Thursday 1 December 2016

Life: 12 Years Living in Ireland

Exactly 12 years ago today, my heart was beating so fast when the plane was descending over Dublin. I could see this green land through the clouds and it looked so mystical.  It was my second time in Dublin and really I  had no idea what would happen next; I was nervous and excited at the same time.

I arrived with my backpack and got off the bus on O'Connell Street with my average level English and no idea how long I would stay. Quite honestly I thought I wouldn't last more than six months, but here I am... 12 years later. I now work for myself and I'm married to an Irish man. Leaving France was one of the best decisions I've ever made!

Many people see expatriation as a negative or difficult thing but for me I have to say it has never been the case. I lived a happy life in my native country for 21 years but the 12 years I've spent here have been far more fun, fulfilling and obviously life changing. I left a job in Paris and I decided to move here so there was no way I could complain about living abroad and I made the best of it by trying to totally immersing myself in the culture. I avoided French people for the first few weeks (it wasn't easy, we're everywhere!) and tried not to compare Ireland to France. Having a local as a boyfriend/fiancé/husband helped of course but I've always felt comfortable living here, like I belong to this city.

I'm French and I always will be, I never pretend to be Irish but I deeply love Dublin and I like to think that somehow I'm a Dubliner at heart. It's sometimes difficult for people to imagine that I don't experience homesickness or that I don't want to live in France anymore but it's really how I feel. My mother left her native country when she was a child (she didn't have the choice) and my dad chose to leave his when he was 18 so I guess that's why it isn't such a strange thing for me.

With marrying Mr. FFID last July I had the weird feeling of 'marrying Ireland'. Don't laugh but it's true; it meant I was never going back to France and that I was totally committed to being a foreigner for the rest of my life. Of course we aren't confined to this little island and we could move aboard but why would we? We travelled the world together and we agree on one thing, there is no other place where we would want to live.

I have a thick French accent and I wonder if in 25 years people will still ask me the same questions when they first meet me.... 'Where are you from?, 'Why did move here?', 'Do you like it here?' and 'Do you go home often?'. I know those are genuine questions but sometimes I get so tired of hearing them.

Well the truth is... I was born in the Loire Valley and I've not been there in 4 years so it's not like I'm deeply connected to where I was born. I moved here to learn English and to live in another country. Of course I like it here, I've been here 12 years and I would never live in a country I don't like. And finally, yes I go home very often, every single day in fact!

Dublin, thanks for being so good to me for the last 12 years!