As we made our way on the train to Holyhead, Wales (where we'd catch the ferry to Dublin) we saw some beautiful scenery
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Can you believe the gorgeous weather?!?!
And then the Canadian and I began to talk about the Welsh language. We both agree that if you were to turn your childhood scribbles into a pronounceable language, they would sound/look something like Welsh.  Just to further confirm our assertions -- we came to this train station:
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See the sign? That's the station name...
Here's another view...
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It comes with its own pronunciation guide...as if they think that would actually help.
We arrived in Dublin mid-afternoon and headed to our hotel, the Westin, just south of the river Liffy (isn't that a great name? Liffy! There should be a beer called that -- "I'd like a Liffy please"). 

The Canadian began checking us in and in the process the woman at the front desk informed us that the hotel was completely booked and that they didn't have the room we had requested available.  The hotel was incredibly apologetic (probably because the Canadian has platinum status left over from his days of traveling) and so they offered us the only upgrade they had available...the Presidential Suite. 

(Queue presidential music)

That's right folks -- it's true.  All of your assumptions that I very well might be the next president (you have been assuming that all along correct?  Certainly has something to do with the *stellar* writing quality of my blog...) were in fact realized in Dublin. 

And you know? I have to say, I kind of felt like the President when I walked in and saw all of this...
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The living room...
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Stairs just off the living room to the Presidential Office
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The Presidential Office (upstairs) complete with phone to...the Kremlin? Batman? I didn't test it to see...any guesses?
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The tiny bath off the study in case one couldn't get off the phone with the CIA while needing to do some Presidential business
When you're the president, you probably read a lot -- foreign affairs, the classics, maybe People magazine.  So it would stand to reason that you need your very own bookshelf in your fancy Presidential Office right?
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This looks like a normal bookshelf in the Presidential Office...but...
But you know what else you need when you're the President?  YOUR VERY OWN SECRET PASSAGE ESCAPE ROUTE!!!
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To the bat cave!!
The Canadian told me he couldn't believe I had figured out that was a secret door (he didn't notice it at all)...but seriously...has he met me??? The girl who has been reading Nancy Drew since BIRTH?!  His wife who loves (*cough* is obsessed with) James Bond, 007?!? Who grew up acting out murder mysteries? And who read Trixie Beldon and the Hardy Boys as a toddler and Agatha Christie in elementary school? Who else BUT me would find the secret passageway!!!???

After leaving the upstairs on that wing, you make your way back through the living room to the dining room...
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For dining with the Prime Minister
And the Presidential boudoir...
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For Presidential sexy-time
And the bathroom -- with a shower seat so I can shave my legs properly (bliss).  I seriously spent a good half hour in there shaving because back in London the shower has nowhere to put your legs so you have to contort yourself into impossible configurations to get everywhere...and this shower had a giant bench!! I was so happy...
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And naturally it also had a jetted tub...
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Please, come soak your cares away! (It said to me)
And then there's another set of stairs off the bedroom, which leads to...
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Your very own gym!!
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And...
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Martini - Steamed not stirred...
A steam room!!!  Seriously!!!  (And yes, the Canadian and I DEFINITELY had a steam)

But just in case you get dehydrated from your steam or your workout, they have thoughtfully provided some water and towels to help you cope.  It's a jungle out there...
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So, after we toured the Presidential suite, and the Canadian informed me that in spite of my delusions I was NOT the President and that we should go see Dublin, so we decided to head out and wander around.  I told the Canadian to go plan our route...and so as he did that, I decided to head back upstairs and take a photo of him planning the rest of the trip (I have no idea why I did this...I just did)
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Random photo of the Canadian planning Dublin sight-seeing excursions...
Stay tuned for more on our Dublin adventures!!!
 
The Canadian and I decided to take a quick mini-vacation to Dublin last weekend.  The cheap train/ferry combo from London was enticing, plus, neither of us had ever been to the Emerald Isle before and we were hankerin' to get out of town.

I have to say, it was quite an adventure and we had a ball (can I just say how much I LOVE the Irish?  L.O.V.E them!) and there will be several posts dedicated to our escapades but, I thought you might want to know what the Rotten One did while we were away...

Well, actually, I have no idea.  But here's what I do know.  Usually when we leave town, I take her down to Grand Union Pets, drop her off and when I return to pick her up she barks at me (loudly) for the next 20 minutes, filling me in on her adventures, bossing me around and telling me I shouldn't have been gone so long.  (Someday I will fill you in on what it's like to own a dog that chatters incessantly like a Husky but has the deep, loud, bark of a German Shepherd...it's awesome.)

