As the end of April creeps up on us, it is crazy to think I’ve been in Europe for almost a year now. At this point last year, I was closing up loose ends at work, starting to pack up my apartment, and booking my one way ticket to Ireland. Reflecting on that period in my life and how things have changed, I need to use this post to illustrate a few more European differences that come with the Irish way of life.
Bank Holidays – These happen on the first Monday of a few months in the year. In 2011, they occur in May, June, August, and October. On bank holidays, the banks close, and the rest of the country takes a holiday – awesome, right?! And, these scheduled holidays are not counted against the allotted vacation days in your employment contract. Now, at this point you’ve probably guessed it…we have a bank holiday coming up. May Day happens on May 2nd, meaning that Matt and I have a three day weekend coming up, for no other reason than it is a bank holiday.
Other Holidays - On that note, I have to point out that there are quite a few more holidays celebrated over here, adding to our already generous supply. This week we celebrated a day off for Easter Monday, we recognize St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th, and St. Stephen’s Day on December 26th. To these you can add the traditional holiday of Christmas Day and the worldwide celebrated New Year’s Day. Right now the schools are on break for 2 whole weeks, putting the American Spring Break to shame. Now, I realize we miss out on Thanksgiving over here, but I think those previously mentioned bank holidays help make up for it. And, did any of you notice that with Easter Monday and May Day, we have two 4-day work weeks back-to-back? I’m not complaining.
The Royal Wedding - Could I really do a blog post this week about my European experiences without mentioning the Royal Wedding? I mean, come on!!! I am living in prime position to follow all of the Royal Wedding festivities. I won’t need to tune-in in the middle of the night to catch all the breathtaking and exciting moments. In fact, I’ve been tossing around the idea of hopping over to London on Thursday to partake in the madness! Though I might only catch small glimpses, being part of history or saying I was there is a cool idea. This is still a huge maybe, but a girl can dream! Either way, I think it’s safe to say that while it may be big news back in the States, nothing can compare to the excitement that is building in our neck of the woods.
Our Sheep - The sheep are back! During the winter months, the Airfield next to our apartment took away the sheep, cows, and pigs. I don’t know where they took them, but luckily they are finally back and I am so happy! (*Disclaimer – You may be thinking, “oh silly Emily, they took the old cows and lambs to be slaughtered, duh. And now they’ve brought back a new batch.” However, the Airfield is an educational working farm that does not harm its animals.*) Sheep are funny creatures and I thoroughly enjoy watching them through my window. Right now they are fat with wool and there are little lambs everywhere. The lambs chase each other and hop around a lot. I never thought a city gal like myself would be saying that it’s so nice to hear bahs and moos regularly.
So there you have it. On this Tuesday, the start of our week thanks to Easter Monday, I think a little random rambling about European life was in order. We certainly experience something new almost every day and it’s nice to get back to the roots of my blog to keep you updated on what life in Ireland is truly like.