I’m here, now everyone wants proof.

So I arrived to my nice little gatehouse in rural Ireland. I’m happy I got here in one piece, and my things are in route across the sea.  Despite the accomplishment, there are so many things I need to do to get settled.  I need a bank account opened, utilities set up (internet, refuse, phone, etc…), get a vehicle and insurance, exchange my drivers license, and a few other things I’m forgetting.

In order to get some of these things, I need a bank account, in order to get the bank account, I need utilities or some other proof of address.  Even if I could get utilities, I’d need two months worth of bills…  I could get something from a government body, but for some reason, revenue.ie won’t let me register online for some reason related to my pps number.  I went to the intero office (things related to employment/social welfare) and they told me that my PPS number is active and they don’t know why it would have shown otherwise!  So now I’ll have to get in touch with revenue and figure that out.  I have no idea what all the abbreviations stand for, how I’m supposed to register a sole trader/self employed business…and everything government related takes forever here.  Not only that, but there are so many different offices, I’m likely to get sent around all over again.  Without a vehicle, everything is difficult and time consuming.  I could use the missus’ bank account to get things moving, but it’s still not ideal or smooth. 

As far as the bank account, they need proof of address, my lease agreement is not acceptable for some reason. I could offer two forms of proof of address in the United States, but for the purposes of sending me the bank card, that’s problematic and time consuming.  I plan on going to the gardai on Wednesday to check in, renew my residency, and change my address, so hopefully then I’ll be able to get something!

I am not able to get a bill pay phone due to lack of bank account, and no proof of address, I was lucky enough to be technologically savvy enough to root and unlock my US Verizon phone for use with a foreign sim card.  If you don’t have an unlocked global GSM phone, be prepared to shell out big bucks to get one and use a prepay sim card.  

I still have yet to buy a vehicle from donedeal.ie, and get insurance, but I did get recommendation for where to go to get insurance quotes in town and will be doing so tomorrow.  In Ireland, the process of buying a used car is actually much easier than in the United States.  If the tax and inspection (DOE/nct) are good, it transfers to new owner.  The plates stay with the vehicle as well.

Here’s updated licence info though… even though I’ve got a license from Ontario they will transfer, the process isn’t that simple or quick, and unfortunately it can take 2-3 months.. not only that but insurance for non Irish licence holders is drastically higher these days.  I’m on a shoestring budget and can’t afford to be paying the high rates, nor can I afford to wait two or three months for my license.  I also need to have both medical end eye forms filled out which were not required in either country I’ve been licensed in previously….Ireland…why!?!!!?! I went into the Canadian center, and within a half hour I walked out with a licence, they did eye test at counter. All I needed was multiple ID forms and a driving abstract.  I really don’t know what I’m going to do as I’m relying on getting a vehicle for almost everything. I might have to get another job in the interim if this turns out to be too much, and it will really throw a stick into my wheel spokes…jobs are hard to come by in this country, hence my plan to be self employed.

All I can do is try and pray at this point. 

I think the biggest hurdle in my entire transition is the driving part. I understand not wanting to have too many drivers on the road, but this is just ridiculous.  

Off to try and de-stress.  It’s ironic, one of the biggest reasons I chose to move here, besides love, was too have less stress, and due to bureaucracy and poor policies, I’m getting more stressed by the day, and my savings is going to start evaporating quicker than planned.  I had hoped to be working within the first month, but without mobility, I am unable to do so right now.  So I’ll go get quotes as a non Irish driver and hope I don’t leave with an aneurysm.

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Re-Potting, shaking off the roots, and all your early possessions.

