Housewarming Party

7 07 2011

As I have already written before last week I moved apartment again. I will be sharing with my friend Monika, and the other room is now occupied by a guy called Joe, who moved in on Sunday. Therefore last Tuesday I invited a couple of friends (Ross, David, Zahra, Ali, Monika, Kevin and Joe) to a housewarming party/Maltese evening. I had a couple of Maltese treats such as gbejniet, twistees, galletti and Kinnie with me, thanks to visits by Bernard and Marco. To them I added a couple of other Maltese (and my favourites), thanks to Ross who took me to Tesco on the Monday.

Therefore together with the above treats I made Hobz biz-Zejt, garlic bread, stuffed mushrooms and bragjoli (with a potato salad and fresh salad). I was mostly scared about the bragjoli as I had never cooked them before, but thanks to Bernard who supplied me with his mum’s recipe and some trial and error I got it 🙂

Myself and Ross were at my place first, cos he thankfully came to help me in my preparations. Then came Kevin and Monika who decided to cook a Carrot cake for the evening (MMMMM…no complaints there). Then at the appointed time of 7pm (actually a bit later but Oh Well) Zahra and Ali and then David joined.

Overall it was a great evening. We enjoyed our time together I think…I enjoyed it at least…it was my favourite foods, with my favourite people in Ireland and some of my favourite Maltese music…although this at the end was not appreciated by all grrrrrrr. I think no one really liked the music, cos they even switched it off at some times…oh well. The conversation was flowing, the food was nearly all eaten and we laughed a lot. It was good to also meet our new apartment mate Joe for an extended period of time. He seems to be really nice…and a good storyteller…something he said I am definitely not…well I have never said I was…I am short and to the point…never see the reason to extend a 2minute story to 15mins…but oh well.

It was a great evening, and I look forward to a Polish evening?…a Scottish evening? or perhaps an Irish evening…possibly another Iranian evening. Will see!


Tall Ships Race 2011

3 07 2011

A week or so again, Monika told me that she was planning to go down to Waterford with friends from her lab to the Tall Ships Race Festival. I had not yet been to Waterford and the people in her lab are quite nice, so I immediately said yes since I did not have any other plans. It was great that they were organizing it, because I had no worries of looking for a car to rent, how to get there etc etc. I just gave in my name and could go, sit back, relax and enjoy.

Yesterday morning, therefore Kevin and Monika went to pick up the car at the airport, and Larissa, Hoi (I think it is written that way, not sure) and myself were to be picked up from uni at 10:30am. But it was not until 11:15 that they picked us up, and 11:30 till we left. But it did not really matter. We started the trip to Waterford, which should take us around 2hours. But with the GPS taking us through all the back roads and the traffic going in to Waterford, it took more like 3 hours. But I must say that the system was well organised, with numerous park and rides in the outskirts of Waterford, where you could park your car and buses (loads of buses, you did not have to do much, if any waiting for the buses to come/leave…at the time we were leaving our park and ride, there were 4 buses, which quite quickly filled up, left and the cycle continued).

We made our way to the city centre, and first stop FOOD. By the time we had lunch, 4pm had come, so it was no longer possible to get access to the boats, but we could watch and enjoy. The weather was lovely and so even just walking around was great fun. And I believe all the other people present agreed, because the city was packed. It was like a Maltese festa replicated by a large number of times (estimates gave an attendance of 130,000 people). We then made our way to meet other friends from their lab who made it to Waterford earlier, and we just lounged in front of one of the stages. We listened to some great music by a band called Lebowski (who I think are these guys) and chatted.

At around 6:30pm, one of the girls said that she got tickets to go see a main concert…the tickets were free, but you needed to get them. Luckily she managed to get tickets for all of us, and we made our way to the main stage. The supporting act was Brass & Co., a 10 piece (according to their website but possibly more yesterday) live band, who really got us having fun. Unfortunately I loved the supporting act much more than the main act, Sharon Shannon. But this is likely since Brass & Co. played well known songs we could join in and enjoy whilst Sharon Shannon played traditional Irish music, which to me sounds more or less constantly the same, so I cannot really do with 1 hours or so of listening to it.

Therefore some of us made our way to find some dinner (it was 9:30pm by this time). And oh boy what a hassle it was. Most of the open restaurants were full (difficult to find a table for 7). But what I could not understand is the number of restaurants with ‘kitchen closed’ or closed for the night, when the city was still full of people. Oh well. We finally settled on a trusty source…Burger King…yes we are fancy :). After having dinner, we made our way to the river to watch the fireworks display. Now I am not that wowed by fireworks…in Malta they are the order of the day every weekend throughout summer…with fireworks being let off everyday in at least 1 (but generally more like 4 or 5) villages. But I was pleasantly surprised that the show took 15minutes (I checked) and it was good…I also saw a type of fireworkd I have not seen in Malta.

