You know what's annoying? Migration. You know what's even more annoying? Migrating in the EU with a non-EU citizen.

I have migrated to three foreign countries during my lifetime. Moving to UK and Ireland were fairly painless as a EU citizen - I basically just walked in and stated "I live here now". Don't get me wrong: it's not actually that easy, and migrating to another EU country still asks for a lot of paper work and aimless running. Take my most recent migration experience to Ireland, for instance. Settling to Dublin went basically like this:

  1. Search for a flat. Find out your landlord wants a reference. Awkwardly send a few emails to your former landlords in Finland and beg them to write you recommendation letters in English (if they can).
  2. Open a bank account. Find out you need a proof of address. A job or a Personal Public Service number should do the trick.
  3. Book an appointment to obtain a PPS number. Find out you need a proof of employment to get one.
  4. Find a job. Find out your employer needs your PPS number to properly hire you.
  5. Repeat the loop until you start crying.

In the end I was able to get a proof of address from the academic registry of my university, which allowed me to open a bank account and get a PPS number. I'm now a happy resident of Ireland. (Don't think opening a bank account was all that simple, though: during the 5 weeks that followed I received 5 different letters until I finally had all the information needed to have a fully functioning bank account!)

But Canada. God damn that was some serious paperwork right there. Judging from my Facebook update back in April 2015 the immigration process seemed to have caused some gray hair:

In other words, I have it easy now that Alex and I are back in Europe. I can just rush through the border control with my fancy chipped EU passport and then disappear forever. Watching my Canadian partner ramble through his immigration process occasionally makes me feel like my EU passport is like a golden ticket to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory.

The last few weeks have been extremely stressful. The Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) requires every non-EU citizen to register at their office within 90 days of arriving to the country. This requires a bunch of supporting documents, of course. Previously you were supposed to camp outside the doors at dawn and hope to be through with it within the next 9 hours. However, just recently they switched to an electronic booking system where you can book your registration appointment a maximum of 6 weeks in advance. Too bad all the appointments within those 6 weeks were already fully booked, and Alex would be kicked out of the country 5 days before the next available appointment. What a nice dead end.

A dozen phone calls, emails and bureau visits later the issue was solved, but I feel like my life expectancy just got at least 5 years shorter due to the stress caused by yet another immigration issue threatening our relationship. I'm not saying I'm against such regulations, not at all. Sometimes the little human can just get lost in this jungle of procedures and formalities, and it gets tiring after a while.

In the future I'll try to update more often with smaller posts about everyday adventures like this. What do you think?

Do you have any similar experiences? Does migration ever make you have grey hair? Share your experiences in the comments below! 

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Irish people are known for drinking, witty humour and their lovable branch of English. Some have even argued that Irish is the sexiest accent of them all. (Don't believe me? Read THIS article) But when you first land in Ireland and proceed to chat with the local folk, you might find yourself lost in translation: like any other dialect, Irish people have their very own bunch of slang words that might choke you in the midst of conversation. So here we have it: my English-Irish-English key vocabulary cheat list for anyone new to Ireland!

P.S. I live in Dublin. Some words might not work outside of the capital - you've been warned!

"Grand" is an essential word to learn if you intend to communicate with the Irish. You'll hear things like "It'll be grand" or "That's grand love" in any casual conversation, and the proper answer to the question "How are you?" is of course "Grand" instead of "Fine". For the Irish grand doesn't necessarily refer to anything extraordinary or amazing, as one would easily guess. It's basically a synonym for good. 


So what's the craic with "craic"? The Irish might be heard saying things like "I don't get the craic of it" or "It'll be good craic". Craic comes from the Gaelic word, meaning "fun", and is basically an alternative spelling for crack. The Irish craic has multiple levels of intensity, so make sure to refer to the appropriate level of craic!

Don't get scared: when an Irish person approaches you and tells you look deadly, things are not getting hostile. "Deadly" is actually a synonym for all things wonderful or stunning. Anything from your hair to your purse to your new sofa complex can be deadly for the Irish.

Speaking with the Irish is like living in a constant cliffhanger. Why? Because they tend to replace the period with a phrase like "anyway" or "alright". Like this:
"See you on Monday alright!"
"I'll be headin' to Tesco anyway."
"Wow! Your hair looks fabulous alright!"
And the advanced level: "Ya twill alright! I like to write everything down anyway. Tis good to have real copy's of things." (an actual message my Irish friend sent me on Facebook)
I have personally started to believe the Irish are afraid of closure. So don't wait for a proper ending for your discussion: it will most likely never come.

