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Covid Plague Life In Eire

Well, that escalated quickly

It has been three months since our last post but it feels like an eternity, doesn’t it? We have all seen the world change completely in this time due to the Coronavirus and global economic collapse, so wherever you are and whatever your circumstances, we hope that you are safe and sound.

For us, documenting our new adventure took a back seat to meeting our basic needs here. Myself and the other employees at my work office were furloughed during the week of St. Patricks Day after all events were cancelled and Covid-19 began to take over our lives. For seven weeks after my first payslip I had no welfare support payments, despite being entitled to them. This due to a technicality about payslips and reporting between my employer and Revenue. It has since been resolved through Welfare instead of Revenue, many thanks to them, but it was a stressful process nonetheless.

As we were just getting “settled in” at the time of the shutdown, we had no internet connection as this required a bona-fide Irish bank account to sign up. Until the banks could reopen we could not get this arranged, and lengthy tedium ensued. Suffice to say it was an enormous weight lifted off once we were able to get connected. We completely agree that in 2020 the internet is a basic human right and essential service.

Adding to the fact that Aoife still had both of her jobs, which at that point she had just started, and both required a stable internet connection. Tethering our phones seemed to barely work at times, but as our service provider stumbled under the administrative weight and burden on the network, this soon became impossible.

Fast forwarding to now, we’re grateful to have moved beyond these roadblocks. I guess, like many others, we are still uncertain about many aspects of our lives in the midst of this. We have been very fortunate and grateful to have made it to here with all of our basic needs met. Many others we see here have not been fortunate enough to have that outcome, so as we enter the real “mental game” stretch of this crisis I/we aim to continue our practises of gratitude. Writing this here is to some degree a note-to-self and self-reminder.

Yesterday was the first time we caught up with someone we knew. We were delighted by a surprise “exercise visit” from Rob, and we walked our quarantine quota distance back towards Blackrock in the beautiful May weather. Ireland is still in Phase 1 of reopening at the time of writing, and has one of the strictest health mandates in Europe still in place. As such the per capita infection and death rates among the lowest, and with any luck the restrictions will further ease according to schedule in a couple of weeks time.

In other non-Covid, non-Trump related news, the days are getting longer as we approach the summer solstice. We are beginning to understand why the Irish gush about spring and summertime so much here: it truly is glorious. Sunup is at about 4:30am and sunset at 9:45pm with clear skies and hardly a drop of rain in the last few weeks. On that note I shall keep this brief, get off my backside and go enjoy it, and let you do the same 🙂

From both of us here in sunny Corcaigh, we wish you every blessing and providence to endure these wild and strange times.

Simon & Aoife

Relaxing beside the River Lee
About nine-thirty on the Michael Collins Bridge
Further down the road
Categories
Life In Eire Moving Abroad

A Wee Tour Of Our First Irish Home

After 11 weeks living out of our suitcases, we’ve made the jump and set up in our first Irish home. We’ll start with some quick snaps from last Friday when we got the keys to our little terrace house just 48 hours after applying on the spot at the viewing. Needless to say with the rental market in Ireland being epically competitive when you find somewhere that hits the budget, location and specs trifecta, you find you’ll move heaven and earth to try to make it yours!

Prior to getting this place, we had been on the property hunt for a solid two weeks before we were successful in applying for this place — I say successful because I’d honestly lost track of how many properties we applied to look at, how many we managed to book a viewing for, how many we actually got to see, and then how many we applied for. Like I say, a very competitive market and if you’d told us this time a week ago that we would have a place let alone a place we like so much, we would likely have scoffed a bit and gone back to trawling the Daft app hoping that a property in our range had listed.

As Simon was up in Dublin for his first three days of work (training in head office), I traversed the city going to viewings and hammering out preliminary EOI messages to property agents. The moment I walked into our home I knew it would be perfect for us. It was adorable on first sight and easy walking distance to St Patrick’s Quay (20 minutes on the flat — so the same as a walk to James Street from our past Bowen Hills house), plus it had a surprise ground floor bedroom for Simon’s studio. Despite this, I’d learned after our first application disappointment that surviving the rental application game is 100% more about mental fortitude and odds-playing than anything else. You’ve got to be in it to win it and do the legwork of getting to as many viewings as possible. I knew better than to get too excited even with things looking so promising from the first seconds in the door.

