I don’t know Naomi but she was kind enough to participate in this series. Hailing from Dublin and now living in Toronto gor the past 3 years, read on for her story.
1.Where do you currently live?
2. How long have you lived there?
I am 3 years living in Toronto.
3. Is this your first time living outside Ireland?
I did a J1 in the summer of 2012 in New York but this would be my first time living for a long time away from Ireland.
4. Why did you leave Ireland initially?
I just finished traveling around South East Asia by myself for 3 months and when I returned to Ireland I was super bored and I didn’t want to go back to the same things I knew and did. I was looking for more challenges/adventures and on top of that to meet new people.
5. What are some major differences you’ve noticed between your new homeplace and Ireland?
For me, the biggest difference is probably how young Canada is as a country. Toronto has an abundance of different cultures which is refreshing but compared to Ireland where there is so much history enriched in our society it really carries through to the people. Another difference is the Irish humor or craic which cant be really found anywhere else in the world.
6. What is the best thing about living in a new place, in your opinion?
Firstly meeting new people and potentially making really good friends. The second would be being independent. I think I relied on my family a lot more than I thought I did so it’s nice to know I can survive 1000 miles away from them and be ok.
7. How has coronavirus affected the city you currently live in? What measures have been brought in there?
In the past 2 weeks, there have been extreme measures put into place in Toronto. No large gatherings, lining up to get into stores and the majority of restaurants and bars are closed.
8. Did you leave Ireland alone, or with a partner/friend? And do you currently live alone or with others?
I left Ireland by myself. I now live with my very lovely Canadian boyfriend in an apartment downtown.
9. 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?
Other than the pandemic giving me more anxiety I have been fortunate to be in a job that allows me to work from home. However, my company is connected to the hospitality industry so there may be long term effects on my job. I’m trying to stay positive and see what happens. Being isolated all day every day is becoming harder to deal with but I’ve tried doing things I wouldn’t normally do like Yoga and reading a book to keep me amused.
10. Have you thought about going back to Ireland in light of what’s happening?
It hasn’t crossed my mind to return home because of COVID-19. I dont really want to be around my family who are older than me with some underlying illnesses. It makes sense for my situation to isolate in Toronto.
11. How do you find living away from home in times like these? Are you worried about loved one’s back in Ireland?
I always worry about my loved ones at home regardless of times like these but I think I have been more connected with friends and family more than usual during this situation. Just checking in and see how they are feeling health-wise and mentally.
12. 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?
Yeah, I would say so. I normally video call and share voice notes etc with friends and family. Now I’ve been adding zoom to the list which allows a big group of us to chat and even do some online games together.
13 Did the coronavirus affect any upcoming trips home that you had planned?
I didn’t have any flights booked for home but I was planning a short trip in July which doesn’t look like it might happen. I did, however, have flights booked to visit friends living in Vancouver for May which have been canceled.
14. 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?
Similar to my answer in a previous question. I have been trying out things I dont normally do such as Yoga and read books. I also try to do some HIIT exercises to get the heart rate up but my evenings and weekends have been filled with Netflix and Disney+. I also downloaded Tik Tok to see what all the fuss was about and have lost a couple of hours scrolling through that. Mindless entertainment to distract you from boredom.
15. Do you think there is any silver lining to what is currently happening in the world?
I do beleive the world needed a reset, especially with Climate Change. I also think not being able to be around loved ones might make people have a different perspective on what they take for granted and what they want out of life. I’m certainly feeling more grateful these days.
17. Do you have any plans to move back to Ireland at any point in the future?
This is the million-dollar question for me and. Weekly, I think about how my life would be like back in Ireland but for now, I have a nice life ( things might change drastically with COVID-19) but until then or if it ever happens ill be sticking around Toronto for a bit longer. Ireland will always be there when and if I do decide to return.
Disclaimer: All of the images in this post belong to Naomi McAdam