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. 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).
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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. I 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 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!