Ireland: a cheerful slap to the face

When you’re in the middle of migrating your life across the world, everything seems exciting and surreal. You feel somewhat like a starry-eyed tourist, although literally and figuratively with quite a bit more baggage.

After stepping off the plane in Dublin, we were greeted with our new friendly neighbour: a blast of icy wind. While seeking shelter inside, we could hear it howling. Sometimes, we’d forget about it. The moment we stepped outside again, the wind welcomed us back with what felt like a comical 3°C slap to the face, where your hair goes flying in every direction! Having just arrived from Abu Dhabi, which is hot and still even in winter, it was all the more interesting for us.

Beyond just its climate, Ireland is absolutely a very unique place in the world. Our short-term accommodation host (AirBnB) greeted us in the way everyone expects – (speaking to Sally) I don’t talk to women! Go sit over there.” For the second time on our very first day, my mind froze on the thought “Oh no, what trouble have I gotten us into?” Fortunately, our host was certainly joking, and that although he was a friendly chap, we quickly realised that you can’t always take an Irishman’s word literally. The first time those same thoughts crossed my mind was only a few hours earlier, at the airport’s immigration booth.

Have you ever crossed an international border with the intention of settling, rather than just as a tourist? I sure hadn’t, and I was quietly worried if I’d forgotten something. With our life possessions in just one big suitcase each, it was entirely possible I had forgotten something. Addressing the immigration officer, I kept a relatively straight face and explained our situation – that I was here for new employment, and my partner will also be seeking work. Without hesitation, he tells me that Sally isn’t eligible to seek employment and that she can’t enter in that manner. I was confused and panicking – it was always the plan for us to both build on our careers here. Luckily, we discovered that he spoke too quickly, simply didn’t know about the latest legislation and that I hadn’t made a massive mistake in planning. Phew!

The rest of the day went windily well. We hired a car ad hoc, which was cheap in every sense; a tiny Nissan Micra filled with scratches, powerless, but very affordable for just a few days. Afterwards, we easily obtained a couple of new phone data sim cards, which gave us the ability to research and navigate. That’s all we really needed to get started in a new country – transport and Google search/maps; everything falls into place after that. The little Micra gave us a great feel for European life in just a few short days. As we drove through some of the tiny inner-city streets with barely enough walking space, we appreciated its compact size.

Ireland is a grand place to explore, as the locals would say. I can find sheep a short distance from my new workplace, which I find to be quite impressive. Dublin itself is littered with lush parks, thanks to the abundance of rain. Further out from the city, the landscape changes to European countryside quite quickly. The Powerscourt House and Gardens is an impressive compilation of greenery from all over the world, even including Italian and Japanese.

We’ve only been here for two weeks, and we’ve seen some fantastic things already. Our short-term (one month) accommodation has allowed us to settle in, organise important things like bank accounts and residency arrangements. We’ll be here for quite some time, and there’s certainly plenty more to see. Our next destination is unknown, but our plan is simple: to explore everywhere on the map. One things for sure: we’re (slowly but surely) getting used to the weather!