At this point the throngs of people started departing. But we decided to stay a bit longer, since it was advised that if public safety is at risk, due to the large number of people departing at around 11pm, they would stop the park and ride service for 2 hours. So we made our way to a bar with live music (and another great band and singer) for some drinking and dancing. At 12:30 we were however quite tired and we made our way to the Park and Ride pickup point. We found a bus departing…at 1am…yes they were still working, even though not too many people remained, which I think shows great planning (other aspects which impressed me, and I must mention was the large number of mobile toilets, which were clean, and even had toilet paper in them, even if you went at 4pm, 11pm, whenever…well done).

We got to our car and started the 2 hour trip back to Dublin. Thank god I was not driving…thank you Kevin 🙂 We all had a nap, whilst he drove, so his efforts are greatly appreciated.

All in all…a great day. I really enjoyed it and look forward to more trips like this 🙂

Apartment 3 in 9 Months

1 07 2011

Today I have moved again :)…it sounds like I am a really picky person, but it is not that. The first time I moved it was to get closer to friends and so on, and now I moved in with a good friend of mine in Dublin, Monika. Luckily I had Monika and Ross to help me. Ross came over yesterday and we started the packing, and continued today. Then today we all helped move stuff over to the new apartment, which is in the next block. I really appreciated their help, because I did not pack all that well this time, so I really needed all their support. I think we made the whole transfer in 4 trips or so. So it was not too bad. And we had a lot of good laughs on the way.

After transporting everything to the new apartment, we went over to the nearby supermarket and bought some supplies, came home and cooked some pizza and made garlic bread. They were delicious MMMMM. We chatted and laughed a bit (or a lot) more, and then they left and I got to do the actual unpacking :S. It did not take too long, around 30minutes, and now everything is in its place WEEEEEE. I now look forward to next Tuesday when I am having a sort of housewarming/Maltese evening for my closest friends. But more about that later 🙂

Thank you Monika and Ross. Without you it would have required much more effort, and you made it so much fun 🙂 We are a great team 🙂

Update: as I had a complaint. I also had a call from my sister as she moved house today as well. We showed each other our new apartment (though mine is not much too different to the other I had before). Jealous of my sister…they have a big window and a balcony in their bedroom 😦

A Post Long in the Making

27 06 2011

First of all, sorry for taking so long to update you all (although some of you are certainly happy cos you don’t have to read what I write). But I have been quite busy and been up to so many things, I had to check my calendar to see what I got up to. First up was a visit to Belfast to meet my supervisor there. This was the third time I met him, though I have been in contact with him regularly via email. So On Wednesday 15th May I made my way up to Belfast, to be there ready for the meeting next morning at 9am. I planned the trip to allow me some time to go around Belfast on the Wednesday, and luckily had some gorgeous weather allowing me to wander around the city and take in some sights. Thursday was a day at the University. I will write more on that in myresearch blog in the coming days however, as I do not want to bore you about my research here.

On Friday, I then woke up as usual ready for my day at Uni. However I received a special call from Bernard asking me about my plans for the weekend. He does not normally call, but Oh well, I thought it was a nice thing. However before saying goodbye he asked me whether I was able to pick him up from the airport that night, and that is when the rollercoaster began. YIPPIE!…he decided to come on a surprise visit. That meant that I first had to organise my room a bit, and keep up with the Uni stuff. That evening I had a birthday party for one of the girls from the School of Biotechnology, Markella. I headed to her birthday party, but then had to leave early to go pick up Bernard from the airport at around midnight. Fortunately, Ross offered to drive me to the airport to pick Bernard up, which made things much easier, since buses stop running at this time (thank you Ross). We arrived a bit late to pick up Bernard (though it was because the plane landed very early), and then headed home.

The weekend was a packed weekend. We went shopping, visited the Street Performers World championship in Dublin (great event, really enjoyed it, even though it rained), went to the Jameson Distillery Tour (where we got selected to get a whiskey tasting…though at 12 noon it might not have been the brightest idea, but it was great fun), went to Monika’s for the evening where she told us all about her trip to China for a conference and Zahra and Ali showed us the photos from their trip to Malta and Italy. Then Monday, I made my way to the lab, since I had a couple of things I had to do after my visit to Belfast and so on, whilst Bernard entertained himself in the city centre. That evening, a good friend of mine, Marco, was visiting Dublin and DCU, with a group of 9 other Maltese for a course on Science education and inclusion, organised by AcrossLimits from Malta and DCU partners. So that evening, Bernard and myself joined the group for dinner at the city centre.