And of course, this is where things hit a bit of a hitch with this seemingly perfect home: the third floor attic bedroom had a staircase so small even I have to crouch to get through the doorway. Adorable and perfect, yes. An absolute physical hazard for one Simon Lane, also yes! To combat Simon (or ‘My beloved’ as he referred to him) not being there in person, the property manager very kindly suggested I video call Simon from the house and so I walked him through the house from top to bottom, knocking my head a little along the way, then ultimately paid a deposit on the spot!

After a nail biting 24 hours, we received word on Thursday that the house was officially ours and then picked up the keys on Friday afternoon. A totally joyful and unreal whirlwind that’s wound up our second month here in Cork. My Uncle Barry and I collected Simon from the Friday afternoon train, then we headed to sign the lease before moving in on Saturday with help from friends. With only our suitcases plus a bit more ‘stuff’ we’ve acquired in the interim, it was the easiest move of our adult lives and we’re already trying to work out how to minimise our overall ‘stuff’ so that every move can be two carloads that are unpacked in an afternoon.

The area is historic and the house itself feels like a wee lighthouse with the stair bannisters reminiscent of a ship, little light portholes in the galley kitchen and a huge skylight in our bedroom that opens out over the street and water. It’s newly renovated and we love all of the furniture that’s part of the rental. The location itself is also magic: we’re right near the river, a 10 minute walk from the train station for both our jobs and about 25 minutes from Lidl (ahem, priorities). We also walked past a very cute bakery in the Victorian Quarter (about 15 minutes walk) on Sunday that I can’t wait to check out.

We will probably send a video through privately however here are some initial photos. To give an idea of the overall feel of the place, it’s a terrace home spread over three levels and with a view of the River Lee. It already feels like our own home and it just had a positive vibe the moment I walked in. It’s equally great that Simon has wound up loving it, too!

My final thought is that we wouldn’t be here in our new home without the support of our family and friends here, in Aus and NZ, and all around the globe. It’s bittersweet to be here in our new home (although Simon is back in Dublin for the week training again) and to dream of having people visit us from all over here all while not knowing exactly when that might be. It’s a bit strange to have that sense of the in between right as life starts to take up the shape of normal routines again. Another part alongside this is that while we’re so grateful to have this wee home, we are already missing our housemates we were living with initially, Rob and Rebecca, and all in all we so enjoyed our time together at Jacob’s Island. With this in mind, we hope to have them round for a Sunday Roast as soon as we’ve a table as this was a tradition introduced to us in our time living together.

We’ll have more updates soon as I have my first day of work tomorrow and we’re hoping to book some warm weather sale flights for another adventure in the coming months. Until then, wherever you might be, happy spring or happy autumn. The days here are still cool while the daffodils are blooming and the days are getting brighter and longer. It’s going to be a glorious stretch ahead that we’re in just the right place to enjoy most thankfully.

Categories
Interior Highways Life In Eire Moving Abroad

Day Two of An Overseas Job (and The Rest of The Day’s News)

Well today was a big improvement on yesterday, both practically and emotionally. The best news of all was that we got a place to live(!)

In the space of 24hrs Aoife looked at a place on the inner north, facetime’d me a squiz, and managed all the leasing and paperwork while I worked up here in Dublin. A monster effort from her that paid off big time. Photos / videos to follow soon!

On the work front, it was better today spending a full day at work here. I was able to become more familiar with the processes and how a day plays out with the Dublin lads. A little bit of craic thrown in there too. I’ll be heading back down to Cork tomorrow, whereby we will get the keys and then move in over the weekend. I’ll then come back up Monday to Dublin, work the week, then head back down again thereafter.

Getting the keys will be a big boost for us no doubt, as finding a place is by far the biggest challenge the countries’ renters face. Followed closely by finding an affordable place.

Hopefully with a decent night’s sleep in the industrial complex, and provided no security alarms go off again during the night, I’ll be back to report on the move in over the course of the weekend. Until then…

Categories
Interior Highways Life In Eire Moving Abroad

Day One of An Overseas Job

Today was a frosty start—literally. More snow had fallen last night than we’ve seen since being here. Cars and the countryside were an inch or two thick with it, which made getting to the train a bit slow going, and I had to catch the next one to Dublin.

Once here one of the lads picked me up and it was hitting the ground running on arrival with training.

