Tag Archives: moving to ireland

Living in Ireland: Pediatric Emergency Medicine

When our family moved to Ireland 15 months ago, I did what I could from a medical perspective to make sure our transition was as smooth as possible.

Today I’m going to share what I did in the hope that you’ll find my list helpful should you find yourself in a similar situation.

Then I’ll get to the dramatic part tell you how it all went to hell a story of what happened last week that showed the drastic gap in my planning that most certainly contributed to a new patch of grey hair.


BEFORE WE LEFT THE USA:

Prescriptions: Before I left the states, I arranged to “buy-out” the remaining months of our prescriptions. In our case, only one of us was taking a prescription and it was valid for another 4 months. The pharmacy told me our insurance would only cover one month at a time, but there was a significant discount for me to buy out the remainder of the prescription. I’m not sure why, but I learned it is always worth asking. This afforded me a longer grace period when we arrived in Ireland to find a doctor and get a new prescription.

Contact Lenses: We also visited the eye doctor before we left and stocked up on a year’s supply of contact lenses.

Dentist: The timing worked out right for us to all visit the dentist in the weeks right before we left the country. This gave us 6 months, barring no problems, to find a new dentist. Although, in Ireland, they seem to recommend only yearly cleanings.

Health Insurance: Because there was a gap between when my husband would be starting his job in Ireland and when the kids and I would join him, we worked with his employer to keep him on the U.S. payroll for an extra month so that we could maintain our health coverage and not have to go on Cobra. You know the minute we dropped our insurance would be the minute one of the kids broke an arm. I couldn’t tempt fate!

Medical Records: I also procured copies of important medical records that I thought we might need in Ireland. For example, immunization records.

Life Insurance: This is sort of medical related – after medicine doesn’t help you any longer. I called and confirmed that our life insurance policies were valid no matter where we resided.


WHEN WE ARRIVED IN IRELAND:

Insurance: Straight away when my husband switched to Irish payroll we enrolled in the private health insurance program his company offers. Having private insurance offers a few benefits – like bumping us to the front of the line for procedures, private hospitals, etc. Irish residents are entitled to state-sponsored insurance, but I’m not an expert on the details of how that works.

Family Doctor: Within a couple of weeks of moving into our new home in Ireland, I made a point to ask neighbors, our landlord, really anyone who would listen for their advice on family doctors or pediatricians. I took the list of suggestions and started calling to see who had availability to accept new patients. While there was nothing wrong with any of us at that moment, I wanted to be certain we were patients of record with a doctor’s office before someone got sick.

Our decision on which doctor to go with had a lot to do with who was accepting new patients and location. We don’t have a car, so I needed to find a doctor close to our house. It worked out that I liked the first doctor I saw, but I was prepared to keep searching.

Also, I had to adjust my expectations for medical care. Our doctor’s office (or surgery as they call it) is located in a townhouse. The doctor’s desk with his mountain of paperwork is in the room with the exam table. Immunization schedules aren’t as rigorous. Well child visits are few and far between. The doctor called pee/urine “waterworks.” Little things like that. And, yes, that last one still makes me laugh.

I do like that Irish doctors post their price lists on their websites. You are never surprised by what things cost (it’s not a lot, either) and we submit the receipts to our insurance for reimbursement.

999: When we moved here, I taught my kids what to do if mommy or daddy is hurt and they need to call for help. In Ireland and the UK, the emergency services number is 999, not 911. I’m not going to say this has been an easy transition. The kids had to learn a new street address, mommy’s new phone number and a new emergency number. Just the other day when I quizzed the kids, my son said 9-9-1?

*sigh* So close, but so not helpful. We’ll just keep working on it!

Pharmacy Visits: In Ireland, you go to the pharmacy for over-the-counter pain meds, cough syrup, makeup, etc. Over the course of our time here, I’ve familiarized myself with the fact that medications are called different things. Ibuprofen is Nurofen, for instance.

I’ve also come to accept that pharmacy staff are trained to be either very helpful or very nosy. It depends on your perspective. For instance, I bought two different types of children’s cold medicine a few months ago. The pharmacy clerk – not a pharmacist, but the lady who rings up your purchase – quizzed me about if my purchase was for two different kids? I responded, “yes, I have two kids.” Now, in all reality, I just didn’t know which, if any, medication was going to help the one kid that was sick. Basically, I was stocking up so that I’d be prepared for anything.

