• Stamp 3 card Ireland
    advice,  employment,  wtf

    WTF?: The Problem with Stamp 3 in Ireland

    UPDATE 25 April 2019:  So about two weeks after I wrote this post, the Irish government decided to simply do away with the Dependent/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit and let all dependents/partners/spouses of critical skills employment holders work in Ireland with no restrictions and—wait for it—NO WORK PERMIT.  I went to GNIB this morning and I’m ECSTATIC to say that I now have a Stamp 1G in my passport, declaring that I “may work full-time without Employment Permit.” Honestly, I thought this day would never come! (1G is now the stamp that all dependents/partners/spouses of Critical Skills Employer Permit holders will receive. Read more about it here.) I think this was better…

  • Litter on Henry Street, Dublin
    reflections,  wtf

    WTF?: Dublin’s Litter Problem

    My husband and I have now been in Dublin for just over 10 months. We can safely say that it is the dirtiest city we’ve lived in, thanks to its massive litter problem. We lived in New York City, Seattle, and Boston over the past nine years. Yes, NYC is gross in that garbage is left out on the street for collection, but at least the trash is placed in sealed bags (usually). (Now, their rat-infested subway tracks is a different story, but it’s not like people walk on the tracks.) Boston, I’ve seen some disgusting things on occasion (for example, a bloody tissue on a seat on an Orange…

  • Dark Hedges

    Explore: Game of Thrones Tour in Northern Ireland

    One Saturday in January, we boarded a Dublin Coach bus to Belfast for a weekend trip. The main reason for our journey? Game of Thrones. If you’re a fan of the TV series, then I don’t need to tell you that multiple scenes have been shot throughout NI. We booked an all-day bus tour with McComb’s for Saturday, and Sunday morning was to be spent in Belfast. (Spoiler alert: If you’re not past the first few seasons of GoT, you probably want to stop reading now.) Now I’ll preface my post with an admission: I hate (most) tours. We booked this one mainly because we didn’t want to bother with renting a car or…

  • Horstmann Quartz E7 water heating control system
    advice,  essentials,  wtf

    WTF?: The Immersion

    The first time showering in our apartment was quite memorable. Poor Steve learned the hard way that you cannot take hot water for granted here in Ireland. Meet the immersion water heater controller: When we moved in, I noticed this contraption on the wall but for whatever reason, I disregarded it. I remember thinking to myself, “This looks ancient and it’s set to ‘off’ anyway. Maybe it’s something that’s just been here for years and isn’t important.” I couldn’t have been more wrong. This important device controls the hot water supply for our entire apartment. When it’s off, you won’t have hot water. The previous tenants naturally turned it off…

  • Available GNIB appointments
    advice,  essentials

    The GNIB Appointment

    Anyone moving to Ireland needs to pay a visit to the GNIB office. It doesn’t matter if you’re working, not working, a student, or a child. Below is how our process went. You’ll see that the first step is the hardest! Scheduling an Appointment Honestly, the most difficult and annoying part of this process is booking your GNIB appointment. I’m part of a couple of expats groups on Facebook, and the most commonly asked question is, “How on earth do I schedule an appointment?” My husband had to visit the GNIB site multiple times to secure an appointment because it kept telling him there were no appointments available . .…

  • wtf

    WTF?: The Backwards-Ass AIB Card Reader

    Here in Ireland and throughout most of Europe, contactless credit cards are the norm. Chip technology is so 2007. My Leap card, which is what we use here for all public transit payments, is contactless. I can even put the card against my smartphone and use the Leap card app to top up my account in less than 10 seconds. It’s pretty amazeballs. So imagine my surprise when I tried to send our landlord our first rent payment a couple of days before it was due. I had all her bank account details and was ready to initiate the transfer online. And then I got this message: WTF is an…

  • Ludwigsburger Barock Weihnachtsmarkt

    Explore: Christmas Markets in Stuttgart, Ludwigsburg, and Esslingen, Germany

    Experiencing a real German Christmas market has been high on my bucket list for years. This past week, we got to visit three in the Baden-Württemburg region: Stuttgart, Ludwigsburg, and Esslingen. They all lived up to my lofty expectations. Lebkuchen hearts dangled from stall awnings, the smoky scent of grilled sausages wafted in the air, and red and white glühwein flowed freely. In a word, the markets were “magical” and I would love to somehow make a trip to Germany a Christmas tradition. Stuttgarter Weihnachtsmarkt The first market we experienced was in Stuttgart’s city center. It’s one of the largest in all of Germany and it’s renowned for the elaborate decorations…

  • Nutty Doorsteps bread
    word of the day

    Word of the Day: Doorstep

    At first, I thought this was just a goofy name for this specific brand of bread. Turns out, “doorstep” refers to the thickness of the bread slice (and other brands, like Hovis, use the term, too). Here, it typically represents the thickest slice available (think similar to Texas toast back in the States).

  • Thanksgiving dinner at Token Dublin
    dublin dishes

    Dublin Dishes: Token at Thanksgiving

    Dublin Dishes explores our dining experiences throughout the city. Who would have thought that a retro arcade/bar in Dublin would serve an impeccable three-course Thanksgiving dinner? Token was booked solid tonight, and we were lucky enough to snag the last two seats for the evening. We already loved Token for its games, having spent this past Saturday night there. Now we had pretty high expectations for the grub since Food Awards Ireland recently crowned Token as Dublin’s Best Restaurant of the Year. Tonight’s menu was devised by Irish chef Shane Guilmartin, who we were told had never cooked an American-style Thanksgiving dinner before. Well, he could have fooled us. He…