Tuesday morning, was time for Bernard to leave 😦 :(. However since Marco et al were in Dublin, I ended up going out to dinner with them most nights. The whole group was a great lot. I really enjoyed myself with them and we really had a great time. I hope they did not mind myself butting in to all their evening activities, but oh well, they seemed to be OK about it. It was a good craic as they say in Ireland. The group finally left on Friday afternoon (Boohoo, but thank you Marco for the goodies weeeeee, and Bernard too 🙂 ).

The weekend was here again in the blink of an eye. Oh I forgot, I went to a softball game on Wednesday, and we WON!!!!…I did some good plays, and some horrible ones as well, but Oh Well. I was pretty tired when the weekend arrived, but first up was a farewell party for Ilaria, a girl from Italy who was doing her masters at DCU. I was pretty exhausted, but I made it to her house and stayed for a bit, before going home to flop into bed and sleep a long long sleep.

The weekend was pretty relaxed. On Saturday I went to IKEA with Monika. Then Sunday I went to softball training and to mass. Then it was back to another week. Sorry for a long post, but I tried to include everything in it. Sorry for the delay, but I was quite busy, and I needed a whole weekend to get my energy back up to write it. Will try to write more regularly, and keep the posts shorter from now on 🙂

Freebies :)

15 06 2011

Ross’ time as a guest blogger is now over (though he is welcome back any time 🙂 ), so unfortunately you are now again stuck with my ramblings. After coming back from Malta, I have been trying to get some work done on my PhD. However I am still finding some time to have fun. In particular during the past week were 2 freebies. And you know how I like my freebies, so a happy person was I.

First up was a trip to Taste of Dublin last Sunday. I won the tickets through the facebook page. I did not get the tickets in the beginning :(. Luckily for me, some people did not reply back to the email telling them they had won the tickets, so they redistributed the tickets, and WIPPIE, I got 2 tickets to Taste of Dublin. I asked around in my lab, and David took me up on the offer, so Sunday afternoon saw us heading to Iveagh gardens where the event was being held. The weather was not too favourable. The rain had luckily stopped by the time we made it there, but the place, being outside was all muddy. Oh well, we still had a good time going round the different stands and tasting some of the food on offer.

My only possible complaint about the event is perhaps the price of the event (I did not have to pay, but this i what would hold me back next time). Entry to the event is €25 for advance bought tickets (this is the part I got for free). However once you enter the event you still have to pay for most of the foods (you get some samples for free), though most were quite reasonably priced in my opinion. Unfortunately I could not stay too long, so I left David enjoying the evening at the event, whilst I headed to the end of year Pizza BBQ by the OLV young adult group, since during the months of July and August no Sunday 6:30pm Gospel Mass is said, so we met at the Parish Priest’s house for some pizza, drink and an overall good time.

The next freebie was 2 tickets to a preview of the Bridesmaids movie. I got the tickets through the seefilmfirst website. I have been registered on this website since I moved to Ireland, but this is only the second time I received an ‘invitation’, and the first time I actually went. My accompanying partner this time was Ross. We left Uni and made our way to the Liffey Valley Shopping Centre where the cinema was. After a slight detour (to see the sights heqqq hmmm) we arrived at the shopping centre in time to have some dinner, followed by an ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s (MMMMMMM) and then made our way to the cinema. The cinema was completely full (the last 2 people who came in used up the last 2 seats in the cinema…they could not even sit next to each other). But we managed to get relatively good seats I must say.

The film was really funny, and the atmosphere in the cinema was great. We all laughed, gasped and enjoyed the movie together. In some scenes it was pretty disturbing I must say (hence the 16 rating hihi). But I haven’t laughed as much in quite some time. Overall the acting is not that impressive, especially of the Bride. But it does not detract from the story. I loved the actress playing the groom’s sister. I would definitely suggest it for anyone to see.

Those were all my freebies for now 🙂 Have a good week and hope you are happy to have me back writing instead of Ross 😛


Day six: Home time :( and Final Thoughts

14 06 2011

We got up early enough as we had to be at the airport at 10:30am for Ann’s flight to Luton. We said our goodbyes and headed straight through security. We had no trouble there. It was definitely a lot easier than security at Dublin Airport. We were two hours early for our flight but on time for Ann’s. We queued up with her until we could go no further. We then went to our gate where we got to the top of the non –priority queue but didn’t get our front seats. We got seats beside sweaty mc sweaterson . It was depressing landing in Dublin with the clouds and cold [It definitely was 😦 :(] after our great weekend .

