Fourth Month in Ireland

Fourth Month in Ireland

Work life is getting back to the mundane. Since the furniture has arrived, I am working from home a lot more, at least 3-4 days at home. I still prefer to go to the office and work since I feel a lot more productive. Really is the case where the environment in the office takes away a lot of the distractions at home. The cafe always has coffee, fruit juice and soft drinks so there’s no need to spend time to brew own coffee. Then there’s not distraction at home, such as the need to pick up after the kids or the sound of their ever looping youtube shows running on their tablets.

In a way, there is a feeling of dred working from home, almost the same feeling as I was in Malaysia. So changing jobs and a moving to a new country may not have taken away all the bad vibes. Working from home, I am not exercising more – going to work forces me to walk outdoors. Staying home means I don’t talk to people in the office and sense there’s lack of engagement and excitement in the job. At least the work here starts later.. because we don’t have early morning meetings with US (but my Romanian colleagues starts 2 hours ahead of Ireland).

Kids also had their summer holidays starting from end of June till end of August. Checking with colleagues, most of them send their kids to some sort of summer camp. Summer camp is what we called “holiday program” in Malaysia, where kids go for some focus classes (either in STEM, Art, Dancing.. there’s a lot to offer here). Most of the good classes are snapped up fast. There’s a company that offers various summer programs. We were still undecided whether to send them for summer camp before the school ends. We thought of sending them for swimming classes but it seems they need to go through assessment that only has certain calendar slots.

Kids also came back telling us that their friends have plans to go overseas during the holidays. Some of them are going back to their hometown and some going for holidays. Till the last day of school, we did not have plans to go anywhere over the holidays. Firstly we just got here and secondly there’s chaos in Dublin airport where there are long queues, people missing flights and also lost luggage. It’s additional stress I don’t need. We relented anyway and when the kids were in school, we booked a trip to London during the August bank holiday (first Monday of August). When Gabriel came out of school, he had a long face and told us that he is the only person in class not going anywhere for the holidays. Very sad case. That’s when we told them we are going to London and booked the trip while they were in school. I suppose he had nothing to share in class with his friends, hopefully he has stories to tell them when school re-opens.

On the topic of booking for travel, my bank charges me additional cost for using the debit card with other currency, on top of the currency exchange. The rates for using debit card purchases in foreign currency: 1.75% of the Euro value of the transaction (min €0.46 max €11.43). For withdrawal of money in ATM outside EH / Non Euro: 3.5% of the Euro value of the transaction (min €3.17 max €11.43). I know Malaysian credit cards do not charge extra for the transactions of different currency but may change for ATM withdrawals. Banking in Ireland is different that they charge for keeping the account with them. To save money, I asked wife to get herself a revolut card, I transfer money to her and she can book the hotel using the card after exchanging the currency. She had to wait for the phsyical card to arrive and activated, the temporary online cards provided by revolut did not work. With that, we have ourselves a trip to London.

Seeing the optician

Apparently there is a rule from EU called Visual Display Unit (VDU) guideline, if someone is working with screens and monitor (if I understand the rules correctly), the workers are required to get assessment on the workstation. If the recommendation asked for a visit to the optician, then the company will need to subsidize the visit. As part of the company ergo assessment, I was asked if I had visited the optician in the past 2 years. Since I have not, I have to visit one and report back. Lucky there was an optician in the campus. There is a bit of a queue to see the optician but at least I don’t have to make a special trip elsewhere to see optician.

It’s the usual check, switching lenses and look far and near. I found out that the reading glasses I am wearing is an “occupational lens”, it is for reading but there are focal changes between reading book and monitor. Apparently it’s an expensive lens (and I remembered paying a lot of it) and the optician think’s it’s not necessary for someone my age. The difference between monitor and reading book is not too bad.

General Practitioner

I needed to see a doctor to get my prescription medicine as the ones I brought from Malaysia is going to run out. We also needed to see a GP to set an assessment for Gabriel for his condition, on the advice from the school. In Malaysia, we just walk in to the nearest clinic and will be registered as a patient. In Ireland, we first need to find a GP that is taking in new patients. From some of the calls, it seems like there is a limit to how many patients a doctor can have. We have been told that getting a GP will be tough since there’s a shortage of doctors. We started with google map and looked for few medical centers nearby and called them up. Some said we have to email them to check but all rejected. We kept going further and further away, finally got one that is still accepting patient. So we all have to make an appointment to see the doctor, the whole family although I am the one who needs medication. This is so that we all can be registered to the GP. We were told when setting up the appointment, it does not mean that the doctor will accept us as his patient. So that is another factor to consider.

We were told to see a GP and register when we first arrived but we never got to it till we need it.

Contrary to what you may have heard, medical service are not free in Ireland. It is subsidized, so there is a limit to the charges for medical services. Example going to the Accident and Emergency is €100 Euro fixed rate (compared to RM5? for Malaysian hospitals). However if you are in the lower income category or of certain age, you can get a “medical card” which entitles you to free medical treatment. There are public hospitals and also private hospitals in Ireland, where private hospitals will charge a lot higher fees.

The medical insurance here works differently from Malaysia. You will go to the GP and then claim back some expense from the insurance. It’s not like there is a panel doctor you go to with the insurance card. Also the insurance does not cover medication, so you have to pay for medication. Normally the GP will publish their rates on the website, for our visit we found that they have a family package which means we pay lesser than going at it one at the time.


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