Getting Established

One of my favorite–and most dreaded–parts about moving somewhere new is getting established in my new home–getting past the unpacking and the millions of phone calls to set everything up and finally starting to settle in to this place and find my place in it. It is my favorite part of the move because getting “established” allows me to feel like I belong here and I’m not just some lost tourist. It’s my least favorite part because it’s hard. I’m actually a pretty shy and introverted person so it takes a bit of courage for me to step out there and get involved. It can also take some time and patience to discover what opportunities and resources are available and to break into a new social circle. Thankfully, Ireland has been kind to me. This week I’ve had some exciting breakthroughs in the “getting established” department.

Yesterday I took the boys to our local library so we could get library cards and check out some new books (the 4 books I carried with us on the airplane are getting sooooo BORING).

Each of the boys got his own library card that he can use to check out 10 books at a time from the children’s department. The boys’ cards were free, but I decided to also buy myself a card for 15 Euro because I know I’ll use it. I went ahead and checked out a few books on Irish history from the vast selection of books on that matter (I think about 20% of the library is devoted to books on Irish history)–figured it would be good to know a bit about what I’m getting myself into here. I also signed David up for the library summer reading program. If he reads 15 books he gets a shiny “gold” medal. He’s already 2 books away from his prize (could be due to the fact that we checked out 10 books on soccer…er…football…from the library yesterday).

This morning we did something that got us legally established here in Ireland: we registered our visas at the garda (police) station.

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As you can tell from David’s expression, it was an exciting venture. Actually, it wasn’t too bad. We were the first ones in line when the immigration office opened and they got us processed in about 10 minutes. Jon and I both have special visitor/worker permit cards that we have to carry with us at all times just in case somebody suspects we’ve outstayed our welcome.

After I dropped Jon off at work I headed out to Fota to meet up with a mum’s group (how cute is that…mum?!) from our church. Every Wednesday they go to this place called Go Safari to hang out. It’s an indoor play area for kids with food and drinks–perfect for hanging out while the kids run around and burn off some of their boundless energy.

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I had a great time getting to know the 6 other ladies and their sweet little kids. They gave me some good tips on where to shop for the cheapest nappies (diapers) and who to contact for babysitting. Cha-ching! David and Jacob both loved playing in the ball pit–so much so that I couldn’t even get a photo of the 3 of us together before one of them would try to squirm away to jump in the balls again:

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On Friday we will be going to get our PPS Numbers (kind of like Irish Social Security Numbers). After we have our PPS numbers we can set up our local bank account–something we’re really looking forward to since we’ve been racking up enough foreign transaction fees on our credit cards to purchase a small car. Unless you’re in Ireland. In which case, enough to rent a car for a month. Or maybe just buy a week’s worth of groceries. Oy…

Ireland, Here We Come!

!o-irelandWell,friends, it’s actually happening–we finally have everything we need for our move. Our visas came through about 2 weeks ago but, due to a family emergency, we put everything for the move on hold for awhile. Jon went back to work this week and got the proverbial ball rolling again. He will be going out to Ireland June 24-28 to sign a lease on our house, set up a local bank account, look into leasing a car, and just getting things generally set for us to move. We will have to see what the terms are for the lease that he signs, but if the house we want is available right away we will try to be in Ireland by July 8th.

This, of course, means that it’s crunch time for us to get everything ready now. I made about a dozen appointments today: the vet, a house cleaner, the dog groomer, dentists, doctors. I really don’t even know where to start with the whole packing situation. Since we won’t know if we are getting a furnished or unfurnished house until Jon signs a lease, it’s kinda difficult to know what all will stay and what will go. Jon is meeting with the moving company this week to get things sorted out, so hopefully they’ll be able to help us out. In the meantime, I will attempt to throw things into boxes in a somewhat organized manner.

This whole move has been such an on-again, off-again ordeal that I’m relieved to know things are moving forward. Now, to get through the chaos of the next month!

Visa Update

We just got word last week that our visas should be ready by the middle of June. Our visas are the last “official” piece of business that needs to be taken care of before we can actually move. In fact, since we have already applied for visas it is actually illegal for us to be in Ireland until we have them.

After we get our visas we will book Jon’s final house-hunting trip (this one will actually be a lease-signing trip!). We want to make sure at least one of us gets to see in person the place that we will be living to make sure it will accommodate our family. Jon will probably travel to Ireland about 3 weeks after we get our visas and we’ll start packing up during those 3 weeks. Once he returns from the lease-signing trip we should be ready to move within a week or 2…so, looks like we should be in Ireland by the end of July or early August!

This is perfect timing because we’ll get to spend time with family who will be visiting in early July and possibly even celebrate Jacob’s first birthday here with the people who already know and love him 🙂 It’s also great because we have been given one trip home per year that we live in Ireland, as long as there are at least 6 months left on Jon’s contract when we travel. Since we’ll be in Ireland until July 2015, that means we will be able to travel home for Christmas each year that we live over there (because if we travel at the end of December we will still have at least 6 months until we move back home in July 2015).

Two other exciting developments have taken place recently. First, we have found wonderful renters for our home here–they are good friends of ours with two children the same ages as our boys. We know they will take good care of our home–and they’re even going to let us use our garage as a storage unit! Secondly, we have found a church in Ireland. A friend and former co-worker of mine has a good friend who moved to Cork 7 years ago to plant a Christian church. His church is one of only a handful of evangelical Christian churches in the city, so it is amazing that we already have a connection there.

Hopefully I’ll have more news to share again soon!