Dublin – Why are you here? Everyone else is over there!

After taking a break with our blogs whilst we made final preparations for our big news, we are BACK! And kicking off with a fantastic blog from Jo Leggiero  who has very kindly shared her story with us about how she found herself calling Ireland home.

When you have a free minute or 10 be sure to check out Jo’s blog: https://lovetomtom.com/

Jo is an amazing writer and has been nominated for several big blog awards this year! Thanks so much Jo x

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As an Australian in Ireland I get asked this question a lot. Why are you here when everyone else is over there? It’s true, there are thousands of Irish who have flocked to the four corners of Australia in the last few years, but I’m more than happy to call Dublin home. How did I get here? Well a plane of course but like most adventures it wasn’t as simple as that. No, it didn’t start out as a love story (that came later) or as a place to further my career although as it turns out that’s exactly what happened. It didn’t even start as a place to trace my ancestral roots. I think I must be the only person in Ireland without a family connection. Despite there being no ancestral ties, my sister and her husband were living in Dublin when I moved to London some ten years ago and so before I called it home, Dublin was my most visited city.

 

As a visitor, I thought Ireland was a place full of character and quirks, accents that I didn’t always understand and places I had never seen. My sister and brother-in-law really gave me a head start (and a blow up mattress I slept on for far too long) when I landed on their door step with an expired UK visa, no plan and no desire to end my adventure just yet. Then and there I took the plunge and started yet another visa application. That was December 2007 and if that was my introduction to the country’s efficiency, I was going to be in a world of pain! That left me having another Christmas away from Melbourne and like everyone in Ireland, I began commenting daily on the weather. Maybe Ireland was for me!

 

With my working holiday visa granted, I dove head first into life in Dublin. Eventually my sister and brother in-law decided to return to Melbourne so the life I was trying to build got a little harder. Me, alone again calling somewhere else home. It wasn’t so bad however. I found an apartment, got a job, started making friends and I became a regular shopper at Penneys. I did everything your supposed to do but I didn’t know how long I was going to stay. How long should I invest in this place, the people, the conversations? Do you really want to know why I moved here or is this just another chance to talk about Home and Away? I was delighted with the decision to move here but I was tired. No, exhausted! No one tells you travelling is hard work, well no one told me anyway! Even though I was exhausted, for some reason I found it easy to invest in Dublin. Maybe it was the fact this was my second move and I was somewhat wiser or maybe it was Dublin itself. I think it was a bit of both.

 

What has kept me here for eight years now? No it’s not Penneys. It’s the constant random conversations with Dubliners, the caring but bewildered look of ‘you’re so far from home, don’t you miss the weather?’, the friendships that start with that exact look and are now just as important as the friendships I felt I’ve had my entire life, the friendly bus drivers, the city’s ever developing love for coffee and thank goodness for that! The incredible, breath-taking landscape, that’s only ever less than an hour away, my local community, the fact that I can be in the middle of it all one minute and the next in the solitude of the sea front, both of which are on my door step. That’s what keeps me here.

 

Is it hard living away from Melbourne and my family? Are there days that life in Dublin doesn’t seem that great? Yes yes and yes! Dublin is my home, so I’m allowed to say that where there is good, there is bad and some of the bad things are enough at times to tip me over the edge. Like the friendly bus driver’s lesser spotted cousin, the grumpy bus driver, the never-ending discussions about the rain, the poor health system, an even worse immigration system (one that forced me to leave but I clearly found a way back!) and did I mention the dreary, dark, life-sucking winters? And don’t even get me started on the immersion!

 

Why do I call Ireland home? Because it all works. The good, the bad, the ugly and even the very ugly. Dublin is a great place to call home and a great place to live with my husband. Along the way, when I least expected it I met an Irish man who is now my husband and thankfully we feel the exact same way about home. Home is where you make it and for now, Dublin is our home, my home and it will stay that way for as long as it works.

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Jo @lovetomtom

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