money or life?

it’s 6:47 pm. i am sitting in havana tapas bar on georges st. eating a spanish omlette and dousing myself with a glass of chilean cabernet, my third this evening. i’ve spent the greater part of the afternoon here, drinking wine and working on writing projects and generally pondering my recent decision to do freelance writing full-time. i am too broke to afford this meal; in fact, the mere buying of this meal may actually mean that i can’t pay my rent on october 16, but i am not unhappy.

my latest forays into finding a “real” job in dublin have been unsuccessful three times over. the lowest point of recent times was actually applying as a checkout girl at Lidl. for those unfamiliar, Lidl is the european grocery equivalent of wal-mart – dirty, crowded and cheap with bad, VERY bad lighting. i actually become ill whenever i go into Lidl (which i do a lot recently to buy the cheap bread and €1 frozen pizzas that i’m currently living off of, spanish omlette aside) from the crowds and “ethnic smells” and general mayhem inside. (i can get away with saying “ethnic smells” because i am a degreed interculturalist now). what’s worse? Lidl hasn’t even called me back. i can’t even get hired for Shit-Checkout-at-Bad-Immigrant-Grocery-Store-Job.

i love freelance writing. if i was really honest with myself, that is what i would want to do full-time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (okay maybe 8 hours a day, 5 days a week).

i do not love being broke. first of all, i am a wine drinker. i need wine to function (that might be a stretch) and my boyfriend is also a wine drinker. a good 13% of our conversations actually revolve around wine, and it’s a good thing he actually has a paying salary because we like to go to wine bars and buy nice bottles of wine. often. being a wine drinker in dublin is not cheap, mind you. ireland is not a wine culture – people here prefer the pints. so, we spend a lot more money on wine than one would in italy or france or napa or even new mexico. but we like our wine.

i am also a traveler. the better part of my writing skill and inspiration come from traveling. being broke does not lend itself to traveling, either. i would kill to be in spain eating an actual spanish omlette right now, rather than the dublin, havana bar version of it (which is actually quite decent), but alas, i am not. at the moment, i could not afford a plane ticket off this rainy island if i wanted to. here again, i am lucky to have a boyfriend with a real salary who will gladly foot the bill to places like brussels, to where we are going in 2 weeks time.

there is also that pesky business of a residence-or-work visa hanging over my head. the other day, i spent nine (count them 9!) hours at the immigration bureau along with loads of africans and indian families with crying babies trying to get my student visa changed into an “i’m a desperate american looking for work” visa. after 9 hours, my number wasn’t even called, so i gave up and went back 2 days later. now i’ve got 6 months until march 19 when i will be unceremoniously kicked to the fuckin’ irish curb, if you get what i’m sayin’.

so, i’m optimistic! these things work out, right? seriously people – if you ever want a reality check and a blow to your dignity (not that you would???), i’ve got one word for ya: emigrate.

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