Fri 20 Apr 2012
Recently I was asked to give a talk about my experience of adjusting to life as an American in Ireland for “Enlightenment Night” at the Workman’s Club in Dublin. The monthly event features a half-dozen speakers/performers who each share something that may educate, or at the very least entertain, the attendees. Organised and hosted by the incredibly talented and charming Maeve Higgins, the evening offers a bit of enlightenment on a wide range of topics.
I chose to speak about how – despite all the bad news and negativity in the press about Ireland and its economy – this country has in many ways been my salvation. Don’t get me wrong; my life in Los Angeles was fine, but I felt personally unfulfilled. And I knew the only way to get out of that rut was to change my perspective, which I found impossible to do without throwing myself into a completely different environment.
My talk revolved around the idea of perspective, because Irish people’s reaction to my story of moving from LA to Drogheda (I now live in Dublin, but lived in Co Louth for the first year) is always that of shock and horror. From what I can tell, when Irish people think of Drogheda, they get visions of broken bottles in the street, antisocial toothless teens running amuck and dog poop on every footpath (someone once referred to it as “the armpit of the North East”). But when I first arrived, I didn’t see that stuff; I saw the rolling green hills, the cute cobblestone streets and the friendly people. Yes, the dog poop was there but there were so many other, positive aspects that I didn’t focus on the poop!