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Setting the Scene (Part 2): Galway, Ireland

So yesterday I briefed you about my location here in Salthill, Galway.  Today I will dive a bit deeper into my living situation and then I promise, I'll get to all of the lovely things to do out here in Galway.  Because there are PLENTY of great things to do besides sit at home at my house :)

My roommates are… well… different.  Don't get me wrong, these boys are so nice and completely harmless, but I'm in a whole different world.  I saw an ad in my Nat Geo Traveler (thanks for sending that daddy!) for Texas that said "Texas, it's like a whole 'nother country." Ya.  I kinda feel like that, but times 100. I found this apartment on which is like a smaller version of craigslist for Ireland.  They don’t even have a site for Galway, but I found this listing while I was looking in Cork.  I’m subletting my room from Our attached house - I have the top two left windowsa guy who is studying yoga in India for a couple months.  I got to spend some limited time with the previous occupier of my room when I arrived and he was nice enough.  There are 5 bedrooms in the house and I share them with 4 insanely… well… insane boys.

Mr. G, as we’ll call him, initially was the most outgoing and nicest roommate.  He facebook friended me before I moved in, made an effort to get to know me.  It was refreshing. He is about as opposite of me as humanely possible.  We agree on nothing except the strangeness of our friendship. Mr. G downloads everything he finds on the internet in case it “goes away” someday and stores it in harddrives in his room.  He watches conspiracy theory documentaries, stopped drinking a brand of smoothie because Cocacola bought 10% share (something about large corporation corruption), yells at me for forgetting to turn my space heater off (for wasting energy) and finds the fact that I like shooting guns appalling. He makes me coffee every morning, we argue talk for hours, and I really like him.  In addition, I know for a fact that he will read this, and he will laugh and we’ll laugh and then he’ll make fun of me and it will be over.  It’s great.

Roommate #2 is Mr. Activism. Mr. Activism has more energy than a windup doll.  He kind of reminds me of a train that’s heading up a hill… It’s like he keeps going against the grain, pushing and pushing and losing momentum and it looks like he might just collapse and fall back down the hill, but he hits the top and then goes barreling down the other side at lightning speed.  Mr. Activism once camped outside a Shell facility north of here for SIX MONTHS to protest off-shore drilling. SIX. MONTHS.  This shitz for real. He has WILD red hair and is tall and lanky.  He’s actually from Florida originally but he’s lived here for 5 or 6 years. The kid is bat-shit crazy.  To the t.  Mr. Activism and I got off on a great foot and have spent some great nights chatting.  He taught me how to chop wood also, which rocks. 

Roommate #3 is Jesus – and named so ONLY because he looks just like him.  No seriously… he looks so much like Jesus that he actually gets CAST as Jesus in advertising campaigns.  He showed me a photo of him in an ad where he played Jesus in the last supper painting. He also plays an extra in pretty much every single Irish/Scottish/British war movie ever.  I saw pictures of him dressed in costume from King Arthur the other day; sword and all. Anyway, Jesus has 5 children and three baby-mommas in two countries. He’s in his 40’s and still lives in 1965 – looks, ideals, lack of responsibility.  He’s from California and is trying to go back, but they won’t let him back in the states because he has 18 YEARS of outstanding child support. EIGHTEEN YEARS. Aka an entire human’s childlife. Jesus and I agree on nothing (I guess I’m the anomaly in this house) but we also don’t agree on disagreeing. 

Quirky Joe has lived in the room next to mine since I’ve lived here, but he just moved out.  Quirky Joe was quiet and nice.  He’s a music teacher and had lessons here occasionally, but other than that, I rarely bumped into him.  He has a son, who is fantastic.  He established quickly that I was clearly the coolest person in the house and has enlisted me to help him write a letter to his girlfriend (he’s 6).  He is in love and bought her flowers AND chocolate for Valentine’s day.  This kid’s got the right idea. 

Andrea just moved in a couple of days ago and replaced Quirky Joe + Kid.  Andrea is so sweet, from Switzerland, and such a nice presence in the house.  Her boyfriend lives in Galway and she moved up here to be with him for a bit and see how things go.  She has been such a good girl ally and is so easy to live with.  I don’t know her that well yet but know she’s going to be a great addition to the house.

So that’s my living situation.  We’re a mess. But we’re starting to be a rather well functioning family.  None of the boys have jobs, so we are home all day together.   There is always someone to talk to, someone to help you start a fire in the fireplace or someone to take a walk down to the beach with.  Mr. G is getting his phD and therefore is not broke nor hopeless.  Mr. Activism and Jesus however, are pretty much all over the place.  They don’t buy much of anything.  Rent is not easy to come by and it’s been a real eye opening experience to live with them having never come from a situation where I really didn’t have enough money to get food, or pay rent.  We talk about things most people never get around to and the emotion around here is really raw. 

by rrogers_vfxMr. Activism and Jesus dumpster dive to get food.  Now, before you judge. Ok no… go ahead. So basically, for whatever reason, the laws for expiring food in Ireland are strange.  Grocery stores basically throw anything away a few days before it expires.  Also anything that has been damaged gets tossed.  So the boys take their big backpacks every couple of days and head to the really nice grocery store in town and get food.  And the shit they come home with is incredible.  They will come home with gallons and gallons of milk, juice, cartons of eggs.  They’ll bring home tightly sealed containers with fruit, chopped veggies, cheese, even steaks.  And everything they get is still sealed in the package.  It’s amazing.  I doubt everything is this clean in the states, but I am just amazed by what they’ll come back with. Last night they went to a grocery store much like whole foods and picked me up a whole bunch of makeup still in the packages and a couple of pairs of gloves – which considering the fact I’m not 100% warmed up to actually eating food out of a dumpster, was a really sweet gesture.

All of the boys are a part of this thing called a Social Space which is basically like a community center but with no charity or second agenda behind it.  It’s kind of like a free place to come and share and hang out and it’s all a sort of like free expression and anarchism and whatever.  The space is currently being moved to a new building so I don’t actually get to see it in action.  However, we are housing much of the furniture and junk from the space at our house right now, while they’re in lingo.  So our house looks about as organized as our personalities do.

Hopefully this gives you a decent idea of what kind of crazy canvas I’m working with right now.

Reader Comments (5)

wow, that sounds like the making of some kind of TV show, not gonna lie... might be fun to be a fly on the wall in that house!

February 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermaggie

Just think if you had quiet, every day roommates. You'll have so many wonderful stories to tell with this gang!

February 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoel

Hey Abbey, glad to hear you're having a great time. Check out my friend's documentary on Dumpster Diving - it's called Skipping Waste and you can find it on youtube.

When is australia on your agenda? x

February 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnge

@Maggie & @Joel - Trust me, I'm writing everything down. This material will not go to waste. No pun intended.

@Ange - What an interesting documentary! The dumpsters these boys encounter look a bit more like what you see starting at minute 25 at the large supermarket. They're not really dumpsters even, just warehouse trolleys full of pre-packaged bread, fruit, cereal, etc. A couple days ago, the boys came home with enough fresh cut flowers to fill 6 VASES in our house! Including a whole bunch of long stem roses just after Valentine's Day. It's insane. Thanks for letting me know about the video, for anyone else interested in watching you can find it here: Skipping Waste

February 27, 2010 | Registered CommenterAbbey Hesser

That's one awesome bunch of folks you have living in that one house I have to say. Everyone with such a different background I can only imagine what it would be like, Oh and that kid asking for help to write the letter is so cute.

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