Monday, May 28, 2007

Two more

So last Tuesday, I blocked out the whole day to deal with immigration and to get my work authorization renewed. I got there at 7:30 AM and to my surprise, the doors were already open. I met the guy at the door who was in charge of giving out the visa tickets (they only give a certain number a day) and he said I had to get my garda card renewed first. So, I then got into a different line to wait for a different number.

While waiting, I was in front of a nurse from the Philippines who had been here 7 years and hadn't applied for citizenship. He was complaining about the process and how long it would take to get the paperwork done. So, I was 11th in line and waited for about 20-30 minutes to be called. I gave the guy all the papers he asked for and he said that he would stamp my passport. He insisted that I didn't need to go through the visa line. He then took my picture for my garda card. I waited longer and got my passport and new card. I looked in my passport and there was only a rubber stamp type stamp in my passport saying I was allowed to stay for two more years. I asked the guy keeping track of the visa numbers and he said he didn't know, I should ask the immigration people if this was really all I needed. I then asked the guy who processed my paperwork and he said, yes, that was all I needed!

So, I was done about 9:00 AM!! I then called a friend who's been through this process just to double check that was all I needed. It is all she has as well. So, a stamp in my passport (just like the ones they use when you enter/exit a country) saying that I can stay until the 22 May 2009 is all I need to work for two more years! Well, that and the garda card that has a code saying I am on a work authorization...


In my excitement at being engaged, I went to a couple bookstores to get a wedding planning book and look at wedding magazines. There wasn't much selection for wedding planning books so I ordered a couple off and will have them hopefully next week. I found a book on saving money and picked up a couple magazines for fun. A coworker gave me some more magazines from when she planned her wedding.

I looked at the pictures of the magazine and was struck with 1) how ugly a lot of the dresses are in the magazines and 2) how much more expensive dresses are in Ireland than the U.S. (where I will be getting my dress). Because a couple titles sounded interesting, I decided to read an article in one of the bridal magazines. Oops. It is about the most sexist reading I have done, possibly ever. All the propaganda says all attention should be on the bride. The articles talk about "you, you, you" in the singular form. Isn't there a groom???? Isn't he necessary also? Isn't the wedding about celebrating the couple starting a new part of their lives/adventure? I think I'll lay off the wedding magazines. Well, except the Chicago one that a friend of mine is sending me. :)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Eiffel Tower,part 2

Since we didn't go up the tower on Sunday, we went back Monday night after our sightseeing. I was tired and didn't really want to go. But, I had said I wanted to go up the tower at night so we were going up at night. So, we got to the tower, got our tickets and got in line. We didn't have to wait too long for the first level and had to switch elevators to get to the top. We waited and waited and waited once again. It was quite windy on the tower and cold. I was really glad that I wasn't in a skirt like the day before.

So, finally we got up to the top and it was surrounded in plastic so we could see the views and had no wind. However, we couldn't take pictures. So, we figured out how to go up one more level and the views were quite impressive. While we were on the top of the tower, the flashy lights went off. It was far more impressive to see it from the ground than on the tower. Once I was done taking pictures, we then figured out how to get the two elevators down and left.

Once at the bottom, John asked me if I wanted to take a taxi or the train. I said taxi and then changed my mind. So, we headed off through the green area towards the train station. On our way, we saw a statue that he wanted to look at. The name on it was Jeoffre. I stood up on one of the steps leading up to the platform and he turned me to face him and we started dancing. The next thing I knew, John was down on one knee looking up at me (which was a long way since I was standing on a stair) saying, "Honey will you marry me?" I was shocked and hugged him and (I'm told) immediately said, "yeah."

Eiffel Tower,part 1

While in Paris, we saw the Eiffel tower popping out from trees, other buildings, and such almost everywhere we went. When I fist saw it in the distance, I thought it was one of the ugliest buildings that I have seen. It was just this metal tower and didn't look impressive at all.

