28 October 2012

Three years in Galway

Justa few days ago marked the anniversary of my arrival in Galway. I arrive in a storm on a long weekend, with no access to the internet, no idea how to get about the city and no friends or friends-to-be yet. I didn't even realise that daylight-savings had changed so I was living in the wrong time zone for at least two days. Three years on things are much better - instead of a perpetual storm the sky is clear, though it is suddenly freezing cold. There are fallen leave everywhere to stomp on. Though that means there are no leaves left on the trees so it is better to look down than up.

Right now it is halloween weekend and the streets are packed both day and night, with children and families during the day and drunk people from mid-afternoon onwards. Right now outside my window they are singing 'wonderwall'. Sometimes I wonder if they would perhaps say less if they realised we could hear them so clearly. 

Today I took the day off work but I should probably try to get back to it tomorrow, seeing as I am planning on coming back so soon. I have the writing well underway but some of the practical work is not done yet. The most likely scenario is that by mid-December I will have the practical work done and a draft of the thesis finished (except perhaps the discussion because that is the hardest bit). When I come back I will first take a break and then finish writing on a part-time basis, and hand in from far away. Sometime next year I will come back for the exam so I think I will arrange it so that I go from summer to summer - it has only be autumn here for a couple of months and I am already so sick of this dreary cold. So fingers crossed that Invercargill has a real summer again this year. On top of the fingers that are crossed for me finishing the PhD without having a nervous breakdown.

Now I am getting tired of the group singing out in the lane so I think it's time for bed. I did housework today (that's how exciting my days off are) so I have clean sheets to snuggle into. I have unplugged the doorbell so that no drunk people pushing the intercom buttons wake me up. Plus the noisy neighbours were given a good telling off by their landlord so they have gotten extremely quiet. So it's definitely time for me to go and get a good sleep. But first I have to change my clocks because daylight savings just ended, like right this minute, and I don't want to be in the wrong time zone again!

18 October 2012

Be seeing you all soon...

Coming home for Christmas, bought the ticket last night, I arrive in Christchurch on the 19th of December:

In the process I learnt my lesson about making somewhat last-minute decisions - it cost me a bloody fortune, as much as last year's return flight did and this is just one way. Yep, one way. Hopefully I will be finished and have handed in my thesis, then I will come back and hibernate for a couple of months (in the sunshine because if it is not sunny I might just run away to Australia). I will have to return to Ireland for the oral exam and to make corrections and then that will be it.

However, if I don't get my thesis finished before I leave I guess I will be coming back for longer. And I really want to get it finished. So I'm going to get back to work now. It is slow, and stressful, and nervewracking and somewhat depressing. But if I can keep working really hard for the next couple of weeks I should have a draft finished. I hope. Cross all your fingers for me.

01 October 2012

Weekend in Donegal

Not this weekend just been but the weekend before I managed to escape the city for a couple of days and headed up to Donegal with some friends, where we had a cottage rented for the weekend - a quaint stone cottage with a huge yard, good heating and an open fire.

Why am I writing about it only now? Because I'm lazy, and busy, and it seemed like a lot of effort. Which it isn't because I'm mostly going to post photos and not so many words anyway. The weekend away was great - the weather was clear and frosty and we were pretty much completely secluded in the countryside, in a nice warm house with a view of the bay. I think the most noticeable thing about the whole weekend was how amazing the fresh air smelt - there is clearly not enough of it here in Galway for me to notice it so much. It felt like being back home again, like wintery days spent in Colac Bay or Riverton or Pukemaori. And it definitely increased my desire to be done with this awful PhD and to find a job and somewhere to live that is not in a dreary city like this one. Somewhere with a view, like this, in the morning:

And like this in the evening:

There was also a beach real close-by, a surfing beach with lots of sand and rocks that reminded me of Colac Bay. We put on wet-suits and went for a swim (see what I wuss I have become, can't even go for a swim in the sea anymore).

And then when we drove away from the beach the sun came out and suddenly everything was all blue and green and I guess pictures like this are why people try to say that Ireland is like New Zealand:

I still maintain that it is really not anything the same, but maybe if instead of living in Galway I had spent these three years elsewhere I would have a slightly different opinion. Finally, to add that last touch to a weekend in the countryside, we had a dog with us. This is Bella and she is adorable, and behaves like a big baby:

So this weekend away in Donegal was a birthday celebration for three friends so naturally it included a treasure hunt and a birthday party with an amazing cake. I spent most of the weekend reading, as I do, and sitting by the nice warm fire. It was so hard to come back to Galway. It is the 1st of October today and I have given myself a deadline to hand in my thesis - sometime in December, before Christmas. That's only 10 weeks away. Two and a half months. I'm not sure if it can actually be done. But I hope it can.