Moving to the UK – it’s further than you think


small__8645846222The title of this blogpost will surely, one day, be the title of a book. I will write of how I took the 300 (ish) mile journey from Kildare, Ireland to Newport, South Wales – only to find that I might as well have come from the centre of a densely populated (but only by trees and macaws) jungle.

We have been here over a month and we are still filling out forms. Long forms, with tiny boxes, wanting nitty, not forgetting that gritty, information about who we are, where we have been and what emissions we are emitting into beautiful Welsh air; from our car, you understand.

We’ve gone through the job seekers allowance application twice since we got here (that must be some kind of record). We made the mistake of leaving the country for a few days, so had to close down the claim and reopen it. Having lived in the UK before, I have a UK National Insurance Number already. A huge relief, as I’m not sure there’s enough ink in my pen to fill in that form.

Job hunting has begun in earnest and there’s one application and impending interview that I’m very excited about. If you’re of the praying persuasion, do please pray for God’s will in that one.

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A selection of said forms…

I get that there have to be checks to make sure people are who they say they are. I’m happy to wait my turn in the dole office and actually BE a jobseeker to get Job Seekers Allowance. Having been an NHS patient before, I am REALLY grateful for the health service. It’s not perfect, and many may think it’s a shambles. In Ireland, you PAY for the shambles, so I’m happy to wait my turn in a doctor’s surgery here too… That reminds me; I must register with a doctor. (Note to self, buy another pen!)

I will make one complaint, that is the process of reregistering the car from Irish reg to UK reg. That is still not done, as the hurdles we have to jump would challenge Red Rum on his best day. As well as it being complicated, it has turned out to be very, VERY expensive. So if you’re considering importing your car from Ireland to the UK, my advice is… don’t. I’m not kidding; had I known, I’d have sold mine and taken the loss on the chin.

Having said all that we’re very happy to be here. Enjoying being back in Malpas Road Evangelical Church, and hopeful for the future.

My heart is in Ireland, always will be. Difference this time is, it’s not broken to be away from Ireland. Thanks God for that.

photo credit: amandabhslater via photopin cc

Someone’s on the naughty list…


I have broken my very own rule of not leaving my blog idle for weeks on end. As a reader of blogs, I really don’t like to visit one, only to find it dusty and in need of a fresh post. And here I am, rocking up for the first time since Halloween!

Naughty Amo!

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The Poolbeg Lighthouse & the east coast of Ireland

I do have reasons (excuses) for my absence though. It’s a frantic time for me at the moment. I’m 5 days away from relocating to the UK. If you missed that bit of news, you can catch up here.  I’m trying to pack my life into boxes, say goodbye to people, clear the decks as it were, and… AND I’m battling one of my winter lurgies. *cough *splutter

Yeah, yeah, I know, poor me, boo hoo… 🙂
I would be a firm proponent of the ‘let nothing stop you from writing’ ethos, but I have indeed let things stop me. Busyness, tiredness, coughing, crying, more crying, packing, and a heart bursting with emotion at the thought of leaving my homeland.

I hate goodbyes and because my days are full of them, I don’t want to write them. And it’s not just goodbye to Ireland, and my family & friends. It’s goodbye to an era, as we experience the first Christmas without my dad in the world. He WAS Christmas to us, and to think we’ll never gather in our family home on Christmas morning again is hard. Very very hard.

So I have allowed the pen to dry up a bit as I pack stuff, hug people and eat chocolate.

HEY! people keep buying it for me, what am I supposed to do…?

Not sure if I’ll be back here before 2015, So I want to thank you all for reading, and the support you’ve given me during the year as I’ve wrestled with loss, and rambled on about it here.

Here’s to another year of words. There might even be a few good ones.

I’m thankful to each and every one of you who has liked, followed, commented or just popped in for a quick read. Have a great Christmas all.

auntyamo x

photo credit: Corey Leopold via photopin cc

10 Day You Challenge, Day 5 – 6 Places


Day 5 of the ’10 Day You Challenge’ 10-days-you-challenge2 copy Today – 6 places… 😉

1. Dargaville, New Zealand
Spent 3 months there after I qualified as a hairdresser in 1993 (I think). I worked with a former boss for a while and had great fun. Spent some time with Irish family in Brisbane while I was that side of the world.
Spent time with surfer dudes and Māori madsers, as well as the local Irish contingent – it was a great trip

Amo in NZ
Dargaville was very like Ireland, when the sun wasn’t splitting the stones…

2. Slovenia
This was part of a mission trip to Austria with a bit of time in Italy too. Slovenia was the hard part though. The poverty was such a shock to me. I had no idea that people could have so little and still be happy. I spent most of the time terrified and wishing I was at home. Serious comfort zone withdrawal that did me no harm whatsoever 😉

3. Bangkok
I spent 4 hours in Bangkok Airport and that was more than enough!
I was flying home from the above trip to NZ and there was a 4 hour stop in BK. The authorities there didn’t want us to get off the plane but we’d been on it for 10 hours. I, along with a number of passengers, kicked up a stink, and after about an hour of negotiations the passengers and crew were allowed off the plane for half an hour. We were escorted off the plane and onto shuttle buses at gun point with a guy screaming “20 minutes and you back on plane!” every 5 seconds.
It felt like some bizarre remake of Tenko!

4. America
I’ve been to California twice, New Jersey 3 times and Boston once and have loved it each and every time. Almost moved there at one stage but then I met some Welsh guy and well… you know the rest 🙂
Next time I want to go to Indiana to meet my cornea donor’s family.

I'm the smaller one (for a change :D )
I’m the smaller one (for a change 😀 )

5. Sorrento
We went to Sorrento for our honeymoon. It was a beautiful place (until we hired a car – we almost split up because of the stress of driving on Italian roads – but that’s for another blog post some day!) We stayed in a posh hotel, our room had a bell and you had to take a lift with the concierge down to the private beach. Fabulous!
The tour of Pompeii was pretty cool too.

6. Ireland
I love Ireland and being Irish 🙂
I think there’s too much of a downer in our country at the moment. Even though the government and the banks etc have let us down in many ways, it’s still a fabulous place to be from I reckon.
I’ve spent the last few days travelling around the S and SW of Ireland, and it’s the most beautiful place in the world if you ask me.

One of the many fabulous views on our trip around Dingle
One of the many fabulous views on our trip around Dingle

Psalm 24:1,2
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters.

Photo credits:
The 10 Day You image above doesn’t seem to come from any central website but can be found on many that have done the challenge. Many use it but there does not seem to be any original source info available
The other 3 were taken by me.