Vive la France!

I wasn’t going to write a post about my trip to France but after this week’s events in Nice I felt like I should. 😦

Last month I went to Nantes, France for a week to attend my cousin’s wedding (yes I know another wedding). My mam’s sister married a French man and lives in Nantes, my two cousins grew up there. I went over for a week with my parents, my brother and sister in law joined us from America. We had not seen my brother in over a year; he moved to America two years ago and got married last summer so we were really looking forward to seeing him. My mam’s brother and his wife also travelled over from Edinburgh and my cousins from London. It had been 9 years since my mam’s family had all been together so everyone was really looking forward to it.

My brother only received his travel Visa the week before he was due to travel and my mam lost her passport the day before we were leaving so the lead up to it was very stressful (nothing ever goes smoothly in my family) but somehow everything worked out in the end.

I have a complicated relationship with France, my accident happened in France and I spent months in hospital in Nantes. I returned numerous times over the next 10+years for more treatment and surgery so France has never been a particularly happy place for me! 😦 I hadn’t been in Nantes in over 10 years & this was the first time in 20 years that I would be a proper tourist there and not a patient.

I flew over with my parents on Tuesday, my brother joined us on Thursday and my sister in law on Thursday. We stayed in an apartment in the centre of town which was really really nice and comfortable. The first couple of days were very hot so I was dreading the wedding on Saturday incase it was roasting, I wouldn’t enjoy the day if it was too hot. On Thursday we went to my aunt’s house for a BBQ which was lovely, except French people eat very late so I was starving!! On Friday we wandered around Nantes then went for dinner in the house my uncle and his family had rented for the week. The house was just on the edge of a lake so it was very impressive. My sister in law had never met any my mam’s side of the family so I’m sure that she was very nervous.

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On Saturday morning we all got up early to get ready for the wedding and we actually got to the church early (a big achievement for my family 🙂 ). The temperature had also dropped so it was not uncomfortably hot, just nice! The wedding ceremony was in Nantes Cathedral which was amazing! Its a long story but their original church burnt down so they ended up in a Cathedral. Afterwards everyone went to the Irish pub across the road for a drink and then onto the reception which was on a barge on the Loire River. A very unique location! It was very different to an Irish wedding, a lot more informal. My cousin, Julian and his wife Sandra organised every single detail of the day, from the table settings, decorations, music, food etc so it was very personal.

The next day we went back to my aunt’s house for a BBQ and the France v Ireland soccer match, unfortunately as expected we lost but it was still a great day.

I flew home to Dublin the following day and my brother and sister in law flew to America. My cousins flew back to London and my uncle flew back to Edinburgh. My parents ended up staying in Nantes for a few extra days due to an air traffic controller’s strike (which they were quite happy about). It really was a great week, happy memories of France. I just hope it won’t be 9 years before we are all together again. 🙂

The following week I flew to Spain for my best friend’s hen party, who I am bridesmaid for 🙂 so my body is all over the place. I am really getting around this summer, my life is not usually this exciting I promise you!

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Hens on Tour

This time last week I was living it up in Portugal with 30 other women on a Hen weekend, what a difference a week makes!!

I got a 10 am flight to Faro airport, most of the others got a 6am flight but I like my sleep and can’t function that early in the morning so I got a later one. I arrived into Faro airport at about lunch time and got a coach to Albufeira, which I think took the scenic route because it seemed to take forever. When I got to the hotel I found my roomies and we followed the others into town where they went for a few drinks and then went back to the hotel get ready to go out. We were staying in a hotel with apartments, I volunteered to stay in the sitting room under the air-conditioning. The hotel was nice apart from the very aggressive and uncooperative hotel manager (it’s a long story). That night we headed into town.

The following day was spent beside the pool. With burns you are meant to avoid being out in the sun as your skin is more delicate and more likely to burn, and the heat can be difficult so I have never been on a sun holiday. Plus the fact that you are not walking around half naked like everyone else draws attention. I avoid the sun and heat. With 3rd degree burns your sweat glands are destroyed and don’t grow back, your sweat glands help to regulate your body temperature so it can be dangerous if you get too hot as it is difficult to cool down again. You can get very nauseous and your body has to work harder to cool down so it can be exhausting. It is also very easy to get Heat Stroke. The heat actually wasn’t too bad in Portugal though as there was a nice wind and I covered myself in factor 50 sun cream. Seemingly it was hotter at home. 🙂 I stayed under an umbrella beside the pool so my skin was fine. Had it been a hen party of a friend I wasn’t as close to I probably would’ve given Portugal a miss but I am very glad that I didn’t this time!! 🙂 I had a great weekend with lovely ladies, most of whom I knew but some who I didn’t. That night we went out for something to eat in a really nice pizza place and then to a very cool club across the road.

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My roomies went home the next day so I was on my own in the apartment which I actually didn’t mind. The next day was spent beside the pool or sleeping, we were all beginning to fade at this stage. That night we went to an Irish bar for dinner and there was an Elvis impersonator, a very bad Elvis impersonator so bad that he was funny!! 🙂 I left early enough as I was exhausted from the heat so went to back to the apartment to pack.

