We arrived safely Friday morning Dublin and after a ride in a hired car with WAY too much luggage. We stayed at the Beacon hotel which we called home for two nights in order for us to get settled in and get our new house set up. We started the day off with a very quick shower and went straight to the bank to get our account set up. (MS has really had some great relocation services including someone to take us around to do all these ‘administrative’ issues who is local and knows the process.) Since Ireland has so many of the utilities paid by direct debit only, this was very important to set up quickly so we could have the utilities set up in our name. I however could not sign up for account or even as a joint account since I did not have proof of residency (i.e. lease with my name on it, utility bill, etc. There is so much of this circular proess it is amaizing - can't get an account without a proof of residency, but can't get residency without proof of an account - I don't know how the average person does all this without a large company to vouch for them) so Reeves said I have to be really nice to him. J After the bank we headed to the Garda Immigration Office (The Garda are the police here - from the Gaelic) This is where we get our “official” card to state we are in the country legally and are able to stay (equivalent to the American Green card). That took a couple hours since it is first-come, first-served system and is as slow as most government offices, for which America does not have a monopoly on!
End of Day one in Dublin……
Day two started early with a retail spree spending all the money we earned selling off everything in San Jose. We knew we were going to need to replace many things (everything you plug in to start with) so we started with stuff like a convection microwave oven, toaster, iron, etc. in addition to things like paper towels, laundry detergent, and dish soap. It is amazing how many things you forget about which take to start a household! Every time I go to do a task I have to think through what it is going to take and if I can do it or not! One important item I had forgotten the first night was a wine bottle opener, but thankfully with the Irish drinking laws being what they are, the Italian delivery delivered my bottle of wine already corked! J We have purchased a couple more ‘fun items’ including a really great sat/nav system which has all the maps for IE/UK and the whole of Europe. I hope we put it to use very soon! Additionally, since we want to have a TV in the kitchen and eat-in area, we decided to purchase a windows Media Center edition computer with 19 in. screen to eventually keep in the kitchen for me to use while I am cooking and if we want to watch something while eating dinner. We have it in the living room right now, with 2 lawn chairs in front of it, and we are watching dvds since we won’t have cable till next week.
Our new little home is very cute and has many of the things we wanted including character. We have gotten a few more things than we wanted, however, including an army of spiders! If you know me you know I don’t do spiders – bugs yes, spiders no. Since the house has been sitting for several months it was needing a good shaking and we have shaken out more than our share including one last night that was actually big enough it audibly bumped its way down the death-tube (aka vacuum) – yuck! So this morning we looked up exterminators. Interesting note, there is not a single pest control company in the yellow-pages which lists “spiders,” nor, when we looked for our own spray, did any of the products list spiders, just “crawling pests”. I don’t know what the issue with killing spiders is, but I am not going to be shy about this one. J
We have also been getting used to new appliances and new ways of doing things. So far I have managed to turn some of our whites grey in the washer. Weird thing however is that it was not the whole load, just certain pieces and certain parts of clothing. From what I can tell it was certain synthetics that reacted with some process/chemical in the washer. For example, a pair of Reeves underwear (which was white cotton) had just the inside of the waistband turn grey and the rest just fine and a pair of my underwear which were beige turn a strange light grey-green. The plane white t-shirt and a button-down turned out just fine….hmmmm…..if anyone out there has a solution please let me know as I am scared to do any more “good” pieces for fear of ruining them!
On the upside of our house is the location – we are about ½ block from a small row of shops which includes a dvd rental store, cleaners, pharmacy (which carries some fancy products like Dior makeup/skin care), the very cute little fancy café Inna run by a young German woman and the best of all, a day spa with mani/pedis and salon! Right next these shops is a Spar shop which like a cross between a 7-11 and fancy specialty market. They have a full wine collection, made-to-order deli in addition to the selection of other groceries and small sundries. It is a very handy corner and on the way back from the LUAS (Dublin’s light rail system) to our house! In addition, we are only a 10 minute walk from the village of Ranelagh. For those from California, it is like a little downtown Palo Alto or Los Gatos, but older and with more pubs! We have eaten at a few of the restaurants and like what we had had thus far, including the take-away Chinese we walked to get last evening.
One of my favorite things about visiting, and now living, in a different country is the comparison/contrast with all aspects of life from how you order coffee to driving on the other side of the road. I am going to try and keep track of these and share them as I guess I am a sociologist at heart!
A few I have noticed so far:
- You can’t buy a blanket to go on your bed. Everything is duvets, coverlets (to put on top of your duvet) or small throws.
- People don’t have screens on their windows – there are still bugs, but no screens
- The smart card is king & your credit card never leaves your sight which is great for security
- Shops close quite early and even the main phone company that owns all the telephone lines, isn’t open on Sundays to open a phone account.
- There are few to no street signs on roads so finding your way without a map or sat/nav system is nearly impossible
- You rarely get a bag to put your products in when making purchase at grocery stores, diy stores and the like
- Every shopping cart we have used thus far require a 1 or 2 euro ‘deposit’ inserted into the handle (which then releases the latch which holds it onto another cart) You get it back when you return the cart and re-latch it to the other carts.
The weather has also been unseasonably warm – into the 80s (low 30s Centigrade) which means you sweat a lot here since very few places have air conditioning. It has been great to get us eased into the climate here, but I am afraid it is lulling us into a false sense of security! J
Enough for today, I am afraid I need to return to cleaning and updating my resume. I have started submitting my resume, but need to really get serious about it so I can have some other distractions outside of the house. Until next time…..