Well this is an easy one for those who have lived in the UK Midlands like me! Just like in Leicester, "cheers" is an essential word to add in your Irish quiver. The basic rule is to replace "Thank you" with "Cheers" in every situation. The bartender hands you a pint: cheers. Someone picks up the book you just dropped: cheers. Your friend sneezes: cheers (replaces "Bless you"). You can take this cheering a step further by using it as a goodbye too.

No, not the band. "She's livin' somewhere down the sticks" basically means her friend lives outside of any known civilisation, in the middle of nowhere. Some Dubliners like to refer to anything outside the capital as the sticks.

Not the most flattering way to describe a person: "He's a bit thick" isn't a comment on his weight, but his intellectual abilities. Being called thick means someone is a bit stupid or unintelligent.

You know very well where this comes from. "Feck it", "Feckin hell". This can also be heard in its rounder variant: "Fock". "Well I'll be focked", with a long O, is an essential phrase all around Dublin. This word is especially important in traffic - roll up those windows, because it'll be comin at ya.

Any other words you have found useful or funny in Ireland? Let me know in the comments below! 

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GPSmyCity: The Best Travel Article App for GPS-guided Citywalks

Do you ever stumble upon a great travel blog with a bunch of awesome posts virtually guiding you through your dream destinations? Yeah, me too. I always end up hoping I could take these articles with me to my adventures and re-read them while walking around the city.

Wait, yes. I could do that. I could just bookmark the article on my phone's browser and read it offline. But anyone who has even a bit of experience in travelling knows what happens next: you just left your hotel, realise you forgot to bookmark that one post about top 10 best restaurants in Paris, and you're stranded in a middle of an unfamiliar city, without a map, it's probably raining - and like always, you're without a wifi. We all know the pain of running between Starbucks and McDonalds to take that short moment of free wireless connection to update our changing travel plans.

Well guess what folks: now you don't have to. Let us forget those desperate times you tried to sneak old receipts lying on the floor of a cafe to get access to their wifi password. How about you use GPS-guided travel article apps instead?

GPSmyCity app introduces a whole new concept of GPS-guided travel articles on iOS devices. The app contains articles of over 600 cities all over the world, and they all have GPS coordinates embedded to these articles. The app has thousands of posts to choose from. The app is free, and doesn't need wifi or mobile data to work. No roaming, no data plan. No, honestly: good bye receipts lying on the floor. You can basically read these travel articles wherever and whenever you choose: on your 9-hour flight to Tokyo, while lying on the beach, while waiting for your dessert in a restaurant you spotted from that top 10 restaurants post I mentioned earlier - you choose.

After downloading the app from iTunes Store for free, you gain access to all of these thousands of travel posts, and you can read them offline. If you'd like to have the GPS-guided tour embedded to the article and let the machine do the work for you, you can upgrade any article you choose with a small fee of $1.99. Easy, cheap - and definitely a more convenient (and cheaper!) option than buying your fifth black coffee of the day to have yet another wifi-password, right?

I want to let you try this thing. That's why I'm hosting a limited-time GIVEAWAY of one of my most popular travel posts, which you can upgrade to a GPS-guided personal tour guide for free through GPSmyCity travel app. The giveaway is available 10th of Oct - 16th of Oct.

There are two ways to access my GPS-guided posts in the app:
  1. Click on a link below for the article you are interested in (if you haven’t already downloaded the free GPSmyCity app, you will see a prompt to do so). After downloading the app, you will be directed to the article, where you can choose UPGRADE to get the GPS-guided version.
  2. You can browse by city in the GPSmyCity app to see all available articles.

(expires 16th Oct)
My Québec: 3x3 Places to See, Eat and Enjoy

Interested in my other articles available in GPSmyCity app? Click here:

My new travel-oriented posts will be available through the app in the future.

P.S. If you decide to upgrade my articles to a GPS-guided tour guide, I receive a few cents. As they say here in Ireland, it'd be grand, love! Tis be helpin' me fund my recreational blogging hobby alright. Thanks a million!

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