When you tell people that you’re moving to Ireland, specifically Dublin, the response you get is never negative. Lately I’ve come to the conclusion that this is not always a positive thing.
From the first moment we started telling people that my wife was interviewing for a job in Dublin, the response was almost universally positive. The lone exception was one set of parents who had some concerns about the economy and children moving far from home as they (the parents) grow older. Beyond that, everyone (and I do mean everyone) gets this dreamy look in their eye, and, if they’ve been there, tells you their story of what a wonderful time they had, what a great city it is, and how lucky you are to be moving there.
On one hand, the myth of Dublin grows in my mind, inspires me, and I truly want to keep hearing from all sides that I’m moving somewhere great, and am not making a colossal mistake. On the other hand, I’m not just traveling there, I’ll be making Dublin (and Ireland) my home, and it will require a much deeper commitment than a brief visit. There are likely to be some things that I don’t like, or that rub me the wrong way. I want the freedom to make up my own mind. Let’s face it, my inner curmudgeon wants the freedom to not like it, and even hate it if that’s how I truly feel.
While I’m really happy to be moving to Dublin because it satisfies a number of life goals and seems like a wonderful adventure, I’m still conflicted about the notion of leaving the United States (my homeland), friends, and family behind, and calling Ireland “home”. When that Aer Lingus jet lifts off in Chicago, it will be a sad moment. It seems fairly arbitrary to think that if a flight attendant were to ask me “Where’s home”, in that thirty-second race down the runway, the answer will have changed.
Home, and our sense of place in the world are (and ought to be) made of sterner stuff than just a street address. Home is a place of personal meaning and consequence. As with anything you fall in love with, there are things about your home that you like, things you dislike, things you learn to appreciate (or not) over time, and you will always be vulnerable to having your heart broken. I’m not being cynical, just conscious of the fact that making Dublin home will take time. If it’s the right place for us in the long term, our relationship with the city will be stronger if we give it the chance to leave the seat up and its dishes in the sink.
Emigration Day: July 12, 2011 (69 Days)