Time flies when you are having fun. Been a few months since I managed to sit down and reflect on our move here since the last update. Try to put in some context to the notes below but there’s a long story behind all of them.

Have not update the blog since writing about our 4th Month here

Gratitude Log

  • Trip to London
    • First trip out of Ireland to get our feet wet is to London. This is the place that our kids have heard about. Also a good time to rekindle old memories with the wife when we came here maybe 11 years ago. Traveling with kids is a different experience, definitely cannot cover as many places as we would have. We were surprised at what we paid for the tube, seems to keep reloading oyster card almost every day. We stayed in a cheap place with cheap takeaway, that helped a bit.
  • Trip to Belfast and Malin Head
    • Northern Ireland is just a couple of hours drive away and we took some time to visit Belfast and surrounding areas. Surprised how built up Belfast is, more city then Dublin. Had good asian food there, somehow end up in a road near universities. Went to see giants causeway, always heard of the place, dream come true to se it. Then we spent time in Malin head, the northern most part of Ireland. Was told there would be Aurora Borealis, there was none. The drive in the dark narrow lanes is an experience by itself
Map outside of Seaview Tavern showing places to visit in Inishowen. Beautiful scenery driving along the Wild Atlantic Way
Giant’s causeway in Northern Ireland, in my wildest dream that I would make it here one day
  • Trip to Amsterdam
    • Realised in the few months that we were here, people in Ireland will travel whenever there is a holiday. For the Christmas week, we got cheap flight tickets to Amsterdan (€20 per person one way, converted to RM, cheaper than going from Penang to Kuching during Christmas). Stayed at Botel, as the name suggest, a cruise liner turned into a hotel. Not much expectations for Amsterdam but it was impressive. Ate good Malaysian Curry noodles there, went to Delft (1 hour away by double decker train) to see the famous Porcelain factory (Royal Delft)and see the windmills at Zaanse Schans. Amsterdam smells of weed and people even smoke illegally at the Botel, triggered fire alarm on our last night there. Need to remember to book tickets way in advanced, we were not able to get a ticket for Ann Frank House and Van Gogh Museum. Guess that’s a reason for another trip.
Windmills of Zaanse Schans. Beautifully restored
Amsterdan Centraal.
  • Accepted to secondary school #1.
    • There is a shortage of teachers in Ireland, causing a stress in the school systems where students are not able to get the school of their choice or nearby their house. We were lucky to get accepted into this Community College. Furthermore this Community College is an Educate Together school which we think would fit Gabriel better as it is more flexible. School is one bus ride away and not too far to walk from the bus stop.
  • Accepted to secondary school #2
    • At the open day, we were impressed with the new school and how the students are in uniform, teachers are dressed up well. Reminds me of what my secondary school could have been. Gabriel is more impressed with the new buildings, where they just moved in a few months ago. We were disappointed at first when we were placed #111 in waiting list. Just a few days ago we got the letter of acceptance to this school which is exciting but then apprehensive. It is definitely a school that focuses on doing well in exams. Colleagues say this is one of the good schools around. School is run by Christian organisation that used to be know for their strict discipline.
  • Getting to work on a train
    • Liked the place that we are staying now, so lucky that we are able to get this place when we moved here with the housing crisis happening in Ireland. I am able to talk the train to work, which cost €2 one way. That’s lesser than the toll I have to pay on the M50 to drive to work. Train also means that I can get some “transition” from work to home while someone else does the driving. The short walks from the station to home also helps. The train is not as packed as rush our KL, most of the time I got a place to sit.


  • Winter and cost of living
    • We had a lot of fun in summer, longer days, bearable weather. Went for walks and out a lot. It was sunny but not hot that we sweat like in Malaysia. Winter is a different beast. Some say this year’s early winter was coldest in 12 years, snowed in some places. We had light snow that turned into ice, causing slippery roads (I slipped and fell as I walked out of the door to go to work, no physical injuries though). On top of that the cost of energy has risen so bad that it would be unaffordable to turn on the heater all the time. As we found out in the past few days, we have also been setting the heater wrong, so it was not properly heating the house. Always wondering why the radiator is hot but still can touch unlike the temporary place we had in the first month. Lucky the government did another round of energy subsidy of €200 to help cover some of the cost. It’s still crazy amount of money, using about €10 of energy a day if we turn on the heater compared to about €4-€5 during the summer. I did tell people that I want to see if I can survive winter before committing to long term residency in Ireland, this winter almost beat me to it and we are just into first week of January. I heard the worse is yet to come since Feb is the coldest and wettest month.
  • Driving lessons and driving test
    • When we arrived here, we were give one year to drive on our Malaysia driving license. We were told that there is a long queue for driving test and would take a while to get the license. We had other priorities to settle down so put off taking the driving classes. When we got to finally start the theory test, we are already into our 8th month here. I just completed my driving classes on the 10th month. Currently waiting to get an invitation (that is expected to come in April) so that I can book a test 4-5 weeks after the invitation. I have a car and after March we cannot drive it anymore, not even sure if we can renew the insurance and road tax. Just crazy. Of all the problems here, this is the one that is stressful to me. With the kids, we certainly need to drive them around sometimes, cannot just rely on public transport. No solution in sight.
  • Sudden economic downturn, layoffs
    • How the tide has changed in just a few months. Towards the end of the pandemic, tech industry was booming but not enough talent, that was how I managed to make it to Ireland. When I arrived here in March, I can see a lot of companies posting job openings and grabbing people off the streets for tech jobs. 9 months later, we are hearing layoffs everywhere including my company. I have been through a few downturn in the company but this time is different as I just moved to a new country. Kids started school and we moved all our belongings here. If i were to get the package, it will be a great disruption to the family and I am also not sure how to relocate back without help from the company. Fingers crossed but it is weighing more on me this time compared to being in Malaysia.

There are some things that are kinda expected when you move to a new country. There is never a good time to make a big move. Moving with the family means there’s more to consider than just myself, there is just more to lose when we think about the bad things.

As I was writing this post I realised that the fear of losing out has gotten the better of me. We have been to so many places in so little time. It’s not something that we would have considered doing in Malaysia, despite being near to a lot of interesting places to visit like Thailand, Bali, Vietnam and Cambodia. Sudden realisation that the places far away that we hear about is just a short hop away with low cost airlines.

Hi, I’m neeshen

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