We were picked up at 7:30 am the next morning for the airport, the flight was delayed for an hour which everyone was delighted about. In fairness I was fine just tired but there were a few ladies who were dying a slow and painful hangover death. 😦 It was a pretty uneventful flight home (thankfully) and we all went our seperate ways …… until the wedding.

When I was younger I never really felt I had much in common with other girls because my life was so different, for most girls when you are younger it is all about what you look like and boys.  I looked awful and boys didn’t want anything to do with me, they still don’t, so I had different priorities. Girls were often very competitive with each other too, something that I have never had much time or patience for. As I have gotten older though I have found that I have more in common with other women, as women grow up they develop different priorities and interests. I have realised that women are pretty amazing, we put up with a lot. Now I love spending time with other women so weekends away like this are great fun. It is very difficult to get so many of us together at once with babies and husbands and different work schedules so any time it happens is a novelty. 🙂

 

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Let the wedding season commence

This weekend was my first wedding of the year!

I have 6  weddings to attend over the next few months 😮 It appears 30 is the year when everyone settles down, I enjoy having no responsibilities & still think that I’m 21 so this is majorly freaking me out! The last 10 years went right over my head. Mortgages, weddings, babies….. what?

It is an excuse to get 6 new dresses and shoes oh and have 6 weekends away (might aswell push the boat out). Oh and the hen parties 😉

I spent the weekend in Seafield Golf & Hotel Spa (which is amazing, pure luxury) at my friend’s wedding. The bride was stunning as always (the groom wasn’t too bad either, he scrubs up alright). This group of friends has 4 wedding this year so I’m sure we will kill each other at some stage & need a 6 month break from looking at each other 😉 The ceremony was held in the hotel grounds and was a humanist ceremony which was lovely. I have to say I probably preferred it to a church ceremony, it was very personal and informal but each to their own! 🙂

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I have a family wedding in France in June, which is an excuse for a week long family holiday & I am a bridesmaid in September which people seem to think is really stressful but it has been totally chilled out so far. It is great to be involved in a wedding because my brother had a very small wedding in America and lets face it there is a slim to no chance of me finding someone to marry me so it will probably be my only chance! Weddings can be difficult for people who are disabled or disfigured as finding a partner is a lot more difficult and you experience a lot of rejection but its a part of life so is something that you have to get used to unless you totally isolate yourself but you are missing out then. Im lucky that I have a huge group of friends of men & women that aren’t super coupley so not being in a couple doesn’t really make much of a difference at weddings.

The weather wasn’t great for the ceremony yesterday but I don’t think it had any effect on the day (the bride might disagree), in typical Irish fashion though we woke up this morning to the sun splitting the stones. After breakfast a walk to the beach was in order  to get rid of the cobwebs.

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Just after midnight a text was received informing us that one of my best friends had given birth to a beautiful baby boy which only made the day even more special. But again hello babies, when did that happen?! I’m still in a place where i automatically think oh shit we are too young to be having babies but then I remember we are actually 30 & I need to grow up 🙂

My Very First Blog Post!!

I have been toying with the idea of setting up a Blog for years but never really felt it was a good idea until now. It always seemed like a lot of effort and it is opening yourself up to criticism from the big bad internet. Also what am I going to write about? 😮

My family and friends have been suggesting that I set up a blog for a long time because seemingly my rants can be funny and anyone who knows me knows that I can be opinionated. 😉 I am a big believer in always seeing the funny side of life even in the worst situations.

I plan to blog about anything and everything that I come across, being a 30-year-old in Ireland at the moment has its challenges, let alone being a disfigured women. I was in a house fire in France when i was 7 which resulted in 3rd degree burns to 70% of my face and body (not great) as a result I have experienced a lot of discrimination but have also had a lot of great experiences. I have had hundreds of operations, God knows how many, which are ongoing, my last operation was 3 and a half years ago. As new procedures and technology are developed I will hopefully have more treatment. Having burns is only a tiny portion of my life though, other people make it a much bigger issue out of it than it actually is. If other people were less bothered about it my life would be a lot easier. As I have heard many times it is society that disables a person and I can confirm that this is very true.

I was on the Ray D’arcy show on RTE1 last weekend with Tom Hickey (who also has a blog – Hickeys World) speaking about disfigurement and my experiences, since then a lot more people have suggested a blog so here I am. I have done quite a lot of media work in order to raise awareness of disfigurement and I have had experiences with the media that have not been very positive. The fact that everyone was so supportive and encouraging after this interview helped to give me the confidence to do it.

I studied Law & Business in college, then a Masters in Law, I also interned in Washington DC for a few months, but I am now working in compliance in financial services which is mental at the moment. I am very interested in equality and human rights so will probably write a bit about that too. Who knows?

I have a summer of weddings (I am a bridesmaid) and hen parties to look forward to, with a few babies thrown in (not my own), so that will be taking up most of my time and bank balance.

Dont expect anything amazing for the first while though as this is the first time I have ever blogged, hopefully I will improve over time 🙂

 

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