Also, I cannot buy a Costco-sized bottle of tylenol or ibuprofen here. I can buy 10 tylenol pills at one time. I cannot buy 2 packages of 10 pills at one time. For someone who doesn’t like to shop, this is all very annoying.


HOW ALL MY PLANNING FAILED ME 15 MONTHS AFTER OUR MOVE:

Last Tuesday after school, we went to the park. This is something we do probably 4 times a week if it’s not raining.

Our routine play time was disrupted when my 10-year-old daughter fell off the one thing all the kids climb on, but really shouldn’t. Especially when there’s a large group of them.

As a mom, you can tell the difference in your child’s cry. The I’m-pretending-I’m-a-baby cry, the my-pride-is-hurt cry, the this-hurts-but-I’m-really-okay cry, the I’m-going-to-cry-and-my-sibling-will-get-in-trouble cry, the I-didn’t-get-my-way-and-life-is-unfair cry and the HOLY-HECK-THIS-IS-REAL-PAIN cry.

My daughter had that last one. I thought her tailbone was what she had really injured, but it turns out her arm/hand was the real culprit.

This was one of those situations where you’re not going to call an ambulance, but you know your kid probably needs to be checked out. And we’ve all been conditioned to avoid the hospital ER at all costs. No one wants to go there and THEY don’t want you to go there unless you’re really, truly having an emergency. Thankfully, urgent care clinics have filled that gap in the market for the urgent, but not dying stuff.

Now, let me paint you a picture. I’m in the park with two kids, two backpacks, two scooters and no car. I’m nowhere near my house. It’s late in the afternoon and I’m trying to decide what I should do. At a minimum, I know I need to get ice and ibuprofen.

A friend (who happened to be at the park) offered to drive us to the urgent care clinic in our area. She’d been there before and knew they had an x-ray machine on site.

Done!

Going to a private clinic was exactly why we procured private insurance! Along the way, I tried to call our insurance company, but they wouldn’t let me ask my question about clinics and coverage because I didn’t have our member number – it was on my phone. So I had to hang up and write the number now. By that time, we were at the clinic so my friend dropped us off and I hauled two backpacks, two scooters and two kids up the steps and into the clinic.

That’s where I encountered THE SIGN on the door. The sign that said, in essence, as of September 1st the clinic would not help anyone that was not a member of said clinic. We were not members. I missed the window of help by 4 days. Frickity Frack.

Trying to explain this development to my daughter who was still sniffling with pain and holding her arm at a weird angle was not fun.

I called our insurance company (again) and asked them to tell me where the closest clinic with an x-ray machine was located that would help my daughter. They gave me directions to the clinic, confirmed my pediatric question and informed me it closed at 6 p.m., which was in one hour. The most efficient way to get to the clinic would be via a cab.

As soon as I hung up the call, I opened my phone’s taxi app to hail a cab. Except, I couldn’t get a cab. My app was searching and searching and no drivers were available. Just great.

I could feel my blood pressure rising while we waited, which wasn’t being helped by the fact that my son was bored and decided to start sliding down a banister in front of the clinic that wouldn’t help us. One hurt arm is all I can handle at a time!

After about 10 minutes a random cab pulls up in with a passenger. I flag the driver down and ask if he was accepting fares. Of course he said yes. I explained how odd it was that I couldn’t get a cab when I know we were close to a shopping mall. He said, “oh, I know what it was. The drivers in the taxi rank were too lazy to get out of line to go pick up a fare. They’d rather wait for shoppers exiting the mall.”

To recap. My daughter is hurt. I have one hour to get her to the clinic before it closes. The quickest way to get there is by taxi. The taxi drivers are TOO LAZY to pick us up.

Awesome.

I’d also like to mention that it is now 5 p.m., which is getting close to the dinner hour and I’d already given the kids all the food I had when we were at the park. Nothing good happens when my kids are hurt, tired AND hungry.

I’m fairly certain I can actually FEEL the grey hairs growing out of my scalp now.

Anyway, the cab driver gets us to the second clinic in 15 minutes. I hop out with the two kids, the two backpacks and two scooters to find the emergency department, which was on the opposite side of the building from where we’d been dropped off.

I walk up to the reception desk, explain why we are there and the lady says, “I’m sorry. We only take patients 16 years and older.”

*insert a whole host of expletives here*

Thankfully, I did not say those bad words out loud.

