Playing Catchup

Sorry for the lack of updates, folks. Diane and I have been pretty busy the last week as we get settled and acclimatized. It's late here, but I'm wired and still wide awake so I think I'll try and catch you up with what we've been up to this week. I forgot to mention in my last post that not only did we go to the Powerscourt gardens with Darse and Xan, we also climbed up Killiney hill. I hope to get photos of both the gardens and the hill soon, but that probably won't be for a day or two at least. Thankfully, that's all I've got for a backlog of photos now so I'm almost caught up!

So what's happened since then? Well we got a bank account open, and it looks like it was in time to get paid into, which is nice. We're awfully grateful for Darse and Xan's help and advice. It's helped smooth our transition into the country waaay more than we expected. It's almost been too easy on us.

We're now mostly settled in our new place, although there's been some hiccups. We had to go without hot water for a few days until we figured out the system. Apparently if the thermostat is turned off, the boiler doesn't turn on. It took us a week to figure that out. I don't know why it's done that way, but my conclusion is that the Irish don't like hot showers in the summer (when the heat isn't on in the house). Weird.

The other couple of things we're waiting for is our laundry machine doesn't appear to work, and we could really use some curtains. Our place has some pretty nice big windows, but they aren't exactly good for privacy when we want it. Other than that, we've got internet, and pretty soon we'll have a bank account with my first month's pay in it which we'll use as a time to start picking up things that our place is missing.

The week pretty much flew by. At work, I've been tossed in to start working on some features already. The codebase is huge and a little confusing, but I can tell that this job will be pretty rewarding. I feel like I'm learning at a pretty good pace, and hopefully they're satisfied with how I'm doing so far.

On Wednesday evening, there was a party at a bar one station away from our place. I left work late and met Diane there, and we hung out with a bunch of pocket kings employees, had dinner and a few drinks. It was a pretty fun night. It was trivia night, but the guy asking the questions was from the company. So that was a bit neat. As usual, I was pretty useless for any trivia knowledge, but it was fun to be a part of it.

Thursday night there was an office poker game and geeky-games night. I played in the poker tournament, but got knocked out before the money. I felt I played alright, although I think I made a few errors in a couple places. Diane came by too and played a couple of board games with Darse and some of the other pocket kings guys.

So I think that about catches you up with the activities from my point of view. At some point soon, hopefully Diane gets a chance to share her little adventures.

Before I finish off here, I just wanted to jot down some general notes about our experiences here so far:

  • The weather here has been pretty good in general, although there's been a lot of rain. In fact, record amounts of rain. There was a day where we ventured out of our place and on our way to the mall we got absolutely dumped on. The streets were flooding and people were drenched through.
  • The Irish are much more dependent on street markings that Canadians. It's something I never really thought of, but because of the large amount of snow in Edmonton, the street markings can't be the sole markings for major roads. But here, where snow is rare and doesn't stick around, they can afford to put the markings right on the road.
  • Also, the roads here all seem in amazingly good repair. What I realized is that Dublin must not suffer from the same pothole problem that Edmonton has to deal with. Since the temperature here is so temperate, and there are days that the temperature drops below freezing, the freeze-thaw cycle that causes pot holes isn't an issue.
  • The LUAS is an amazing transportation system. It is fast, reliable, and they've built a tremendous amount in a short time. It opened in 2004, and in just 5 years, it'll have networked an amazing number of stations. By this time next year or so, they'll have added another 10 or so stations -- which should take me straight to work.
  • Speaking of work, I love my job. The work is good, and they treat us very well. The daily lunches are fantastic. Gourmet quality food, and tons of choice and variety every day. Lunches cost all of €0.10, and breakfasts are free. For breakfast, the kitchen bakes fresh croissants that are absolutely amazing.
  • My spot in the office is a "cubicle" in the server team area, and I have a very nice view of a small duck pond, and some distant mountain. On the downside, there's a children's daycare right underneath my window, so for most of the day I can hear the screams of some very powerful little voices. It is a bit annoying, although I'm told that you stop noticing them after awhile.
  • When it rains here, not only do worms wriggle out onto the sidewalks like in Edmonton, but they are joined by snails and slugs -- both of which are quite sizable in some cases. It's a bit weird!
  • Everything here is done to a smaller degree it seems. When Diane and I went to the supermarket, it was a bit weird not being able to bulk-buy kleenex, and shampoo, and those sorts of things in the quantity we're used to. It's rather interesting to me. Another example is the pop cans here are 330ml instead of 355ml like in north america. Not too sure why the differenece.

That's enough for now. There'll be lots more to come as we experience new things. We're not too sure what's on for this weekend, but I'm sure we'll be up to a little bit of fun stuff.

Oh a note about pictures. The gallery link at the top of the page and on the right side of the blog are a link to a cached copy of my flickr photos. If you don't see new photos that I mention, it's because I forgot to go click the refresh cache button. You will be able to see photos I mention on my flickr photostream (also linked on the right). There's probably a better solution that that, but I haven't figured it out yet.