About

Call me unfocused, a dreamer, a bit of a drifter even, I’ve always been a restless soul, ready for the next big thing. In July of 2011, I’m off on what may be my biggest drift/adventure ever.  My wife (Kalpana) and I are permanently relocating to Dublin, Ireland.

The driving force behind the move is that my wife accepted a position as an instructor at University College Dublin.  But, we’ve always wanted to live abroad for an extended period of time, and experience the expat life.

Though we have no kids, it won’t just be us making the move.  We’re taking our three pets with us.  They are Fiona (a 6-year-old miniature dachshund), Akira (an 11-year-old snowshoe cat), and Archie ( a 2-year-old tuxedo cat).

This blog is meant to document our experiences in emigrating from the United States (Bloomington, Indiana) to Dublin at a time when the economy in neither place looks very good.  We are not moving for any political reasons, though I’ll certainly make some observations of U.S. politics looking back in from the outside, and will doubtless scratch my head “on paper” here about Irish politics.  A great deal of my “writing” will be about the experience of being an alien and trying to navigate the morass of immigration, finance, and health care paperwork.

I’m a freelance writer, photographer and editor by trade.  If I had to narrow that down, I’m a travel writer.  I visit new places, meet people, and enjoy new experiences.  Then I come home and try to capture some of the magic of that place in words and pictures.

I’ve never blogged before, and, between that an the new expat and immigration experiences, this will be a new type of writing for me. But if you bear with me, I promise to make it worth your while.

61 Responses to About

  1. Susan Ross says:

    So happy to keep up with your adventure! Good luck, and enjoy the whole experience. Maybe we’ll be seeing you there one of these days.

  2. It sounds interesting already. Dublin is a great city, and yes, I think you need to ‘trust the process’ a little. Looking forward to hearing about your adventures. Blog on 🙂

  3. Vamsi Gadey says:

    Wishing you all the very best on your new adventure: Glenn, Kalpana, Fiona, Akira and Archie. Looking forward to hearing wonderful stories.

  4. Stephen says:

    Welcome to Ireland (I stumbled across your blog randomly). I too emigrated here 3 years ago for an academic position, and had a blog about the experience going for a while (maybe time to start it up again) http://peculiarireland.blogspot.com/

    Irealand has its ups and downs, but overall we’re very happy here and won’t be going back to North America.

    Keep on blogging!

  5. Stephen says:

    and we brought our two dachshunds as well!

  6. Sherry says:

    Hi Glenn! I just caught that last few minutes of you on 2fm. Wow, you’ve only been here a minute and you’re practically famous! And I’ve read a lot of your blog! (by the way, the term “customer service” doesn’t really exist here)

    I too moved to Ireland, but from Canada. Same, but different. I’ve been here 12 years. You will notice so many more ‘differences’ as time goes on. Some funny. Some not so amusing. Hope to keep in touch with you and share some of the humour of ‘finding your feet’ in a different land! Good luck to you and your wife and pets!

  7. Clare says:

    So many odd coincidences! I write the blog An American in Ireland and I, too, am a travel journalist. Been here just about 17 months now and so far, so good. But there have been a few bumps in the road, mainly in relation to adjusting to the cultural differences. Good luck and looking forward to reading about your adventures. Oh and I grew up with dacshunds – love ’em!

  8. Siobhan O'Brien says:

    Hi Glenn, I heard you on 2fm, was wondring if you can contact me regarding further media possibilities. I very much look forward to hearing from you. All the best in Dublin and Ireland.

  9. Jaimie says:

    So nice to have met you at Queen of Tarts yesterday. Lots of good luck to you. I look forward to reading about your Irish adventures.

  10. Nicole says:

    I just wanted to say I appreciate that you are blogging on how your experience has been so far. My husband and I moved to Ireland 3 weeks ago for a new job he took, and we have 3 “kids” of our own: two boston terriers and a long haired fat cat. Reading how you were able to manage through getting the pets over, and just setting your life back up again have been so helpful! I started blogging my experiences as well, more for just personal journal writing and to share with family how we’re doing, no where as detailed and articulate as your writing – but I just wanted to thank you for starting yours. It helps me feel just a little bit more prepared for what to expect in the months to come.