If I hadn’t felt like crying at that point, I probably would have laughed at the ridiculousness of this situation. Bad timing. Misinformation. It was a complete fiasco.

I did calmly and politely ask the lady who would not help my hurt child who was standing right in front of her where I should take my daughter for help.

“Oh, well, you have to take her to a children’s hospital. She can’t go to a regular hospital A&E.”

I’m not sure what A&E meant at that moment, but I assumed it was the ER.

*insert another list of newly invented expletives here*

Thankfully, I did not say those bad words out loud either. But I did text them with very angry fingers to my husband.

Just keeping it real.

In my mind, getting my child help should have been a simple process. It wasn’t. And it was made worse by me not knowing how the system worked when it comes to urgent care.

Looking back, I should have just called our family doctor. And looking back even farther, when I met with the doctor the very first time, I should have inquired about what to do if there is a non-emergency emergency. Then I would have had a plan in place and would not have carried around the guilt and utter frustration associated with not being able to get my child help. This is one of those times when it shouldn’t have been so hard and I’m lucky that it all worked out okay in the end.

24 hours after the incident, my daughter saw our family doctor. He, bless his heart, told me “if you would have come in yesterday, I probably would have told you to come back and see me in 24 hours.” I’m not sure if that’s true or if he could see the parental guilt coming off me in waves, but I appreciated the sentiment.

He, predictably, referred us to the children’s hospital for x-rays.

I also told the doctor about how I woke up in the middle of the night and asked my husband, “so if a child was stabbed in the parking lot of a regular hospital, that hospital would not help that child?” The doctor rolled his eyes and said, “I know, I know. The system is a little messed up. They probably would give the kid pain meds, but they would call an ambulance and have them sent to the children’s hospital for treatment.”

*insert a picture of me shaking my head in disbelief at how asinine that is*

We ended up having a really fantastic (if you can call it that) experience in the hospital. We were in and out with x-rays and a cast in about an hour.

I did learn that children’s hospitals in Dublin are all public. So the benefits of having private insurance – unless she ends up needing a room – are negligible.

I’m sharing this story because I want you to know I have a really brave kid. And she feels much better now.

I also acknowledge there are parents out there dealing with medical situations far more horrific than a broken wrist and my heart goes out to them because I know that burden must be indescribably heavy.

Most of all, I’m sharing this story for anyone who is moving to a foreign country. I hope you can learn from my mistakes. Kids get sick. Kids get hurt. Knowing what to do in those situations – whether they be minor, urgent or a true emergency – can help you direct your energy where it needs to go the most – to your child.

As we left the hospital on foot to catch the train home, my daughter, sporting her new red cast said, “It’s a good thing I didn’t break my leg! That would have been a lot worse!”

She found the bright spot in this situation and I’m happy she reminded me it was there all along.

In truth, she’s my bright spot.


P.S. As you can see, I’m still learning the ins and outs of the medical and health insurance system in Ireland. I am in no way, shape or form an expert. Please do your own due diligence before moving to Ireland. It really is a fantastic place. I wish you the best of luck! 

 

 

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Moving to Ireland: House Viewing #3

If you’ve been following along on our house hunting adventures in Ireland, then you’ll know that House #1 and House #2 were a big, fat bust.

I hate to spoil the surprise, but if we are connected on Instagram or you ran into my dad, then you already know “third times a charm” is now my favorite phrase ever.

House #3 is a 4 bedroom, 2 bath semi-detached home located in a small coastal village about 30 minutes south of Dublin. Semi-detached is just a fancy way of saying it’s actually attached on one side and thus a duplex.

This home was built in 1966 and thankfully has had some updates since that glorious decade.

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The house itself is located on a quiet street and the neighborhood backs up to a large park. From the house it’s about a 10-minute walk to the train station or a 2-minute walk to the bus stop.

I’m going to have to talk more about doors at some point because the Irish seem to love their front doors. (Here’s an article about The Doors of Dublin.)

The windows and hardware of this front door make my heart go pitter-patter. The front door key is an old-fashioned looking, skeleton-type key. Be still my heart.

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Let’s go inside, shall we?

This is one portion of the home’s foyer, which is actually pretty large. I’ve had homes in the U.S. with no foyer, so I appreciate the space.

I’ve only been in a dozen or so homes in Ireland, but so far, all the carpet I’ve seen is low-pile, kind of like a Berber-esque carpet.

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To the left of the entry is a bedroom or what we will use as an office. It has a connected bathroom that has not been updated.

