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My Never Ending Series of Unfortunate Events – A Collection of ‘Jessisms’.

So the other day while casually pondering life (ya know, as ya do), it occurred to me that I’ve had some pretty weird and unfortunate shit happen to me over the years. Now I know we all have our wacky experiences and encounters, but I’m starting to think that I have a significant amount more than others. After 23 years, and countless inputs from friends and family, I’ve come to the conclusion that ‘it’s just something about me.’  Apparently ‘I just have that ‘look’ (whatever that look is I’ll never know).

I’m just a recipe for disaster. A walking calamity. A magnet for mishaps. Quite a while back, I decided it might be a fun idea to compile a list of what I like to call my ‘Jessisms’, or in other words my own personal never ending series of unfortunate events. I’ve had this blog saved as a draft for some time now, and I’ve been slowly adding to it as my propensity for misfortune continues.

(Before I begin I must point out that most of these instances weren’t actually my fault, and therefore the circumstances surrounding them should not solely be put down to, clumsiness, stupidity, intoxication, or the colour of my hair).

Without further ado…

Being bitten in Coppers:

This is probably the most bizarre of them all. So there I am on my 19th birthday, minding my own business, enjoying my suddy and red to the gentle sway of Nicki Minaj in the basement of coppers. Utterly Sophisticated. When then, out of no where some middle aged bald guy runs up to me, bites me on the shoulder, and runs away. Next thing I know I’m being fussed over, your man is ‘goin to get the absolute shit kicked out of him,’  and there’s talks of tetanus and A&E in case the creature drew blood. Luckily he didn’t. Probably not surprising for coppers, but still unfortunate nonetheless.

Getting caught in the clothes line: 

It was a grand summers evening, and being the model child that I am I decided to hang out the washing for the fam. It was back in the too-young-for-a-job-days, so doing the housework would get you your 20 euro for the week. Which looking back is kind of bordering on the lines of child labour, but anyway. I had set out with great intentions, only the next thing I know I find myself literally stuck to the line. My long hair had betrayed me by getting deeply entangled in one of the pegs. The only thing I could do was stand there helplessly and hope someone would rescue me. A good forty minutes later my sister arrives back from my nan’s and sets me free. I have had a strange aversion to clothes lines ever since.

Being put in a strangers car by my father:

(Here’s looking at you Tom Keogh).

I regret to say that this one actually happened. It was around about 5 years ago, before my driving days. My dad was giving me a lift to the bus station, as I was heading back to college. All was going well, it was a seemingly inconspicuous Monday morning. That is until the car broke down less than half way through the journey. It wouldn’t have been so much of a big deal, if it wasn’t for the fact that I had a test that day that I couldn’t miss. If I missed the bus I missed the test. The car wasn’t budging and there was no one around to come to our rescue. So what does my dad do? Stands out in the middle of the road and attempts to flag down oncoming traffic. He then starts pleading with random strangers to take me and my mortified self to the bus station. Next thing I know I’m flung into a car, case in tow, with a woman called Ann and her two kids. Ann kindly threw me out at Waterford bus station some twenty minutes later, after the longest and most uncomfortable silence of my life. On the re-telling of this story my  Dad always says, “well didn’t ya make the bus?”. Yes Dad, I may have made the bus, but I can assure you my pride did not. (Also, she could’ve been a psycho killer, but whatever, “sure I made the bus”).

Accidentally using ‘Intimate feminine wipes’ on my face

Okay now this was just deceptively cruel. Who even knew such things existed? Again, not my fault. The culprits in question were bought for me under the illusion that they were, in fact, normal facial cleansing wipes. A similar incident happened shortly thereafter, when I used my nephews  “nappy rash” cream on my face. A serious dupe for sudocream let me tell you. I’ve now come to the conclusion that I need to just give up on facial products in general.

Drinking my own contact lense:

Some of you may remember this one from Facebook.