Finally thoughts: 

Overall it was great holiday. Malta is a great place to visit as it’s steeped in history and the people our lovely. My highs were the temples, Mdina by night, swimming with the Fenechs, Seaside reataurant and the fishing village. My lows were getting burnt but apparently I can’t avoid that. I’d like to thank all the Fenechs for their wonderful family [Thank you…I chose my family especially to make you happy with them :P] especially Cec’s Mum for putting up with all of us. I’d also like to thank Bernard for driving us around and being our tour guide. Ann it was great to finally have a conversation with you and you’re as nice as you sounded on Gmail chat. Also want to thank Stephen for giving up his room for me. Zahra and Ali , it was great to a have you with us your cooking and company made the trip great. Last but not least I have to thank Cec for inviting me without her the whole trip wouldn’t be possible. She’s a great host , tour guide and lab mate [WEEEEEEEEE]. I will definitely be back to Malta [OH NOOOOO!!!!!!! LOL…you are welcome whenever you want].

By Ross O’Dwyer

Day Five: Byes, Fenech swimming, Crafts village,

14 06 2011

I awoke to the sound of a hair dryer. Ann was getting her done in the house by the Fenech’s personal hair dresser. Zahra and Ali were taking their flight to Rome :(. So we dropped them to the airport and said our goodbyes we then went to the lovely fishing village of Marsaxlokk. The weather was really nice. As Zahra said she left us the nice weather. I had a look around the touristy stalls and bought a little figure of a traditional fishing boat.

Marsaxlokk Bay

Marsaxlokk Bay

We went to visit the ancestral home of the Fenech’s. Cec’s three aunts live in this huge house with a lovely garden in the old part Zurrieq. Ann was there already rocking her new hairstyle. Only two of the aunts were there at the time. All three are aunts are used for their cookery and sewing skills [And for their wonderful company too :)]. We had some Kinnie and torta stuffed with peas. It was great. I got to see some pics of the twins when they were young. It was difficult to tell them apart.

We then dropped in on Bernard and his Dad and their boat. I was then given a “choice” of “more battlements” in the three cities or a refreshing swim so judging by the facial expression of Cec I “chose” swimming. After a making a quick phone call to their mum where the sisters ordered her to get ready for swimming. We then went to the house for a quick change into our swimmers and we were off to Ghar Lapsi. The water looked lovely and clear. It was strange for me to get into the sea where the water is up shoulders straight away. I think the Fenechs found the water a bit too cold but for me it was much warmer than the Atlantic Ocean. We were treading water for a bit which was also unusual for me. It’s normally so cold that we have to keep moving! It was nice relaxing though.

At Ghar Lapsi

At Ghar Lapsi

After our swim and moving the lazy dog that fell asleep behind the car we went home for a quick shower and headed to Mdina Glass to look for presents. There was a huge selection of colourful artistic glassware. You could even see how they made the glass. We then walked to the craft village where Bernard found a plastic banana for 2 euro! We then went to get Cec’s ear re-pierced. After the third shop we managed to find a place that would do it. Cec put on her brave face in front of a scared little girl who was going to have her ears pierced. We then went to a supermarket to stock up on gbejna [Gbejna is definitely the one food item I miss most from Malta, and the one thing I always stock up on when I go home/people come visit]. I got one of each flavour. Then it was off to pick up Bernard’s ukulele. That’s right I said ukulele.

We then headed home to doll ourselves up for a nice and last dinner out :(. I finally got to wear my shirt! [Are you implying that we did not take you to enough fancy places?…next time it is high class Malta all the way :P] We went to this lovely restaurant called Ferretti by the sea at Birzebbugia. I got to have the stuffed squid that Cec had told me about but unfortunatetly it wasn’t stuffed with salmon but rice [Yet still the same prices as if stuffed by salmon, which I think is a bit stupid in hindsight but Oh Well]. It was really good though. For starters we shared a garlic ciabatta with rocket and parma ham. Delicious! Cec had an interesting dessert of lemon sorbet in a hollowed out lemon. The rest of us went for yummy banoffi pie. It was great evening. I am now the unpaid wedding planner for the Fenech-Brincat wedding of 2014/15.

Ross's Dinner

Ross's Dinner

The hosts

The hosts

Beauty and the Beast (figure out who is who :P)

Beauty and the Beast (figure out who is who :P)

When we got home we were pretty tired so went to bed early enough.

By Ross O’ Dwyer