This time last year I had given away everything I owned except for 2 bags of clothes and my mobile phone. I am one of many young Irish people that has emigrated from the Emerald Isle. BUT I am NOT a victim of circumstance, I moved to America to try out living here, I had a very good job back in Galway and a very comfortable lifestyle. I was getting to a point in Ireland, in which I was getting very cynical about everything there. Before I left Ireland, the overly generous social welfare system and the fact that I was paying enough in Income Tax to pay for the salary of another person was something that really irked me, all while not even being close to what could be considered a high earner.
I lived in Salthill for my last year, if it was sunny you would see people out during a regular school and work day sitting on the beach with cans of Cider, simply because they could, they could afford to do this because their time was on somebody else’s Euro. Students get money to go to college and then do not even have to attend. The courses in the colleges could be passed by simply cramming for 3 weeks before exams, especially since Lecturers give “Tips” ahead of time. People getting the dole and/or Job seekers benefits can sleep in until midday and then spend the rest of their days masturbating, playing Xbox and getting high or drunk, the most taxing part of their week is collecting their dole cheque. The public services which your taxes also go towards are fuckin useless. This isn’t sour grapes but when somebody who doesn’t work can go out 4 nights a week, but I work and can’t, that makes me sick!
Speaking of sick. The Hospitals are dangerous, if you get sick in Ireland then God help you, ya poor fucker. Every member of my family that has had a medical procedure, had “complications” , I have personally witnessed a young man bleed out and die in the waiting room in UCHG. The motorways have improved thanks to EU funding but the roads in and around Galway are fuckin chaos, the brain trusts got together to plan on a new more efficient traffic system and it is not only of very little improvement (in some places, it’s actually worse now than it was) but from my experiences driving through there, it’s dangerous. There’s lanes to go left in which the light is very short but the lane is also to go straight but it doesn’t make any sense so people try to merge lanes when going straight and the people that have to go left try to stop…it’s just Bananas. The rail system is a complete farce, a service was started between Limerick and Galway just in time to coincide with the bypass on the motorway between Galway and Limerick! So this train that costs millions could get you to Limerick in 2.5 hours, driving on the improved roads could get you there in 1 hour. And what was the blowback for this!? NONE. You can go to the revenue to claim money back on your taxes but you need to know what you want because they won’t help you! Nobody working there will tell you what you can claim back on. You have to pay a television license for channels that are shit for the most part and then on top of that, even though you are paying for the upkeep of the stations they still sell advertising!!
The Politicians are the worst! The leader of the country makes more than the leader of most nations despite the fact it’s the size of my nut sack. The people elected mainly come from backgrounds working as public servants, the amount of politicians who’s previous background was as a lecturer, teacher etc. is mind boggling. Yet the education system just continues to get worse!! Ireland will never improve these aspects of living there because people willingly accept mediocrity as long as they have their piece. The powers that be are free to sell the country to the highest bidders all the while, line their pockets with the money of those foolish enough to work a full time job.
Now on the flipside of that I moved to America. With all of the above taken into consideration, I was looking forward to trying to live somewhere else in which I felt was different. It was not a very socialist country and it’s people demand a higher standard. Or at least that was my perception. In terms of the social welfare, there actually is a decent social welfare for when you become unemployed. It’s weighted based on the amount of money you earned in your previous 3 years of employment and you can claim it for a couple of years. Phoenix is actually pretty comparable to Dublin in terms of size and population, Phoenix currently has less homeless people than Dublin from what I have read online. But the big difference is the people homeless in Phoenix are not just people who got addicted to drugs or alcohol. There’s quite a few who do just appear to be down on their luck. In Ireland, I believe at least, that this would not be the case. You won’t find people sleeping on the streets in Dublin that lost their job, don’t drink and don’t do drugs and still couldn’t afford to live off social welfare.
My medical insurance is actually cheaper here than it was in Ireland. It has also provided for much better coverage. When in Ireland, in my last year I had to go to a chiropractor, an Accupunctarist, a Specialist and doctors a lot, my health insurance worked on the basis that I submit my receipts at the end of the year and get reimbursed. My insurance policy was the second best you could get. I spent over 2000 euros on bills and got back just over 200 euros. So far in America for 3 visits to doctors and a specialist, I have paid 15 dollars a pop. I have spent 12 dollars on medication. My dentist was expensive here though, even with coverage I spent about 2000 dollars for a root canal, a crown, a filling and a clean. But, I didn’t have dental coverage in Ireland because it would have cost a lot more per month to get it. But if you don’t have insurance here, you are fucked. There was a local news story about a lady who had a bad reaction to a scorpion sting, her bill came to over 80k!! Each vile of anti venom cost 40k, in Mexico the same anti-venom cost 200 dollars because here prices are driven by manufacturers, doctors and Insurance companies all ensuring they get their claim by bumping up the price.
I never subscribed to the American idealogy of Freedom. That this country allowed you more Freedoms than others. And it does seem to be a crock of shit. In fact, I would dare say, you enjoy much more Freedom in Ireland. Here you go to work in an office, you have to dress how they tell you to, speak the way they want and be a party to whatever horseshit they say you have to. You then drive home from work in your car just as you would anywhere and just like anywhere if you have your license plate covered or you go too fast, you get stopped and receive a ticket. If you rent or own a home, you can’t paint the home the colour you want, you can’t put down plants or trees, a mailbox etc. without approval from the Home Owners Association or Property Management Companies. What are the actual Freedoms that you enjoy when you live here? Oh yeah, you can have a gun…..but I don’t like guns, so my freedom to be away from guns is encroached by other peoples freedoms to own them and carry them as they wish…
The American credit system is a mindfuck, altogether. So you can’t get a car loan, finance a car, rent a place etc. without first undergoing a credit check. Only this credit rating system is the least transparent fuckin thing you’ve ever seen. There’s tips on building your credit but no indication as to how the credits are weighted. Also if you want good credit you essentially have to buy shit you may not need and then pay it off while possibly paying interest. It kind of makes sense, because it basically proves you are capable of paying back a loan and that would actually have helped Ireland avoid it’s current disaster but it also fuckin sucks because I now have to buy shit I don’t even need, so I can pay it off each month to improve my credit score so that some day, maybe I’ll be able to get a car loan or a mortgage. Insanity.
I have to say people in Arizona at least, do seem to have a much sunnier disposition than the majority of people I had interactions with in Ireland. There’s less begrudgery and people are much more polite and friendly (That will get me a lot of hate but it’s true) A very noticeable difference is the mutual respect between all age groups. Here elderly people don’t seem to look down on young people so much. Also the elderly have a very different outlook and humor, from what I’ve experienced at least. Variety is also a big difference, you have much more choice for pretty much everything here. I finally found chocolate and bread that don’t taste like cold ass. The radio stations kick ass, getting to hear Led Zeppelin or Jimi Hendrix on the radio on your way to work in the morning is a pretty cool experience. I still miss my friends and family, being so far away and in a hugely different time zone is pretty tough. Ireland right now does not have the same opportunities as I have here, in fact for what I do, last time I checked, there’s no opportunities back there currently. I would love to be back in Fagan every Saturday and talking shit to assholes in the smoking area of Kellys but right now I’m settling here. Long term, I’m not so sure. Arizona is a tough place to live, there’s deadly predators all over the place and unbearable heat in the summer. Also it would be nice to be somewhere that wasn’t so far from home and in such a drastically different time zone. Oh well, I’ll play it day by day for now.