I have been living and traveling abroad for four years now, but I still consider the US my home. Now as I settle down abroad, I am beginning to realize the difference between “living abroad” and “traveling abroad”. When traveling, I was able to spend the summer between adventures in my hometown, spending much needed time with family and friends. Now that I am “living abroad” I work full time, have rent and bills to pay and I do not have the luxury of summer holidays. It’s much tougher than I had thought when I was comparing it to the years traveling abroad. I am also happily married which means I can’t just think about me when making decisions!
On the one hand, it is nice to be in one place and in one job, but it also feels a bit constricting. I need my dose of family friends during sticky days. I want to fall asleep to the song of the cicada. (In short, I’d like some seasons!) Being close to my husbands family is fantastic and I love them to bits, and while I am thankful for how much they are also my family, at the same time I am jealous of their shared history. It is great fun to be just down the road, but again, it makes me want that with my own mother, brother and cousins. (Commune anyone?) It emphasizes what I am missing and I have yet to find a way to combat that feeling or turn it around and make me feel completely happy for what I do have. (That is a bit of an attitude thing that I need to sort out myself). It isn’t a consciously constant feeling, but little things can cause it to bubble to the surface which makes me think it is always in the back of my mind.
When we decided to live in Ireland, it was with the intent that my husband would get training or another degree in something. Then he would feel more employable in the US and we would move back to the US. The course he had been interested in didn’t work out so he got a job working for the Public Service sector, which could be a life long job if he wanted. I have a job that is ok, not great to work nearly every Saturday and not great to still be in retail, but it isn’t a bad job by any means. My coworkers are nice and fun and we get on well and the job is fairly flexible with time off. It works, for the moment. We also decided to come to Ireland, because it was easier for me to get a visa here than for him to get a visa in the US. We didn’t want to be sorting that all out while setting up a life.
As much as I yearn to be in the US and desire to move there, I do find it daunting. My husband doesn’t feel like he could get a job in the US and would want to do something to make himself more employable (which was the original plan for coming to Ireland). Fair enough. Job hunting isn’t fun or easy. I also wouldn’t mind having a job set up or at least a career or job path in mind. (NOT RETAIL!)
Moving to the US would be starting all over again, which isn’t an easy thought at all, but I don’t want to rule it out. What then gets me is the thought of my husband not having the vacation time to visit his family when he wants to. He would be in my position, but probably with even less flexibility. There is no denying that the Irish have a better vacation day system. On top of fewer days off, the work week and overtime are sometimes more of a requirement in the US to succeed. Everything is intimidating.
So the thought of never being back in the US puts me in a panic and then the thought of actually doing it scares me. It is what it is and I try to take each day as it is and enjoy where I am while I am here! Because there is no way to deny how nice it is to live in Ireland and have the time making memories with my new family (and be just a hop away from my brother in Prague and his family!).
I think it’d be nice if the continents shifted again and it was all Pangea. Ireland and the US might only be marginally closer, but they would be in nearly the same time zone and it would be the same continent! So come on plate tectonics!