It’s not terrible though – especially if you like the color peach.
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To the right of the foyer is the living room, which runs the width of the house. It’s a long narrow room with a wood stove dividing the space in half.

One of the things I appreciate most about this home are the gigantic windows. I’m basking in all of the natural light. The curtains might not look special in this photo, but the landlord appreciates quality and these are really well-made, high quality curtains.

That bookshelf is not built in, but it is secured to the wall with brackets. You know I want to move it, right? Handy Husband just shakes his head. It would “breathe” better if it was scooted over to the other side of the doorway. However, I’m guessing it was a beast to secure to the wall and therefore the space behind it hasn’t been painted in awhile. That could be bad.

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Moving on. If you were back in the foyer and walked straight ahead, you’d be in the dining room.

It also has a little fireplace. At this point we don’t plan on using the fireplaces, but we will see. I’m not a huge fan of the mess they create.

In case you are wondering, this home is the antithesis of open concept. Every room has a door or two. I’m going to go out on a limb and say the practical reason every room can be closed off is for energy efficiency. In a home that is heated with radiators or wood heat, you can pick and choose which areas you want to heat in the winter.

Speaking of doors, I brought all of my over-the-door hooks with me from Georgia. I knew I would be moving into a smaller home with less storage, so anywhere I could sneak in extra functionality would be good.

Smart thinking, right? I’d like to think so. Using the ol’ brains, I am.

Wrong.

I made a completely erroneous assumption. I assumed door depth was a fairly standard thing. Not so. These doors are thicker than any door I’ve had the pleasure of hanging hooks on. Only one of my hooks fits (very tightly), but the door won’t close. GAH!

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Let’s continue on with the tour.

Part of the kitchen is shown below. The cabinet on the far left is the refrigerator. I’ve always wanted a concealed refrigerator! Thankfully, it’s a little bit bigger than the refrigerator in our temporary home.

This home does have a separate washer and dryer. Yay! The washer is located in the kitchen. The dryer is outside in a shed, which isn’t as terrible as it sounds. It’s all a matter of perspective. Our last home in Georgia was built in the 1960s too and the laundry room was located off the carport. I’m used to traipsing outside to do laundry.

I’m thankful for the dryer! I’ve used it a couple of times, but on nice days I’m channeling my modern-day Laura Ingalls Wilder and drying clothes on the line. There’s nothing like a crunchy bath towel to give you a little extra exfoliation!

There is also a small freezer in that same shed and I’m very thankful for that because I made a batch of strawberry freezer jam this week. And all was right in my world.

Also, my cookie sheets just barely fit in that cute oven. As in, one cookie sheet is the entire size of the cooking rack. These are the small, but important details that the “Congratulations! You’re Moving to Ireland” books don’t mention.

By the way, the number one thing I’m Googling lately is fahrenheit to celsius conversion.

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Up the stairs on the second floor are 3 bedrooms. We moved a king, queen and twin bed and miraculously, all of them fit.

There is also a bathroom upstairs. This home does not have a bathtub in either bathroom, which I find a little odd. I didn’t realize it until after we signed the lease that the upstairs bathroom has no mirror. Between no outlets and no mirrors, I think the homebuilder made his point.

Vanity has no place here! Do your business and get out! Or something like that.

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I really hate to finish this post off with a picture of an open toilet. (That’s probably the one Facebook is going to pull into its feed though.)

So here’s a picture of the kids playing in the backyard.

It’s a legit backyard! Probably one of the nicer backyards we’ve had. This is a perk of moving a little ways out of Dublin.

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I’m actually surprised we ended up with this home. Here’s the thing about Handy Husband and me. I’m the frugal one when it comes to everything except where we live. Handy Husband is the opposite. This home didn’t max out our price range, but it was closer to the top than any of the other houses. I thought the home suited our needs especially because it was unfurnished, but I was prepared to walk away. It was Handy Husband that pounced on this house. The man can still surprise me!

After viewing the home with the realtor, we had to come back a second time to meet with the owners before we could secure the lease. I used every trick in my parenting toolbox to impress upon my children the importance of them not acting like wild hyenas during this meeting.

I have to say, I have never been so graciously welcomed to a home or area as I was by these landlords. Once again, human kindness was overflowing. Their generosity of spirit really blew me away. I kind of felt like hugging them and I’m not a hugger! Plus, I’m pretty sure there’s an unwritten law about not hugging your landlord. Awkward!

