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Vossie: Ouch! My back hurts!

In our InterNations Recommended Blog section we let you take the spotlight! Expat life in general is, of course, a perfect breeding ground for great, user-generated reads, and life in Dublin makes no exception. Take your time and browse the great blogs showcased in this article!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Dublin, etc.

I am a a South African who moved to Ireland with his family in early 2001. We have settled here and have seen our sons through school and now into college. We’ve been blessed with marriages and now grandchildren. We will most likely spend most of the rest of our lives here in Ireland even thought my interests draw me to warmer climates like the Algarve.

When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?

I started blogging in March 2011 as a supplement to my other writing activities. It’s a habit that has allowed me an outlet and stimulated my creativity!

Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?

I have many!! I have done a number about my walks along the Irish Canals and have pages dedicated to these walks.

I have taken to chasing Irish Butterflies and have a page dedicated to them as well.

I also write a bit of fiction. This has led to the birth of a character by the name of Zach. He has had some strange experiences in his life and has a fascination with ghosts.

During year one and two of the blog’s life I worked in Dublin at the most cosmopolitan Google EMEA HQ. I commuted daily and this led to many amusing “Train Tales”. I don’t have a page but the “Train Tales” tag or category will list them all…

Tell us about the ways your new life in Dublin differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?

We are here far too long to actually let the old life affect us. However, I still miss the outdoor lifestyle of the much warmer South African climate and as such am always looking for ways to spend time outdoors.

Fortunately we came from an English speaking country so although the Irish have quaint habits the culture shock wasn’t as bad as what folk from non-English speaking countries have to go through.

Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Dublin? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?

No, no one can ever be fully prepared for such a massive move! It didn’t take long to realise things weren’t as promised. Free education? Ha! The infra-structure here was not as good as what we were used to back home. We soon realised that our small children didn’t come to grips with life here as we would have expected them to do. 

Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?

The dialect and interpretation of how things are pronounced here in Ireland. We were not long in the country when my good lady wife decided she needed a haircut. We found parking and she hopped out at what appeared to be a hair salon. The young man standing in the door greeted my wife and when she asked if she could come in for a “cut” the fellow replied,

“No, sorry, we don’t sell cats here!!

His ear told him he was hearing cat and not cut!!

My wife still shares the story with strangers…

Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Dublin?

  • Don’t get caught up in the drink culture, there is much more to the place than what happens in the pubs!
  • Use the rail system… there is much to see in and around Dublin
  • Dublin is not cheap, shop around and don’t just buy the first thing you see! That includes property rental as well.

How is the expat community in Dublin? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?

I don’t really socialize with many folk outside of my immediate circle. My life is too full to go looking for entertainment.

I will say though, there are many young folk working in the big multinationals in the city and I have seen many lonely young professional walking the streets on their own on weekends and in the evenings! I have also seen them in work on Saturdays and Sunday and have often wondered if it’s not a ploy by the likes of the massive social media environment to lure folk away to a strange city because they know they’ll come in and work during their off time rather than sit in a noisy pub or in their lonely bed sits!

How would you summarize your expat life in Dublin in a single, catchy sentence?

When opportunity knocks, grab it with both hands and don’t let the downs get you too down… the ups will return… and be higher than the previous ones!

Benoit Julien

"Want a night out beyond the obligatory pint of guinness? Enjoy the Dublin Expat Get-Togethers hosted by InterNations, just as I did. "

Katharina Berbner

"Got some great tips on business contacts in the IT sector from InterNations expats - thanks! "

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