, going to hear David meant I couldn't go to Maundy Thursday service tonight. Maybe I can find a Good Friday service tomorrow?

I got my first sign today that someone other than family and friends has read my blog. I firmly believe that this now moves me out of the realm of online diary cum newsletter to (self)published author. Literary world, here I come! But, uhhm, where's my advance?

My reader assures me that I'll still get to watch my favorite TV shows in Ireland, albeit a little delayed. Sweet! Even better, apparently there are hairdressers who know how to do black hair in the Cork area. Does this mean I don't have to go afro?

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Fool me once

I have egg on my face. I am so not up on numbers and money issues! It turned out that the amount VW had listed as the residual owed on my lease isn't actually the "payoff" value. That's $10,000 more! So, selling it isn't an option. I'm going to have to go with the swap-a-lease option. Not as easy. More fuss. Sigh.

Monday, April 2, 2007

The time, the time!

It's April already! My To Do list is already long and getting longer all the time. I'm still not sure exactly when I'm leaving, but my best guess is sometime in early to mid-June. So much to do, so little time! Thankfully, my sister just informed me that she, hubby, and the kids will be descending upon me in a few weeks. I can't wait! I get to play with the cutest kids in the world and practice being the cool aunt, hang out with the best brother-in-law in the world, and soak up the presence of my "favorite" sister! :-) Plus, I'm really looking forward to having my sister help me sort through all my books (something she's been begging me to let her do for years!) and having my brother-in-law around to help with all the stuff that testosterone is good for. There are reasons why men are useful to have around! :-)

Better than a funeral

I'm getting to like this idea of moving abroad more and more. It's like having a funeral, only better! So many friends telling me how much they'll miss me. People making an effort to come and visit me, take me out to dinner, ply me with drinks, promising (threatening?) to come and visit once I get to Cork! And, unlike a funeral, I get to be there to enjoy all the eulogies! :-) Seriously though, I guess it takes a big shift like this to make it clear to you how you're appreciated by the people in your life. I should have done this years ago!

Practicing stick shift continues whenever I have the nerve ... actually, at least once a day. I've been doing it by halves. I haven't gotten a chance to practice in my friend's old Beemer again (she assures me it's still running, at least as well as it was before, so I didn't really kill it!), but I realized that my Passat has a Tiptronic transmission which gives me the option of manually shifting the gears when I'm in Drive. I've been practicing on the way home from my practice, and anytime traffic isn't too hectic. It's oddly seductive. Now that the initial terror has faded and I can practice this piece by piece (i.e., no clutch), it's much more interesting than I'd expected. Maybe I'll even come to prefer a manual transmission, who knows?

More good news about the car situation. I found out that I'm not stuck with trying to get someone to take over my lease on the Passat. I can sell it! Volkswagen doesn't care - as long as I get enough to pay them off, they don't give a hoot. Such a relief for me! I'm thinking I might just wait till the last week before I leave and sell it to CarMax. No muss, no fuss. I won't make much (or much of any) profit, but it'll be off my hands. Whew!

So, I've pretty much told everybody about The Big News. The only people still in the dark are my supervisors/administration at my day job and my private practice clients. They won't get the news until all the paperwork is finalized - I'm only waiting on the psychology/government folks in Ireland to approve my training and degrees ("Yes sir, I'm a real psychologist and I might actually know what I'm doing") and then I'll be eligible for my work visa and can start winding things down here.