Out of the myriad of places I’ve moved to, this one adds up the most.  It’s one thing to throw your stuff in storage, or above a garage somewhere then move off for a year or three somewhere; To move with the intention of staying indefinitely brings all the extra mayhem.  My mentor always said that you should RE-pot yourselves every ten years or so, shake off your roots, and settle into a new pot with new soil.  We all have ornaments we carry with us through the years, but we also collect a lot of junk and dirt.  This applies both mentally and to your earthly possessions.  I spent half my life and counting learning from one of the top 100 art and antique collectors and dealers in the world. He was a horse Jockey, actor, and any other thing he could get into. His wife is equally as amazing and varied. Though he passed away, his wife continues on to teach me.  I was urrounded by collections of oddities from around the world, fine art, primitive to modern.  Pollocks, Smith sculptures, Pedro Friedenberg furniture and works, antique European furniture, the list goes on for miles.  Cultural influences in their customs and knowledge bled through and made me dead set on doing as much as I could. I learned to bend and break rules, how to blend in seamlessly whether amongst wealthy socialites or in a hole in the wall in a place you’ve never heard of.  All the time having fun, poking around battlefields and learning history lessons or hanging out with..people on the fringes of society.  

You could imagine that He, his wife and daughters would collect so many things over the years, houses becoming archaeological time lines…yes, and no.  There was always something I had never seen before, and to this day that is true.  That being said, the houses were never cluttered, just incredibly varied.  Things would be sold, collections gone, and new ones came… our interests change through the years, and we can’t hold onto everything.  I love the idea of selling everything, or giving it away, but I love having memories and weird, quirky things around me.  Not to mention the tools that make me money.  So shipping was a must….

Famous last words of someone I’m sure.  I unfortunately am not well off, and I can’t afford to send everything I own to Ireland.  If you are moving a house or apartment, furniture and all, moved for you…I would say you’re looking at somewhere dancing around 6-10,000 USD.  If you select carefully, you can trim it down to a few big pallets and pay 2-3 grand door to door.  I chose two pallets, I’d deliver to port, and pick up at the next port of Dublin.  I got it down to 800, but that’s not including packing materials, hiring a customs broker to clear my goods at the other end, and renting a truck.  I had to itemize everything in case customs wants to check, and that’s a multi day task when you have a load of random small things.  

So everything is packed there and ready to go.

Now how do I pack all if the things I’ll need for the next 4-8 weeks on the plane with me? I don’t know, and I don’t really want to think about it but in less than two days I’ll be on a plane, one way.

I’d love it if the customs guys look in the golf bag and see studio monitors, hard drives, chimney sweep tools, and a pair of cowboy riding boots I forgot to stick in the steamer trunk. 

Of to the port tomorrow to see if it’s all good to go…

Seriously, just get rid of everything.

Nightmare time!

So, everything’s set for me to leave in one week… except for one tiny detail. I have no place to live!  I was originally hopeful when I saw a few places on airbnb.com months ago, but I didn’t consider that Ireland gets inundated with tourists and visitors in the summer. The festivals, races, matches…now all that’s available are expensive properties close to hotel prices.  So my plan to look for places while staying in an airbnb has gone south.  While I do have the missus, she works sporadically, and has limited transportation.  So, I’ve been calling places, and most of them are run by property management groups.  They all have dozens of people applying, and there are mostly multi bedroom houses available, the small places are very hard to come by in this area.  Here’s another rub…I’m self employed.  I can’t show a job offer in Ireland except my word.  This is a problem for the Realtor listings.  I can offer to pay multiple months up front, but only to private landlords, and so far, when I offer to pay some in advance, they take the opportunity to try and get more, increased security, etc…

Recently, while viewing a place for me, the Irish princess had to walk in the rain unexpectedly and was offered a ride by another girl viewing the house. She seems very nice, quiet, and agreeable, so now we are looking for something to share temporarily. But…she has a dog!  To be continued…

