Land of the Free, Home of the best fast food in the world. I LOVE living in Dublin, but oh how I miss the greasy French fries and overly-generous portions of American fast food. There’s really nothing quite like it.
And though Ireland does have a few US chains like McDonalds, Burger King, and KFC, they’re just not the same. The portion sizes are smaller, and they just taste different. (That’s probably because they’re lacking the artificial ingredients found in the States that are illegal in most other places because they aren’t meant for human consumption, BUT STILL.)
I’ve gotten used to, and mostly forgotten about, fast food places they have in the States that they don’t have here in Dublin. But then, every once in a while, I’m reminded. Someone utters the word “Popeyes” and I start foaming at the mouth. I wasn’t even a huge fast food eater back at home, but as soon as I hear magical words like “Taco Bell” uttered, I’m a goner. What’s that phrase again, “Distance Makes the Heart Go Fonder?” Well, that’s exactly what I’m suffering from.
Now, keep in mind that I’m from South Louisiana, and I realize that some of these chains aren’t everywhere in the US. But for me, these are THE best and the American chains Dublin needs, like, STAT.
I’ve gotten many emails over the past few years of people who come across my blog and want to know “How did you do it?” How, at 22 years of age, did I move from South Louisiana to Dublin, Ireland? Did you do it through a program? Did you have a job? How did you afford it? Was it scary?
Well, folks, I’ll tell you how I did it. I up and moved to Dublin, with no job or place to live, because of a little something known as the Working Holiday Authorisation – an amazing yet little-known program between Ireland and citizens of The US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Hong Kong, Chile, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.
The rules and requirements vary slightly from country to country. For the purpose of this post I’m focusing on the Working Holiday Authorisation offered to people from the United States.
With holiday shopping, busy work hours, and a crashing MacBook (I bought myself a shiny new laptop for Christmas, yay!), I really failed miserably posting at the end of 2016. Like, really failed. Like, I haven’t posted since late October. Whoops!
But I got to go home for the holidays and it was absolutely amazing! I didn’t get to go home last Christmas, and that was my first Christmas ever away from my family. Although I spent Christmas in London that year with friends and had a blast, in all the fun I was having I still couldn’t help thinking about how much I missed being home for the holidays.
Well, this year, I DID get to go home and it was everything I wanted and more! Even though it was a hot Christmas and New Year in Louisiana (no shock there), it was full of family time, dogs, catching up with friends, INCREDIBLE food, and an amazing trip to New Orleans!
Although I absolutely love living in Dublin, I felt myself getting sad that I had to go back after my visit home came to an end. Which is weird, because I used to dream of getting the hell out of Louisiana!
But being an expat, it’s SO easy to get homesick. Even though I’m having the absolute time of my life, I still find myself yearning for home sometimes. I really miss certain aspects from home – my family, my friends, my dog, my room, the simplicity, the amazing food – and it’s always hard to leave those things after a visit home.
Not all expats were lucky enough to go home for the holidays this year. I know there were many of you who didn’t get to be with your family on Christmas Day. And I know how hard that was. Being an expat is an amazing learning and growing experience, but it’s natural to be homesick, no matter how much fun you’re having.
As I’m fresh off the plane from Louisiana, I share many of the homesick feelings a lot of expats feel over the holidays – either from not being able to go home and missing it, or going home and realizing how much you missed it and having to leave.
I’m with you. We’re all in this together. But come on guys – we expats are amazing. I mean, we moved to another country for crying out loud! Of course it can get hard sometimes but we’re brave! We’re adventurous! That’s why we’re here!
At the beginning of last year, one of my good friends wrote me a letter and put it in an envelope that read “Open ONLY when you’re having a bad day.” It took me a while to get around to open that letter, because I wasn’t having any bad days. Life was good. I was in Dublin, living it up! But eventually, those homesick feelings that creep up periodically came back, and it was time to open the letter. It rang so true for me, and will ring true for anyone living far away from family.
