Expat Questions ANSWERED
Hi all! After posting about my idea for an expat series and posting the first article, I received different emails with all sorts of questions about my own experiences as an expat. So, I figured I would take this post to answer those questions!
1. What things do you miss the most? (excluding the family and friends)
Gee, this one is a bit tricky. There are quite a few things that I find myself longing for from back home. The first thing that comes to mind is Target (the store). My mum and I absolutely love Target and it's my favourite store for literally everything back home, and there aren't any targets here.
As for food/drink, I definitely miss Dunkin Donut's iced coffee the most. I did a post on reasons why they should open up a store here in Dublin a while back, mostly because I just miss the iced coffee so much!
2. How is the driving?
For those of you who don't know, Ireland drives on the left side of the road. At first, just being a pedestrian this was hilarious for me. I would constantly look the wrong way when crossing the street, and still do sometimes. I actually haven't been driving driving since I've been here, but I will be practicing again once August rolls around because I need to learn how to drive a stick shift! Almost everyone here drives manual cars. Also, my American license is not valid here after the first year, so I have to go through the whole process of lessons/drivers ed all over again to get an Irish license. I'd like to be able to start this process in the fall. Sometimes, just watching the traffic in Dublin city, I can appreciate why it might be a good idea to practice driving on the other side of the road before I jump right into it.
3. Do I have an accent now?
Haha YUP. This is something I did not expect AT ALL, but in the last two months or so, loads of people have pointed out to me that my American accent is starting blend with the Dublin one. My new blended accent is very funny apparently. Nick will often catch it on certain words, and my friend Rachel is always laughing about how the way I say the word 'pub' has evolved into something that sounds much more Irish. Also, a lot of local vernacular is slowly weaving itself into my vocabulary. Maybe I've been watching too much Father Ted!
When I go back to America though, the blend usually goes away and the full-on American in me comes right back out! It's very bizarre and sometimes I'm a bit insecure about it now, but I can't help it so I try not to beat myself up over it! Fortunately, I don't sound full-on Irish at all, because if I did, that would definitely weird me out.
4. Is it more expensive to live there?
Yes. Without a doubt it is definitely more expensive to live here in Dublin than it would be back home. The biggest difference is rent. If I lived back in NH, rent would be at least a little cheaper. Also, public transport is not all that cheap here, and neither id having your own car because gas costs more here. Fortunately, there are ways to off set the expenses with discount grocery stores such as Lidl and the really cheap food markets in town on the weekends. Also, thanks to Primark (Penneys here in Ireland) I can get somewhat decent clothing for much cheaper than I would in my favourite stores back in America.
5. Do I get to travel to other countries?
Eh, sort of. I went to Scotland for four days in March but that's really all I've traveled since I got here. It's really easy for people to be like "traveling in Europe is so cheap!!" but it's really not when you only have a part time job, are a full time broke student, have to work for free (most Assistant Psychologist jobs are unpaid) and have to pay high rent/transportation rates. If I were to start a full time paid position here in Dublin, then I definitely would be able to travel to other countries a bit more. That's the dream I suppose!
6. Have I swam in the ocean here? Is it freezing?
I haven't full on gone for a dunk in the ocean water here, but I've waded in it. It's definitely cold!! It's similar to the beaches back in New Hampshire. The water is cold, but on a hot enough day it's actually quite refreshing. The thing is, it usually doesn't get hot enough here to make that cold water bearable at all.
7. Do I think I will stay in Ireland permanently?
Right now, I do think that Ireland is where I will settle down. Right now I am working toward becoming a psychologist. If I decide to settle in Ireland, then I need to get my doctorate degree and clinical training here in Ireland. I would like to live in New Orleans for a year at some point during my life (sooner rather than later) but I do think Ireland will be where I settle down at first, and it doesn't have to be Dublin! In fact, I think I could have a very happy life living somewhere on the Wild Atlantic Way. It's possible that as I get older I might relocate back to America as my own parents age and need support, but that's ages away. For the time being, Ireland is where I would like to be for a long time.