Age regression

I’ve owned my own house, two successful businesses,  and have been playing adult for many years.  I now find myself in a strange place of not being able to find a reasonable accommodation where I need to live.  It’s not just the price, nor the number of available properties…  Ireland’s public transportation system is ok if you live in a central or major town/city, but otherwise, you’re on your own.   I’m going to buy a vehicle as soon as I get there, but what if it breaks down and I need to get to an auto parts store?  Here, we also have rural busses that will pick up along many rural routes at un designated locations.   Not in ireland!
There’s also the lack of month to month, or any short term rentals at all.  I can’t view the property to find out about the neighborhood and neighbors,  I can’t afford to be stuck in a year long lease when everything is so uncertain.  Next, the time difference makes it hard to call the property owner/manager, especially if the phone tag starts.  One way phone tag as they won’t call international… 
So, my options now are…luck. or finding a house share and moving in with two to four strangers, which I vowed never to do since I was 24.  Even if you are friends with your roommates,  there will be problems eventually,  at least with more than 2 or 3 people.   Strangers are worse.  What can I do? It seems impossible to take care of anything when you’re not in country and I don’t know anyone who would let me rent a room or even a finished garage!  Not only that, but Irish culture isn’t really conducive to that kind of offer or request anyway.  As I’ve said before…Family is family and friends are friends,  home is for family only really.  If I called a friend anywhere in the US, Germany,  Australia,  Japan,  Sweden,  I could crash in a spare room or couch for a couple weeks…some places, even friends of friends… I am in a strange place where the only people I know in ireland can’t drive, don’t have space, or know anyone who does. 
Even the house shares are saying no couples, and though my lady won’t be living there, people get annoyed if she was there all the time….usually, but
I’ll wait to judge that until I talk to the people in question.
On a side note, regarding car insurance… foreign drivers beware!  If you don’t have an Irish license…prepare to be bent over the table on insurance cost!  Recently the insurance companies DRASTICALLY increased rates for non Irish license holders.  So if you can, exchange yours… even if you have to go through the classes and pay €600 do it, it will still save you money! 
More updates to follow.

All work and no accommodation makes Joe a stressed boy.

I’ve been going through a series of crazy obstacles to get myself to my new home in Ireland.   I’d say that the hardest part so far has been finding accommodation from afar. Granted,  I do have someone there that can go look at the place,  but she can’t drive so if it’s out of town,  she would have trouble viewing it.   The accommodation market in Ireland usually consists of places with minimum one year lease,  house shares, or large houses.  I’m not sure what area of town I want to be, what the neighborhood is going to be like living in,  etc… I don’t want to be stuck in a place that I don’t like.   Airbnb was something I have been checking,  but its been hard finding something that is reasonable,  and available for the time I am moving,  perhaps summer wasn’t the best choice,  but I don’t really have a choice!
I’m sure that in a pinch I could find a room share,  but I haven’t done that since college,  and it’s risky as you are exponentially increasing your possible exposure to annoyance at the hands of strangers.  I am easy going, and respectful,  I can get along with people just fine… but let’s face it… I don’t like most people in large doses.  As long as i’m being honest, I am much more susceptible to developing pet peeves when living with people that are not love or kin. 
So what to do? I can only keep checking the sites and posting an ad for accommodation wanted. ? I can network, and pass the word around.   Checking every day multiple times is a must, as everyone goes to just one site to look, and most properties are posted on multiple sites anyway.
Good Luck!

From the land of milk and honey, to the vale of honey.

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It’s sad to leave your home, but it’s even more sad when you’re so fed up with the course of the country, that you feel almost glad to leave.
When it gets to the point where you realize you have no voice, and things just aren’t changing within your lifetime, but rather, getting worse.  I’m about as patriotic as they come; I love my country and that will never change. I pay taxes and will continue to do so even overseas.  I vote (whatever good that does) and will continue to do so.
As a citizen of the United States I still have to file taxes every year.  Many other countries have the same deal. The US, and Canada are the only countries I know for certain about, but I do know that you can get tax credit for taxes paid I’m foreign countries, and you usually don’t have to pay unless you make a good chunk of change each year (90,000€) or more a year…don’t quote me on that. 
In the U.S. we have absentee ballots for voting overseas, while Ireland doesn’t allow their citizens to do the same, so you’ll have to check your individual countries.
I’ll be reporting on the taxes in Ireland soon. As you know the only things that are certain are death and taxes!