Yes I indeed happened to drink my own contact lense. I’m not proud of it, in fact it still haunts me to this day, almost exactly two years after it first occurred. It wasn’t a sick dare or anything, it was just something horribly and disgustingly unfortunate. You see, anyone with contact lenses will understand the hardship of taking them out after a night out. Sometimes you surprise yourself and manage to store them perfectly in their little containers of solution. More often times than not they can end up glued to your eyelids, left to shrivel on two plates, or in this instance floating in glasses of water. Now you can see what happened next. I’m drunk, I wake up in the middle of the night, I’m thirsty. I innocently reach for one of the glasses of water beside my bed, and well you get the rest.

Capsizing in the waters of Slovenia

Now this one was a genuine near death experience. Not being dramatic. So I’m on an inter-rail with a group of friends, and we decide to do something other than destroy our livers. That something turned out to be white-water rafting. Very adventurous of us altogether. Let me set the scene. So we’re looking sexy in our wet suits as we embark our vessel. (Which was basically a blow up floating boat, and not a raft made of sticks like I had originally imagined/secretly hoped). Our instructor ‘Yuri’ was quite the man, and ensured us we were completely safe as we navigated our way through Slovenian waters. All was going well, until all of a sudden the boat capsized. Before long we were all being flung rapidly downstream. At first we found it amusing, but after Yuri’s frantic screams of ‘this is fucking serious,’ we were in full titanic mode. The water was fairly shallow, so me being me, think ‘ah sher it’s grand I can just stand up and sort of walk back’. Disaster. Of course I’m flung back straight onto my arse and dragged across rocks, dodging trees, and screaming for my life along the way. What made me think I could walk against a rapid current, I’ll never know.  In the end I somehow managed to swim back to the raft, oar in hand, exhausted. All I could do was lay there like a wet seal and wait for the others to be rescued. Tragic stuff.

Being asked on a date to Mcdonalds by a Dublin Bus driver:

Now I know some of you might not view this as unfortunate per se, some might find it flattering. But picture the scene. It’s 11:34pm. I’m en route home from a late shift and I have to be up and back in work at 7am. All I want to do is peacefully disembark the bus and fall in to bed. I press the buzzer and I approach my stop. The bus driver seemingly innocent, turns to me and asks in the thickest Dublin accent “Dya wanna go ta Mcdonalds?”  Still genuinely not sure if he was asking me on a date, or if I looked like the type of person who frequents McDonalds. Either way I stared blankly at him, shook my head politely, disembarked the bus and ran for my life.

Wearing my leggings inside out to work:

Now I must stress that for 6 months straight I had to endure the pain of 7am starts, something my former college student self wasn’t accustomed to at the time. (My present self is now peeling herself up at 6.30am). Anywho, after my early rise I then had a bit of a bitch of a commute, so naturally these types of mishaps were bound to occur…weren’t they? Nonetheless, after my usual ritual of crying into my cereal at the foot of the stairs, I set out for work. I got on the bus, put in my earphones and tried to avoid the oncoming plague of other passengers. Only then did I happen to look down and realise that my leggings were in fact inside out. Facing an hour long commute and a further 10 minute walk to work before I could rectify the situation, there was nothing I could do. Fortunately I wasn’t the strangest creature on the bus that day.

 Being abandoned by my ‘friends’ in a dyke:

 When I was in primary school we had a dyke (which is basically a washed out ditch/trench like thing), that ran along the back of the school. Of course we were forbidden from going near it, but that never stopped us. I remember coming to school after spraining my ankle in a separate unrelated trampoline incident. I was on crutches, but my friends convinced me to come out to the dyke anyway. Not wanting to miss out on any of the fun, I agreed. Next thing I know I’m being lowered into the dyke crutches and all. It was all fun and games until  someone got wind of one of the teachers coming. Everyone fled, leaving 10 year old me alone in the dyke to navigate my way out with my crutches.

Being run over by a bike in Sweden:

I think I’ll let the below speak for itself on this one. I did legitimately have a stalker in Sweden btw, but that’s a post entirely of it’s own.

