Today was an exciting day! But first, let me talk a bit about yesterday. Our goals for yesterday were to go into the office and pick up some paperwork that I needed to prove that I was indeed an employee, and some information on where to go for some important government paperwork. After chatting with the HR lady for awhile and dropping in to say hi to Darse and Aaron, we took our new papers and went to look at a couple of places in the neighbourhood called Cabinteely. They were actually really nice -- I really liked the layouts of both the places. The problem for us was that while they were really quite close to work for me, they weren't all that well connected to the rest of the city. It would probably mean a 45 minute bus ride into downtown, which means if Diane found a job in downtown or somewhere where she had to transfer through downtown, that wouldn't be too pleasant for her. Plus there was limited shopping options for us carless folk.
It kind of tore at us a little though knowing how nice the places were. They were totally valid options and maybe in a year we will have to reevaluate if there are still apartments there available. Maybe by then we'll get a car (not sure how likely that is).
We had another apartment to see in the afternoon, but couldn't find it due to the map on the website being wrong. It was a little unfortunate, but we didn't mind the chance to return to the apartment early and relax for a little while. Having now seen two very valid options for apartments (the first one we saw the previous day at Hazelbrook and the one we saw in Cabinteely) we figured we had a bunch of good information. The other good piece of information we got was we met someone who was living in the hazelbrook building we saw who works for FT too, and got a pretty good review of the building from him. So we debated for awhile about the options and eventually decided that the apartment at Hazelbrook suited our options better by a fair margin.
So today was a big day for us. We got up early and headed to the An Garda Síochána -- the Irish Police, to get out GNIB (Garda National Immigration Bureau) cards. This lets us stay in the country for a year at a time, since our passports were only stamped for 3 months when we entered the country at the airport. With this, we needed to pay a €100 fee which I had trouble paying with my credit card. Apparently having a smartcard chip in it causes it to not be swipeable, and since I don't have a PIN for it, I couldn't use it. Argh. Fortunately, Diane brought her non-chip-enabled credit card so we used that to pay for my fee. We left the office with our shiny new GNIB cards. Woohoo!
The next thing on our list was to go get PPS numbers, which are the Irish equivalent of the Canadian SIN numbers. This involved going to a different building to stand in line for and fill out some more paperwork -- which we did. This time no fee was involved. After Diane and I both applied for our numbers, we continued on to the rental agency and met with the agent we met on the first day. We payed our €500 deposit to apply and he faxed off my employer letter to the landlord and that was that! We had applied for a place to stay.
So now we're hanging out in the apartment. We just got a call from the agent and the landlord has okayed us so we'll be signing the lease on Tuesday, probably in the afternoon. (Monday is a holiday here apparently). So with a little luck, we'll be ready to move into our new place sometime in the middle of next week and will have a bank account setup for sometime near the end of next week! I'm pretty sure this is record time for someone moving as far as we had, and not having setup anything prior to arriving. We couldn't have done this without the help of Darse and Alexandra who have been an amazing amount of help. We'll definitely try to be as helpful to the people that follow us ;-)