Mon 15 Aug 2016
Today, Mountaineering Man and I will board a plane for our one-way journey to America, capping off two weeks of leaving parties and farewell drinks and goodbye hugs and well wishes.
To say Ireland has been good to me would be an understatement. I came here six-and-a-half years ago from Los Angeles, where I had a close-knit group of friends, my family within driving distance to my condo and a job that had me interviewing celebrities on the red carpet. But there was a growing sense of loneliness that I just couldn’t shake, leaving me feeling disillusioned and weary.
Perhaps it was a long-ago heartbreak that never really healed, or one too many flaky “let’s have lunch” invitations that never materialized or the hours upon hours I – like most people in this traffic-clogged city – spent in my car. LA was wearing me down, and no matter how many dinner parties or new hairstyles or glasses of Pinot Grigio I had, nothing changed, not really. And I was desperate for change – something, anything. I reasoned that moving to a new country would be such a massive shift in my reality that it would effectively force change in every other aspect of my life. It had to.
Turns out that logic was correct. Within a couple of months of moving, I had a number of new friends in the food blogging community and an endless stream of invitations to various foodie outings and events. I got a regular spot on Gerry Kelly’s LMFM Late Lunch show, just to talk about all the funny/weird/wonderful things I was learning in my new life in Ireland. Through a friend of a friend I got a job at a digital agency and was instantly on track to a new career. And five months into living here, I met Mountaineering Man, and after keeping it to myself for a short time I introduced him on this blog. We married in Tuscany two years later. I’ve had a few people tell me I’m brave for making such a move, but I don’t feel that way. I’m lucky that I was able to create the opportunity to do this, and luckier still that people here not only accepted me but welcomed me with open arms.
It still boggles my mind how everything just seemed to fall into place after I made the move. The other day, when I dusted off my old laptop (I had to return my work-issued one), I saw a folder that I named, “My Dream.” I clicked it open and saw a Word document that I had written just after I applied for the Artist/Writers Business Permission Visa for Ireland. In it, I had written:
- Get a great job at a multinational company that lets me travel all over Europe (ha ha, like that is ever going to happen!)
- Have a place somewhere by the water
- Fall in love with a really nice guy
I’d forgotten about that note I wrote to myself – an exercise that I did, with total cynicism, because I’d read something in a self-help manual about writing down your dreams. I actually wrote that ha ha, like that is ever going to happen on my first bullet point, because upon thinking of how this would happen, I got mired in the details of just how I would be able to accomplish such a massive feat (I was a journalist at the time and had no business contacts in Europe). As you readers know, I just finished over 3 years at Kellogg’s, and travelled all over the EU and beyond in that role. The apartment we just left in Raheny? It’s down the road from Dollymount Strand, one of Dublin’s most beautiful beaches. And of course, there’s MM – that really nice guy I was hoping to meet way back when. What I didn’t list or expect was to make dozens of new friends, so many of whom I will know for the rest of my life.
So as our plane flies out of Dublin Airport this afternoon, I will look out at Ireland’s rolling green hills and beautiful coastline and my heart will be bursting with gratitude for how much positive change this little island nation has brought to my life. I hope that our new home of Portland, Oregon – a place that will be new for both of us – will give my Irish husband the same warm welcome and life-changing opportunities as Ireland as given me.
Thank you, Ireland. And thank you to the readers of this blog, particularly the ones who have followed my journey from start to finish – your emails and comments of support mean more than you can imagine. This is the last post of An American in Ireland, but the blog will remain live for anyone who wants to read the story of a woman who took a chance, made the leap and found herself in Ireland.
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
…until we meet again.