When the other homes we viewed didn’t “feel” right to me, I think it was because we were meant to find this place and I’m so happy we did.

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Moving to Ireland: Temporary House, Floor 2

After Monday’s awe-inspiring pictures of where we stayed while we searched for a permanent Irish residence, I didn’t want to leave you hanging over the weekend without showing the 2nd floor of this home. You’re welcome.

(You can read all about the first floor here.)

Let’s climb the stairs to the second floor. Ask me how many times the kids took that stair turn too fast? Go ahead. Ask.

Once each.

Alright, my son might have done it twice, but his danger streak runs a mile wide.

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This townhouse is a 2 bedroom, 1 bath home.

At the top of the stairs you can turn right to the bathroom and one of the bedrooms. Or you can turn left into the other bedroom, where I’m standing to get this delightful photo.

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I’ll turn around now and show you this bedroom which had a double bed. You know what’s nice about a double bed? If you are 5′ 9″ tall, your feet hang off the end of the bed when you sleep.

That’s right. Keeps your feet nice and cool at night. What’s not to love about that?

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Now, the reason this bed is made so nicely is because I didn’t make the bed. My absolute favorite and not favorite thing about corporate housing is the cleaning company that came in once a week and shined the place up. They changed the sheets and even took away the dirty towels and left all new ones. It was a little bit like hotel living.

I only say it is not my favorite thing because I have an irrational need to clean before the cleaning company comes. The first week they came, I didn’t know they were coming and the breakfast dishes were still in the sink. I also happened to still be in my pajamas with my hair looking a little like this.

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My hair can stand straight up without any product. What’s your superpower?

Needless to say, it’s less traumatic for everyone involved if I clean my own house.

Speaking of not scaring the cleaners getting ready in the morning, the “master” bedroom had a small vanity table too. I have yet to be in an Irish bathroom that has any electrical outlets. Just think about how that would affect your morning routine.

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Speaking of the bathroom. Want to see? Look below…

There’s a little heater on the wall to the right.

The cupboard housed linens and the hot water heater.

This bathroom also had a skylight over the shower that you could open by pulling on a cord that was on a pulley system. I guess if you left the window open and it rained, you could have a shower courtesy of Mother Nature.

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I used to work in the homebuilding industry and we never ever in a million years would build a home – even a small home – where there wasn’t a bathroom on every floor. I can’t tell you the number of times someone looked at a set of house plans and asked, “where’s the powder room going to go?” It’s a luxury that your guests don’t have to see the bathroom where you shower and get ready.

Let’s take a closer look at the shower. Don’t worry – it’s clean – thanks to the awesome cleaning ladies.

There is a start/stop button to turn the shower on or off. It worked pretty well! I have seen one shower with hardware and functionality that you’d expect in the United States. The others are some variation on this set-up.

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The second bedroom is where the kids were supposed to sleep. The property management company set it up with two twin beds for our kids.

I tried sleeping on the very hard, double bed with my feet hanging off for two nights. Two long, jet-lagged nights. It was almost funny when every time Handy Husband rolled over he hit his head on the nightstand. Almost.

Eventually, I decided that no matter how much I missed Handy Husband, I missed sleeping even more. We ended up playing musical beds. The kids took turns sharing the double bed with daddy. I folded up a duvet cover to give more cushion to one of the twin beds and slept on that.

There was that one night where I woke up with a kiddo in my twin bed, but I’d prefer not to remember that back ache.

I will say, the closet systems were robust in this house. The built-ins went all the way to the ceilings, which were 9-ft tall. No, I’m not going to open the doors for you because that’s where I had to cram all of our earthly possessions so the cleaning crew could vacuum. It’s not pretty inside.

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This type of corporate housing is set up to be short term. You can stay for as long as you want, but the per night rate is expensive. In Dublin, if we had to foot the bill ourselves to live in this townhouse, it would have been approximately $5,000 per month. Ouch! I’m hoping Handy Husband’s company negotiated a better corporate rate than what we were quoted to extend our stay past the 30-day mark.

Also, this type of housing varies in the length of notice you have to give before you move out. We had to give 14 days notice. Some were as short as 7 days. Happily, we signed a lease on a permanent home exactly 14 days before our lease was up. That meant we did not have to pay any extra to live in this home that I was so thankful for, yet really did not like.

 

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Moving to Ireland: Human Kindness is Overflowing

Our first week in Ireland has been a WHIRLWIND.

