愛爾蘭生活品質的好與壞 – ups and downs of living in Ireland not only as an AMWF couple

I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since we decided to move to Ireland. I still remember the day Sing called me on Skype and said ‘I got an offer to transfer to this new branch. image (4)Do you want to move back to Europe?’. Immediately, I started packing, selling all the stuff we couldn’t ship to Ireland, I organized transportation of Biscuit. And here we are. Biscuit, Sing and I, our Polish-HongKong-AmericanKitty-family. 

Of course if we could, we would chose Hong Kong as our home, but money-wise (and the fact that we would probably have to live with Momzilla and Wah Wah) we had to follow our minds and not our hearts. So far it seems we made a pretty good decision.

It’s not always sunshine and rainbows, tho.
I guess now we have enough experience to give you a feedback how it is in Ireland (not only as an interracial couple).

PROS:

  • We are financially independent from our families. With Sing’s being the only rice/bread-winner in the house while living in America, we had to kinda depend on Sing’s family and their ‘pocket money’. We had enough to rent a studio (think about paying around 1000USD per month for 18m2 place), sometimes eat out, go on small trips. But it wouldn’t be enough to buy a flat (300k for a crappy one bedroom apartment, really?) or to have a child. After transfer Sing still earns the same (XX,XXX EUR instead XX,XXX USD), but living cost is much smaller. For 750EUR you can rent a two bedroom, riverview image (3)apartment in the city center of Limerick. You can get a flat below 100k in the city center as well – in fact, we are actually buying one right now. The featured image of this post is the view from our new home! Cannot imagine getting the same chance in East Bay or Hong Kong (sadly!).
  • We can finally afford being pregnant! Me being pregnant, not Sing. Or Biscuit. Public medical care for pregnant women in free. Completely free. To make matters better, last year the government decided to provide free GP care for all the kids below 12 years old. There are plenty of benefits and social welfare programs for families. No wonder so many people in Ireland have multiple children. In America we were even afraid to be close to each other in case of unexpected pregnancy. Medical bills would kill us.
  • I’m close to my family. Close enough to see them few times a year, but far enough not to attend to every stupid family event. Trust me, when you have 7 cousins and they keep having babies you just pray to find an excuse and not to go to another baptism. In America, we both were away from our families so at least one of us is happier.
  • Traveling seems easier. Every single time I was stuck at customs while trying to cross the American boarder. Not to mention, since US is so big after 6 long hours of flight we were still withing the same country! It felt like forever. Here, in 1 hour we are in London, in 2 hours we are in Paris or Barcelona, in 3 hours I’m back in Poland. We have so many little countries so close to each other it feels like there are more options to chose when you travel. Not to mention most of the EU countries actually use EUR so we don’t even need to bother to exchange money.
  • You can wear jumpsuit outside of gym and no one will judge you. For some reason, it’s called ‘a style’ here. Youngsters will wear sneakers, Adidas pants and some puffy vest. Don’t get me wrong, but for such a fashion victim like me, that’s a blessing.image (1)
  • It seems like there’s less racism in Ireland. But that’s just our very subjective opinion. Sing feels more confident walking here rather than when we lived in America. I cannot really judge it, since we never really had to deal with situation when someone was openly against us, but if Sing feels better here, it’s all that matters to me.
  • No guns. Says it all. I heard shooting outside our apartment once and enough is enough.
  • Getting to celebrate Pancake Tuesday and Fat Thursday. Polish donuts, Irish pancakes. I have to admit, I love some aspects of Irish culture and the easy access to Polish food.

