After three months of living abroad I now wrestle daily with being happy to be home and at the same time also missing some of what I have left behind. It isn’t that one place is better than another, far from it. It’s more about how each place makes me feel.
At home everything is comfortable, familiar, predictable and safe. These are all good things and I value them for what they are; the culmination of years of hard work and the trappings of a very blessed life. Above all else, being home gives me access to my children and that is a gift I never can take for granted for it is a given that our off-spring are ours for only a short period of time and that they will eventually make their own way towards where they need to be, which is not necessarily going to be by our side.
Being away from home for an extended period, as opposed to going on a two week vacation, whether to Ireland or anywhere else, immediately offers a different dimension to life. You are thrown a little off-balance every day by new experiences, whether negative or positive, and you always have to check what your reaction to any given situation is. It’s a bit like constantly taking your own pulse and thus getting to know a part of yourself that doesn’t often come out in familiar territory; the excited you, the scared you, the euphoric you, the curious you...
It is through this process of questioning and finding answers that the shedding of old ideas and the embracing of new growth, comes from. This automatically means you feel more alive, living more on the edge, with all senses coming into focus a little sharper. I discovered, through this process, that I have a bit of a nomadic wanderer in me and that living in another culture and climate, far from all that I hold dear, actually suits my temperament and my restless nature. The experience made me more interesting to myself because I gained a new dimension.
I am back home now and happily so. Yet I am not quite ready to lose that part of me that I found in Dublin. I genuinely rejoice at once again having access to family and friends, and of course, those silly little things I missed, like a shower that doesn’t dribble, a clothes dryer that actually dries clothes, the warm colours of our walls, cotton bedsheets and the peaceful view beyond our window, just to name a few. But I confess that at the end of the day, lying in our comfortable bed waiting to fall asleep, a part of me pines for what was in the tiny, noisy flat above the friendly Lemon Jelly restaurant. It's where I discovered that there is more to me than I remembered.
As the saying goes....wherever you go, there you are.