21.1.10

Not an Irish Nomad in Ireland

So we're not moving to Ireland. My husband turned down the job in the hope that something else nearer our expectations will come up over the next few months. This means that we have recently turned down opportunities to move to both Denmark and Ireland, effectively rejecting our homelands - for the time being. The Copenhagen opportunity was easy to turn away from as the job required my husband to move companies and to be in the US for one month at a time. As tempted as I was by living in a city as cosmopolitan and culturally-rich as Copenhagen, and the chance to exchange my bad Norwegian accent for an even worse Danish one, doing this while not being able to live together as a family, wasn't an option.
The reasons we're not packing all our worldly possessions and labeling them for shipment to 'Ireland' are many, both emotional and practical. I won't go into the practical here. Suffice to say, that we tried to picture ourselves living in a small town in the west coast, almost as far from our families as we are now, adjusting to a very different schooling system for a couple of years, feeling foreign where we should feel at home, and complaining constantly about the weather. We tried to view Ireland as a challenge in the same way we viewed the Philippines back in 2001. The trouble with Ireland is that we could picture it and it wasn't a pretty picture. When leaving the comfort of our lives in Norway, we'd ideally like to move somewhere very different that will be difficult to compare directly, that will be new and exciting, making the move defendable to the three children that will have to adjust to it too. Somewhere in South Asia or the Middle East perhaps. We know Ireland too well. We know that other than the people themselves, at the moment, schooling, healthcare, transport and yes, even the bloody weather, would be several steps down from what we have here. It was only fear of the absence of an alternative that would have prompted us to accept that at this juncture.
So I've realized that the expat part of me is as dominant as the Irish part. That I love my country but don't want to live in a remote part of it. That may change as I get older and our family matures - and maybe if I get a novel published too - but for the moment, I'm not yet ready to become 'The Irish Nomad in Ireland'. Not yet.
Let's hope we've made the right decision. My mother, father and close friends are at least certain we have.

15 comments:

Aidan said...

Jo,
I was fascinated that you had the choice of going back. I don't think that I would go back to Ireland now myself even if I was offered a briliant job in Cork or Dublin. I am too different now and I couldn't take the strain of readjusting to Irish life.
At the same time I feel quite guilty that my children are not Irish enough and don't speak Irish except for oĆ­che mhaith and a few other things I have taught them. The country is definitely a much better place now than it was when I left. One of the things that used to kill me was the fact that the language seemed to be dying a slow death. Now that it is growing again I feel a bad about not being part of that. At the same time I don't feel bad enough to give up my life in Holland because I am probably more Dutch than Irish now in many ways.

Simply-Mel said...

You welcome to come hang out here in Cape Town? I think you will find it *very different* indeed!

OSLO said...

Aidan, Glad I'm not alone in thinking that I'm not Irish enough to live in Ireland, if you know what I mean. It is a shame about your children missing out on Irish but from what I hear from friends in Dublin it's really, really hard to get kids into gaelscoils now as the demands is so high. Good for the language but not great for the kids who don't get places.
Mel - thanks for the offer. Tempting - if there was a job there for Mr Nomad ;)

Aidan said...

I have heard that too about the Gaelscoileanna. It is funny how a country that nominally has Irish as its first language does so little to provide state education in the national language. There isn't even an Irish medium teacher training college....

Irish Mammy said...

I was watching with interest on your decision, as a returned exile I think you made the right decision. Incidentally we may be moving, perhaps Scandinavia bound but it's not confirmed yet.........will be asking for tips!

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

They are hard decisions and big decisions. You guys are more adventurous than most. Plenty of writing fodder from that. Best of luck wherever you end up!
p.s. the west of Ireland can be v boring, it's true! I live in Galway.

beaverboosh said...

hey girl, happy to hear you both still have the expat bug! Bon chance!

RennyBA's Terella said...

Whatever you decide I wish you the best and good luck :-)

Btw: Missed you last night - hope over to see how much fun we had!

Happy Weekend.

OSLO said...

Thanks BB & Renny. Sorry I missed meeting you -again. The tummy ache turned out to be appendicitis so I made the right call. Will no doubt be posting on how wonderful the Norwegian health service is soon. It was going through both our minds yesterday how glad we were to be here with a child needing surgery and not anywhere else, however sunny and exciting. There are some occasions when excitement is the last thing you need!

OSLO said...

Oops Nuala & Treasa, didn't mean to leave you out!
Treasa - sounds like excitement ahead for your household. Look forward to hearing more :) As per previous comment - great healthcare in this part of the world!
Nuala -one of the advantages I could see in moving to the west was access to writer's groups and writers, as well as markets for more journalism work. Still. I momentarily fantasized about us becoming real friends as opposed to virtual ones ;) I think if we could have lived as a family in Galway, we would have been very tempted.

Maria... said...

Hello , My name its Maria, Im from Ibiza , Spain.
I hope to be in the meeting whit Renny and all the bloguer.
I like your blog.
I have 38 year too. I like Norway,was two years ago .
Hugs
Maria

OSLO said...

Thanks for dropping by Maria. Sorry I can't read Spanish to read your blog but the photos are lovely. I don't think I'll be still here in August but if I am, I look forward to meeting you.

This Heavenly Life said...

I (somehow, unexplicably) happened across your blog and spent way too much time reading when I should have been heading off to bed :) Both your sense of adventure and hopes for raising your family in different cultures seem fascinating to me! Hope you don't mind if I hang around awhile :)

OSLO said...

Heavenly Life - always thrilled to get a new reader :) Look forward to reading more of your comments. x Jo

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

And I would've loved to have you here!