I’m just back from a 4 day visit to the UK to see friends and family. Had a great time. Managed to catch up with some people I’ve not seen in ages, meet friend’s new babies, play the exotic visitor with the elder kids and have some good old clean grown up fun with the adults.
I’ve lived in Ireland for just over 6 years, wasn’t supposed to pan out like that. In Sept 2006 I broke up with my boyfriend. We’d been together for 4 years and I was a bit adrift. Although it was a mutual decision to split and very amicable, you know the way. I was 24, still young, wasn’t prepared to move back home and was very grateful to a then work colleague, Andy, for providing me with a cheap place to stay for 3 months while I decided where I’d go next. I’d heard talk in work of a project implementing in Ireland, and previously this hadn’t been an option for me. But, things had changed. My current project was coming to an end so I figured that I’d put myself forward. It was a 6 month stint based in Dublin, which seemed perfect. It would give me a chance to expand a bit in work; working with new people in a new location, on a very high profile project, but aside from all this, it was a clean break. 6 months would give me the time I needed to clear my head and decide my next step.
So on 11th Dec 2006 I set off for Dublin with my new team. I knew one girl, Emma, from my previous project and we got on great, the others seemed grand enough. I look back and laugh. I didn’t have a clue what was about to take place. We rocked up, as the 4 new dudes, into a group of about 60 people already over there from the UK, all with well established relationships/nuances etc. Not a massive problem, we were all from similar stock and just got on with things. What was more difficult was trying to get our phase of the project up and running during the implementation of the previous project. But, I’m not going to get into that.
So commenced 6 months of, well, carnage, if I’m honest. The best way to describe it was that it was like being at college, but with money. We were all living in the same apartment complex, and it was like college halls with regards to the atmosphere. We were all working tremendously hard, but boy, we played hard too. Quite a few of the guys went home on a weekend, so our playtime as a working group was mid week...something that was alien to me! Yeah I was 24, but I’d been in a relationship with a pseudo step son for the last 4 years, I wasn’t accustomed to cocktails mid week and staying up until the wee hours with work the next morning. But that soon changed. I formed some great friendships in this time, to the point that when I was asked if I’d like to stick around for another 3 months to offer BAU support I accepted. This 3 month piece then led to a further 6 month piece before I was finally faced with the reality of returning to the UK. It wasn’t until that point that I realised just how much I loved being in Ireland. Sounds mad given that I’d been there for 15 months, but I’d just been going with the flow. Enjoying the work, having fun, making friends and building on those new friendships. Yes, I was going home a fair bit to see sisters, parents etc but I was spending the majority of my time in Dublin.
I needed to make a decision: return to my role in Halifax, find somewhere to live and pick up where I’d pressed ‘pause’ 15 months earlier, or, leave the company, stay in Dublin, find a new job, find somewhere to live, someone to live with and continue the new life I’d already pretty much started.
I had a window of about 6 weeks within which to make this decision. I spoke to my sisters, my friends (both in the UK and Ireland) and I was still torn with what I was going to do. Sure, moving back to the UK would be easy, I had a great friend base, I could live in Halifax, and it’d all be hunky dory. But, I wasn’t sure this was what I wanted. What I also wasn’t sure of was whether I was looking at Dublin through rose tinted glasses. Would I find a job elsewhere, would I find somewhere to live, would I find someone to live with? There seemed to be too many unknowns and I was wavering.
Until, one night, after work, I went for a few drinks with a friend. I jumped in a taxi home about 9pm, wasn’t drunk, was still very lucid. As we were heading up Baggot St, I was looking out of the window of the car when I had a bit of an epiphany. I sat there and I thought “If I have to leave this city in 4 weeks I’ll be devastated. I don’t want to go. I want to stay. If I don’t try this I’ll never know”. That was it for me, decision made. I handed in my resignation, Claire and I decided we’d move in together, we found somewhere to live, I left the company….and then fecked off to Egypt on holiday for 2 weeks with Jo. Looking back I was somewhat foolish and should really have looked for a job before I left for my holier. But I didn’t, and it still worked out ok. Within a week of being back from holiday I’d secured a job and the rest is history really.
That was back in April 2008 and a number of times I was asked whether it was a permanent move. I always said I’d give it 5 years, then reassess where I was and what I wanted to do. That time is now. Where am I? Well, I’m still living in the same apartment with Claire and that all works wonderfully. I am incredibly lucky that she and I get on so well; we have a similar circle of friends, we spend a lot of time together and it works. I’m sure I do stuff that pisses her off, but I don’t believe it’s anything major. I’m confident she’d have told me…Claire, now is your chance!!
I’m in a job I enjoy. I contracted for a while after leaving the bank and have been in a permie position since Sept 2011. Yeah, sure, I have moments of pure frustration with the company and the job, but in the grand scheme of things I enjoy it and feel supported, required etc.
I have a truly fabulous set of friends here. They’re my girls and they’re just epic. I love them all and they keep me sane (or totally indulge my craziness!).
So in short, I’m happy and am sticking around on the Emerald Isle.
Of course, I miss my family and friends that aren’t here. It was thinking about the fact that it’d been over 12 months since I’d seen three of the people I saw at home over the weekend that got the creative juices flowing re this post actually. 2 of these people have had significant events happen in their lives since I last saw them, all of which I’ve been aware of as they happened. These were mainly good events, but one particularly horrible one; and it was important to me that I made time for them this weekend. The nice ones are great to have a reminisce about, but the horrible one, well, I was just glad the outcome is a (so far) positive one, that they remain a part of my life and that I was able to see them and properly reconnect. Yes, I’m being deliberately evasive. You know who you are.
It’s times like these that I really appreciate the friends I have. Yes I have a close circle of friends here in Dublin. But, I also have a good number of friends elsewhere in the world who I don’t see very often. We make time for each other when we can but whether the gap between seeing each other is 3 months or 15 months, it doesn’t matter. We keep in contact, we fully appreciate the demands within each of our lives that might prevent us from reconnecting as often as we’d like and of course we appreciate the geography. The distance or the time lag doesn’t matter; we remain friends and we remain supportive of one another. So I might not divulge every single detail of my life to every different friend, neither do they with me. That’s half the fun of a catch up. You know the key bits, the real important bits, the rest is wine or tea fodder!
I see posts on Facebook all the time about ‘true friends’ etc. Some are overly sentimental and piss me off, but in the main, they ring true. But, it’s rare that I share them. Maybe I should more, but I’d like to think that those close to me know their importance to me and don’t need reminding all the time. They know they can call on me whenever they need to and I’ll be there, day or night, for whatever reason.
Someone said to me this weekend “I have friends who need effort to maintain, and those who don’t”. I think that’s true of most people, but being genuinely honest, I don’t think I have any ‘high maintenance’ friends. Sure, I have friends who are high maintenance women, but in friends terms they aren’t. I don’t think I’m a high maintenance friend, and I’m certainly not a high maintenance woman!
I think it’s important to surround ourselves with people we care about and appreciate, and who care about and appreciate us in the same way. As we get older we realise the really important things, and I certainly know my top things at 31 are massively different to what they were when I was 21.
I don't mean any of this to sound flippant in any way, or cast aspersions on others friends choices. As always with these posts, I talk from a personal point of view. I just know that I've had high maintenance friends and we've never lasted. I look at my friends now and I can't imagine never being friends with any of them. That's not to say I won't gain new friends, I'd like to think I will. But I also hope I never lose this lot.
On that note, it's Paula's hen do this weekend. That's a different type of carnage...stay tuned!
Until next time.