Saturday, 3 January 2015

A human adventure

It's a bit funny that the first post of the series kind of sums up what my Irish experience has been so far.

When I landed in Dublin airport 12 years ago, I was far from thinking I would still be here after all that time. I had planned to stay for two or three years only, which already seemed quite an ambitious plan for the recruiter who offered me my first job. "The majority of foreigners stay on average one year" he said to me. As it happened, he was right. I'm not even counting the amount of people I met and went back home in the blink of an eye. 

I know I'm saying the past 12 years have been a big adventure, and still is, but I'm not talking about an action-packed or crazy stories type of journey. After all, I didn't go backpacking through the Australian outback or volunteer in Africa. I didn't go on a teaching gig in China or on surf trips to Bali. The culture clash was probably less visible than if I had moved to the other side of the planet.

My adventure is mostly human. Sure I didn't go to all those exotic places, but I have met people from all corners of the globe, and this would have NEVER happened if I stayed home. I have friends all over the world and not only I learned about Irish culture, I discovered many other places.

My husband is from Mauritius. I have Indian and Danish neighbours. I used to work with Hungarian, Polish, Lithuanian and Slovakian people. I have friends from Moldova, Great-Britain, Croatia, Spain and the USA... I learned a lot about other cultures, especially tolerance, respect and differences. I can also manage a few words in each language. Bad words, mostly, but that's usually what we remember, right? And I ate A LOT of good stuff cooked by those people. Traditional dishes and biscuits and cakes... Food can really make people connect, trust me (more of that in an upcoming post!).

Most importantly, I have met wonderful Irish people and discovered a fabulous country. I couldn't thank my host family enough for feeding me (a bit too much) and really helping me out when I was stuck at the beginning. The first few months really shaped the rest of my Irish experience and that particular family is the reason I realised this country was really worth it.

The Irish are very family centred and it takes a bit more work to really have a solid friendship with them, but I think we managed to find a good balance between Irish and foreign friends.

There have been some highs and lows during those 12 years. I sometimes got bored and frustrated, but I never gave up, and I still think I have a better quality of life here than in France. 

When I look back at my time in Ireland, I will think about the wonderful landscapes and the never-ending rainbows, but most importantly, I will remember THE PEOPLE. 

And that's what makes this adventure human.