Five Questions

An Interesting Opportunity Will Come Your Way
(Who, What, When, and Where)

In December of last year my wife Kalpana accepted a teaching position at University College Dublin (Ireland – Thank the gods not Ohio).  This is a great position for her, and quite clearly (at least on paper) the job comes with all of the social benefits we in the United States hear so much about European societies.  For me, a self-employed travel writer, things are not so clear.  Everyone says, “Once you get here, as a resident, healthcare, and all of the other administrative things will work out just fine.” But, you try to find that in writing anywhere official.

Life Lesson #1 on the path to emigration has been setting aside my need to have everything planned and organized like a military invasion, and learning to relax and trust in the process a bit.  Having not yet moved to Ireland, I realize that this may come back to bite me in the ass, but it seems the only way to move forward without my new countrymen dismissing me as just another uptight American.  That said, if I call you from an Irish prison, or a U.S. Customs holding cell, you’ll know how well “trust in the process” worked out for me.

But, throwing caution to the wind, with contract in hand, in December 2010 we began the process of shedding our stuff and organizing our lives to move our essential gear, two cats, a dog, and the two of us to Dublin, in July of 2011.

My wife’s primary responsibility in all of this is to fulfill her responsibilities to her students and research partners by finishing out her contract at Indiana University in Bloomington.  She’s also ramping up for the new position in Dublin, and has arranged to teach part of the summer semester at IU before we move.  Yes, she’s working three jobs. Her fourth job is keeping me from sealing up the windows and turning on the gas after a long day of dealing with the logistics, finances, and bureaucracy of moving us to Ireland.

I’m also trying to keep my head above water as a travel writer and theatre reviewer. Typically this means I have to pack up and go on the road for most of a week every month, just when I’m beginning to get some momentum on the endless list of things that must be done before we move.

As I said, we are thinning out, giving away, selling, and otherwise shedding our stuff, partly because we simply want to do that, but mostly to cut down on costs and general organizational hassles. For reasons that I’ll detail in later posts, we are trying to cut our key possessions down to 200 cubic feet of stuff that we actually want to schlep around the globe with us.  In our minds that will be mostly clothes, books, the best of our kitchen stuff, important papers, and keepsakes.

No, we are not just up and going.

It’s one thing to say, “Alright, that’s it. I’ve had enough (of whatever). Let’s chuck everything and move to another country.”  It sounds great, but, in our mid-forties, we do have some bits of our “old life” that we’d like to hold on to. So we are dropping a lot of things from our old lives, but not everything.

We are who we are. We’re not running away from (or towards) anything.  We are doing this because we want to, and because we are genuinely curious about what the experience will be like.  We’ll take the best of our past and combine it with the best of our future, and see what that yields.

Itchy Feet & Curious by Nature
(The Answer to the Question Why)

When the opportunity to move to Ireland came our way, we jumped at the chance for a number of reasons.

For most of our adult lives, my wife and I have, for various reasons, relocated every four or five years.  The list of places we’ve called home runs the gamut from coast to coast, big to small, and hot to cold.  But we’ve never lived overseas for any extended period of time.  It’s something we’ve always wanted to do. The fact that we’ve called Bloomington, Indiana (a terrific little city) home for nearly seven years has both of us a bit antsy for change.  Add to that the possibility of getting to see what it’s like to not just visit, but actually call another country home, and we were sold.

We figured there was an added bonus to being expats in Ireland. The Irish speak our language already.  Then we heard the Irish speak English, and we realized that Ireland and the United States are two cultures separated by a common language.

To my mind, that’s great.  I should have plenty to write about.

Emigration Day: July 12, 2011 (77 Days)

About Glenn Kaufmann

I'm an American freelance writer, photographer, and web publisher. I specialize in writing about travel, food, arts, and culture. I also write dramatic scripts for stage and screen. I'm based in Ireland.
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5 Responses to Five Questions

  1. klozter says:

    Welcome to blogging and looking forward to following your adventures!

  2. Amy says:

    Can’t wait to read all the adventures!! Miss you guys! Read this in Cozumel!!

  3. Joan says:

    I had the pleasure to meet Kalpana at cello camp, have toured Ireland with my daughters two years ago and I come from Irish stock, so I’ll have a perspective on what you write. Can’t wait to read about your adventures.

  4. maggie Butler says:

    “Two cultures separated by a common language.”
    I’m an Irish person, who is an American Citizen, making me Irish-American, who has been living in Dublin for the past 18 years now. What I usually say about the Ireland is that we use the same language (sometimes!), but a different lexicon.

    Very different cultures, indeed.


    Maggie B.

  5. Thanks for posting this wicked article!

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