Saturday, September 24th 2016, 7:47 in the morning. I wake up before my alarm goes off and it’s so dark outside. I think to myself, why did I move to Ireland? It’s going to rain all day, I can see it coming, but then again that’s not a surprise anymore. I’ve been living in Ireland for a month or so, I’ve seen how rain just loves to fall in this little island.
This is the second time in my life that I start from scratch. That’s a lot for a twenty-one-year-old.
I knew I wanted to leave all behind and discover what parts of me decided to come along with me. After all, that’s what I do. I pull life up by the roots and plant it somewhere else, just to see what grows out of it.
My Irish adventure started about a year ago. I was living in a lovely apartment that I shared with one of my lifelong friends in Lyon, France. I had just started classes and I was starting to feel trapped into a life I had grown way too comfortable in. It wasn’t bad. It was actually great. But it was too easy and too easy means you stagnate and I couldn’t stand feeling stagnated at age twenty.
So without really thinking about it I filled out the application, wrote the letters, and hoped for the best.
Sometimes I feel like Ireland chose me, I didn’t really have a say in this whole thing. Let me explain. Back in France, I was studying a double degree in Business and Languages. Studying a double degree means 360 ECTS in 3 years. Yes, that’s a lot. This is my last year, finally. Ireland was the only country in which I could do both degrees at the same time. Otherwise, I would have had to choose one degree to do abroad and then return to France to finish the other, which was never really an option for me. Having my options narrowed down to one, I started doing some research about Ireland and Dublin and just fell in love with the idea of moving here. I tried to keep myself from getting too excited just in case I didn’t get accepted. But of course I never follow my own advice and I the possibility of moving here and starting from scratch filled me up with excitement. The people, the city, the concept of not knowing anyone and nobody knowing me.
The first time I moved away from home I had just turned 18. At the time, I was living in my home country, Guatemala City with my parents, my brother and my dog. I had just graduated high school and I was ready for a change of environment, a small country can easily make you feel a bit “claustrophobic”.
For those of you who don’t know, Guatemala is a small country in Central America, under Mexico and above El Salvador. So, I tried to squeeze as much as I possibly could of the life I had into my backpack and I never looked back. I was young and naïve, overconfident, but totally ready to start a new life in another continent. I moved to Lyon with the friend I mentioned earlier, and it didn’t take us long to own the city. We were clueless, but we didn’t care, because we forgot what it meant to be afraid to ask questions. And thus started the best and more difficult years of my life (so far).
Now I’m in my room in Ireland and I don’t feel clueless anymore. I’m comfortable with silence, I’m relearning how to be alone. This time is different because I’m in a long-distance everything. Long-distance boyfriend, long-distance family, long-distance best friends, long-distance dog, long-distance dreams. After all, the first time I moved I was welcomed into a group of people I had known from school that had moved to France before me. They became my family.
So why Ireland? Because it was about time. Because it’s okay to start again somewhere else. Because it gets my heart pumping with new ideas, with more projects. Because I get to juggle English and French and Spanish every day. Because of all the photos I’m going to take and all the stories I’m going to tell. Because it’s a beautiful country, big enough to have the attention of the world but small enough to remain mysterious and make you want to discover all its treasures. Because people are lovely. Because who cares about the rain?
It’s only the beginning and I’m nostalgic almost every day. I already went through the excitement of moving abroad once. Newly found freedom and partying every day. I already know most of those things you’re supposed to learn when you go abroad.
Now I feel a little bit lost because everything feels temporary. I live in a place where the furniture doesn’t feel mine, yet the walls are decorated with photos I’ve taken and pictures I’ve drawn. I’ve decided to try my best and make myself at home for the next 10 months, if it’s okay with you, Ireland. Once this year is over, I don’t know what home I’m going back to. I just know that for now, home is here, Ireland.