  11. Jonathan says:

    Looking forward to reading more 🙂

  12. Mick says:

    This might have been sorted out at this stage, but for cat litter…go to zooplus.ie and get their cat litter! its the best.

    http://www.zooplus.ie/shop/cats/cat_litter/extreme_classic

    sorry if i just read a really old entry…but felt this needed to be addressed as I have a car myself.

  13. Jessica says:

    I’m glad to know that I am not the only one who has gripes about the way things are done/not done here in Ireland. My Husband (Sligo Man), son and I just relocated here to N. Dublin from San Diego in December. I am still getting my feet wet, so to speak and am trying to get used to everything being so different. I just wanted to let you know that I enjoy your blog and can really relate to some of your posts.

  14. fireflynn says:

    Hello. Returned ex pat speaking. I spent many years living in SF and NYC and moved back to Ireland a couple of years ago. I love your take on the Irish way of life. I get it after so many years away myself. Slight aside here but who did you use to ship your stuff to Dublin. I have some things in NYC I should bring over. Shipping seems to be a minefield. Hucksters and medicine shows galore!

  15. percy212 says:

    Hello. Returned ex pat speaking. I spent many years living in SF and NYC and moved back to Ireland a couple of years ago. I love your take on the Irish way of life. I get it after so many years away myself. Slight aside here but who did you use to ship your stuff to Dublin. I have some things in NYC I should bring over. Shipping seems to be a minefield. Hucksters and medicine shows galore!

  16. Susan Mulvey says:

    My 18 year old daughter just arrived in Dublin and registered to vote in California before she left. Where does she go to vote in Dublin? Thanks to whomever can answer me! Much appreciated.

    • Susan,
      From what I understand, she’ll want to sign up to vote absentee in California (which in many states can be done online). I understand the American Embassy in Dublin also has information on absentee voting. She’ll want to deal with this sooner rather than later, as I understand you have to submit your absentee ballot a number ofweeks before the general election, and it may take some tie for the actual ballot to make its way to her.

  17. Susan Mulvey says:

    Thank you so much for the tip! Much appreciated as she is a bit overwhelmed trying to settle in!
    All the best to you,
    S

  18. I don’t know if you are interested but we’re having a free Thanksgiving celebration with live game streaming, kids craft table etc and thought I’d share: please share with any Dublin Americans you may know? Thanks, Rachel

    http://www.facebook.com/events/291099604325091/

  19. Vania says:

    Great to see you’re feeling more settled, I just arrived couple days ago. Have you landed a writing job at all doing what you love… writing on travel and photographing??

    • Hi Vania,

      Thanks for the kind wishes, and welcome to Ireland and the blog.

      I have done a few articles since I’ve been here, and have spent the last year as a playwriting mentor working with Fishamble Theatre.

      We’re actually having a showcase of our short plays at The Mill Theatre in Dubdrum on Dec.1 Stop by and say hello.

      I’m also teaching writing online. So things are slowly picking up and I’m staying busy.

      Cheers,
      Glenn

  20. Stacey says:

    I’m so glad to have come across your blog Glenn. Your writing is lovely and as a fellow ex pat myself living just outside of Dublin for the last 9 years I find your topics very interesting and insightful! I’ll definitely be back. Looking forward to more good conversations.

  21. usagal says:

    So happy to see Americans blogging about living in Ireland, when I moved here it was definitely a leap of faith. I am an african-american mother of 2 who has been living in Ireland since 1998. It is very interesting to read about the thoughts and experiences of other Americans living on the Emerald Isle. My experiences have been… unusual to say the least 🙂 ( you have to take the bitter with the sweet). And even though I have been here going on 14 years, I still feel that I have alot to learn about Irish culture. Looking forward to reading about your adventures 🙂

  22. Hi Glenn0 I can’t find your email – you have written to me before – we relocated from florida to Donegal 3 weeks ago – you mentioned Zoo.ie to me and also told me which liter you used – I can’t remember which you said – we can’t find a good clumping liter like we used in the states – would you mind letting me know which one it was again – there were a few on zoo.ie – so I am not sure –
    Our 3 kitties made the flight just fine – I was worst off then they were – and now we are all adjusting – we enjoy your blog b/c it’s nice to know there will be an adjustment period – and all the feelings we have are normal – thanks again

  23. Hi Elizabeth,

    Welcome to Ireland. I’m glad you all arrived safe and sound. Yes, the flight seemed harder on us than our cats as well. I’d imagine the drive to Donegal was probably the hardest of all. We use Cat’s Best litter and it’s been quite good, and with free shipping it seems quite reasonably priced.

