November 30, 2012 by Syd
It was a nice warm summerday in Germany when we decided to leave Germany for good and move to Ireland. As my new employer required me to be there 8 days later we did the fastest “Goodbye Germany” episode ever, only without Television watching our every move. One should mention they asked us if they could film it, but refused as they had heard our plan to move to another country in 8 days. Whiners….
We sold and gave away everything we had in these 8 days, managed to organise everything we had to organise in Germany and on a bright Sunday I was sitting on a plane only with one suitcase and a rucksack.
Totally unaware of what to expect upon my arrival. Here is the total sum of what you should know before you do anything like us. I am trying my best to tell you what to expect in the first weeks and how to handle it. (Totally non-objective)
1. Find a home. In Ireland almost every house or apartment you can rent is available immediately. You should have enough money to pay a deposit (usually 1 month rent) and one month rent in advance. Be aware that no Irish home you can rent, well those I have seen, is insulated the way it is in Germany. But most of them do have a fireplace (great!!!) Watch out for a place with gasheating as it is the cheapest way to stay warm on this rainy island.
2. Getting yourself ready to work: First of all you need a PPS number for EVERYTHING. You can’t exist without this strange number. Only this will make the government aware that you will stay and work here. Only this number will allow you to get paid by any irish company. Only this number will let your kids get a place at school, a library card for them, tax reductions or a medical card. Without this number you are a jobless, strange tourist. Be aware that everyone who wants one has to be present in person (even a baby!) Without presenting each and everyone to the social welfare office you won’t get anything since they have introduced a new law two months ago.
3. Fine you have a house and you have APPLIED for a PPS Number. Great! Now make sure to get a telephone line or an electricity bill with your name on it, otherwise you won’t get a PPS number or a bank account or a telephone contract or nothing. You prove that you’re not a nutjob couchsurfing tourist ripping off the irish state or a mobile phone company or a bank.
4 Great job you’re almost done with the first steps: Now you do have a bank account, your amazing PPS number and your new employer can pay your wages and you can pay your rent and the electricity bill and get internet. You won’t get a mobile phone contract without a deposit anyway unless you are here longer than 6 months. But be aware your most spoken to phone partner will be revenue.ie, your one and only tax office.
5. Wait, you have all your loved ones in your new country, well all you wanted to be there with you. Wait, Kid number 1 check, Kid Number 2 check, okay a certain someone is missing. Right the one with the 4 legs and the tail and the fluffy ears. If you want your most beloved pet to join you in Ireland he has to do more things than you to get through irish customs.
a) It will have to get every possible vaccination, get sprayed against ticks and fleas, a passport, a healthcertificate and right a microchip.
b) Call Lufthansa…no not the Lufthansa transporting two-legged immigrants. No Lufthansa Cargo. Cargo as in fridge? Right. Your pet is not allowed to be transported with a passenger flight, which will make your stray dog from Portugal over night to a fekkin…royal pet. The new king of the streets will have the most pricey ticket sold to fly over, it will be sterile to the bone and traceable. If you expect it to be warm and cozy you will find your fourlegged friend in a box between fridges in a cargo hall.
6. Fine, house, kids, dog. After some time you will finally sort yourself out. You will have survived some near hit and runs watching out for cars in the wrong direction. You will be known to every taxi driver in town as there is no public transport as in Germany. Well there are buses. But upon arrival at your bus stop you will see, you have no clue when they will arrive or where they will go to. Sometimes they stop in the middle of nowhere and just as in some Harry Potter novel people will climb the bus and you will never know how they do it.
7. Now you are working, and you have a house. Time to get settled. If you need anything for your house find an Argos. Argos is the strangest shopping place on this planet. You enter a shop, pick a catalogue, write down some numbers and they will be handed to you over a counter. You won’t see them before you have paid for them. But you can buy anything there. Toasters, toothbrushes, cups, name it.
8. After all your working and shopping and settling and running around you just want to sit down and watch television. Ever complained about German television? Watch Free Sky with only five channels. Unless you are into strange musical shows, horse races, dart olympics and shows you could never ever have dreamed of, you should totally get internet or get a sky receiver and pay for it immediately. You will definitely want to pay an extra fee.
9. Now deal with the locals. You need friends, right? Well this is the most easiest part as you can just go to a bar or a fitness club and you will get to know many very nice people. They might joke about the Germans and have a strange obsession with your German Chancellor, but they are aware that your National Football Team is the best on the planet and that you are almost always speaking a perfect English. Strange things will happen to you. Your neighbours might just come by and lend a helping hand, you might open the door one evening and someone send you someone to help you with something. Probably the cousin of the cousin of his wife or a kickboxing buddy.
10. Landlords: Well. Landlords. Landlords will provide your home with seriously beautiful furniture (in the 50s it was awesome to buy tables like that), they will do the repairs on their own (7 weeks later maybe) and they have never ever heard of the famous GERMAN KEHRWOCHE. So noone expects you to run around with a broom on a Saturday morning at 6:30 to clean the streets. Honestly I think my landlord is very suspicious about the Germans ever since he heard of the “KEHRWOCHE”
10. SHOPPING as in EVERYDAYSHOPPING: Well there are many lovely things to buy and then there is LIDL. Right LIDL. If you ever feel homesick just go to LIDL. LIDL will provide you with almost everything. If you go shopping anywhere else well this will be irish shopping. You will soon figure out, that you might have to call your friends or your grandma to send you: German coffee, Spices and Ahoi Brause. If you like cheese you are definitely in the wrong country. There is cheddar, and shredded cheddar, and melting cheddar and right cheddar. If you’re lucky you will find a piece of Stilton. If you are into organic shopping…uhm right….organic…..Let’s quote an irish friend of mine: Organic? Since when is someone running up the cooley Mountains to spray pesticides on the grass?
Well I could tell you plenty of stories about …right…shopping. About onesies and Snuggies and Duvets. Maybe some other time. You want to come to Ireland? Do it. At the end of the day it will be much easier than moving to Germany.