After we went to Versailles, we stopped at the Eiffel tower stop so that I could see it at night like my coworkers suggested. When we got there, the tower looked far different. It was massive and had some sort of beauty to it. Since it wasn't' dark yet, we went to find dinner and came back. When we came back from dinner, it still wasn't very dark and I realized that the battery was almost dead on my camera. Therefore, we just sat on the green watching it get dark and took pictures until the battery died.

As we were leaving, we looked back and noticed that there were all kinds of flashy lights on the tower. John had read that the tower was lit up for 10 minutes an hour so we figured this was what the guidebook meant. It was really neat to see the tower look like a flashing Christmas tree.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Arc de Triomphe

The last thing that we saw was the Arc de Triomphe. We saw it in the distance shortly after leaving the Orsay and I decided that we should walk to it. It didn't look that far away. It was. We walked and we walked and we walked. We stopped for some ice cream. Then we walked more. Finally we go there (OK, it only took about 45 minutes to walk to it but I was really tired) and it was far more impressive and large than we thought. It is over 100 feet tall!

The arc was commissioned by Neopolean and honors those who died in battle. It also has tombs of unknown soldiers. While we were there, there were people who looked like veterans around. You can go up in the arc but we decided that I wanted to try to go shopping instead and we had to leave to catch our plane...

Museo de Orsay

On our last day in Paris (yes, we are nearing the end of the "tour), we went to the Orsay Museum. It was my compromise for not going to the Louvre. I just got overwhelmed thinking about the Louvre and we'd both heard good things about the Orsay. So, we went and were not disappointed. John was far happier in it than I was since there were quite a few artists' works there that he wanted to see. I liked the sculpture and some of the paintings. Since my wrist was hurting, he got the camera and took almost all the pictures of the museum. This is to say, he took LOADS of pictures of art. I won't post too many of them. :)

The Orsay is in an old railway station and has mainly French art produced 1848-1914. The station was built in the early 1900s but became unsuitable for trains and it opened as a museum in the 1980s. Apparently it is best known for having impressionists such as Monet and Renior. However, there is also art by Van Gogh, Cezanne, Degas. The museum even has furniture! Granted I don't know much about art, but how is furniture art?


While in Paris, we focussed on sightseeing. We didn't get to do much shopping even though we did walk down one of the main shopping streets. In preparation for the trip, I sent out an email asking my knitting list serve if they knew of any good yarn shops in Paris. I got one message back suggesting a few places. We made it to one of them and it was wonderful. The colors of the yarns were so vibrant and the staff let us look as long as we wanted. After we selected our yarn (we got two: an alpaca and a bamboo), we told the sales person what we wanted and he went in back and wound it for us in the weight we wanted! It was quite impressive and I am looking forward to knitting with the bamboo. It is so soft and feels like silk. I have to finish my niece's poncho, first, though.

Although we weren't supposed to take pictures in the yarn store, we did. Actually, John did. I was having too much fun feeling all the yarns and looking at the sample items. :)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Saint Chapelle

While in Paris, we broke our usual routine of seeing two sites per day. We instead tried to pack into the few days we were there as we could. So brings on the next site: Saint Chapelle. It is a small little church that is near a government building so we got to go through a metal detector before we could get in! When walking in, I was quite disappointed because it is this tiny building. However, it is more impressive once you go upstairs. :)

So, Saint Chapelle was built in the 1240's to house relics from the Holy Land. The gothic church has very intricate stained glass in the chapel upstairs. In fact, the walls are covered in them and can be difficult to see what scenes we depicted.


So, to continue on the tour of our visit to Paris, we visited the Pantheon. As with everything else, we found it interesting but again large. The shear scale of things in Paris got a bit overwhelming at times. We were able to take a tour up to the roof which gave good views.

So, the church was originally dedicated to St. Genevieve and finished in 1781. The massive pendulum was added in 1851. It is interesting because the building has changed functions many times during the course of its history. It was a church, then not, then again, then not. Because of this, it has two entrances: one to the church building and a separate one to just the crypt.