We have been here for 20 months now and it’s just dawning on me that even though I am two flights and a minimum of 20 hours travel time from home that I have never been homesick in the time here.
It’s not that I don’t miss home. I miss my family and friends. I’ve missed weddings, christenings and huge life events to some of my nearest and on those days I’ve felt a knot in my gut wishing I could be there. Being here has made me aware of being Irish and the traits that make us the nation of people that we are. While we may be a country full of begrudgers and complainers, we are also people who get up and get on with things when we have to. We generally are pretty positive and even when things are wrong with us we laugh it off and say, “sure it’ll be grand! Isn’t life too short for complaining.”
We can problem solve, overcome obstacles, see solutions and are free thinking people. This is something that I definitely took for granted. Not every culture embraces these traits. Especially where so called island living is concerned or you are dealing with those who being honest have never had to do much for themselves.
We are embracing the culture here and will be having a traditional thanksgiving dinner this coming week with some Irish friends. I’ve been mulling why I haven’t been homesick and realistically it’s because we have Irish friends here and your friends on an expat journey become your family. I spend more time with those families that I would with my own if I was back in Ireland and I’m very close to my family! I have people that I can rely on, people that I can call on in an emergency and know that you’re not inconveniencing them if you need to drop your kid to them for an hour. People who get our sense of humour, enjoy a drink and the craic and make us feel like we could be in a pub in Dublin despite the tropical surroundings and reggae music playing in the background.
We have had lots of friends and family visit over the past year and a half and we have also been home three times. Puerto Rico’s landscaping is very green and most of our visitors are surprised as the similarities to the Emerald Isle (minus the rain of course). Of course there’s nothing quite like stepping onto Irish soil and having a cup of Barry’s when you walk in the door at home and a fry up waiting for you. There are things that just aren’t the same here. There are things about home that I miss a lot but probably the thing I miss the most is the temperament of the Irish people. Sure, it’s not all roses but being away has made me realise why Irish people are respected all over the world for their attitude.
But we are very happy here. This has been a good move. One that we will look upon in years to come as one of the best things we have done.
Turns out missing home doesn’t have to mean you’re homesick.