Apparently, the motto in our house is “hit the ground running.” Just once I’d like to try dialing it back a notch to see how “hit the ground after this Netflix binge” feels. I’ll bet it feels nice…and not jet-lagged.

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Jet lag aside, I don’t want to give the impression that this week has been without any bumps in the road. Every good adventure has a few of those. However, as I keep my eyes focused on the big picture, I can’t help but feel I’ve seen the kinder side of humanity this week.

Surprising? It sure as heck surprised me! In a world full of strife, I feel pretty darn blessed to have encountered so many kind individuals this week.

Here’s how it all began…

Our journey to Ireland started in Portland, Oregon. I explained to my children multiple times our flight itinerary. Emphasis on the multiple. There are no direct flights at this time from Portland, so we were set to fly from Portland to Los Angeles and then to Dublin.

I’ve flown through every major airport in California except LAX. I’ve done a fantastic job of avoiding it – until Monday. As our wheels touched down in Los Angeles after a quick 2-hour flight, my son turned to me and said, “are we in Dublin now?”

Sometimes I just shake my head.

We had less than 2 hours to change planes and get new boarding passes in Los Angeles. To make the most of this time, I checked out the map of the LAX airport before we landed. After landing I asked 3 different airport workers how to get from point A to point B. Signage where we deplaned in Terminal 6 was pretty much nonexistent, so I really was relying on those workers/gate agents for help. They were all super nice.

As it turns out, I picked exactly the three wrong people to ask for help at this airport.

That’s okay. That mad dash lugging our three carry-on bags through 4 terminals and the 80-degree heat while yelling at my children to put some pep in their step was good prep for my Amazing Race audition.

I felt like we were running around in circles to find the single Aer Lingus counter – kind of like this Irish merry-go-round, but not as fun.

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Thankfully, I eventually found the counter and no one else was in line! Score! How often does that happen?

Turns out, no one was in line because all the passengers had already checked in. No biggie. I was sweaty, a little frazzled, but by golly, I was there! And my children straggled in too. We were good!

Since I was a “little late” checking in, the agent told me my bags might not make it on the plane, but she radioed down to Harold and Harold replied back in the affirmative that he was ON IT. I was really feeling a lot of affection for Harold at the moment.

The baggage situation was a little confusing to me since I was told our bags (aka all my earthly possessions that aren’t on the slow boat across the Atlantic) were checked through to Dublin. I understood this to mean that I didn’t need to worry about my bags. Even if I didn’t make my second flight, my bags would. I didn’t have time to discuss the finer nuances of “checked through,” though because 1) Harold was ON IT and 2) we still had to go through the security line to get to our flight.

The TSA agents at LAX were super kind and chatted us up about Ireland, which took my mind off why so many people think the “shoes off” or “laptop in its own bin” rules don’t apply to them. Plus, it was refreshing to NOT encounter rude, inconsiderate TSA agents for once. Kindness for the win!

We made it to the gate 5 minutes before boarding began, which means we probably could have done a little less mad dashing and a little more fast walking through LAX.

Mad dashing while carrying 2 unreasonably heavy backpacks and an overnight bag is a bit like doing Crossfit while running a 5K. It turns out that in addition to the back-up hard drives and personal documentation that cannot leave our possession, my kids also packed only the absolute necessities in their backpacks.

Like a wood treasure chest filled with pottery, a harmonica and emojis. Not the emojis I was feeling at the moment, but whatever.

It’s no wonder I had to take a paper towel bath in the airplane restroom. Treasure chests are heavy, people!

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As I was stowing our precious cargo away for the flight to Dublin, the ticketing agent (the one who contacted Harold) tapped me on the shoulder and returned my baggage claim receipt that I had left at the ticketing counter. I was so grateful for her kindness. It turns out that claim receipt would come in handy when neither of our checked bags made it to Dublin.

HAROLD!!!!

Where’s a good poop emoji when you need it? That was the one thing NOT in my kids’ backpacks. I checked.

I didn’t know luggage-apocalypse was going to happen though and we actually had an awesome 10-hour flight to Dublin on Aer Lingus. The plane wasn’t too full, so we could stretch out. When we landed, my son was passed out across the aisle from me. My daughter and I were sharing a row of 4 seats. Since we had also been stretching out, we were on opposite ends of those 4 seats.

