I moved to Ireland five years ago today. My nephew, age two and a half, announced excitedly as we came into Dublin, “Auntie Catie, Auntie Catie, this is the Wiver Wiffey!” I often think about that as I cross the Wiver Wiffey now. :) And about four hours after I arrived, jet-lagged and exhausted, my sister said to me, brightly, “So how do you like living in Ireland?” *laughs*
The answer is, pretty well. For the first year or 18 months or so we kept saying “It’s like living in a foreign country!” We’ve stopped doing that. We now bitch about Irish politics as bitterly and passionately as American (which we still bitch about, mind you). We also, however, admire the benefits of living here–nationalized health care, for one thing, a topic which the Irish think we’re mad to be pleased by, because by European standards Ireland’s hardly at the top of the game. It’s hard to explain what it’s like in America.
It’s been an up and down five years. We cleverly moved at the height of a housing boom that crashed into a massive recession (and which the newly-announced budget here is damned likely to drive into a full-blown depression). The tourist industry got hit earliest, so it was more difficult for Ted to find steady (nevermind non-abusive) work than we anticipated. He broke his arm. We moved a lot. We didn’t develop much of a social group. Two of our pets died. We might have chosen to go home, but we literally couldn’t afford it.
On the other hand, the people we did meet were fantastic. We made amazing friends through the SF/F convention circuit. We’ve seen some of Ireland. Somewhere in there, aspects of American life started seeming like being in a foreign country. We had a baby. Ted got out of chefing and back into tech support. We moved to Dublin. We are, I think, happier these past few months than we’ve been since we moved here, and the future looks bright.
So: to celebrate the first five years in Ireland, and in anticipation of the next five, we’re throwing an Irish Anniversary Party on the 4th of December, from 1pm to 6pm. I believe Ted’s going to make gumbo and red beans & rice (traditional Irish foods!), and I may make a cheesecake (and perhaps some Chocolate Death Cookies). Everybody’s welcome!(x-posted from the essential kit)