Moving to Ireland: A Lesson

November 9, 2011

This week, I”m celebrating my third anniversary of moving to Dublin by sharing lots of stories with you! From how I ended up here, to what were the hardest adjustments and biggest surprises – check back here all week for the inside scoop!

Read about how I decided to move to Dublin here and visit my home here

I think I”ve written and re-written this post about seventeen times. It is tough to explain my first year in Dublin without writing a novel. But here goes, try to bear with me!

When I moved to Dublin, I was getting a new husband (remember, we lived across an ocean for the first two months of our marriage!), a new country, and a new career. Not to mention new friends and a new family. That is a whole lot of new.

I learned to drive when I was fifteen, and loved it so much I planned motorcades on a presidential campaign. So when I moved to Dublin and didn”t know how to drive our standard car, let alone navigate Dublin traffic and street signs on the wrong side of the road, it was a shock. It took me five months to get up the courage to learn to drive our car. Isn”t that crazy?!

For the first year, I didn”t have friends who were my own. Only what I called hand-me-down friends from Michael”s youth club growing up. They were so nice to me, but I felt they thought they had to be. So Michael had his buddies, and felt I only had him. That”s hard on any relationship, no matter how strong.

When I left America and my last political campaign, I had already decided I didn”t want to try out the Irish political system. While I know that was the right decision, it made finding a new job in Dublin even tougher. I had no idea what I wanted to be! But the recession took care of that problem by making any job really tough to find.

As a girl whose whole identity was wrapped up in her career, not having work left me  feeling very lost. I remember a lot of tearful conversations with my mom (and dad!), crying that I wanted to come home, but knowing I didn”t really want kasyno poland that at all. Michael probably took the brunt of my frustration, loneliness and lost-ness. I used to say to him, why do we have to be in your country? To his credit (and he deserves a ton), he always used to say he”d take me back to mine.

At the beginning I let Dublin, the move, the struggle beat me.

One day, sometime during the summer of 2009, I had a bit of an epiphany. I remember thinking what if, twenty years from now, I”m telling my kids about when their parents got married and moved to Ireland and all I have to tell them was that their mom was unhappy? How horribly lame that would be!

And right then, it clicked that this whole moving-to-Dublin thing was really my adventure, totally up to me to make or break. I realized that so many people would give anything to have this adventure, and I was wasting it worrying.

My journey from lost to home in Dublin wasn”t that simple or instant, of course, but that was the turning point. Now I know my head had to be in the game before the rest would fall into place.

I”ve learned about a million lessons since moving to Dublin, but this might be my best one. I”ve learned my life isn”t happening to me; I have the power to turn it any way I like. And it”s a heck of a lot more fun if it”s turned toward fun discoveries, learning every in and out of this wacky city, and enjoying the sweet people we get to see every day.


  • Reply Sharon November 9, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    I’ve been here four years, have always driven standard cars, and still don’t drive in Ireland!

    • Reply emily November 10, 2011 at 1:31 pm

      Really?! My sister in law is closing in on a year here with no driving. I can’t imagine it!

  • Reply Christiana May 5, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    I love this post, and I’m bookmarking it for when we move back to England <3 Thanks!

    • Reply emily May 9, 2012 at 9:36 am

      Thanks, Christiana! I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  • Reply lauren June 11, 2013 at 3:27 am

    Hi Emily!
    I just discovered your blog today and this post rang has hit home for me, but in a near-opposite sense. After living in Dublin for five years, I moved back stateside this February and have experienced growing pains and homesickness for Eire as of late. I am inspired now to turn my life in the direction I want it so thank you! Such a cheery site and I look forward to reading more (and being reminded of the loveliness of Dublin!)

  • Reply Caitlin July 23, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    Hi Emily! Just came across this post and it struck a chord! I’m from the states as well with an Irish husband and we came to Dublin to start our family (can’t beat 1 year maternity leave!) but I realized we had been so hyper focused on work and having babies and now the first year with our son, that we haven’t really been living and seeing all Ireland has to offer. I’m glad I’m not the only one that has felt totally sideswiped by the expat blues!

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