Thought I would keep a log (and maybe update it regularly) of what I have been grateful since coming to Ireland. Not meant to brag, but felt like people tell me I have been lucky in a lot of aspects related to the relocation to Ireland.
- Misplaced handbag. Singapore airport is the first stop for our flight into Ireland. We had a few hand carry luggage, looking after the kids who are excited since this is the first time they venture out far and trying familiarize ourselves to the airport since they are still in in the COVID prevention phase. As we are walking half way out of the gate, wife realised that her handbag was not with her. That handbag contain some of our cash and jewelry that we could not check in the luggage. We realised there were a few people around the arrival gate and was pretty empty. Wife walked back and behold the handbag was still there. We left the bag on the chair for 10 mins and anyone could have picked it up. Really grateful to not lose the handbag. This is the first of may anxiety moments for me.
- Rental apartment that is in the top of our location list. Before we left for Ireland, we were briefed by the relocation agent that housing market is very tight. Every open house would have 30-50 people looking at it. We had identified a few general area that we wanted to stay, somewhere between my office and the city (in the suburbs) and near a train station, preferably on the same train line that goes to the office. Top of the list is the area I am staying now (Ashtown / Pelletstown). Coming into second week after we arrived in Ireland, the relocation agent called to say that she has found a place that will soon be vacated at the area that we wanted. We did not hesitate to put in the deposit sight unseen. There is an unfounded fear that we will be left homeless the housing crisis here, grateful that we secured a place within the second week being in Ireland. When we told people that we got a place to rent in our current location, I was told that we are lucky as there are many people who are still looking for a place where we stay. Talked to the neighbour and he also said a lot of his friends are still waiting for one unit in my area to be available.
- Kids got placement in the same school, in the same housing area. Other than rental properties, we were told before we came over that most national schools have a waiting list. There is just not enough schools for the people around Dublin. That means we may not get a school in the same area that we stay. We may have to travel up to half hour from the house to the school. We are prepared for this as the agent dropped emails to all the nearby school. We were surprised that we got a school near the rental apartment. We actually got the school confirmation first before we know we got the rental apartment nearby. Whichever came first, I am relieved and grateful that we get a school that is literally around the corner from where we lived.
- €200 Electric Subsidy. While we were here, we keep hearing on the news that the government will be subsidizing cost of energy for some household to offset the high cost of energy. Our rental we set up with pre-paid meter. I had put in €50 for the first time to see how long that will last. Was surprised one morning to see I had €200 in the meter. Found out that it was a subsidy from the government. That should last us more than a month. Another windfall that I am grateful for.
- Got an automatic car. Other than house and school, apparently there is also a short supply of second hand cars. We wanted something that is a small to fit the parking space and the roads, but not too small. Also something we can afford to pay by cash. Looked around and found a Peugeot in a town 1 hour away. We decided to go with it since it was “cheaper” than same models in Dublin. We are surprised then to know that it’s an automatic cars. In Ireland, most people drive manual cars, automatic cars cost more and also harder to find. So this car is another blessing for us in the sense that it’s cheaper than Dublin, lower mileage and automatic
- Car insurance. We needed to get car insurance to buy the car. Apparently not all insurance wants to insure non-Irish license holders. It’s not even about paying more, some people don’t want to insure. We heard it all depends on luck whether you get insured as non-Irish driver. We can both call the same company and will get different responses depending on the agent and the manager that day. Well I had to go to 2 companies but the second one approved my insurance in the first try. I did not even have to consider and sign up immediately
- Subsidized medical care. I never know that a subsidized medical care would be something important for our move. We hardly go to government hospital back in Penang because we always have insurance to go GP then to private hospital care. Over second weekend in our rental, Winnie fell off the bed after hearing Emily cry out, knocked her head on the bedside table and tore hear ear cartilage. Blood everywhere and bumped her knee that is pretty painful. Our emergency plan kicked in and drove her to the nearest A&E. She did spend 9 hours there, of which 4 hours waiting for the doctor. She was grateful that breakfast and lunch was provided during her stay as we had to rush to the hospital in an empty stomach. When all is done, they just ask her to go home. Was told that the bill will be sent to my house and should cost me €100, of which I can claim back €75 from company provided insurance.
- Free Lunch. Had to go back to the office and work since my furnitures are still in the sea freight, won’t arrive till June. Having lunch in the office cafe means I have to reload money into the badge. I was wondering why the money in the badge was not depleting much. Had lunch with colleagues and it was the 3rd colleagues I had lunch with that said he noticed they didn’t charge him for lunch and thought it was a mistaken. It was then free lunch was provided to the staff during pandemic. They were supposed to revoke the benefits but seems not yet. I checked my history and really never been charged for my lunch! Feeling really blessed and it does mean a lot to have a good hot meal in the office.