Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Hello everyone! I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving from Belfast. I know it's a couple days early but I thought I'd get a head start on it, especially since I am not celebrating it this year. I had hoped to cook a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner for myself and the family but Cath and Ollie will be out of the house Thursday night and lets face it... that's a whole lot of cooking for 3 adults and 2 wee ones. But I am there with you all in spirit. My Mom, Dad and big brother Rick will be in Modesto with my Mom's family and I am sure they will be passing along my love to them. I miss my family and friends so much! Its crazy how much I actually miss everyone. Even the people I haven't seen in awhile, I miss them even more being all the way over here. And it's even worse being around the holidays. I'm spending Christmas in Pitlochry with both Cath and Ollie's families but I am certain it won't be close to the same. I think that's going to be the hardest holiday... only because I've never spent a Christmas away from my parents. But on the bright side, after New Years I'll be half way through my stay here and I'll be looking forward to my Mom coming to Ireland to collect me.

This has been an amazing experience and I would change a thing but it will be nice to come home and hug everyone. I've been missing the big hugs I have gotten used to getting from my friends. My friends give the best hugs... especially Yvette and Anna. I can't wait to hang out with my girls again and feel truly relaxed and at home.

I've been doing alot of thinking about what I want to do once I get home and I'm hoping I can find a family to work for in California. Possibly San Fransisco area or somewhere in Northern California. That way I can have my own car and I can be close to everyone I love. I think I will try to save as much money as I can for the first year and then hopefully plan a trip or two with some friends. I still want to travel but I think shorter trips will be better. I wont have the homesickness to deal with and Ill be able to come back and keep working for the same family. I'm hoping and praying I find a family that I can stay with for quite awhile because I really do love Sam, Niamh and Max and the idea of leaving in March is breaking my heart. They are two of the sweetest and kindest children and I will miss them as much as I am missing my own family. That's the hard part of only being in their lives for 6 months, you fall in love with them and then you realize that you have to go home. It's a hard thing to deal with. It almost makes me wish I could stay longer, but unfortunately that isn't an option. I have to leave the UK at the end of March and there really isn't anything I can do about it. But I do know I'll always care about them and I am hoping I will see them again. Who knows, maybe they all can come for a visit and I can show them my home.

Well everyone I just got home from my kickboxing class and I am exhausted. It's a tough workout and really takes it out of you. But very fun and fulfilling. 4 weeks down and 2 more to go in my beginners class. After that there are other week to week classes I can take and I am planning on doing so. But now it's time for sleep. So I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!!! Oh, I almost forgot, my Mom just sent me a care package but she will be sending another one along before Christmas so if anyone wants to send me some goodies I would really be grateful... post is always a nice thing to get. :o) God bless & take care!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sorry its been so long...

Hey everyone! Sorry I haven't posted anything new in such a long time... there hasn't been much that's gone on since I got back from Scotland. I am just working everyday and trying to find some nice people to hang out with while I'm here. I'm babysitting tonight and tomorrow night but I will be going into city center and meeting a girl named Mandy who I met through facebook. Were going to go to the Belfast Christmas Festival at the city hall. They have basically every type of food you can imagine from all over the world. Greek, French, Mexican, Dutch... everything! They even have alligator burgers... but we will see if Mandy and I are brave enough to try those. She seems like a very nice girl, she goes to uni here in Belfast and has a boyfriend shes been with for awhile, so I'm hoping we hit it off well. I met another person off of facebook the other night for a pint and his name is Sean. His parents are both from Belfast but he lived in the states while he was a teenager and he also lived in Montana for awhile. So I can actually understand him when he talks and he seems like a nice lad. But other then trying to get out and have a social life, not much has been going on with me. I caught another cold after I got back from Scotland and unfortunately I still have traces of a cough and a sore ear, but other then that I feel fine.

I had my 3rd kickboxing class on Tuesday and despite feeling under the weather still I had a great time and made it through the class in one piece. I really enjoy kickboxing and cant wait for the next class. It comes really easily to me and I think most of that is due to the fact that I took tae kwon do for a few years when I was a kid. Its a good way for me to occupy one night of the week and also try to get into better shape and learn some self defense.

Also I want to report that I am spending a little over a week in Edinburgh, Scotland for New Years!!!!! I'm so excited for that and Ill be staying in a youth hostel in Old Edinburgh. I might be hanging out with David but if that doesn't pan out I'm almost positive there will be loads of people in the hostel and hopefully some of them wont mind if I tag along. There is loads of things I want to do while in Edinburgh and they really love to celebrate New Years in Scotland... or Hogmanay, as they call it... So Ill be celebrating Christmas with the family in Pitlochry and then on Boxing Day (Dec 26th) Ill be heading back to Edinburgh where Ill be until I fly back to Belfast on the 4th of Jan 2010!!! I cant wait...I'm super excited and will be sure to take pictures of everything.

