Monday, May 11, 2009

May is always a fresh start for me and this year it is especially significant. As I turned 27 last week, I was shocked at the speed 26 had whizzed by but at the same time the rollercoaster of events during the last twelve months justified the passing of a year. My last birthday was celebrated in the family restaurant which has since closed, an upsetting time that heralded the beginning of the recession. My PR career was also suddenly halted before Christmas, but now back on track with the new job, I hope I have a steady year ahead.

I spent most of my birthday waiting on a plumber to fix a toilet leak in our apartment, while my boyfriend returned to hospital for tests on the progression of his virus. We were meant to be in Spain together, a surprise he had arranged for me. Still his health is the most important thing.Missing a weekend away seems trivial, considering all the bad news my friends have been receiving.

Two more friends lost their jobs last week, one of whom is currently building a house and mid-planning her wedding; the other has equally important rent and bills to pay.A third friend is being harrassed by Mastercard over her outstanding debts of €8,000 which, working only two days a week, she is finding impossible to pay.The third phone call from them in a week, offered her a generous reduction to €5,000: however they just don't seem to understand that she is unable to even pay a hundred and won't be for the forseeable future.

With all of this gloomy news, it was the story of my brother's housemate which lifted my spirits. Having just reached his sixth month of unemployment, he had the luck of winning €4,500 in Blanchardstown vouchers on a Dublin radio station! His screams could be heard all the way back to his local dole office in Duleek.Within hours of the win, he dragged his unemployed ass across town where he spoiled his girlfriend (she that pays his rent), stocked up on food and all-important drinks for the long summer ahead aswell as booking two holidays.He is currently in Croatia for ten days, which he set off on immediately. He had none of the hassle of organising annual leave from work!

That's the thing about unemployed friends, they are great for an impromptu plan. With so many not having to be up for work in the mornings, I got to celebrate my birthday after all, not in Spain but in my apartment with it's leaky toilet...and mysteriously, lots of presents from the Blanchardstown centre

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