CONS:

  • If Irish weather was a person, it would probably be the one named Sasha Grey. I mean, it sucks. It’s awful. I heard rumors that there was one hot summer in Ireland, but so far it’s just raining. California, please send me some of your sunshine in exchange for water and floods!
  • Buying a house is a nightmare. It’s much cheaper to do it here, than in America or Hong Kong, but at least there it’s very straight forward. You have one price, deadline, everything is clear. In Ireland, asking price is never the price you’re going to pay. Bidding war on a flat can take months – for us it took 1.5 months just to get to ‘sale agreed’ point three weeks ago. Since then we didn’t move forward at all as we wait for tons of paperwork. Some people had to wait up to 9 months to move in. Wish us luck!
  • (NO) style. 0b8I swear to you, besides IKEA (there’s only ONE in whole Ireland) I cannot find any furniture or house decor I like. I can find some stuff, but overall it seems Irish people love leather couches and old oak kitchen cabinets. Big heavy tables, lamps that looks like from my great-grandma’s house. I hope my Irish folks who read my post won’t get offended by this, but I just simple cannot find modern designed furniture in our area. And really, what’s up with those leather couches?! Sing giggles whenever he sees them (and if you’re clueless, just Google ‘casting couch’). [EDIT: Sing now informed me the picture is outdated because ‘they kicked out that guy’. I’m terrified by his knowledge]
  • Small food variety. And I’m not only talking about so called ‘Chinese food’. I’m not a big fan of Irish food, I can have Irish breakfast from time to time, but it’s too heavy for me to have it everyday. In America we had access to probably every type of cuisine, but in Ireland it’s much harder and often we have to drive over 200 km to have a dim sum.
  • Electric house-/water heating. With bad weather the cost of warming up the house can be up to 400 EUR a month. Our friend had to pay over 800 EUR for 2 months, because his duplex always felt so cold. Same with water – government provides you only with hot water so you need to heat up image (2)your water when you need it. For some reason non of us knows how that Goddamn boiler at our current home works so often when I’m taking a shower, freezing cold water will start falling down on me. I can’t tell you how many times I got sick since we moved here.

Both, Irish and American people are nice and outgoing, always trying to chit-chat a bit with me. It just feels like America didn’t suit us. We decided to move abroad and I don’t regret it (that much! 😉 ).
Hopefully we will keep those feelings for next few years. But IRISH WEATHER, PLEASE DON’T SUCK THAT BADLY.

How’s your experience with moving abroad? Have you ever regretted your decision? Maybe you would like to tell someone ‘Don’t copy my mistake, don’t move here!’ or you would recommend your new home to them? Let us know what you think!

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51 thoughts on “愛爾蘭生活品質的好與壞 – ups and downs of living in Ireland not only as an AMWF couple

  1. Congrats on your almost flat!

    OMG. Free medical for pregnant women? And children? You will save a fortune! And HOURS on medical insurance paperwork. Even my sister, who is a DOCTOR at the American hospital where she had her daughter, was not immune to being billed and overbilled, and billed again, and screaming on the phone, even. That’s free medical care is huge. And it makes sense, given the Ireland’s catholicism. If you want women to have kids, you should make it cheap and easy. Here, the conservatives just do their best to take away any and all forms of birth control/ family planning. But once you have a kid, well, good luck with those medical bills!

    On the other hand, should you need a life-saving hysterectomy at an Irish hospital, I’ve heard they’d rather let you die than impede God’s supposed plans for reproduction. (FYI, there have also been some issues like this at U.S. Catholic hospitals.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When we lived in the Bay Area we were also very careful not to get pregnant, even though we were ready to be parents. As soon as we moved to England, it was baby-time. You won’t believe how often we checked with people to make sure all medical care is free here. It’s so hard to believe after living in the States.

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  2. I have enjoyed reading your blog for a while now and never commented here. But when it comes to Ireland I feel like I have to say something (10 years living here). Your comments are very much about Limerick not Ireland. Cost of living in Dublin is very high. Rents are crazy high: 1000 euro is not enough for one bed apartment near center, it may get you one in the outskirts(reasonable quality one). The same with house prices.
    And I would do a little bit more research about free health service. Unfortunately, it is not as great as it sounds. Not sure about costs of childcare in Limerick but in Dublin its extremely expensive.
    I don’t want to sound all negative so let me disagree with your point about food. Ireland has some good (not cheap) food options e.g. great variety of restaurants and amazing, fresh and cheap sea food (again Dublin).
    Why don’t you move to Dublin?:)

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  3. Yea, houses in England or Ireland are cheaper than in America, even the rental here are much cheaper than there. Congrats Lina and Sing for getting your new home, as for couple in UK, it seen kinda of harder for the young generation as they find the price of new house keep raising in here.
    I have move to UK for 25 years and simply love it here, as we live in the countryside as it is so peaceful and serene.
    Wish you and Sing will happily settle down in your new home.