This time, however, the Canadian went to pick her up and when they arrived home, she came into the kitchen (where I was making gorgeous enchiladas) shot me a look, barked once, and headed upstairs. 

So, like any good mom checking on her wayward child, I went to investigate...and here's what I found.
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Passed. Out.
 
I almost hesitate to discuss this because it is such a ubiquitous topic in the expat world, particularly among female expats: the subject of trying to find a hair salon.

It took me years to find the perfect place in Austin -- and to find someone who can navigate my curls (which, have thoughtfully decided that they are now FRIZZ in this London humidity?! WTF?)  My hair is very thick, it dreadlocks underneath (unintentional on my part, it just thinks it's a Rastafarian), it's really curly and if I were in a facebook relationship with my hair, my status would say: It's complicated.
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My hair looks a LOT like this photo -- in length and texture -- and of course we're both named Sarah. (Click for source)
The last time I had my hair done was in May -- and now, mama needs some hair lovin'.  After some intense research, I've found a salon that I hope, (please hair gods...please!!) can tame the mane.  The curls require some seriously complex cutting maneuvers to make them not turn into the triangle (curly hairs -- you know what I mean!)
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(Click for source)
And of course (like everything about me...) the color is complicated.  There are some 6-8 different colors in my hair because Joey (my fabulously awesome stylist back in Austin) is a color goddess. I don't even know how to begin to explain what she does to someone because I usually let Joey have complete creative license with my color (yes, she's THAT good -- so awesome that I allow my overly-controlling, completely anal self to relax and let someone else take the reigns.  I love her.)

So, I'm booking an appointment for 2 weeks from now and I'm nervous as hell.  I keep telling myself that there *have* to be awesome stylists here because this is a BIG multinational city with people who NEED a good haircut and color. Right?...

Let's all cross our fingers this goes well -- if so, I'll shout the salon from the rooftops, but until then, I'm keeping quiet just in case it's awful.  But it will be fine. I know it. I tell myself.
 
Because this is predominantly an expat blog I haven't said much about the goofy relationship that the Canadian and I have... 

We are both individually kind of goofy people but together, well, let's just say we laugh a lot ...
Just to give you an idea of how we roll here are a few conversations that we've had not only in the last few days but also over the years:

Conversation 1
Yesterday while walking through our 'hood the Canadian was pointing out new things
The Canadian: Look, a new nursery...
Me: Did you just say "Nooners are free"?
The Canadian: Yeah....that's what I said...(and he was thinking WTF?! lol)

Conversation 2:
Setting: 4 am, Romania, relegated to crappy twin beds in an even crappier hotel. The Canadian and I are tossing and turning on our hard twin beds.  At one point he flops over onto his belly, and in the moonlight I see him raise his butt and plop it down.  I start laughing because I think it's such a weird thing to do -- the following conversation ensues:

Me: *laughing*
The Canadian: What are you laughing at?
Me: That butt thing you just did -- what WAS that??
The Canadian: *does the butt thing again*
Me: *laughs*  What are you DOING?
The Canadian: That's a butt sigh...cause I can't sleep
Me: a butt sigh?!!  *laughs much harder because it's 4:00 in the morning and we're discussing a butt sigh*

Conversation 3:
The Canadian and I are on chat (i.e. we're chatting online) one day during the day last week discussing our upcoming weekend in Dublin.

Me: Sugar (yes, we call each other sugar) guess what?!!
The Canadian: What?
Me: It's a good thing we're going to Dublin with each other and not alone!
The Canadian: Why is that?
Me: Well, because then we'd be singlin'
Me: and it's better to be doublin' while going to Dublin!!
The Canadian:  :-/  (he was unimpressed with my wit...but I bet you're TOTALLY impressed!!!)
 
And by some, I mean me. 

Summer in Texas is my happy place -- 100 degree days, swimming pools, Amy's ice cream, freezing watermelon and especially Saturdays on the lake with a cold beer in my hand -- then when you're worn out from all day on the lake (and you're still a more than a little drunk) finding a Mexican food place, sitting on the patio laughing and sipping margaritas and eating chips and salsa. Bliss.

Yesterday I had this horrible bout of homesickness. I wanted heat -- like jalapeno heat on my tongue and sweltering Texas sun heat on my shoulders (with everything below the shoulders bobbing in Lake Travis).  I wanted TexMex and sunshine something fierce and I just couldn't seem to shake it no matter how hard I tried.

I figured I needed to at least satiate what I could, so the Canadian and I decided we should stock the house with some proper Mexican food ingredients.  If nothing else, this could at least help with the jalapeno side of things.

