Tribe of the Ring Fort

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Sunday, 8 January, 2006

Electric bills are important in Ireland. An electric bill is pretty much your key to success here. With an electric bill, you can accomplish many things. Without an electric bill, you are regarded with suspicion. Here are some of the places we have been asked to produce an electric bill as proof of personhood: opening a bank account, getting a library card, for a video store membership, getting a cell phone, and acquiring an Irish credit card. I am sure we will receive many more requests to produce an electric bill as we attempt to insinuate ourselves into Irish society. For now, both the library and video store warily ended up accepting our lease as proof of address, but asked that we produce an electric bill at earliest opportunity. We opened a checking account, but had to use our Vermont electric bills. Our Irish bank statements are now to our VT address until we receive a local electric bill, at which time we are allowed to change our address with the bank. Strangely, no one has asked us to produce proof of paying an electric bill. Owing money to the electric company is what’s important.

Friday, 6 January, 2006

One week here, and feels like longer. We’ve been at the house since Monday. I thought we were adjusting to local time well before now, but we’ve been sleeping late. The details of life are a slightly daunting, because everything is just a little different. Electrical plugs, driving, supermarket shopping, talking with people…we have to think a bit about everything that was automatic. It’s a different mindset than when we visited here. Susannah has met the little girl next door, who is also 5 & will be in her class. School starts on Monday, so today we’ll get uniforms and maybe start the car buying process. Barry & Susannah registered for PPS numbers (equivalent of social security) yesterday, but I think I need to register with the Garda (police) before I can get a number. And to register with the Garda, I need to make an appointment. And to make an appointment, I need to make a phone call (can’t do it in person). And to make a phone call I need a phone. So we got a cell phone with pre-paid calling, because it’ll take at least 2 weeks for Eircom (big phone company) to hook us up, and more time after that for broadband. In the meantime, we can go to the library to get on the internet. We’re each allotted 2 hour-long sessions per week. By the way, EVERYBODY in Ireland has cell phones. In addition to getting library cards, we’ve joined the local gym. Next week, I’ll start looking for a job, and Barry’s going to take a vacation for a few more weeks. It’s been raining a bit less than I anticipated, but very gray & usually some rain every day. As I unpacked a few duffel bags yesterday, I found a total of EIGHT umbrellas. I guess I just kept finding them around the house & throwing them in. Who even owns 8 umbrellas? It’s been a journey of self-discovery.