It’s been three months since we said goodbye to the USA, and made the big move home to Ireland. It has been a whirlwind few months, and probably the most stressful time of our lives. BUT, we are so happy to be home, and feel certain that it was the right move for our family. I thought it was time for a little update on how we’ve been getting on, and the reality of setting ourselves up in a “new” country.
I think Jack has benefitted the most from our move home, even though he will never even remember living in the US. He has always been a sociable, friendly baby, but mostly just had Colm & I to interact with on a daily basis. Now he sees family and other kids regularly. We visit my parents pretty much every day, and he sees his aunts, uncles and cousins all the time. Watching him play with his cousins is lovely, and we have also started going to some playgroups in Navan. Another benefit, for all of us really, is the extra support we have at home. Family take him out for the day, and he’s had a couple of overnight stays away from us – giving Colm & I a break, but also getting him used to being separated from us. He seems really content in our new home, and I love that he has so much more space to play.
Our furry kids, Scout and Atticus, have taken beautifully to their new home. We shipped them home in June (see this post on how we did it), and they were minded by family then until we made the permanent move home in September. I’m still amazed by how un-phased they were by the move. Atticus is loving all the space that he has now, as it makes a big change from our tiny garden in Berkeley. We’ve been taking him on little adventures on the weekends and he’s even been to Kerry. He loves Tara, and we try to take him there as often as we can. He has gone wandering a few times at home, however, and as we live in the countryside, we’ve had to fit a shock collar system to keep him in the garden. Scout, our tubby, never-been-outdoors-before, pampered cat, has now transformed himself into the Bear Grylls of the cat world. He hopped out the window one day and has developed a passion for the outdoors ever since. He’s even made friends with the neighbours cat! He’s lost loads of weight, which is doing wonders for his health, and he seems to be happy out.
The hardest part about moving home has been the stress of getting settled into our house, and the never-ending paperwork that comes with setting ourselves up in Ireland. We are lucky that we had loads of help in making our house a home before we even moved home, in that my amazing dad painted the entire house for us! We also set ourselves up with the basics when we came home in June for a holiday – like plates, cups, travel cot for Jack and some basic furniture. When we moved home, we still faced a mountain of things to do, from setting up utilities, to sorting out cars (and dealing with insurance companies!), and furnishing the rest of the house. On top of it all, our container from California arrived after 9 long weeks – all 84 boxes of it! It’s been a long haul, and we are nowhere near done (if anyone enjoys unpacking boxes, give me a shout!). We absolutely love where we have ended up though, and living in the countryside is heaven after years in a city.
I was completely unprepared for the slog of paperwork that we would need to file to establish ourselves again in Ireland. Getting Jack’s PPS number was my first port of call, as without it we can’t apply for anything related to him – two trips to the social welfare office later, we finally have it! It also seems like everything has to be done in person, with proof of address, utility bills and so on. Just opening a bank account took an entire morning in the bank! It’s very painful, and I still have lots left to register Jack for – including school!
Stress of the logistics of moving aside, we are very happy that we have made the big move. Colm started a new job last month, and is finishing up his first term of a part-time Masters course. I made the decision to stay at home with Jack back in October, and it’s proven to have been the best decision we could have made. In the midst of all the chaos of the last 6 months, I’m happy that Jack now has the constant of his mammy being home with him every day. We are all thriving, and really enjoying getting out and about locally, and spending time with friends and family. I know that things will eventually calm down, the boxes will all be unpacked, and all the boxes on my to-do list will be ticked, and it will truly feel like we are home.