Well Max's nap time is just about up so I need to wrap this up and I hope everyone back at home has an amazing Thanksgiving next week. Eat lots of turkey, stuffing, mash potatoes and yams for me... oh and DON'T forget the pumpkin pie! Lots of love from Belfast. <3

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Back from Scotland

Hi everyone! I'm back from Scotland and glad to report that I had an amazing time. We were there for Guy Fawke's day, Max's 2nd birthday and Uncle David's 24th birthday. It was an amazing party with loads of fireworks! The party was Saturday and we stayed in Pitlochry at Cath's mom's house till this last Tuesday. The town is a bit smaller but very beautiful and a little touristy. But I think its such a charming town. It reminds me alot of Visalia. The party was awesome... Cath, David, Andy, John and I were the last ones standing at the end of the night and then decided that it would be a good idea to consume some whiskey :o) That was disgusting but thankfully I wasn't hungover at all. David and I joined his friends at a pub in Pitlochry Monday night and had a few pints and met some very nice people from London and 2 men from Germany... one of which was named Hoover. :o) He was a very large, friendly man... who had us cracking up the whole night. He told David at the end of the night that he had a "vondervul vive"... (wonderful wife) :o) We didn't even bother trying to explain that we had only known each other for 3 days and weren't in fact married but it was a nice compliment all the same.

I talked with Catherine last night and I'm hoping to spend Christmas eve, and Christmas at her Mom's in Pitlochry and then head down to Edinburgh and stay there through the New Years. She and Ollie will cover the cost of my stay in a hostel and Ill be ringing in the New Year in Scotland!!! I'm so excited and hope to spend some more time hanging out with David. I'm praying this will be a New Year Ill never forget!!! I have a feeling that it will be, and of course Ill be making sure to take lots of pictures.

Well other then the fun filled weekend in Scotland, life has been pretty calm and normal. Cath and Ollie got home safe and sound from New York and he did VERY well in the NYC marathon. The 5 of us are heading to Dublin Saturday and Ill be staying in and babysitting Saturday night but Ill have all day Sunday to explore Dublin and get better acquainted with it. This will be my first time there since I landed a little over a month ago and can't wait! I've been told its a great town. When my Mom comes at the end of March we will spend a few days there, a couple in Belfast and then fly home together. I've already started thinking about what I'm going to do when I get home and I'm thinking I will start looking for another family before I return and hopefully Ill be staying in California for a little bit to save up some money and then who knows what... I know I do want to do some traveling, like going to Amsterdam with Anna... Italy, India, South Africa. Who knows... maybe Ill find someone else who wants to do the same and we can team up and see the world together. That would be awesome.

Well I have to go know and wake Max up from his afternoon nap and pick Niamh up from nursery. Hope all is well with everyone. xoxo

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Kickboxing & Pub Quiz

Hi everyone! Ive had such a busy week.. Cath and Ollie were in New York for the marathon and I'm happy to report he did very well in the race. He finished the 26 mile marathon in only 4 hours and they returned back home Tuesday morning. The kids were so happy to see their mom and dad. Their grandparents went home and I have to say all in all it was a great weekend. Mark and Rosie are very nice people and I hope to go visit them in Dublin sometime before I leave.

I had my very first kickboxing class Tuesday night... it was intense and I was dripping with sweat when it was over but I never felt better. I cant wait for next week. The class has about 20 people in it and you can even see a pic of us on the Prokick website. I am so sore today... I thought I was sore yesterday but that's nothing compared to how I feel today... its mostly my legs and my stomach but that just means I worked muscles that I haven't in a long time... which is a good thing. :o) I'm really hoping to be down another 30 lbs by the time I get home... and if I keep eating right and stay active I think I can do it. I'm leaving for Scotland and the fireworks party with Cath's family on Saturday and will be back Tuesday but I will still be able to make it to my class next Tuesday night... I can wait to leave more kickboxing moves and to get in better shape.

I went out last night for my very first pub quiz and even though my team lost it was still loads of fun... they had about 7 or 8 teams and we came in 5th... and there were 6 rounds total. It was nice to get out and meet some people. I was in a team with 4 other girls and they were all very nice. When we were playing the game at The John Hewitt Pub, the girls in my group and I recognized 2 men at the bar having a pint... low and behold they were Sean Bean and Mark Addy. You might remember Sean from his roles in National Treasure, Lord of the Rings, and Silent Hill. Mr. Mark Addy was in The Full Monty, A Knights Tale and The Flintstones Viva Rock Vegas. Both of them were nice and I even got their autographs. All in all it was a nice fun night and I got to meet two famous people I wouldn't have met if I hadn't been out in Belfast. I talked with them for a bit and they told me they're in Belfast filming a pilot for a new HBO show called Game of Thrones. Cant wait to see how it turns out!

All in all this week has been a week of first and Saturday the family and I are flying to Edinburgh and driving up to Pitlochry for the fireworks party. Yesterday was Max's 2nd birthday and Ollie's is this week as well and I think one of Cath's brothers has a birthday coming up so we will be celebrating that and lighting of loads of fireworks. I can't wait and Ill make sure to bring my camera and Ill try to take as many pictures as possible. Lots of love and hugs and kisses to everyone!