  24. Nell Rubin says:

    Hello Glenn,

    Love your blog, love your writing, need advice! We’re a family of four (two kids, 8 and 10) plus dog; husband and I were just offered jobs in Dublin (he lived there before, but the kids and I have lived only in America–California, NYC, NJ). We vacation ever year in France or Spain with a group of Dublin families. We’d be moving from NJ. Any advice? We’re especially concerned about the European recession, and who knows what’s going to happen in 2013. My husband’s a senior-level professor, and the government’s budget cuts seem to be hitting academics and other public servants particularly hard. Would love to be able to correspond with you a bit–if we emigrate, we’d likely do it next January (2014). Thanks! NJNell

  25. Janet D says:

    Your blog has been so helpful for my partner and I. He just landed in Dublin, is going for a couple months as an exchange student from Canada and he’s found it so difficult. He is going to UCD and has found everything to be super expensive. Not sure if you have any tips to finding a place to rent and cheaper groceries? What places around UCD should be check out?

  26. H. Stern says:

    Hi! We just moved here 5 weeks ago, and my husband stumbled across your blog. Do you participate in the Americans in Ireland meetup by any chance? We love them!!

  27. Mairtin D'Alton says:

    Very enjoyable writing, love it! Looking forward to reading more.

  28. Suzanne says:

    Hello, Glenn.
    I’m grateful to have come across your blog today, and I look forward to reading more. I’m an American university/high school administrator, and I’ve wanted to relocate to Ireland for years now, but I haven’t had any luck with the job market. That said, I haven’t reached out to folks who have done it, and I’d like to start. I see that your wife is working at UCD, and I’m wondering if you might have any tips for me regarding the search process. That, and I have a seven-year-old tuxedo cat who I’d be very concerned about on the plane!
    Thank you!
    Suzanne

  29. FiSou says:

    Hello Glenn,

    Thank you for sharing your opinions and above all the experiences. My husband’s company is going to relocate to Dublin and we decided to tag along. When the excitement and happiness wore off I got left with the panic of relocating to a different culture, alone. When we started scratching the iceberg of moving our whole life geografically I started freaking out. What I have read so far has helped me realize it is a daunting task but I won’t die in the process and as you say, it will be better. Keep on sharing, we’ll keep on reading, anticipating and preparing! Thank you!

  30. Coco says:

    Hello Glenn!
    I’m living currently in the UK, and i’m thinking seriously about moving to Dublin in the next months. I’ve read a lot of your blog posts (great all of them!), but i’d like to know how REALLY is the situation with bureaucracy, bribery and respect for the authorities. I came from Argentina to Europe running away from a deeply broken society (where u can’t trust a police officer, where thieves and assassins are set free from jail at any time, and they keep being a danger for everybody over all their lives, etc etc). My main concern is that, after feeling safe here, i get stuck once again in a society where there’s no justice, no respect… How things are in Ireland about that subject? I would really appreciate your advise. Thanks!

    • Hi Coco,

      I’m glad you like the blog. Thanks for reading, and for taking the time comment.

      Though I’ve never lived in the UK, from what I can gather the levels of corruption in Ireland are more like the UK and the US than what you speak of in Argentina. That is to say there is corruption (as there is everywhere), but by and large it’s not something that troubles most people on a daily basis.

      From that standpoint I think you’ll be quite happy living in Ireland.

  31. beatrizrenee says:

    I am happy to have found your blog. After years of travel and living abroad in Italy, I started blogging a few months ago and now my fiancé and I are moving to Ireland. I’m so excited for this adventure and to write about it as well. I’m sure it will be quite a bit of culture shock, even though I have been to Ireland’s everlasting times because my fiancé is from Dublin. I’ve only lived in sunny places (California and Tuscany) so we’ll see how I hold up!

  32. Sandra says:

    Me and my husband are considering moving to ireland and buying a house. He is retired military and I’m in the medical field. We were wondering about how taxes and stuff work over there if we become residents. Also do we need visas and how much does it cost to ship our household goods and vehicles over there? We were also wondering the best areas to consider when buying. Any info you could provide would be great!