Later on my trainer, Ian, and I drove around the corner to the uniform shop and picked me up some gear. I then drove the van around to Lidl and just couldn’t make the hill start without stalling it. Geez, talk about embarrassing. It’s been more than ten years since I’ve driven a stick and it showed right then and there! Given that 95% of vehicles here are manual I’m going to have to upgrade my license quick smart. Irrespective of if we need to get a car I would still like to get it and finally put THAT training to bed. Life has been so insanely busy recently that essential life stuff like that has repeatedly taken a back seat for us both.

Coming back to the accomodation, which is above the office, I felt pretty weird and lonely. I’m not gonna lie. I mean, it could be the fact that I’m eating a chicken tikka masala freezer meal (quality as expected) on my own in a flat above a warehouse in the middle of an industrial estate. I’d say a good dose of missing familiar faces and voices too. Something just feels a bit weird and sad though. It’s like an organ transplant and I’m the organ.

I was waiting for when I’d feel something like this; displaced or questioning motives etc. etc. Sure it will take time to get in the groove of things here, and we’re getting closer to finding a place to rent, but something about full time work has always felt like a prison to me. Like the cars, 95% of work here is full time. I’m not ungrateful for the job and the opportunity, quite the contrary, but I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge the need for art and life in the picture there too.

The tricky thing for an artistic type (which I believe both of us are) is that life can constantly feel like a procedural flowchart of either dead ends or impossible prerequisites. Chicken and eggs scenarios, and that’s even before getting to negative thinking in terms of lack or scarcity. It is hard no matter what you do. I know graphic designers, choreographers, instrumentalists, you name it and it’s the same for them. Everyone has to, or has done more than their fair share of, jobs that pay the bills. I think it’s fair to say we’re not lazy. It’s not that we don’t want to work full time. We want to work ceaselessly outside of a prison of time.

Sure, I’m generalising again here, that most people do something they don’t want to do, or at best have their great days and not great days at work. I also don’t know anyone who’s ever had a 10/10 first day at work.

Explaining it to Aoife earlier I just said that it feels like time is slipping through my fingers. I don’t think you necessarily have to be a creative professional to feel that on your first day, or any given day, at work. I guess my gist here is that we think Ireland should adopt the four-day week and/or six-hour workday too(!) It sounds like a good idea right? Do we have to strike and protest like the French? How can we make this happen? Let’s think it over by another cup of tea…

Categories
Life In Eire Moving Abroad

One Down!

Great news team, yours truly has just scored a J-O-B!

I’ll be working with an AV Company called AVC, who are a nationwide supplier of audio visual equipment and services to the predominantly corporate events world here. I’ll be their warehouse manager, organising all gear returns and dispatches, maintenance and inventory systems. It’s out by the Cork airport, Mon-Fri, 8-5. A couple of other Tech Managers have put me on their lists for sound work around town too, so I might yet get the odd call to mix some bands. Thank you so much for all your prayers 🙏 they worked a treat! We’re very grateful ⭐️🕺👌

Aoife has not one but two interviews tomorrow, and we have a viewing at a flat in the afternoon, so keep ‘em coming! Til more news, stay classy San Diego ❤️

P.s. We trust you got the rain we sent you. Hope it didn’t arrive all in one sweep… 😂

Categories
Life In Eire Moving Abroad

An Update From Ireland

We’ve now been in Ireland for five weeks and it’s definitely a case of blinking then time flying by.

We’ve really settled into our set up phase now with this basically involving hours at our computers, visiting recruiters and drinking a million plus cups of tea e’ry day. We’re also hard at work meeting people in our respective as well as crossover industries with some connections being made through friends here. There’s also been meetings of happenstance through coffee shops, rad record stores and even the Cork City tourist office (hey, Tony!). Irish people are incredibly kind and every time I leave Simon to pop into Tesco/Lidl/Marks & Spencers, by the time I emerge he’s chatting with a new friend who’s parked up with him on a bench watching the world go by.