In the final moments of our flight, I was sitting there thinking about what a relief it would be to see my husband after 6 weeks. I could hardly wait for the wheels to touch down.

Finally I felt the jolt of the plane making contact with solid ground when out of the corner of my eye, I see projectile vomit spewing out of my 9-year-old daughter’s mouth.

NOOOOO!!!!!!

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Now, this is one of those times in life when everything happens in slow motion. It’s like I could see the little particles of puke launch themselves out of her mouth and toward the guy sitting ahead of her. I could see her hands reaching up to try and catch the next wave of puke that was coming up her throat. My arms are reaching out to help her, but I realize I’m still buckled in and 4 seats away, so I’m actually not all that helpful in those long 2 seconds.

In a stroke of luck, my daughter had the airline blanket mainly across her lap, so what puke didn’t land on the wall and people around her, landed on the blanket. The kindest flight attendant on the face of the planet jumped out of her seat and ignoring the other passengers, got wet paper towels and wiped the vomit off my daughter’s face. Wiped. It. Off. Her. Face.

I’m just keeping it real here. I’m her mother and in that moment, I definitely would have gotten her the paper towels, but I might have made her wipe her own face clean. I certainly would never, in my wildest dreams, expect a complete stranger to be that compassionate when it comes to puke. Faith in humanity was restored right then and there.

After all of that, I really was extra relieved to see my husband. I’m sure he felt the same.

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While that was probably the pinnacle of human kindness we experienced this week, we’ve been blessed countless times by people in Dublin.

There was the man who got up from eating his dinner on a park bench and walked out of his way to ask if we needed directions. There was the lady who got in line at the government office at 5 a.m. so that we didn’t have to be there until 7:15 a.m. Sure, that was part of her job, but she didn’t have to greet us with a cheery smile and offers for coffee. Another lady came to our door to welcome us to our temporary neighborhood and told us all sorts of useful tidbits about the neighborhood. On Friday a train ticketing agent left his desk to find us on the platform to tell us he noticed we were using adult train cards for the kids and we could save half of the fare by switching to child cards. And I’ll never forget the gentleman who offered up his umbrella to us in the middle of a torrential downpour.

Small things. Chance encounters. I don’t know if Dubliners are kinder than Americans or if I’m just more receptive to it this week since I’m a fish out of water. Either way, I’m so happy to have experienced the power of human kindness and I hope I can return the favor ten-fold.

P.S. Our bags showed up two days after we arrived in Dublin. And all was right in the world again. 

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Adventure Awaits

There has been a frenzy of activity behind the scenes of this little blog.

This happened.

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Then this happened.

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That’s right! We are moving! Again. Ha!

Handy Husband accepted a new job with his same company and a transfer to Ireland!

IRELAND. As in that foreign country that’s really pretty and green with a pub on every corner. That Ireland.

Even though I am mired in all of the moving details, it still sounds unreal when I say it out loud. This has been a collective dream of ours since college, but even more so after we had children.

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We want our children to grow up considering themselves to be global citizens with a broad world view.

While thinking about how I could articulate my feelings on this topic, I ran across this definition of a global citizen from the IDEAS for Global Citizenship organization.

A global citizen:

  • is aware of the wider world and has a sense of their own role as a world citizen
  • respects and values diversity
  • has an understanding of how the world works
  • is outraged by social injustice
  • participates in the community at a range of levels, from the local to the global
  • is willing to act to make the world a more equitable and sustainable place
  • takes responsibility for their actions.

If our kids embrace even half of these attributes, I think our world will be a better place.

Today we are leaving to join my husband in Dublin. He started his job at the beginning of May. I stayed behind with the kids so they could finish out the school year. Then we traveled to Oregon to visit family while our household belongings took the slow boat across the Atlantic.

We do not have a permanent residence in Ireland yet.

*Deep breath* No big deal, right?!?

We start house hunting this Thursday. Homes in Ireland are much different and smaller than those in the United States, so this should be a fun challenge for me.

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I don’t know how long we will be in Ireland, but probably at least two years. I am incredibly proud of how hard Handy Husband has worked and how respected he has become in his industry. I’m confident big things are in store for him. And us.

For now, we are going to make the most of this opportunity. It’s equal parts scary and exciting. Making a home in a new country with two young children is sure to be one of the grandest adventures of our lives and I hope you’ll come along for the journey! I’m sure I’ll have a lot to share as we continue on our quest to make a pretty darn happy home no matter where we live.

 

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