or becoming a legal resident due to my de facto relationship with an Irish National.

I arrived on these fair shores in mid-September. Himself had already been in contact with the Department of Justice (INIS) before I arrived. We immediately sent off paperwork, were asked for further paperwork, and finally on 18 December, exactly 3 months later to the day, received my letter saying I had been granted permission to remain. All we had to do now was go down to our local Garda station to be stamped and given a residence card. As it was Christmas, and we were headed north to Donegal, we waited till after the New Year.

I thought I would be able to pop down fairly easily, since it’s never too busy down there (thank goodness for not being in Dublin!). You can imagine our surprise when I was given an appointment some 3 weeks later! Since patience is a virtue (and that, debatable), I waited. The day came, but instead of a card I was given a form to present at a local bank along with my €150 fee. We were going away to Cork later that week, so another 2 weeks passed before I got an appointment to receive my official card.

That in hand, my next stop to seeking employment was to secure a Personal Public Service number (PPS). Since I was driving finally, I arranged to have the car and journey to Navan, where the Social Welfare Office is. The same office that handles welfare applications and payments (the dole), assigns PPS numbers. I had all my paperwork in order (passport, utility bill showing my name and address, residence card) and hoped I could handle it in the same day without needing to come back. I presented at the “hatch” (the irish don’t call them lines, they are queues..but also, the station where you queue is called a hatch) for reception and was told I could be seen a few hours later. No problem, I didn’t mind having lunch and exploring the town a bit, even though I have a general aversion to Navan. You see, a few years ago I rented a holiday cottage near there and every time I so much as got near the town, I got lost!

Back to business. I presented myself at 2pm at hatch 1 (“no queuing required”), as requested, only to be told she should not have scheduled me then, someone else had that slot. Unsure what to do, and probably looking on the verge of tears, the man told me he could see me at 3:30. I had to feed the meter no less than 3 times on this little visit to Navan, which took a good chunk of my pocket money. I also noticed how uncomfortable I was queuing with social welfare recipients. Did people think I was on the dole? Why did I feel bad about that? Why do people call them “dole scum”? This was an unnerving response on my part. I have long believed the U.S. should provide an unconditional safety net to its citizens. In fact, I am a firm believer that no citizen should be without shelter or food. If a country decides to embrace an economic system that requires humans to exchange work for currency, and currency for food and shelter instead of providing those with their own hands, through building and hunting, then it should ensure everyone at least has food and housing. The hard truth is that many in the U.S. are unable to earn enough money to provide these most basic of necessities.

End of rant, and back to the story. I noticed discomfort, and that is something I need to sit with. I wandered around the town, in the growing cold, for a little longer and finally presented myself at 3:30. The man who processed my application was friendly enough. “surname? that’s a northern name, isn’t it?”…”mother’s maiden name? another ulster name! don’t worry, we won’t hold that against you. :laugh: (serious) do you have any business or financial ties in The North?” After being investigated on InterPol, having my documents copied, and a “delicate” conversation about the benefits of having my PPS number attached to Himself, I was done. He informed me the number would arrive in the post anywhere from 4-10 days later.

It arrived yesterday. As of today…..just 3 days shy of 6 months, I am officially able to seek employment. Equinox to Equinox…..rather fitting, don’t you agree?

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.