I’m sorry you’re not having a good day. If you’re homesick, we love you. If it’s work problems, fuck ’em. If your studly boyfriend isn’t treating you right, go make out with his hot friend.
You’re amazing. Honestly, you’ve turned your life into something worth living – never forget who got you there. Y.O.U. You took a risk, and you’re rocking it. You’re a kick-ass friend, a bold, brilliant woman, & someone I’m proud to call my friend. Remember, we’re only ever a plane ride away.
There’s nothing you can’t handle or figure out – you’ve proven that. Only a few people have the balls to do what you’ve done, don’t forget that. Don’t let whatever is causing your bad day to break you. Be strong, because you are.
I love you, friend. Drink your worries away, get some takeaway, and get back to being the bright, lovely, charming betch you are meant to be. See you soon.
I figured those words could help anyone who’s feeling a little lonely right now. They certainly helped me.
If you ever feel lonely or homesick, just remember what you’re doing. You are living, breathing, walking, traveling, seeing, experiencing, touching, learning, and immersing yourself in an entirely different place than what you were surrounded by for most of your life. Do you know how ballsy that is? I mean come on. This expat life is a sometimes scary ride, but an exhilarating one.
My March could definitely be considered the month of concerts.
Between seeing ADELE, Grimes, and The 1975 in concert, there were a few pretttty big events in Ireland. A little something known as St. Patrick’s Day, and the 100th Anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising.
Although February is a shorter month than most, I managed to squeeze in a lot in these 28 29 days.
From saying goodbye to a friend moving to Canada, to birthdays and house parties, to roommate dinners and work nights out, to moving apartments, to exploring more of Dublin and its thrift stores.. OH, and of course, for quick but fantastic little getaway to Strasbourg, France and Frankfurt, Germany.
So yeah, one could say this month was pretty dang epic.
Ah, what I’ve been secretly dreading…2016 in Dublin.
Of course I had SO MUCH FUN ringing in the new year in Dublin, and there’s a lot of things I’m looking forward to in the next few months, but it being 2016 means I’m even closer to having to leave this wonderful life behind.
That’s right. My visa officially ends at the end of April of this year. So I’m currently trying to figure out a way to stay, and am even looking into some classes to be able to stay as a student.
But besides that semi-stressful endeavor, life here is (of course) wonderful, and January was yet another great month in the Emerald Isle.
One of my favorite things to do when traveling is taking pictures. People who travel with me know that not only am I going to have my huge Nikon DSLR around my neck, but will probably have my GoPro and iPhone in my bag as well.
This has been the biggest travel year of my whole life. Sure, I may not have been to as many different countries as some other years, but instead of just traveling around, spending a few days in each country, I’ve actually fulfilled my dream of moving to Europe. Well, Ireland (which is technically Europe but the Irish don’t consider it as such). I’ve been able to travel to some amazing places in Ireland, and used it as an easy base to travel other parts of Europe.
So, I decide to steal this idea from Lauren on Location, because it’s a great way to look back on this amazing year through one of my favorite keepsakes – pictures. I’m using her great idea to look back on 15 of my favorite pictures from the year.
Now, these won’t all be stunning landscape shots or epic GoPro pictures. But, they’re the ones that mean the most to me, and the ones that highlight the best parts of 2015 for me. So without further adieu, here are my 15 favorite photos of 2015.
How was everyone’s Halloween? Mine was fantastic…the perfect way to ring in not only the end of October, but the end of our 6th month living in Ireland, meaning we’re halfway there! (singing “Livin’ On a Prayer” as I typed that FYI).
When October started I was in Croatia, and when October ended I was in Galway celebrating Halloween, with a few concerts (Diplo and James Bay) and a trip to Cork for the Cork Jazz Festival in between. So I definitely got my travel in! But with this being the official halfway mark of our year-long visa, I can’t help but start to think about life after our Visa is up and begin to research what I can do to be able to stay longer (because I’ll do anything).