Chipping my tooth on a pole in Barcelona:

Not intoxicated, just blind and laughing too much. I probably reacted a little too dramatically when this one happened, but in fairness it was one of my worst fears realised. I thought my whole tooth was gone. Plus, I hadn’t long shed my braces, so it was pretty upsetting. I did however, get to rock the ‘London Look’ for a few days.

At this stage, I think I should probably start wrapping this up! I am aware this post is probably quite long, but it has only just scratched the surface. I mean I could probably write an entire book filled with my misadventures, perhaps one day I will. For now I will leave you with these short anecdotes, in the hopes that you enjoyed reading them just as much as I enjoyed re-telling them!

As Mr Lemony Snicket himself once said:

 What might seem to be a series of unfortunate events may, in fact, be the first steps of a journey.

~Jessie

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Life in Barcelona 

As many of my Facebook friends know already, on June 21st I began my journey  to the beautiful city of Barcelona. Back in February I decided (somewhat out of the blue) that I wanted to Au pair, teach English, and immerse myself in the wonderful culture of Spain. While simultaneously passing on some of my own Irish charm of course😉🍀.  Having spent a memorable semester abroad in Sweden I seem to have caught an insatiable travelling bug. From -16 degrees and 10+ inches of snow, to 32 degrees and plenty of sun, sea and sand it’s safe to say a new adventure is well and truly under way.

One of the first things I’ve come to notice about Spain is not only the warmth that radiates from the sun, but the warmth that radiates from the people. Don’t get me wrong, the swedes were friendly, welcoming and seriously efficient, but in two short weeks the Spanish have made me feel like family. I’m staying in an area just 10 minutes outside Barcelona called Sant Cugat De Valles with a family of four and I’m au pairing for their two girls, Sofia and Paula. The girls are incrediblely smart, caring and creative. They make me laugh every day and have already started treating me like a big sister, giving me this just two days into my stay:


On the Tuesday  after I arrived it was a big festival in Spain known as St Joan ( pronounced like “juan”. Of course my bogger Irish accent was saying Joan).  My host family explained that st Joan is basically a big celebration of the summer solstice – the shortest night of the year. Great emphasis is placed on it particularly in the Catalunya region. Basically it’s a night of fireworks, eating, drinking and celebrating. It kind of reminded me of paddys day over here. My host family had friends over and everyone was responsible for bringing a different dish. I ended up trying lots of authentic Spanish food, I even surprised myself by trying and liking what I called “this slimy fish looking thing”. I’m not one for sea food, but I was offered a piece of homemade toast with a sweet jam, and what looked like a worm on top of it. Not wanting to be rude and deciding to just be adventurous, I went for it, shcoked that I actually enjoyed it. I’ve already opened up my palette to trying lots of different foods which I’m pretty happy about.  Considering lunch often features spinach , and dinner isn’t complete without a salad I’m hopeful I’ll be a “skinny mini” in no time 😂

What I really love about the Spanish lifestyle is that a huge emphasis is placed on sitting down and eating meals together. There’s something so lovely about that. We eat breakfast lunch and dinner together outside everyday. It’s a practice that’s largely lost in today’s society. Given busy schedules, families tend to eat separately. I’ve already learned so much from my host “mam and dad”, Silvia and Alfonso. They are constantly telling me about their lives and Spanish culture, asking me about Ireland, my life, and what I hope to do in the future.

As far as the city goes, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything so strikingly beautiful before. Everything about the city just takes you in. The buildings, the people, the atmosphere, the restaurants. I haven’t gotten a chance to do anything too touristy yet, but I’m hoping I’ll get to do gaudi’s infamous Sagrada Familia sometime this week. I did get to see the camp nou football stadium though, and that was seriously impressive. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves on this note:

  

  

  

 

Even at that these snippets don’t do the city justice.

