I’m finally home.
This is something I’ve been waiting for for ages, It felt so surreal because I feel as if I had been in between New York and Dublin all summer if that makes any sense; like I’ve spiritually and emotionally been in between both places. While I loved my time in the states, I am beyond thrilled to home. I am so happy to be back in my own bed and to be with my family, friends and furbabies. It felt strange stepping through the arrival gates in Terminal 2 of Dublin airport and seeing my family waiting there for me with ‘Welcome Home’ balloons and open arms. It felt good and heart warming that I was welcomed back. I was deliriously exhausted, emotional and gross from travelling but I did it, I survived and made it home in one piece. We said our goodbyes to Conor and his family and headed home. Dublin was cold and it was a refreshing change from the humidity of New York. It was overcast with grey skies but I didn’t mind because all I could see was home. It was the oddest feeling being in the car and driving through the city and noticing the changes and regularity of the city. I kept seeing old versions of myself and specific memories from my past everywhere we went. I felt like I was dreaming after we pull up in the drive way and Dotty ran up to meet us and pulling my bags inside to finally return home. I was so happy to be back and while our kitchen is being extended and there’s no heat or washing machine, it’s still home. I jumped in the shower and it felt glorious to be in my own shower and emerge ‘reborn’ as a new and clean person. I didn’t have energy to unpack my suitcases but I did manage to give my family their gifts and I changed into clean clothes and we headed out to see my sister’s new flat and it was just the most wonderful feeling, being with my family and having a glass of prosecco and just talking about everyday things and catching up. I was full of euphoric feelings (but it could have also be a mix of exhaustion and wine) when my mum was just talking about the food in the fridge she bought me and going to take me to the hairdresser. I missed her so much and I couldn’t have made it through the visa without her that’s for sure.
We went to Miller’s Pizza Kitchen on Baggot St and I was so excited because I had barely eaten throughout our journey and couldn’t wait for real food. I was instantly transported back in time to being 17 when I entered the restaurant, as I mentioned earlier; I had been having flash backs since our early car journey. We had a delicious meal with more wine and it was again, just wonderful to be with my family and talk and be together and that night, I happily settled into my bed with Kitty at my feet and hearing the silent suburbs all around me.
This is the longest time I’ve ever been away from home. I’ve travelled and spent summers away but never fully moved away from home and 13 months is a long time away from home and all my loved ones. Whenever I got homesick or down, I would call my mum or look at a picture on whatsapp of my furbabies and know that soon I would be reunited with everyone and happily settling in back at home.
New York is a great city but it’s also a crazy, daunting and overwhelming place that drained me in every way. I tried my best to make it a home and it did feel like home sometimes but nothing’s beats my family home. I left for New York last year with all my dreams and ambitions and a positive yet slightly anxious attitude that I would make it happen and everything would work out and a year later, I’ve returned home exhausted and still dealing with my anxiety but I survived a year in New York. It was difficult to move to a huge city as an immigrant (during a turbulent political climate) and working 2 jobs and trying to work on my career development and my art in my spare time.
I feel that during my year abroad I learnt so much about myself and what it means to be an adult and trying to live independently from home. I have learnt so much from my internship and how American theatre and Off Broadway theatre works and throughout the year, I have been trying to navigate my way in the American workplace. I have seen a lot of great theatre and met so many wonderful and friendly people; especially theatre patrons who would hear my accent and after asking me where I’m from, they would gush about how much they love Ireland and their family ties or their most recent trip there and it made me feel homesick and a strange sense of pride washed over me. These interactions happened often and every time, I felt the same way- longing for home. This year, I had also discovered about myself that I suffer from anxiety and hate being alone for long periods of time.
I have also realised this year that I have a lot of people in my life that care about me and that I care about them. I have reconnected with old friends and kept in touch with my American friends. I have been overwhelmed with the well wishes and kind words from friends (you know who you are) over the year and especially during the hard times. I felt instantly better after a phone call or reading a nice message. I have also been touched by the kindness and generosity of my american friends and their families for taking me in on my travels and giving me great hospitality. I am so appreciative of everything that people have done for me even if it’s believing me and wishing me luck. You have no idea what it means to me.
I kept asking myself during my year ‘Am I doing enough? and ‘Am I making progress?’ and it’s a hard question to ask yourself and during a year of trying to be an adult in the American workforce and to take care of myself. So I made an accomplishment list to help me remember everything I’ve achieved:
- Found a job/ internship
- Found an apartment
- Set up a bank account and a phone
- Nursed Conor back to health after food poisoning
- Learnt how to do my laundry and house keep like an “adult”
- Went to Canada and dealt with Immigration
- Dealt with visa stuff and arranging my internship
- Dealt with health insurance stuff
- Made rent on time every month
- Learnt how to get around New York
- Went to auditions/ self taped auditions
- Signed up for acting and improv classes/ completed the courses
- Started a blog (this one)
- Started writing poetry
- Went to an artist salon to debut some new writing
- Didn’t get fired or sent home
- Filed my American taxes
- Wrote a solo play
- Learnt how to network (and still learning)
- Kept a Journal with a timeline, diary entries, ideas and feelings
- Confronted my anxiety and went to counselling for it
- Dealt with water bugs in my kitchen
- Got 1,088 views on this blog
- Made it a year in America
This is my list and I know some things probably don’t look like much but it’s what I’ve achieved this year and I really got out of my comfort zone, many times I have been pushed out or I pushed myself out because it’s good to do that once in a while and while I’m not a completely different or changed person, but I have grown and matured and I tried my best. That’s probably my best achievement. I kept trying my best when all I wanted to do was quit. This was not an easy thing to do, actually most things were unnecessarily complicated during the year like trying to get a doctor’s appointment but I did it. I never thought I could survive the year as much as it was a dream of mine to live in New York and I’m so happy I did it. It was a new beginning, a new chapter of my life, a messy chapter of my life but an exciting chapter. There were many highs and lows but an overall great experience. I may have moved back home but I’m moving forwards.
I’m glad I push myself out of my comfort zone and please, if there’s something you really want to do, try your best to make it happen and everything will fall into place.
Before I leave you with this post. I want to share a mindfulness mantra with you all:
‘May I be safe,
May I be happy and healthy,
May I be free from suffering,
May I be at ease.’