I’ve been meaning to write this blog for quite some time now, but things kept getting in the way, like half price beer and wings night, or more recently my horrendous birthday hangover. But, finally, I am ready so here it goes. Firstly my most sincere apologies to Mark and Miriam as I did promise them this blog at the weekend, and I know they both spent their weekends checking their phones to see if I had blogged yet – sorry guys but here it is!
So as the heading suggests this blog is about emigrating. Why am I am writing about emigrating, well for a few reasons,
obviously because I myself emigrated from Ireland a few years ago, and have thoroughly enjoyed my experiences to date, but mainly, because in recent months I have read so many blogs and articles casting a negative light on Irish people emigrating and it really pissed me off (sorry for the language if you’re reading this Ma!). I noticed a few of the Irish newspapers running articles on emigration and one in particular really annoyed me. It harped on about how tough it is for young Irish people who have had to emigrate because of the economy, whether it be to Australia, Canada or anywhere else in between.The reason it bothered me was that the article kept mentioning these “poor Irish” that were forced to move to a different country and how awful it is for them, stuck in a new country, all alone, no family, no friends and worst of all no Taytos (don’t get me wrong I love Taytos!). The article basically made Irish people out to be a nation of pathetic people who cannot cope with change, do not have the ability to make new friends or deal with new cultures and worst of all, who cannot go a week without a hot chicken roll and a pint of Guinness! I mean come on. They painted this picture of the poor Irish twenty-something year old living in Sydney (or wherever) huddled up under their bed covers crying all day every day because they were so scared of the big bad world outside of Ireland. Pathetic.
Then, to annoy me even further I listened to Tommy Tiernan being interview by John Murray about his comedy tours which he brought to Canada and Australia. One of the first questions John Murray asked him was about how the poor Irish that had to emigrate to these countries are coping (with their awful new lives) and thank God Tommy Tiernan said “there’s not a loss on them” and that those very same poor emigrants are having the time of their lives. THANK YOU TOMMY!! Why does everyone presume that it’s so horrible on the people who’ve left Ireland. So to add to my angst, I then read not one but TWO blogs which were on the Journal.ie written by Irish people who are now living in other countries, one of them in Korea actually and the other one somewhere in Europe (like for God sake she’s not that bloody far from home). And those two blogs moaned about the troubles that we emigrants face, one of them was even titled “the dark side of emigration” or something equally as stupid. Now, I’m not saying that everyone isn’t entitled to their own opinion, but when that opinion is so clearly wrong then yes, I am saying you shouldn’t have one (I joke I joke!). But seriously, these were both young girls in their mid to late twenties and all they can write about is how hard it is to emigrate, and how Facebook only shows the good side and not how they really feel etc etc. Instead of writing about the amazing experiences they are having (or should be having), the things they are doing and seeing.. I just don’t get it
Don’t get me wrong, I realize that living in a different country can often times means sacrifice, missing important events from
home and of course you are away from your friends and family. Since I’ve been away I went 2 and a half years without seeing my parents, I missed my Grandads funeral, I missed my sister’s hen party and all the wedding planning, the picking out of the dress, and I’m missing out on my nieces and nephew growing up. Right now, my best friend Claire is pregnant and I’m missing out on that, but the good far outweighs the bad. Emigrating today is not like it was back in the day where they held a wake for you because you were never coming home, never going to see your family again. It’s quite the opposite, these days people emigrate for a few years, travel, experience new things and the majority of them move back to Ireland when it’s time to settle down, have children and lay some roots so to speak. Plus, to those people who are whinging about how hard they’ve got it living on a beach in Melbourne, or living in Seoul – probably the best city I’ve ever been to, then it’s pretty simple – go home. Go back to Ireland. Stop your moaning. The economy is getting better, there are jobs to be found in Ireland now (although I know Ireland is now facing a housing crises) and if you hate new life in Europe so much, hop on a Ryanair flight home. Nobody forced you to go in the first place. I have read that most of the young people who left Ireland in recent years actually had jobs and even if you did leave because of the arse falling out of the economy, it sounds like some people would be happier at home drawing the dole than trying out something new.
So I’m here to right the wrongs that I have read, I am here to shine a light on the positive of emigrating and why everyone should do it – you never know, if I’m really lucky maybe some Irish newspaper will run my blog?!!
As many of you know I left Ireland in May 2010 to move to Korea to teach English, I left in September 2011 and then lived in Australia for 2 years and I’m now living in Canada since May 2014. We initally moved here on a 2 year visa, but we are now Permanent Residents, we own a condo here and 2 cats, so it’s safe to say we have set up our lives here. I have highlighted in the previous paragraph some things that I missed out on because I emigrated, but here’s what I’ve done: I’ve bungey jumped, I’ve bathed naked in a bath house full of Koreans, I’ve eaten food I’ve never heard of, I’ve partied all night long in private karoke rooms, I’ve been to mud festivals (yes it is what it sounds like, a festival of mud), I’ve been to a park full of statues of giant penises, I’ve been followed around by Korean kids and asked to have pictures taken with me because I’m white, I’ve snorkelled with Manta Rays and sharks, I’ve stayed on islands with no electricity, I’ve seen a tarantula up close – in my bedroom! I’ve been up close to a glacier, I’ve sky dived over one of the most scenic towns in the world, I’ve ziplined, I’ve done white water rafting, I’ve seen geysers explode hundreds of feet into the air, I’ve been to the top of the tallest building in the world, I’ve done a desert trip, sand boarding and snowboarding, I’ve been within meters of a wild tiger, I’ve had an earring stolen by a monkey, I’ve seen lepers dying on the side of the road, I’ve seen dead bodies being burned by the Ganges and thrown in and I’ve seen people bath in and drink that same water, I’ve seen the Taj Mahal, I road tripped around New Zealand , I’ve driven through the outback (when I say “I’ve driven”, I really mean Phil!) I’ve seen a slum, I’ve seen a child with no legs beg in the middle of the road, I’ve been on a camel ride and an elephant ride, I’ve been axe throwing, I’ve stayed in a 5 star resort and I’ve stayed in a place where you had to wash with water from a bucket. I’ve done a lot, but most of all as a result of emigrating and living in new countries, I’ve learned about the world, I’ve learned that there’s more to living than just being in Ireland and ‘having the craic’ (don’t worry I still love having the craic!), I’ve learned about other cultures, religions, beliefs and customs. I’ve learned about myself because you don’t even know the real you until you move outside your comfort zone and see what you can handle. And most of all – I’ve made great friends along the way.
So instead of the media and every portraying Irish emigration as a bad thing and feeling sorry for the poor craters who had to
leave, we should be focusing on the great things, the new experiences those emigrants will have, how they will learn and how they will grow, how they will enjoy their new lives and their new surroundings, and how when they return to Ireland they will be more open minded and creative as a result and surely, that can’t be a bad thing can it?
Until next time 🙂