Dublin Versus Paris: An Immigrant’s Guide to Choosing A City

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.

 

Pax,
Glenn K.
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

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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2 Responses to Dublin Versus Paris: An Immigrant’s Guide to Choosing A City

  1. Dan Price says:

    I have never felt any sense of wanderlust. Quite the opposite; I always feel a sense of loss over the various places I’ve left behind. The tragic part of this is that one really can never “go home.” I can visit past homes, but not only are they different now; I’m different now. The draw to go “back home” is really more a wish to return to a past time than a past place. Memory has a way of filtering out the bad, exaggerating the good, and making the passage of time look like a loss.
    The fix for me is to focus on the future; on taking the wonders of my past and bestowing them on my children and grandchildren. I want them to look back on this time as fondly as I look back on the time I was their age.

  2. Thomas says:

    There are about 1 million British and a pro rata amount of Irish living in Spain, not to mention all the other western Europeans Germans, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian etc etc several million at least the vast majority communicate via English, most have a courtesy level of Spanish. Spain is effectively Europe’s Florida, don’t over estimate the language barrier.

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