For those of us who are predisposed to emigration, I think there is a danger that we’ll always live with one eye fixed on distant shores. I’ll admit that “where to next” is always on my mind in some way.
I’ve not written a post here for over two months. And, while I still love you all, and am deeply attached to Dublin, I’ll admit that I’ve been traveling and my loyalties have been tested. In March I was in Valencia, Spain, a historic coastal town with a great sense of self, walkable streets, friendly people, and wonderful food culture. Then I spent last week in Paris. My task there was to learn as much as I could about the city’s cooking classes, local food markets, and culinary secrets. Tough duty, I know.
As much as I loved both cities, I realized that I could never live in the frenzy of Paris. And Valencia’s language barrier, though not insurmountable, makes relocation harder than I’m willing to countenance at this stage in life. So, both times I returned to Dublin happy to be coming home to the right city.
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m already planning my return to Paris, and Spain is always high on my list. But, Dublin is the right city for me to call home.
And that got me thinking about “the right place” for immigrants. Notice I didn’t say “perfect”. There’s no such thing. Places change. We change. We fall in love. We fall out of love. That’s life.
But for me, the “right place” is walkable, has a sense of history, a rich food culture, is close to the natural world (the sea or the mountains), has at least passable public transportation, and, now that I’m older and have gotten worse (if that’s possible) at picking up foreign languages, speaks English as it’s primary language.
Notice jobs are not on my list. That’s because I’ve worked in so many fields, I figure that even at my age (50) people can pick up something new if they really want to move to a new city/country. The industrious will always find a way to get by. And we migrants are nothing if not resilient and industrious.
Notice also that much of my list is based on my life now. It will likely change as I get older, and has most definitely changed from when I was younger. That’s important to remember. As our lives change, what we want in a city or country changes, and it’s important to think at least a bit about what we’ll want down the line. Don’t just select the house party capital of the world and move there in your 20s.
So, as an inveterate traveler, I pack my bags, head down the path and over the hill to see what I can see, and to learn a few things on the way. It seems that one of those things is the gentle reminder that, for me, Dublin is still the right place to call home. It may not be that forever, and as I get older my likes and dislikes will surely change. But for today and the foreseeable future, it’s nice to know where home is.
Dublin, April 2016
Things to look forward to in upcoming posts:
The Immigrant’s Guide to Hobbies and Activities: The Value of Getting Involved in Your New Home