Bryan is an old friend of mine from college. We were in South Korea together, and in doing this feature, I realized, it’s been almost a decade since we saw each other !!
1.Where do you currently live?
New York City
2. How long have you lived there for?
It will be 10 years this November
3. Why did you leave Ireland initially?
To travel after college and see some of the world
4. What are some major differences you’ve noticed between your new homeplace and Ireland?
The pace of life is completely different. In normal times, NYC never stops and the people who live here don’t either. There is no such thing as a 40 hour work week, if you want to be successful or even just to survive here, you have to be able to keep up with the pace!
5. How has coronavirus affected the city you currently live in? What measures have been brought in there?
It has brought the city to a halt. Everything is closed and has been for weeks. The streets are eerily quiet. We also all are aware of the fact of how bad the situation is in New York, so there is a lot of fear. More than likely, we will be the last place in the US to reopen to some sort of normality, due the high figures of infections and deaths here, which is a frightening thought also.
6. Did you leave Ireland alone, or with a partner/friend? And do you currently live alone or with others?
I left Ireland with three friends. Only one of them still lives here, one moved home and one moved to Canada. I currently live by myself in Midtown Manhattan. Where I live is only a couple of blocks off Time Square, so usually it is a very busy place, so I find it very strange to see the streets beside my apartment empty and all the bars and restaurants closed.
7. How has the coronavirus and what’s currently happening in the world affected you? Has it had a direct impact on any aspect of your life in particular?
I am the manager of a 3-floor restaurant in Midtown and used to long hours, lots of work and lots of stress. So, I have found it difficult to just wake up with nothing to do while we are closed down. I wake up and look at my phone expecting to see dozens of messages and emails like I used to but now there is none. I get the feeling a lot like I am forgetting something, but then I remember I have nothing to forget right now!
8. Have you thought about going back to Ireland in light of what’s happening?
No, this has been my home for nearly 10 years. I wouldn’t move home because of this right now. I would have liked to have spent this time off at home but I wouldn’t have risked travelling from such an infected area back to Leitrim. I’d probably be ran out of the place!
9. How do you find living away from home in times like these? Are you worried about loved one’s back in Ireland?
There are days when I wish I was just in my house in Ireland and enjoying my Mum’s cooking, but as I said it is not practical or safe to go at the minute. I am not that worried for my family. Ireland seem to be doing a much better job than most places at keeping a handle on this. Listening to my parents describe the measures that in place there even to go to the store in my local village, its ten times better than here.
10. Do you think that living away has better equipped you to deal with social distancing in any way? For example, most people are now keeping in touch via virtual means like Zoom/Google Hangouts, were you already doing this with your loved one’s in Ireland?
It has definitely helped. I am very used to being in contact with a lot of people all over the world through facetime so that hasn’t changed. I am finding it weird to have to facetime people I would usually see every day though.
11. Did the coronavirus affect any upcoming trips home that you had planned?
I was supposed to be in Ireland for my brothers wedding in July, but he has postponed it. I am not sure when I will be home again, which is also a weird feeling as I usually always know when my next trip is.
12. What have you been doing to cope in this stressful time? Some people focus on being productive, others binge watch Netflix, what is your coping mechanism?
A mix of everything; cleaning, Netflix, facetiming, cooking and drinking Jameson!
13. Do you think there is any silver lining to what is currently happening in the world?
No. Even for those who are getting to spend time relaxing and spending some time with loved ones or whatever it may be, it will never be positive enough to be described as a silver lining to what is going on.
14. Do you have any plans to move back to Ireland at any point in the future?
I can’t answer that, it will just upset my mother.