It’s been four months since I came to live in Ireland. I’ve tried to write this post several times, but each time I was unable to express my feelings. Every attempted entry was ultimately indecipherable, and even now it’s still weird. But let me try my best.
Since coming here, I’ve had the privilege of meeting many expats and locals alike. And I noticed that they all had one thing in common: they knew where their homes were. Some people spent years traveling; for others it was their first time. Regardless, they had a place of comfort to retreat to. Others went back to Canada after a few weeks, realising that what they had at home, they couldn’t replace with anything else. Then there were those who made the world their home – happy wanderers.
I didn’t fit into any of those categories. I left Toronto because I wanted to find “home”. Seeing the world and experiencing new cultures was a goal of course, but I desperately wanted to find a home base; a nest and a stable career where I could have responsibility and duty. Unlike some others, I didn’t want to be a rolling stone.
For the first few weeks, things were grand (as they say here in Ireland). I was hiking in mountains, swimming in the sea, making new friends, and learning about a new culture. I can honestly say that I am happier than I was in Toronto, and a lot calmer. But it wasn’t until I started to find my feet and tried to assimilate as a “local” that I felt any real culture shock.
From lunch conversations with colleagues and friends, I started to realise that there are some social/cultural values/behaviour that I found difficult to accept. I won’t go into detail as I don’t want to offend, but I found myself questioning if I could live with those principles for the rest of my life, and if I ever had kids, if I’d want them to grow up conditioned by this society. As two types of foreign (Asian and North American), I will also never really be accepted as “one of their own”.
So, here I am. Four months in Dublin, renting in a nice little house by the Irish Sea, working as part of the financial operations team for a national corporation, and working my way up by studying for an accounting qualification. Is this home? Well, I don’t know yet. But it doesn’t hurt to try. The only thing to do now is enjoy every moment offered, and see what waits for me.