Sunday, June 27, 2010

you are so lucky

Most people are shocked when I tell them I am moving to Ireland. The comment I often hear immediately is, "Wow, I wish I could do that.You are so lucky." To which my reply is always the same...I am not 'lucky' and you can do anything you want.
 Andes Mountain Range-Santiago, Chile

Isn't that amazing? We have an entire life to live and we can do anything we want with it. Anything--I promise! Tomorrow you can skip work and take a nap at the park. You can leave your job and start an empanada restaurant in Berkeley. You can learn to play the banjo and become a bluegrass recording artist. Or you can go to work like you always do. I am not a superhuman with magical moving-abroad-type powers. Nobody bestowed this opportunity on me; I chose it. It's that simple.

That said, there is no clear-cut way to plan any kind of move, much less one overseas. If you start looking online for all-encompassing checklists, you will drive yourself crazy with paranoia and fear. Besides, you might not want to plan in the way that others have. It's kind of like when I got married. Was I the kind of person to begin by planning my wedding and preparing all the details so it would work out perfectly when I finally got engaged? No. I began by getting engaged and telling everybody about the upcoming wedding--and then figured out the details as they became important.
 Wedding Day-St. Paul, MN

I'll share my best tips on attending school, getting a job, living situations in Ireland, and more in upcoming posts. For now, the best way I knew how to relocate myself overseas was to announce my plans. I told my family, I told my friends, new acquaintances, and even strangers in the street. I didn't tell people at work right away (!)...but I became comfortable with the fact that I was going.

I was surprised how many people offered their own helpful hints. Friends in the U.S. told us to look into dual U.S./Irish citizenship. Hubby doesn't qualify because you need a grandparent of pure Irish citizenship, but we found that as U.S. citizens we don't need visas. My dad sends me articles about the economy (mostly unemployment statistics...eek!) in Ireland. Through a link I found out that Google, Yahoo, and Facebook have all established their international headquarters in Dublin within the last year so there is a job search opportunity. Friends in Ireland emailed us the Irish version of Craigslist for finding housing. Hubby finds apartments and small houses weekly in a neighborhood and location we like and we know we can afford. If YOU have any juicy tips--feel free to leave them as comments!

I guess I just started telling the world and the information started pouring in. The best part is I didn't have to spend hours looking for it.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

the 4 year plan

This is not the first time abroad for me. I've been blessed to spend time with my family in Chile on four separate occasions (tickets are more expensive than you can imagine). I spent my honeymoon riding trains across Germany and the Czech Republic. I spent four days in Paris with friends, two weeks in Rome with my mom, and 24 hours in London with my brother--mostly at the airport.
Plaza del Sol-Madrid, Spain

 With so many beautiful people and places, why then are my fondest travel memories from the semester I studied abroad in Madrid, Spain? Looking back, I know it's because "I lived there". For five months, I was an actual resident of Madrid. I had my apartment, my neighborhood, my metro line, and my favorite places to eat. I had spots to meet the girls for drinks (ok so anywhere) and I had my favorite clubs to go out at night (Big Bambu). I had enough time to figure out the Spanish culture, make Spanish friends, and learn about a completely different lifestyle--pretty much the whole point of travel.
Complutense University- Madrid, Spain

 When I returned to the U.S. I made myself a promise--that I would live in Europe again. Well, life happens so of course I met a boy, finished college, and moved to Minnesota to get married. When I left sunny California for Minnesota winters, I told my husband-to-be that I was on a four year plan: No matter what happened to us, in four years I planned on moving to Europe. Of course he agreed to go with me. 
Burg Eltz-Mozelle River Valley, Germany
As the years have crept by, we discussed little questions here and there...What would we do in Europe? Where would we work? Should we look at universities to further our educations? What country should we choose? After much deliberation and although neither of us has set foot there before, we settled on Ireland and being city-lovers we chose to live in Dublin. Our flight leaves on September 02, 2010--four years exactly from when I moved to Minnesota. This blog is the story of how the 4 year plan becomes a reality.