A Look at Dublin Expat Life After Three Months

After living in Dublin for only a month, I had the temerity to post a list of five things I hated about living in Dublin and Ireland.  Two months on, I have three times the perspective I had at that time, and have had time to settle in and get to know the city/country a bit better.  So how is it going?

Let’s start by recapping the infamous five things:

5. Irish Cat Litter – Still crap (pardon the pun).  I order mine from Germany and take advantage of free shipping. God love the Internet.

4. Separate Hot & Cold Water Taps – Still alternately scalding and freezing myself, but now I simply shake my head, and recall the dozens of sympathetic emails I’ve received saying something along the lines of, “Yeah, what’s up with that?”

3. Bad Sausage – The sausage here is still bland to my way of thinking.  But I’ve been told that what they call sausage here is an entirely different product than sausage in the U.S.  Even the “good” sausage that people have pointed out to me, while better, is pretty bland.

But I no longer complain, and have come to a wary truce with Irish sausage.  I’ve decided I like sausage rolls.  But, the oft-lauded breakfast roll (sausage, fried potatoes, rashers, black and white puddings) is a cardiac carnival that is too much even for me.

On the other hand, while it’s not “bacon” as I know it, rashers are pretty damn good.  And Irish pork chops are fabulous.

2. Atrocious Bus Service – Yes, the information design kiosks can be laughably unhelpful, but the buses are pretty clean, and have, thus far, gotten me where I’m going.

1. Institutionalized Disorganization & Shameless Lack of Accountability –This is still just as bad, perhaps worse.  Today, I have more incidents to add to the list of offenses,  but I’ve started to relax about it, and, sadly/predictably, my tolerance of said craptastic standards grows daily.

Now, at the three month point, we are approaching the point where we have the money train (from and to our stateside accounts) figured out, moving reimbursements settled, Irish and US taxes arranged, payroll direct deposits and electronic bill pay set up, U.S. utility accounts closed/ zeroed out, and our stuff has arrived and been unpacked.  Happily we are starting to feel like we actually live here, and aren’t just spending time in lines and on the phone.

And, predictably, the weather has begun to turn to crap.  Dublin weather, which had been fine summer weather, is now characterized by gale force winds day and night, and needle-fine persistent drizzle.  Give it a few weeks and I’m sure it will improve itself to needle-fine sleet and snow.

Work for both of us has begun.  Kalpana is enjoying her students and colleagues at UCD (University College Dublin), and I’m enjoying the online tutoring I’ve been doing.  I’m also making some progress on Ireland-based travel and film writing.

With no real support system in place here, I’ve been reminded just how marginalized and cut off you can feel when working from home.  After about 6 weeks of working from home and not really having the chance to go out and interact with folks on a daily basis, I began to crack.  From that day forward, I’ve made it a point to get out every day for extended forays.  I also bought a bike, and have found that the exercise works wonders on my psyche as well.

At the three month mark we’ve also gotten to the point where we are making friends (who we’ve seen more than once) and want to spend time with on a regular basis.  We’ve been reminded that the process of making friends is a learned skill that few of us practice regularly.  As we get older, most of us stick to our existing friends, and rarely find the need to meet and make new ones.  Consequently the skills needed to do so atrophy.  Living in a new country/culture, you don’t have that luxury, unless you want to feel as if you exist completely outside both your new world and your old, trusted, comfortable “home”.

Three months in we are also starting to ferret out sources for our old hobbies, and new ventures that tickle our fancy.  This is also a great way to make new friends as well.  People are starting to know me on sight as the guy in the bike store, or the bee guy at the hardware store, etc

When I ask myself if I’m having “fun” yet, if I’m feeling blunt that day I have to answer “no”.  It’s not that I don’t really like living in Dublin, and having all of Ireland at my doorstep, but living in a new country is still work.  I’m looking forward to a time when living here requires a bit less effort.  Fortunately, I’m far enough along in this process that I can see that time being not too far off.

Overall, Ireland is just now starting to feel like a place we could call home for a while. In three more months, ask me again if I’m having “fun” yet.

Published http://www.anamericanindublin.com/2011/10/12/a-look-at-dublin-expat-life-after-three-months/

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