Like most big cities, Dublin is expensive. Everything costs more: Food, clothing, gasoline, and housing. This is especially true to me because the Euro is stronger than the dollar right now. So my delicious Thai red curry dinner tonight was only 14 Euro, but after 3 Euro tip, converting it puts it over $23 US dollars; way more than I would ever normally pay. Once I'm earning Euros maybe this won't be so bad, but right now I feel like I am absolutely busting our bank account.
In nothing has the high cost of living in Dublin shown more prominently than in its rents. And keep in mind that Dublin is still reeling from the housing crisis. These are distressed prices.
Liz and I have decided on an absolute amount we're willing to pay, but of course, we need at least 3 bedrooms in a nice neighborhood that's close to work and grocery shopping and . . . you get the idea. The remaining dependent variable in this equation is, of course, price.
Part of it is principle, but most of it is strictly financial; we simply can't afford more than our max amount.
So, fettered by the fact I don't have a car or know the transit system very well, I'm focusing my initial search here in the Ballsbridge area, all accessible by foot.
I spent a few hours this morning making calls and managed to set up an appointment at 1PM. The agent also agreed to show me around to a couple other properties, so I didn't bother setting anything else up after. When I stepped outside it was cold and rainy, totally typical, but now it was also very windy. My 10 minutes walk to the showing had me absolutely soaked and pretty darn cold.
Once I got to the property, the agent was very nice and let me take a good long look at all the rooms. This place was barely within our price range, but I liked it because it looked pretty good and is an easy walk to the office. The only problem is that it's very small. One room was almost completely filled with a double bed, and had only a small closet. The boy's room, I thought? How am I going to fit 3 growing boys in this room?
The agent was very friendly but once I told her my family's size and max rent amount, she pretty much sighed and said there wasn't much left for her to show me. She gave me a list of properties and numbers to call and then we said goodbye.
I stopped by a local deli and grabbed a bite to eat, then tried to think on what I needed to do next. At that moment I was so cold that I either needed to go back to my hotel room to warm up or get another layer under my rain coat. I figured if I stayed out I could at least have the option of looking for other places along the way.
So, back out I went, this time making my way toward St. Stephen's Green mall to buy something warm to wear under my coat. Unfortunately, the mall was about 1.5 miles away, and walking through Dublin streets with all the traffic and intersections, it takes a good 20 to 30 minutes per mile on foot. I tried to make the most of the time by making phone calls but it was so windy it was hard to communicate. One guy hung up on me twice--maybe he thought I was a prank caller.
Once I did get there, I was focused on getting another layer for my coat, but it was difficult to find something thick enough for under 30 Euros. I admit I am not the most efficient of shoppers, and time was burning as I scoured the local "TK Maxx" (yes, same store, just changed one letter!) for something adequate and in my price range. I finally gave up and bought a nice hooded sweatshirt from Dunnes. I may have wasted 2 hours of the afternoon, but at least I was warm. I also picked up a mouse for this laptop so I don't have to use the horrid touch-pad any more!
Now after all this, I started back, and took a stroll through the very beautiful St. Stephen's Green park.
Also made some more phone calls and got a viewing setup for Monday morning, yes! Now back at the hotel, I sit down and to my dismay it's 6PM. Very unlikely to get any showings at this time of the day on a Friday.
So, here I am, trying to regroup. I am a little bit deflated today, my first day here where I felt like I didn't get much done. I was hoping to take tomorrow off and take a day trip bus tour, but that's going to have to wait. I am really feeling the clock ticking down to Monday April 2 and I have to have something tangible setup by then.