One year ago, nearly to the day, I was packing my stuff for the second time of my life. And, for the second time of my life, I was about to leave my country, my family and my friends to move in a country I didn’t know: the Republic of Ireland. I already had an experience with the Irish culture after my first trip in the North (and that’s exactly the reason why I came back), it’s true, but leaving was still really difficult.
I’ve always hated goodbyes and this leaving was, thus, as difficult as the first one. But I knew I was about to leave an amazing experience which I’ll remember for the rest of my life. So I took a one way ticket to the unknown… Again.
Anyway, one year ago, I was leaving my French student quiet life to start a new expat working life and I would never have thought that I would have loved that so much! My first weeks have been a bit tough (I won’t lie to you), there have been highs and lows, very difficult moments when I would have given a lot to be with my family, but I’ve decided to only remember the best part of it.
Let’s go back on this year, full of emotions.
What did I learn after this year?
This new year as a worker in Ireland made me grown up, it has allowed me to realize what I really wanted: travel the world. But, first of all, it has allowed me to realize what I didn’t want or what I don’t want any more: stay in my comfort zone or content myself with a quiet life. In a year, I’ve learnt a work that I love, I’ve discovered a wonderful country and I’ve discovered how strong I was.
This year made me realize that everything was possible as long as you really want it. That distance is just a number and that your relatives are still with you. That the world doesn’t have any limit and is waiting to be discovered. That build your life abroad from scratch is totally possible. That wealth doesn’t depend on your wage but depends on what you discover every morning when you get up. And, above all, that travelling on your own is not as frightening as I thought.
Do I miss France?
Of course, sometimes. When it’s raining for days and days in July, during special dates such as birthdays, which we get used to wish on skype, or when you’ll do anything for a « tartiflette ».
But, generally speaking, I don’t regret anything. I’m not afraid to say it, the system is much easier here and I don’t even speak about taxes (which are much more favorable here). Life is different, people are more welcoming and they are always ready to help you. Let’s add the fact that Irish people love the French, which make my life much easier, I have to admit it.
How long will I stay here?
I don’t know, as long as Ireland wants me. I feel like I enjoy life more when I’m here, I like going on a weekend and get lost on the Irish roads. I know that, no matter where I’d be, I will always find something amazing to discover. Every morning, I feel like if I was living a real adventure, I know I’m about to discover something new. A simple walk to work turns into a walk to Paradise under a wonderful sunrise. Some other days, it’s more like a race against the rain but, I even enjoy that here, who knows why!
However, I won’t stay here for the rest of my life. I have so many things to do and see. Let’s say that I’m a temporary expat and that I’m ready to start travelling again.
Are there any difficulties when you’re an expat?
Well, there are a lot of advantages when you’re an expat, but it’s not easy every day. Some days, you realize that France is not as bad as I thought.
-When you have to pay 45€ to go to the doctor to see a doctor which barely examines you, and 100€ to go to the hospital! I don’t even talk about the dentist.
-When you have to do your shopping and that you realize that here, if you really want you cheese or your bottle of wine, you’ll have to pay three times the price. Or when you have to give up on some of your favorite products because it just doesn’t exist! I don’t even address the price of alcohol and cigarettes, which seem to be luxury products here!
-When you have to face the Irish administration, a bit too cool sometimes. Finally, France is not that awful.
-When it’s 8°C in your room in December because here, heating is expensive and we don’t know what insulation is.
-And when you have to fight against an umpteenth cliché about the French. Yes I’m French but I don’t only wear striped shirts, I don’t like camembert and I don’t drink wine.
But with the exception of these, leaving abroad is great! I advise you to live that kind of experience at least once in your life. This year is certainly one of the best of my life.
Because as Beau Chaplin used to say « Home is not where you are from, it is where you belong. Some of us travel the whole world to find it.”