A House and a Car

Summer’s here. As you should know by now, the basic plan is: June in Macedonia, make enough money to come back to Ireland and buy a car. July in Kazakhstan, make enough money to pay a deposit on a cottage in Leitrim. August: make all of my dreams ever come true.

In my last week at home in Cork before coming to Macedonia, I told my mother all about these plans, except for the making my dreams come true bit. She got very excited. We spent most of a day on daft.ie looking at every single house to rent in Ireland for under €500. She got very excited at the prices, some of which were dirt cheap, far, far cheaper than anything in Cork or Dublin. She even said that I could afford to rent two houses – one for weekends or holidays, and one for day-to-day living.

As our eyes dried out from looking at my computer screen at house ad after house ad – I’m not exaggerating when I say we sat going through these for three hours – we came to the conclusion that the three best value-for-money counties for renting in Ireland were Leitrim, Roscommon and Tipperary. My mother, in consultation with my dad and oldest brother, decided that Tipperary would be the best option. It is, after all, the most easily accessible from Cork, which is a strong argument.

Leitrim is still firmly at the top of my list.

She got even more excited about cars. Now, I’ll have in the region of a thousand euros for a car, so I’m definitely thinking of a third or fourth-hand car. My family doesn’t do used cars though. We buy new cars – old cars apparently just end up breaking down. Now, I know me and cars, and I know my car will break down anyway, no matter what age it is, but it was nice to see my mother excited. She went to our regular garage, a Toyota dealership and started asking about finance on their smallest new car. I can afford neither the down-payment nor the monthly instalments. She had me go online and find the cheapest new car for sale in Ireland. According to my research, this is the Dacia Sandero, apparently a Romanian car. On my mother’s birthday, her special treat was driving to car dealerships with me. That is literally what she wanted to do for her birthday. We went to look at the Dacia. There is a big sign in the Dacia showroom saying “Payment plans from €99 a month”. We asked the car salesman about it and he said that they don’t offer that deal because they only have models with metallic paint. Anyway, his deals were basically the same as everyone else’s.

It’s not just that I can’t afford to buy a new car, I don’t want a new car because I want to do my car up. And that might be controversial with a new car. My current plan, once I get my car, is to put an ad on gumtree or craigslist or boards and find a painter to paint a family of penguins on the door of my car and a giant Miss Piggy face on the bonnet. But I can’t quite find a way of telling my mother that. She’s just too excited. So she can have the month of June to be excited, and then I’ll come home again and buy my penguinable second-hand banger and win her over with its charm.

– First Macedonia post coming very soon. –

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