Some other updates because it’s worth sharing the nuts and bolts of getting set up here with the realities of challenges as well as other localised things affecting progress…

The Wins

  • Simon’s residency permit – We were so fortunate and Simon was granted his residency permit on our third day in Ireland with a completely unrestricted Stamp 4 that means he can work, we can travel and the permit is until 2023. We’re genuinely so fortunate in this regard because we know from the Australian side that this can be so difficult no matter where you’re trying to move and we’re also very privileged (whether because we’re married, we don’t know) to have been able to get this permission simply and quickly. Bottom line: this is genuinely amazing news!
  • Corcaigh – We love, love, love Cork and it’s suiting us really well so far! There’s been some snow the last couple of days (not enough to stick!) and all in all, it’s dreamy! We know we’re in the right place for us and all things considered it’s a huge win to be loving our surrounds.
  • Good people – We have a lot of support both near and far that is helping with the transition especially when we’re chained to our keyboards! Job applications in particular are a real mental game of both odds playing and persisting in the face of radio silence and/or rejection. Keeping our chins up, support from everyone all over the world and chocolate from Lidl helps as a discretionary desk treat.

The Challenges

  • Winter sickness – This started with me getting a nasty cold a couple of weeks ago and now Simon has succumbed to it as well. He’s had a decidedly yucky five days of it and finally made it out of the house today. Hooray! Three boxes of tissues later…
  • Political unpredictabilities – Ireland had a general election over the weekend and between this and Brexit the weekend before (things aren’t happening by halves!) it’s interesting to see as well as experience the localised effects. One of the main ones is a bit of a pause in the hiring market while companies wait for the Brexit dust to settle. Watch this space and keep your fingers crossed we get jobs soon!
  • General life admin, i.e. bureaucracy in all its forms — all this to say, while we had a win with the Residency Permit it’s the PPSN cards that are taking their time. These are a cross between Medicare cards and tax file numbers except they’re an official photo ID as well. We are trying to get in to get an appointment for these and have experienced some literally very challenging misdirections in our course of getting to the appointment stage. It goes without saying that adulting in its life admin form is not fun for anyone no matter where in the world you are. Further comments on this: we are counting our blessings, crossing fingers and toes that next week this is sorted, and ultimately, keeping calm, like.

We’ll have some more updates soon from our verdant neck of the woods!

Categories
Ireland Adventures

More Vital Street Photojournalism

Winter mornings here are basically this
Um.. Wot?
“Ye carnt bring ye hars n boogie in’t te tuhnnel!
(tiss incloodes chariots an th’sart)”
Sloppy Guiseppe? Isn’t that the creepy guy from Eurotrip?
“Ahh mi scusi”
Categories
Ireland Adventures Moving Abroad

Visual Recap of Week 3

Walking around Sunday’s Well
Near UCC
UCC
Glucksman Art Gallery
Basically a friggin‘ Monet
Bunsen’s double cheeseburger
Wild holly bush
Overnight at Blarney Woollen Mills Hotel for Aoife’s birthday
Happy birthday madam! Xoxo
Categories
Ireland Adventures Moving Abroad

Around Our New City

We’ve been here in Ireland for two and a half weeks (in Cork the entire time) and it’s safe to say we’re completely smitten! We’ve been blessed with blue skies as well as some unseasonal sunshine however as the day closes in, the temperature drops really quickly and gifts us with some of the most beautiful wintry sunsets conceivable (I’m hopeful we might get snow based on the extra warm days).

Dreamy and chilly, believe me

We are generally getting around either on public transport (double decker buses that give us a bird’s eye view of charming narrow streets and gorgeous houses). We’re also walking a lot and, as always, it’s my preferred way to discover a new place. I’ll put it out there now: Cork begs to be enjoyed and there’s so much to enjoy. We basically stop every half a block to bookmark places and take pictures.

Around Cork City and a walk we did recently on an old railway line converted to public space

Amongst our visits to recruiters, we’ve also made our way to UCC (University College Cork) and soaked up some of the lush campus. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves — it’s about 25 minutes walk from the city centre.

Needless to say, we’ll be back and we’re looking forward to tackling one of the many walks that circuit around the university as well as checking out the gallery Simon is pictured on the other side of above

Finally, we’re still loving all of the street art and sculptures dotted everywhere — here are some gems from the last few days or so. Let me say it again: we love it here and are thrilled to be sharing this special place with you, too.

Technically not street art but it was on the side of a building…
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Check This Out

Getting Into The Chill Of Things

Tis’ cold to be sure, but we are nevertheless head-down arse-up and hot on the trail of jobs. Here’s a delightful winter post in the meantime…

(yeah trust me, it’s worthwhile)


https://mymodernmet.com/simon-beck-snow-drawings/