Friday, May 30, 2008

The Holiday is Over

Craig went back to work yesterday and now I am left to my own devices during the day. Yesterday, I explored the city center. It's about a 20 minute walk down the Shankill. It wasn't too bad despite my anxiety of getting lost. It was a weird feeling walking down the Shankill Road. Maybe it was just my paranoia, but I felt like all eyes were on me and I clearly didn't belong here. This is a protestant area and catholics are strictly prohibited. I'm Catholic and even though Craig says that I don't count because I'm not Irish, I still feel unwanted here. I walked with my head down and focused to my destination praying that people don't find out that I'm a Catholic even though I don't really count in their eyes. I'm just an American. It's the Irish Catholics they hate. I can't help but feel the hatred.

Even the peace treaty was signed a few years ago, there is still tension in the air. And you can see it with union jacks flying from almost every household and murals that are a constant reminder of the hatred between the two religions (pics later I'm too lazy...I always say this). Religion is weird.

On the household front, Craig and I are doing well relationship-wise but this trip has been a true test. Ever since it has started it has been falling down like dominoes. The motorcycle crash, the trip to the west has been one farce after another, and now our living situation has taken a turn for the worst. His stepfather, out of the kindness of his heart, said we can take his empty house rent free at least we'd have privacy and our own space. It was an ideal situation until we saw the place. The fusty smell was unbearable and seems like it hasn't been cleaned for years. Mold and mildew on the walls. The kitchen unappetizing and the bathroom was disgusting! We stayed the night and I just had this icky feeling like I wanted to take a shower 20 times to watch off the stench of the smell. I didn't want to touch anything! All I can do was put my head in my hands and sleep. Craig wasn't too happy about it either but he has a stronger stomach than I do.

So back to his mom's house. Both of us can't sleep in his tiny single bed so he gave it to me and he's sleeping in the living room. It's sad but that's the way it goes. No hanky panky.

So we're looking for a room/apartment to rent for two months. We visited a nice hip lady in a well to do area of town. She has a double room to rent but the room is so small there's barely enough room for our stuff. This will be our last resort. His coworker said he saw a bunch of room for rent signs in Lisburn. We're going to check those places out today. If we have no luck with this, we'll call the lady with the double room tonight. Fingers crossed!

I feel like a vagabond. Coming in and out of places. No place to put my feet up and relax. Oh well...


sloan said...

Hey! Thought you might like to check out this site:
There're loads of rooms and flats for rent and let on it. Some of it is really quality, too. Also, I can give you a number of a woman... if I can find it. Her name is Gillian, and she's on 07734950125. She specializes in long and short term letting to travellers. Don't know for sure, but maybe she has something. Most of her stuff is around the Botanic/Lisburn/Stranmillis/Malone area. Not necessarily great location wise, but has far less controversy than the Shankill.

As for the Shankill.. Don't let it bother you so much. These people are very set in their ways, but just act like you belong there and you'll be fine. Er, what I mean is, like, don't think that you don't belong there.
And no one will be able to tell just by looking at you whether you're Catholic or Protestant. And, trust me, no one will approach you unless you're an asshole about it. That's the only way riots start. Unless you're a Short Strander [near me in East Belfast]... I think they just like to riot for the fun of it.

But seriously, don't let it get you down! Be proud of who you are :)

Where abouts are you on the Shankill? I have a friend who is on... well, I have no idea what street it is. But. She's up that area, too! I was really nervous going my first time, but it seems fine for the most part. Might get a little rough around the Twelfth, but that's expected!

Flippin' Yank said...

Howdy! We were all over gumtree. Unfortunately, we've had bad luck with it. Most places have a lease of at least 6 months and don't take couples.

But we found a place. Please see above!