Thursday, 28 July 2016

Back to the beginning

I don't know if it's the Irish football fans or the terrible things happening in France, but it seems like there is a wave of French people wanting to move to Ireland at the moment. It might be just an impression, but looking at the amount of members requests I get daily on the Facebook French expats group and the discussions going on, I think Ireland might have become the Eldorado again.

Reading prospective expats' questions and doubts made me think about my own worries before I moved to Ireland...

I always knew I wanted to live abroad for a while, but I wasn't an adventurous kind of girl. Sure I wanted to discover the world, but I was going to be cautious about it. There was no way I would just get a one way ticket to an unknown place without a job lined up. So when I found a job offer in Ireland I took the opportunity. And when I received a positive answer, I was over the moon and scared at the same time.

I only had ten days to prepare. Ten days to sort out insurance, dentist, optician, buy a flight ticket, say goodbye to my family and friends, and pack my whole life into two suitcases. In that short time, I managed to find an accommodation thanks to my new boss, lose my flight ticket, buy a new one and more importantly have doubts about the big move every day.

Was I really ready to go? There was nothing for me in France. I was single, jobless, and sure I had my friends and family but they would always be there, right? A couple of years abroad and my English would be perfect. And I would have the "oh-so-important" two years experience to land a great job in France.

I tried really hard to convince myself it was the best thing to do, a personal challenge of some sort. My parents would be proud of me and my friends would be supportive but the moment I kissed goodbye to my parents at the airport, it hit me. I was going to Ireland. To work. For an undetermined amount of time. And I didn't know when I was coming back. When I landed in Dublin, I felt weird, thinking "This morning I woke up in France, and tonight I'll sleep in Ireland". I came out of the airport, took a taxi and made my way to my new home, my new life...

I've said it before but my host family instantly made me feel welcomed. Unfortunately, it wasn't really the case for my new boss. What kind of manager gets you to make mistakes intentionally just so he can tell you you're wrong? I felt sick going to work in the morning, thinking I made the wrong decision, that living abroad wasn't made for me, that I wasn't strong enough and that I was going to mess things up...again.

I obviously had confidence issues, but I still had my pride, and I wasn't ready to go home. Not after one week anyway. My parents offered to pay the flight back home but I refused. I already made friends, I liked the village, I loved speaking English and my host family was the best.

So I resigned from my job, but decided to stay in Ireland and find another one. After six weeks of relentless searching, I finally got it. It wasn't the best paid job in the world, it wasn't the most interesting either, but it paid my rent and most importantly gave me back the confidence I lost along the way.

That's how my Irish journey started. I don't know what would have happened if I had gone back home after a week. But I am so glad I fought and stayed. I wouldn't have met so many great people from all over the world, that's for sure.

So you want to come to Ireland and you're not sure? You still have doubts? You're afraid? That's normal. No matter how much you're prepared, things might not go according to plan. But in the wise words of Art Williams: "I'm not telling you it's going to be easy, I'm telling you it's going to be worth it"... Whatever happens.