Moving on then to my “metro disaster”.  It’s true no adventure in the life of Jessie Keogh is complete without some form of misfortune. I move to Sweden, I acquire a stalker ( legitimately) I move to Spain, I’m a victim of robbery. Below is a picture of the Spanish metro, it looks so pretty and quirky on the outside, but inside lurks some of the worlds most skilled pickpockets, and I of course found out the hard way. It’s funny actually, only a couple of days before it happened Silvia told me to be careful telling me their previous au pair was robbed of €250. I remember thinking “that will never happen to me”.  I’m one of these people who constantly checks their bag and holds it close, I’m not careless in that regard which is why I was so shocked to find my iPhone and purse gone from my bag on Saturday night. I was on my way to one of the nightclubs with some fellow au pairs, having a great time, when all of a sudden I noticed my iPhone was just gone. In a split second. My purse was still there, but in the commotion of trying to find my phone that suddenly vanished too. I couldn’t believe it. In one instant my bankcard, drivers license and phone were just gone. Trying to get home that night having no means of contact or no access to money in a foreign country was frightening to say the least. But thanks to the amazing new friends around me and the kind strangers in the station thereafter, I managed.

 

Anyone who knows me will know that my iPhone was like my fifth limb. All day Sunday I was pretty devastated. I was angry, upset and bitter that this horrible thing happened to me so soon into my stay and when I was having a great time too. How was I going to take pictures? Document my time? Worse still how was I going to arrange to meet up with anyone? How was I going to get money? These were all questions swirling around in my head. Looking back now it seems so trivial. After I had cried it out of my system, I thought back to the Berkeley J1 tragedy from a few weeks ago and I suddenly felt so selfish. 6 people lost their lives on what should’ve been the summer of their lives, and here I was alive, still in a beautiful city, crying over material things that were utterly replaceable? It suddenly all seemed laughable. I then read the moving article by Injured Berkely victim Clodagh Cogley in which she said;

“Enjoy a good dance and the feeling of grass beneath your feet like it’s the last time, because in this crazy world you never know when it might be.”

Her words put everything into perspective for me. I may not have a phone, but I have two perfectly functioning legs. I have eyes to see, lungs to breathe and lips to taste. Things could’ve been so much worse and I thank my lucky stars they weren’t.  In fact the 10days I’ve been phoneless have actually been a real eye opener for me. In order to meet up with people I’ve just had to agree on a time and place and stick to it rigidity. (How did people ever survive in the 90s?!😜) it’s funny though, I never realised how much the world is actually plugged into their devices. I was at the train station during the week on my way to meet some friends, and every single person on the platform had earphones in, or were glued to their phone. I was honestly the only person who wasn’t. It just struck me how we don’t see peoples faces anymore. We don’t look up to take in our surroundings, we are too preoccupied with what’s happening in the virtual world to appreciate the real world. Don’t get me wrong I know before I was definitely the guiltiest of all.

Anyway while I was having these wonderfully awe inspiring life affirmations, an elderly woman approached me on the platform. (Probably because I was the only one who looked alert). She asked me in Spanish “was this the right platform for plaza Catalunya” I replied using what little Spanish I have saying “yes it is” she smiled said “Gracias” and went on her way. I couldn’t help but wonder would this have happened if I was glued to my phone? She most likely wouldn’t have approached me, and I wouldn’t have gotten to practice my Spanish and help someone out in the process. So every cloud has a silver lining and all that 😊

 

In other news those wondering how my tan is coming along can see for yourselves:


It’s currently  39 degrees and I can promise you “factor 50 SPF” has been lying to us all. I’m hoping that lovely pink glow will turn a smooth caramel brown like  my spaniard counterparts😂 I’m pretty sick of Paula and Sofia calling me “Leche” (which no prizes for guessing, means milk). They’re great little girls though. So caring, funny and affectionate. I already know I’m going to bawl leaving them!


 

   

Despite my first little hiccup, I’m looking forward to the next 5 weeks of antics Barcelona has to throw at me! And I can’t wait for more adventures with my other Aupair chicas💜

Hasta Luego! X