I received my Public Services Card in the mail (or should I say, post) today. I’m definitely not a tourist anymore. Now that I am an official resident, I thought I’d share some of my initial observations about Dublin:
1. As a city, Dublin reminds me most of Vienna, which surprises me. But when I walk down Grafton Street (the main pedestrian shopping street), I swear I could be walking down the identical street in Vienna. Dublin doesn’t have the sprawl of London or Paris or Berlin, though it does have the vitality and energy of those larger cities. Getting around is very manageable, despite the fact that the two tram lines do not connect with each other (WTF, Dublin city planners?!). I had planned on getting a bike but I may not need one. The tram and my legs have so far been enough.
2. The Irish are ridiculously nice. And not the fake “if-I-pretend-I-like-you-will-you-show-my-script-to-your-agent” niceness that one encounters in LA. Some examples just this week:
– As I stumbled toward the taxi stand on O’Connell Street with way too many bags filled with cumbersome pillows, blankets and the like, a taxi driver rushed over to me, took my bags and put them in the trunk – OF ANOTHER DRIVER’S CAB!
– I went to the Social Services Offices to register for my PPS number prepared to spend the entire day. I had my kindle, my ipod, snacks, handy wipes, gum. My number was called in less than five minutes and the actual process took about ten. And, get this, the young woman who registered me actually smiled and chatted and treated me like a human being. The DMV could take a few pointers from her.
– And just today, I went for the third time to what I believe is now my favorite restaurant in my neighborhood. The owner, Shanta, introduced me to Anne, the owner of the local pharmacy and proceeded to tell everyone how I had just moved to the neighborhood.
3. Everyone in Dublin wants you to pay by direct debit. Even my rent is going to be paid that way. I don’t like this. I’ve never been a fan of having money taken out of my account automatically. I prefer to put everything on my credit card and then pay that online. But here in Dublin, I don’t think I have much of a choice – rent, mobile, electric and cable/internet are all going to be direct debited, once I have a bank account.
4. Maybe it’s just luck of the draw, but it appears to me that Ireland has really slow-filling, loud toilet tanks. The one in my hotel room took forever to fill back up and the one in my apartment is so loud and takes so long that I have to close the bathroom door to dampen the noise a bit.
5. Daily life in Dublin is going to require more thought. I have a teeny, tiny little fridge with a freezer the size of an old laptop. My hot water is on a timer. I have to give thought to when I might want to shower or wash dishes and remember to flip the heater on if it’s outside the “timer times”. With such a small fridge, I can’t just stock up on a bunch of stuff. I really have to think about what I am going to want to eat. I can’t buy anything that I might want to eat someday in the not too distant future because I just don’t have room for it. But that’s okay. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to give a little more thought to our daily activities and not being on autopilot all the time.
I’ll stop here for now. I’m sure I will have other interesting and not so interesting observations as this little adventure continues but those are for another day. Cheers!