Moving To Ireland || 10 Years Later

Monday, July 23, 2018

Moving To Ireland || 10 Years Later

Hello people of the internet! I feel like most of you know that I'm originally from America. If you're new here - I'm from the suburbs of Chicago. My family (aka Mom, Dad, and my two younger brothers) moved to Ireland right before I turn 14. As of today, we have lived here for 10 years. And my god has it been a strange and weird 10 years.

 (Prepare yourself for an essay hahahah!)

I often get asked a lot as to why we moved here. My default answer is "My parents have a cruel sense of humour." I've lost count at how many times I've said that and honestly, I can't even laugh at the joke anymore, haha. But, we moved here in July 2008 because my dad is a dual citizen and why not?

In 2008, I could have told you a million reasons why not to move here. I was just about to start high school with my friends. I had never even left the country before. We'd be leaving our whole family behind to a country where we knew no one. It's scary.

When I first moved here I just felt lost. I remember the first day I ever walked through Cork city and I heard two lads talking. I was convinced they were speaking another language. Something I never even thought of was a language barrier despite the fact I was moving to an English speaking country. Everything was confusing and a culture shock.

School was another hard time for me. It was all fun and games when I first started and everyone wanted to listen to my weird Midwestern accent. During lunch, on my first day of school, this one girl kept asking me to say basketball for some reason. But then it got worse. The first school I went to was an all girls school very much still run by the church. That was weird to me. We have separation of church and state in America and my family is also super non-religious. So between being in a Catholic school and an all-girls school, it was bizarre, to say the least.

I wish I could say that was the worst of it. That it was just difficult adjusting to the different culture. In my first school, I was bullied. A lot. By students and by members of staff. I remembered I put pink in my hair during the midterm and I was called to the principal's office. She started picking at my hair telling me how "it wouldn't do" and that I would need to dye it to a "natural" colour immediately. There was nothing in our school rules against it. So. I told her she would just have to wait for it to fade. I ended up leaving that school after three months because of bullying and not returning to school until September the next year.

That school was my personal hell. It made me hate school. Which was the opposite of how I used to be. The facility was my main bully. Especially the deputy principal. He had issues with me and my younger brother from the first time we went to see the school. I remember he once tried to expel me for not having the school pants from the school store. I bought mine from Dunnes like most people. And, being a chubbier teenager the school pants actually pained me. I also had a teacher who would constantly make remarks about me being American in front of the whole class. "Would you get away with that in America?" was one of her common phrases.

If I had known what I know now, I would have said something to her or the multiple other teachers who were like this. I had a fear of being the "bad kid" and would bite down on the side of my tongue in tears while getting screamed at in front of my whole class for missing one or two questions on a test. Something a lot of people don't know about me is, I left school at 16. I think it was the best decision I could have ever made for my mental health.

The summer I left school my best friend came out to visit me for the first time since I had moved. It was so surreal to see her here. I think the only thing I truly miss about home is the people in my life. But, those people stay in touch and the internet has really transformed my relationships.

After Jessica went back home it was hard. I felt like a piece of me was missing. I feel like people think teenagers make friends easily. But, from my personal experience, you already have these friend groups that you've formed from a young age. It's so hard to feel like you truly fit in at that age anyway. But, to be someone from a completely different country is really hard. I spent a lot of time on the internet after she left. I felt like it was my safe space to hide away and to talk to people. That's where I met Dan. It's crazy to me because we met and started dating when I had only lived here for just over two years. He has made the past (almost) 8 years so much better.

I've been struggling with how to finish this post. Because meeting Dan was a pivotal point in my relationship with Ireland. Being with him helped me understand Irish culture better. I hung out with different people and he just made it easier. I didn't set out to write this post like "Oh my god moving to Ireland was so shit. Then I met Dan and we lived happily ever after". But while I was writing this it just felt like that... Those first two years were so hard. It felt like no one understood me or ever tried to for that matter. I'm pretty sure Dan is one of the first people to actually listen to everything there is to know about me. About back home. 

When I moved here 10 years ago I could have told you a million reasons not to leave Illinois. Now, all I can think of are the reasons to stay in Ireland. This place is my home now. I have some of the best friends anyone could as for. This is the place I met Dan. His family is my family now. I can't even tell you how many ups and downs I've had in the last decade or that my family has had for that matter. But, in some weird fucked up way I would do it again.

I just want to say thank you if you actually took the time to read this whole post. It's a really, really long one. And, I want to say thank you if you read my blog in general. This place has been my outlet. I think it's another thing that has made it easier to live in Ireland. Blogging has helped me meet to connect with so many people. Like I said before, that's not something that get's any easier with age either. 

Here's to another decade!

Let's Be Friends

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