    • Hi Sandra,

      Thanks for reading the blog, and for taking the time to raise these questions. Sadly your situation is far different from mine, but hopefully others will chime in and help fill the gaps and repair the gaffs I’m sure to make here:

      TAXES:
      : In general, Americans have to file in both the U.S. and in Ireland, but after the first year don’t exactly pay in both places. As an American you can never legally avoid filing in the U.s. You may not have to pay, but you must always file. Living in Ireland (and I assume in other countries as well), the first year you run into something called the “tacking rule” which means you may wind up paying tax twice on certain income. After you establish residency in certain ways, I think it’s not an issue from year two onward.

      Typically, Americans are exempted from roughly the first $95K of income that they’ve paid ta on to Ireland. So if you make 96K while living in Ireland (even if you make it for an American company and it’s deposited in American bank), if you are physically in Ireland when you earn that money, you would pay tax on the first 95K to Ireland, and tax an the last thousand to the U.S.

      That’s a very rough sketch, and I’m sure there are some quirks with retirement income, and particularly with military pensions. Your best bet would be to find a good international tax lawyer and pay them to talk over your particular situation.

      Every country has a different tax treaty with the U.S., so it’s best to get an expert.

      VISAS:
      You will need some sort of non-tourist Visa to stay longer , and a work permit if you plan to work here. These are not easy to get, and should be sponsored by your employer. Again, I’m not sure how it works for retirees.

      You should check with the Irish consulate nearest to you.

      SHIPPING:

      shipping is entirely dependent on where you are shipping from and how much you take. We used a bargain company in which we boxed everything, and drove it to a shipping depot and packed it on pallets ourselves.

      VEHICLES:

      I would emphatically say DO NOT ship your vehicles. As a former importer/exporter I can tell you the regulations and hassles with vehicle export are a nightmare, and very expensive.

      You are far better off selling and buying new in Ireland. Bear in mind also that depending on where you live and what you are doing, you may not need a car over here. Public transport is far better here than in the States, and you can rent a car for the few times you may need one far cheaper than making payments and getting insurance, etc. Also, getting insured and passing the license testing are much more difficult for foreigners. You have to take classes, etc.

      And, last, if you ship your cars, the steering wheel will be on the “wrong” side of the car. You can drive it, but it’ really difficult. There’s a reason why they move the steering wheel to the right side for cars that drive on the left side of the road.

      LOCATION:

      That’s totally dependent on you. We love Dublin, but the whole country is very expensive right now, and we personally have no desire to buy real estate any tine soon.

      I hope that helps. Ireland is a great place to live, but the answer to most of your questions is, “It depends”.

      Cheers,
      Glenn

    • Brad says:

      Sandra,
      I was also in the military and moved over to Ireland. I have an accountant in the U.S. that knows all the relevant law for expats in Ireland to remain current in the U.S. Send an email and I’ll connect you with her.
      You will need a visa. You will need to get an Immigration card from the Police (Garda), called a GNIB card. You will be applying for a Stamp 3, which does not authorize you to work or study. Other stamps can be done for those activities. The cards are €300 each and can be applied for in Cork and Dublin. There may be other places.
      When shipping household goods, try to be selective with what you bring. Houses are smaller in Cork and Dublin than in many places in the U.S. Electrical plugs are different and the voltage on the lines are different. It be easiest to sell appliances and buy new/used.
      Location is going to mostly depend on yourself. Dublin is nice for a while, but so is Galyway and Cork. Kerry is very pretty. Mayo is lovely. There’s plenty of houses to buy, but they’re expensive (in my opinion.) This island will have another housing crisis soon enough.
      Anything else I can help with just send a message on the email. How exciting for you!
      Brad
      bjvanmiddlesworth+blog@gmail.com

  33. David says:

    Love your blog Glenn, it has been very interesting and helpful in gaining some understanding about making such a move and integrating with another culture. My wife is in the top 3 finalists for a 2 year assignment in Dublin (Mulhuddart). My job allows me the flexibility to consider such a move and we’ve decided to pursue it. My wife is originally from Malaysia moving to the U.S. at 13 and I a home grown Wisconsin boy have lived in Germany (3 yr U.S. Army tour), so we both have some experience “assimilating”. It will be a tremendous change and much to manage on two fronts if we do get offered and take the assignment, it’s also a chance of a life time and an experience I doubt we’d regret. We’ll see how it goes. From everything you’ve wrote that I’ve read it seems all I really need to do if find myself a good pub and as a product of “brew city” I’m perfectly fine with that 🙂 Keep the stories coming!

