Four months have passed and it’s time to get my little French bags ready and close the door on this amazing but too short chapter of my life. I’m leaving Ireland and moving on to Malaysia. But Christmas is on its way and one of the last experiences I had here in Ireland was a trip to beautiful Connemara which helps me move on without being too sad.
It’s very hard to judge, know and talk about a country after only living here for four months but you don’t even know your own country, especially nowadays where people surprise you and the unexpected happens like Brexit and Trump !
I read somewhere, a few days ago, « you get this strange feeling when you are about to leave a place. Like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and this place. Because you’ll never be the same again. » Indeed, I’m scared. Scared that this experience was too short to keep me away from my old French habits. It will be hard not to be able to walk up and talk to a stranger in a bar like here in Ireland, to not get beautiful smiles all day long and be surrounded by Irish people and their positivity and relaxed attitude. It is going to be hard to return to France where I am more likely to be judged for who I am or what I do.
I came here a few months ago with sterotypical ideas about Ireland. Yes, every country has its sterotypes! And I have to say that except for the rain, everything was more than positive. When I first talked about going abroad with my partner, we talked about Canada. Because everyone we know who went there, either lives there today or loved it and misses it. We know that Canadians are known to be very friendly, very relaxed, not judgemental, very open minded. But because of visa restrictions, we dropped the idea. Then we had to pick from several other destinations in accordance with my partner’s university and studies. Ireland appeared to be similar to Canada in some of its characteristics. That is exactly why we came here and during these last four months, we were never disappointed and the positive cliches were true. Even the rain wasn’t that bad !
In Ireland, I learnt that everything has a solution and nothing is a big deal. I learned that it is better to find out more about people’s personalities and not just stop at their social class or work or salary. Everybody is worth knowing and every political/personal/social views are worth respecting as long as you discuss and be more understanding. I believe the Irish are less judgemental than the French. It sounds like a simple thing but here any time I leave work, my boss thanks me, which surprises me because I’m being paid.
The Irish and other nationalities that I have met here and the whole experience has had a profound impact on me. I value the world more than I ever did. I’ve admired amazing scenery and I’ve had the chance to walk by the sea every day. I am more aware of my future, my projects and my desires now.
But being abroad has also provided me with the opportunity to fall in love again with France. I can see how it is seen, not only from the Irish point of view but also from the other nationalities that I have met here. No country is perfect but I am proud of my country.
Travel is a privilege that our generation and the ones to come should make the most of. It is so necessary today to allow oneself to taste, know, be informed. But beyond that, it is incredible to be able to live an enriched life. Traveling brings you peace. This serenity that helps you understand others and respect them, whatever their choices are, whatever makes them happy. Our friends and families respect our choice and accept that we are not at home for important events but feel happy for us even though they miss us from even miles away.
This post is a huge thank you to my French family and friends but mostly, to you, the Irish people I met along the way. We fell in love with your country and your mentality. I could make a long list of what I am desperately going to miss like walking everyday with a smile on my face because so many people around me are cheerful, even on Monday mornings at 6am ! I am going to miss simple things such as « have a great day love » « no worries love », «where do you come from ? I’ll get you a beer ! » I am going to miss eating fast and less (who would have thought that ?!) and being able to go shopping and eat in the same shop. I am going to miss driving 5 miles and constantly ending up surrounded by stunning landscapes. And most of all, I am going to miss pints and Guinness ! You have no idea how much ! Because our Guinness in France is stronger, tastes more like coffee and not many people are big fans of it. Drinking pints is not common in France, especially as it’s quite expensive (yours are nearly half the price than in France !) The list could go on and on, probably even more when I’m back in France or when I arrive in Malaysia. But I also feel grateful and happy to have had the chance to experience all of this, and to get to know such an amazing country and its people.
Thank you for everything Ireland. I’ll come back more than once, that is for sure!