Thus, my heat-craving homesickeness led us to a random side street in Bethnal Green checking out Casa Mexico - a Mexican import store. (NotfromAroundHere gave me a heads-up on Twitter about this place!)
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Little did I know that when this photo was taken (shortly before we entered) that I would never be as happy as I was in that moment to be assailed by Mexican folk music. It was like a little slice of home and I wanted to ask the lady behind the counter if she would mind if I just hung out there for awhile (and by awhile I mean, every day that I live in London...)

But I held it together (and did NOT grab onto her knees and beg for her to adopt me), and wandered around the store. 

I restrained myself from buying the Mexican glassware (cheap and ubiquitous in Texas) -- just so I could be reminded of home.  Although, I really really really wanted to.
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And then we made our way to the little grocery section and I might have gone on a little shopping spree (driven by panic that the store might close someday (no evidence of this - just my irrational mind) and then it would be my last grasp at civilization...)

So I loaded up the bag. Salsa verde? Yes please!! Pipian sauce? I think I will!! Refried black beans? Don't mind if I do!!! Flour tortillas?  Hell to the yes!!
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Before I cleaned them out of course...
After wistfully wandering around the store for awhile, the Canadian told me that we really should go (you can read that as, pulled me out of there kicking and screaming) and we headed home with our loot. 

Now of course this morning I awakened needing to scratch that Tex-Mex itch...so I made myself some breakfast tacos with my newly acquired ingredients.  (You can read my other post on breakfast tacos here)

Ay, Dios Mio.  So. Damn. Good.  And now, this Texpat is happy.
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Tortillas harinas, queso, huevos, frijoles negros y salsa.
 
Well, the sea crate arrived yesterday -- and with it all of our stuff that isn't in storage.  Which, I discovered much to my disappointment, was a lot.  While there is more physical space in this house (versus our home in Austin) there is a LOT less storage space.  And, space in this house is used SO inefficiently.  Which drives me a little insane (major pet peeve is space wasting) but, I've promised myself this would not be a blog about all the things that irritate me about London so...

*ahem*

The sea crate arrival brought some interesting surprises.  The first surprise was:
1) Our bed didn't fit upstairs.  Not the bedroom mind you, which is twice the size of my bedroom in Austin.  No. It didn't fit up the actual stairs.  Awesome.

So, we started problem solving. We would need to take the bed apart -- which was it's own special hell.  The bed was hand-built in Austin (not custom-made for us --the guy who built it had made it for his wife and we bought it on Craigslist years ago) -- but when anything is made by someone else they aren't really thinking of how to get it apart, they are thinking about how to make it stay together, by any means possible.

So, while the movers moved in the rest of the furniture and boxes, the Canadian began disassembling the bed. There were a lot of ripping noises accompanied by the banging of mallets and screwdrivers and the sounds paint being scraped.  At one point I was pretty well convinced that all the King's horses and all the King's men would not be able to put that bed back together again.
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The Canadian disassembling the bed. Me behind the camera photographing for the blog trying to control my panic.
I finally decided I was too traumatized to watch the bed being torn to bits (you can't tell from the photo but there was some damage being done right there...) so I went into the kitchen to begin unpacking the boxes that were piling up.

And for the next two hours my life looked something like this:
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An ocean of paper and cardboard. The Rotten One might even be in there somewhere...and maybe Jimmy Hoffa
2) The next surprise came when I was helping the movers put the plant holders in the garden.  I might have accidentally imported a family of wasps into the UK. Wups.  Hope it's not like rabies where it didn't exist before and now suddenly it does....
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Imported wasp nest. Accidentally left off the customs form.
So the Canadian and I worked on unpacking for a few more hours and managed to get the kitchen looking something like this:
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Kitchen table. Nowhere to eat now, but at least it's unpacked.
And here's half of the living room. If you would draw your attention to the upper left hand corner you might be able to make out a very tall bar table and two bar stools. We have nowhere to put those except a small alcove upstairs...where I guess we will drink in a random alcove next to the bedroom? 
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3) And finally, surprise 3. When someone else is doing the packing of your house, you take care to pack in your suitcase things that might be, shall we say, uncomfortable for the movers to pack. You know, like your well-worn version of the Kama Sutra (with dog-eared pages) or your purple, grape-flavored massage oil. 

Well, I thought I was SO careful about all of *those* items...but it seems I forgot an item.  Which, because this blog is PG-13, I won't disclose.  But, it was SO embarrassing to open that box and see it lying there. On top. Lime green. You can't miss it. Awkward. 

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