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  4. Yeah the medical care in European countries is just great (how many countries actually have free medical care here? At least all countries I had visited thus far in Europe…). Just imagining how much everything would have cost us in the USA is insane and then in Finland you have even a nurse visiting your home for free to check if everything is fine with the surroundings and how the child developes…
    Finding the right style for the apartment isnt easy. Here in Germany all those Furniture stores (they are huge!!! Many are much bigger than IKEA) have a lot of the old fashion style you mentioned but also a lot of modern things which we ended buying for our apartment 🙂
    Sounds like costs are around the same were you are now than here in my little hometown in Germany. Here we got the same trouble with the water, just terrible when you are in shower and suddenly cold water nearly kills you. Thankfully I go four times a week to gym and can shower there with a proper water system (our own building’s street has the old pipes which wont be renewed within the next five years, but the gym 300m away got already everything new).

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  5. Yeah yeah, I know you wrote a lot, and they are all quite interesting, but really… the only important thing here (especially to Momzilla) that I want to say is: Okay, now I will start paying attention to the time when you disappear from blogging for 3 months, and then I know to tell you Congratulations! 😀 😀

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  6. Wow, Ireland doesn’t sound all that bad, given the pros. And since you guys want to have kids, that part about being able to afford pregnancy is a plus compared to the US. I should know about crazy costs of health care. Once I had to go to the emergency room to have the pus removed from my finger (it got infected and was so painfully swollen I could hardly sleep); the bill came to around $1,900! I’ve heard that pregnancy in the US can cost upwards of $40,000, which just blows my mind. So from a health care perspective, it’s certainly nice to be in a country where you can finally afford to have a baby!

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    1. 1900?! I had a mini-heart attack! I mean, I know people in the US still have kids so it cannot be THAT expensive, but we were scared that in case something won’t be going according to the plan we won’t be able to afford that as I was forbidden by law to work

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  7. You put together a great pros and cons list. You’ll have fun decorating your new flat once you finish the paperwork. My dad (a carpenter) built our first house. It was really cute, sort of a chalet.

    Seattle also has the reputation of being cloudy and rainy. Since I grew up here, I hardly notice it. On rainy days, I concentrate on whatever work I have to do. When the sun comes out, everyone here gets giddy happy. One summer we stayed for a week with my sister-in-law in San Mateo. The weather was perfect every day. By the end of the week, I was tired of it.

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      1. Unfortunately Seattle has become super expensive in the past few years, almost as bad as San Francisco. I’m in a less expensive suburb, but still, I’m glad I bought my house before the prices went up so much.

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  8. That’s a very complete list! And wow, one year already, time flies…

    RE your question, I never regretted moving to China, although I sometimes feel sad that I am so far away from family and friends and miss a lot of events. If I had to give one piece of advice to people who are thinking about moving here, it would be: don’t trust the pictures from the apartment renting websites, they are all fake!

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    1. Look at it this way – you don’t need to spend too much money for the events you miss haha 😀 we’re going for my cousin’s baby’s baptism in April – it will cost us around 300-400 euro for 4 days trip. Plus the gift (money, of course!) :(!

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  9. Congrats on owning your first home 😀 I’m sure that you’ll find nice furniture, even if you have to ship it in from somewhere else! haha!
    The house prices in China are ridiculous! In Shanghai, for a crappy one bedroom, tiny kitchen (you know how small the Asian kitchens are), lounge; no dining area; on the outskirts of the city, the prices are over RMB1million! Considering that salaries here are low, and tax is high, many newly married couples are choosing to rent a place instead, where they can live in the city, and not have to pay a high mortgage for the next 30 years. Or, they are forced to live with their parents.
    Hospitals are also expensive here, and so is medication, so it’s better not to get sick 😦
    Sounds like you’ve made a good choice with Ireland, although I can sympathise with the miserable weather.

