I have a busy couple of weeks. I’ve got my Australian citizenship test, I’m getting married, quitting my job and moving home. Of all these big events, moving home is the hardest.
I left Dublin in November 2009 at the age of 27 not ready for my optimism with life to be dampened by the bleakness that was engulfing the country at the time. I had no idea if I’d be working in bars on beaches or trying to further my career in journalism. I didn’t really care. It was an adventure, one that could end in months, or carry on for years. I knew what I was leaving but had no idea what lay in store.
Nearly seven years later I’m returning to what I used to know and leaving what I currently know. There’s no leap of faith like there was before but the decision to return is harder to make than the decision to leave was. Roots grew gradually over the years in sunny Sydney and I settled into a great lifestyle. My time was spent on the beaches of the eastern suburbs, learning what decent coffee tasted like or hanging out in bars and breweries. Paradoxically the deeper the roots grew the more I became nostalgic for home and the familiar faces I missed so much.
I used to think my friends who had no wish to travel or live abroad were narrow minded. Didn’t they know there’s a whole world out there to see and explore? Ironically I now envy them to a certain extent as they only know one way. They don’t have to weigh up the pros and cons that come with having lived in different countries. The angst of the emigrant I suppose.
Having passed my citizenship test this week I am now an impending Australian. All that stands between me and my new identity is the formality of the ceremony which I’ll have to return for at the end of the year. Although I’ll always consider myself Irish, it will be nice to have the second passport to represent my investment in Australia, and it’s in me. It’ll also come in handy should the shit hit the fan again with another European meltdown.
I’m excited about coming home to live. There’s lots I’ll miss about Australia and my first winter at home will be tough. January is a dismal month. As well as the weather I have the usual concerns of the returning emigrant. I hope I find a job I like. I hope Dublin has that charismatic friendly small town feel I remember, and not that claustrophobic over familiar small town feel that I remember too. Time to close the chapter on Australia, but that doesn’t mean I’ve heard the last of it.
Photo Credit: Darren MacKenna