boy and busker on Grafton Street Dublin

on 2012 and things to come

i don’t often get sentimental about new year’s eve. i rarely, if ever, make resolutions. in our house, this night is more about hunkering down, having a nice glass of champagne and going to bed early, resting in the knowledge that tomorrow is just another day.

the louvre, paris, july 2012
the louvre, paris, july 2012

this year, however, things are a little different. yes, we are hunkering down for a homemade dinner and the compulsory glass (or three) of champers and an all-night movie fest.

Sexy Sea Lion - New Zealand
Sexy Sea Lion – New Zealand

but this year, i am in a reflective mood. i have been thinking a lot about the past 12 months and a lot about the 12 months to come. in january, i will be starting a new job with what is perhaps my dream company. the MOTHER SHIP, as it were, and since this change is also marking a new year, it’s easy to reflect on the past and future.

Homage to Ansel Adams - Queenstown, NZ
Homage to Ansel Adams – Queenstown, NZ

2012 was, in many ways, a year of financial health, for me. it was a year in which i transitioned from freelancing to full-time work and it was the first year in too many to count that i’ve actually not had to worry about money.

Shadow of a cat - pub in Reading, England, 2012.
Shadow of a cat – pub in Reading, England, 2012.

with it, though, came a creeping realisation that i was, in some ways, sacrificing my physical health (2011 was my year of kick-ass health) for my financial health. long hours, lack of a proper place to eat lunch (hence eating crap for lunch) and zero exercise have not been good to my body. it was a sacrifice i made very willingly, knowing that 2012 was my year of financial health.

London Eye and the Thames.
London Eye and the Thames.

i want 2013 to be my year of freedom. a year where i can have both financial and physical health. a year where i have the time to do things i love in addition to my work. things like updating this blog (the single post from 2012 can attest to how dry my writing life has been) and writing irishjaunt. a year to regain connections and rediscover my creativity, but this time, without sacrificing financial health.

Snow falling on London - February.
Snow falling on London – February.

2013 is going to be a year of travel. bill and i have already begun planning and dreaming the many city breaks we hope to take, which may or may not include galicia in northern spain, croatia, mexico and boston. we’ll see.

The drawing room at the Wallace Collection.
The drawing room at the Wallace Collection.

also, we are so happy in london, we’re staying. can you believe it? 18 months and counting in the same place. i think that’s a record.

Hasidic Jews - London crap.
Hasidic Jews – London crap.

finally, friends, i will leave you with this photo i snapped on grafton street in dublin over christmas. i want to be as inspired and in awe of the world and life as this little boy.

boy and busker on Grafton Street Dublin

the photos in this post are a selection of my favourites that i snapped in 2012. you can see them all at my flickr photostream.

the culinary exploits of a techspat

czech barbecue sauce & corn
"spak" bbq sauce and... why, is that corn on the cob?!

i am not sure i like the term ‘techspat’ just yet. that’s because i just made it up, mostly to describe myself and for the purposes of this blog, which involves some stuff about expat life and some stuff about tech, and also because i know that husby loves a good word play.

i am equally unsure about my love for cooking. in fact, wagering between the two, i think i already prefer the term ‘techspat’ to cooking in general. cooking has never been my forté. for as long as i can remember, i shouted at my mother (who sometimes tried to nudge me into learning) that i couldn’t cook and that i burned toast and that i hated cooking. i guess, despite myself, i always was a bit of a feminist.

but back to cooking. if you happen to read here “often” (bless you), you might remember me talking about being diagnosed with pre-diabetes last year. i’ve also blogged about travelling on a diet over at tripwolf.

the thing is, i love food. i never refer to myself as a foodie, though, because i don’t really know anything about food. i just know i love it. and i want to eat anything and everything. i was also raised with a keen sense of eating food from such faraway places as china and japan on a regular basis and, since my diagnosis last year, i have come to appreciate and, indeed, prefer a wide variety of foods in my diet, especially vegetables. Continue reading “the culinary exploits of a techspat”

a first-time love affair

every traveler has a first love. i believe this as strongly as i believe in real love. it is that city – or sometimes that place or country – that you first completely fall for. you are a young traveler, inexperienced and green enough to think the world is even more amazing than it is and fully believing that none of your experiences will ever disappoint you. you can only learn later that, sure you’ll be disappointed, but that only adds to the experiences.

but there is always that one place that you fall for and can never go back. Continue reading “a first-time love affair”

creating the world we want

it’s monday and what could a girl want more than some great travel reads and a cute clutch to throw into the luggage for a night out when travelling? to that end, i give you irish jaunt and kattybabylove purses.

i am a big believer in self-employment, handmade items and personal attention in this world that is so corporate, global and unattentive. that’s why i absolutely adore the handmade purses, clutches and wallets that my good friend kathleen has started making and selling through her etsy shop, kattybabylove. the clutch above is a sampling of the items that will become available in her shop over the coming weeks – items that are handmade by kathleen and sold straight from her. i love this concept and i admire anyone like kat that has a knack for sewing. Continue reading “creating the world we want”

traveltuesday photoblog: pot o gold

after yesterday’s rant about a movie filled with awful cliches and stereotypes about ireland, i decided to remind myself that all stereotypes are born out of some kind of truth.

here, in county clare, where a rainbow meets doonagore castle flanked by emerald green, it takes little imagination to envision a leprechaun hording his pot of goodies just below.

snapped just north of the cliffs of moher, with ballyvara and coogyulla beyond.

the worst movie of 2010

it’s the 4th week of 2010 and the worst movie of the year has already been released, bombed at the box office, and caused my husband and i to get into a row. that movie is leap year, starring amy adams and matthew goode (i know, i know… who?). folks, this film is the stinker to end all stinkers. what could’ve been a cute, insightful piece of cross-cultural, rom-com, travel eye candy is nothing more than a series of cliches and stereotypes sandwiched between some seriously bad cinematography and brought together by even worse writing. Continue reading “the worst movie of 2010”

17 pretty cool places

Theseus Temple, Volksgarten, Vienna
Theseus Temple, Volksgarten, Vienna

for the first time in about 5 years, i am not traveling. i am in my hometown, walking the same streets and visiting the same cafes that i came of age in. i’m letting my wonderful husband have his day exploring my exotic home, as i did his, the past year and a half in dublin.

this lack of travel, however, leads me to a very sentimental state about all of the amazing places i’ve been the past few years. and this has led me to writing this post – a reliving, if you will, of some of those fantastic places (17 to be exact), some of which i’ve never blogged about.[tweetmeme]

the first on the list (in no particular order) is vienna, where the above photo of me, on the steps of the theseus temple in volksgarten, was snapped.  Continue reading “17 pretty cool places”

on being carless in a car society

an 'average-sized' american car one thing that has often struck me upon returning to the U.S. after time abroad is the size of the vehicles. nowhere else on earth do the size of the cars match those of the united states. i distinctly remember after a year and a half in china and 2 weeks in new zealand following it, i landed in san francisco and nearly had a heart attack as my friend’s teeny ford escort buzzed down the highway with huge pickup trucks screaming by.

Continue reading “on being carless in a car society”