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  10. Happy that you’ve found the ideal place to stay. I hope Momzilla had nothing to do with the down payment of your new apartment. There is a famous saying, “no free lunch in this world”. The more you accept her monetary assistance, she’ll give you a hard time for as long as she wants. In the past, there is not much opportunity for women hence they put up with their MIL. Now, women have more freedom to pursue their happiness. Some women are so successful that they don’t need to get married to find their place in this world. In fact, they don’t give a shit what the society thinks.

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  11. Jejkuu z tego co piszesz Irlandia na prawdę wygląda super! My również wiele razy myśleliśmy właśnie nad Irlandią, ale w końcu musieliśmy ją przekreślić przez ten jeden minus, o którym sama wspomniałaś… pogoda >_< Ja należę do osób, które bez słońca nie wytrzymają zbyt długo, Ting również woli cieplejsze klimaty – więc Irlandia nie dla nas haha
    Ale na prawdę ciesze się, że Wam tak super się udało ! Po roku już na pewno wygrzaliście sobie miejsce 😛
    Co do tego rasizmu hmm też uważam, że Europa jest o wiele bardziej “rasowo-przyjazna” niż USA, zbyt wiele stereotypów wciąż rządzi Stanami, a już zwłaszcza na temat Azjatów. Ja to bym uciekała stamtąd od razu gdybym tylko zobaczyła gdzieś u kogoś broń haha Jak spokojnie wyjść na ulice, gdy nie wiesz czy komuś nagle coś nie odwali o.o
    My jeszcze nie wiem gdzie założymy swoje gniazdko, wolałabym Europę niż Azję. Nie wiem czemu ale Azja zawsze wydawała mi się mniej przyjazna rodziną. To pewnie przez to całe zapracowanie Azjatów, nie umiałabym się to tego dostosować.. Ale i w Europie też się robi nieciekawie :/ A jak tam u Was ta teraz głośna sprawa z imigrantami? Jest spokojnie? 🙂

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  12. Being Chinese Canadian (born in Canada) my experiences are different, being ethnic has it’s own challenges but I wouldn’t have it any other way, I could so relate to your experiences in living in a “different” cultural environment. I read another reader’s comment about moving to Dublin, however, you would suffer the loss of what you are finding so refreshing .. affordable living, and the view from your soon to be new home. The reality is anywhere you and Sing decide to call home, will be just that YOUR HOME. I’ll enjoy reading how your adventure continues, food is food, you will especially once you have your own family, find that you will start your own blend of “home cooking” Congratulations on the move and the new home! there will be lots to do,

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  13. I’ve been living in Europe for 5.5 years, with the first year in Paris and the rest in Brussels. The two cities, while only 1h20min away from each other by high-speed train, are very different. Be it the energy/vibrancy, variety and quality of restaurants, cost of living. I loved being in Paris, even though we lived in a 18sqm studio, for many reasons. I ended up in Brussels as I found work there and while it’s been fine living here, it’s not a city for my boyfriend and me – it’s too sleepy and the constantly grey/wet weather is depressing. But I have colleagues who enjoy living in Brussels, particularly those with young children, as you get much more value for your money when it comes to housing.

    All said, I’ll be leaving Brussels and moving to Hong Kong next month. Which I’m terribly excited about and ready for the change. It’s great that I’ll be much closer to my family in Singapore, and I love the bustling streets of HK. I’m still getting my head around the crazy cost of apartments though – it beats London and Paris hands down!

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  14. HEY!

    I’ve recently moved to be with my partner to ireland. we’re about 2 hours away from Limerick. In fact, i’ve been to Limerick in 2015.

    yes, we’re an AMWF couple!

    Like

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