    Cheers,
    David (Cary, North Carolina)

    • David,

      Welcome. Thanks for reading the blog and taking the time to comment.

      You’ll be very welcome in Ireland. And, yes, once you get your “local” sorted, life will be grand.

      cheers,
      Glenn

  34. nina.verster@gmail.com says:

    I stumbled upon your website and I’m addicted! We’re South Africans considering immigrating to Ireland – Dublin. My husband has an ancestral Irish passport. We are planning a December holiday to check it out and to make a final decision.
    It feels like – finally someone gets what I’m thinking and what we’re currently going through!! Thanks!

    • Hi Nina,

      I’m glad you’ve found the blog useful.

      Good luck on your holiday scouting trip. It’s a good time to come. Not too many tourists, and parts of the city will be lit up for Christmas.

      Let us know if you have any questions.

      I don’t pretend to know everything/anything, but I’m happy to chime in, and I’m sure somebody here will have an answer for you.

      Cheers,
      Glenn

  35. Ronda Harmon says:

    Hello,
    We live in Kentucky in the United States, and my son is studying abroad in Barcelona this semester. He’s traveling to Dublin with three friends this week, and I was hoping they could find a place to have an American Thanksgiving. Do you have any ideas?

    Thanks for any help you can offer,

    Ronda

  36. alyssa brown says:

    Hi there!

    I’m looking to move to Dublin for teaching (preferably high school). Do you have any advice while I look for employment/housing, etc? Love the blog!

    • Hi alyssa,

      I wish I could be more helpful. But, unless you are coming with a contract, as far as I know you can only come on a 6 month travel visa, which won’t entitle you to work “legally” in any way.

      Also, are you looking to teach ESL, or in a secondary school? If the latter, I’m not sure how your US certification will xfer, so you might want to check with the education office as well.

      Best of luck.

      -Glenn

  37. ADENAUER says:

    Hi Glenn,
    Very nice blog and very true what you mention in the posts. Just wondering if you ever have experienced passive aggressions in Ireland. Sometimes it seems Irish do (or don’t) things for annoying another person such as ignoring or procrastinating things when they do not like them. Have you ever seen that?

    Keep up writing the blog!
    Adenauer.

    • Adenauer, I’m not sure what you are referring to specifically. But I have had plenty of administrators and officials not follow up and do the things they’ve promised to do.

      Thouhg I’m not sure that’s “Irish”, as opposed to just “people being people”.

  38. Kristin M says:

    I love your blog! So much great information for potential expats! Could you give me some advice? I’m American. I’m looking into an internship/temp job in Dublin doing digital marketing – unpaid. They want me there for 6-9 months. I know I can only stay for 90 days without a special visa. Do you have any recommendations to stay longer or know what my options are? Does Ireland have a freelance visa/permit? I know Germany has one. Could I apply for it in Germany but then continue my internship in Dublin? Thx!

    • Kristin,

      I’m not sure about that. I’d ask your employer if their HR department knows how to handle that visa issue.

      If all else fails, I’d consider taking a trip to London (or wherever) every 90 days and just coming back on a new 90 day visa. That’s assuming you don’t have to wait a specified time between visa.

      Good luck.

      Hope to see you around.

      -Glenn

  39. Raylene McCalman says:

    So glad to have found your blog …. I have been contemplating another graduate degree, this time at UC Dublin. I have traveled in Ireland, and have had several American friends who have lived for extended periods of time in Ireland, but have not had to deal with the logistics/bureaucracy of making the move, myself. I’m looking forward to reading more here … I anticipate your posts to be quite helpful.

    All the best …. and thank you for your efforts here.

    • Hoi Raylene,

      I’m glad you found the blog, and do hope you’ll find it useful in planning your move.

      The logistics can be daunting, but are not too bad. In the end it’s well worth it, I promise.

      Happy Holidays.

      -GK

  40. Dear Glenn,

    I am doing a project about life of foreigners in Dublin, so if you would be interested in participating please let me know.

    Best regards,

    Foreigners In Dublin

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