One Year Later: Returning to Ireland after the Year of a Lifetime!
Last year, on the 16th of July, I bid a teary farewell to my parents in Dublin airport and embarked on the biggest adventure of my life so far. With two suitcases (the size of small cars), I walked through security and onto a plane that would take me to my new life. Seven hours later, I found myself walking out of O’Hare Airport and into the summer heat of Illinois, unaware of the massive journey I was about to undertake. So here’s my story - an Irish girl in the United States!
The Summer was hot. I was lucky enough to find a lovely wee apartment in Kalamazoo that was the perfect size in a perfect location at the perfect price. Only one snag - no air conditioning… on the upper floor… of a dormer. It was essentially a sauna which was great for my skin but jeez, it was hot! Haha! My poor Irish body fueled by rain, cloud cover and hot tea couldn’t manage the burning sun. Thankfully, everywhere else in America is airconditioned and so it wasn’t too bad. Plus, that apartment was a blessing in Winter - warm, cozy and homely. Here's a picture of a wee corner of my kitchen which I made look all homely with my postcards from my travels.
As the weeks went on, my search for a job intensified but then fate intervened. On a hot Sunday in September, I found myself watching the All Ireland Gaelic Football final online. Mayo were playing (as they always are - MAYO FOR SAM! WOOO!) and my mother was at the match in Croke Park, Dublin. She messaged me to tell me that people were tweeting in from all over the world to say they were watching the match and those tweets were being put up on the big screen! So I took to Twitter. A while later I got a tweet back from someone called ‘BiddyMurphy1’ (feel free to follow us!) and I did some research. And here was this lovely Irish shop based in South Haven just one town over! What luck! Well I took my chances and wrote a fairly cheeky email - packed full of all the Irish banter and craic I had - ‘I upped shticks from Mayo’.. ‘I know I’m awful cheeky’.. ‘Mayo in the final, pure devastation’ etc. Low and behold a few days later they invited me over for a chat - turned out they had been looking for someone to manage social media and get the Irish accent across and I had already demonstrated just that! I was walking on air - I couldn’t have been happier - I was so thrilled to be joining the Biddy Team (and I’m still honoured to be a part of it)! The Biddy Team are pictured below.
Fast forward a few months. My time in BiddyMurphy was the highlight of every week. I couldn’t believe how much I was learning and how lovely everyone was. They completely took me under their wing and I was just so delighted to have a wee Irish family away from home. I spent my free time exploring the area and then in February, I flew down to New Orleans to spend Mardi Gras with one of my best friends! I even made it back in one piece! Haha! I loved the parades and beads (and hurricane drinks! Haha!). Me and my friends on Pink Day during Mardi Gras!
Time started to fly. One week bled into the next and the next etc. Soon, it was June and my parents arrived in America. We embarked upon a huge road trip across the states, heading south through Indianapolis, Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans before flying to Las Vegas, renting an RV and then taking in loads of National Parks and finishing in LA! I won’t go into too much detail here but you can read about that trip in the blog linked HERE! Needless to say, it was amazing, unbelievable and life changing - to put it mildly.
Time continued to fly and so, it wasn’t long until I found myself back in O’Hare kissing goodbye to all the people I love and who made this year in the states so wonderful. With a third suitcase in tow full of all the memories I made that year, I boarded my plane back to Dublin. That was last Saturday. I arrived back into Dublin airport on Sunday morning and headed straight to Croke Park for the match - the same match that I had watched and made my Biddy connection last year. I couldn’t help but reflect on how incredibly lucky I am - to have found myself in a perfect little apartment, I made amazing friends, I found a job surrounded by some of the greatest people I’ve known and surrounded by pieces of home, I saw a huge portion of the world and I arrived home safe and sound to a family that I missed and who missed me! I guess lucky doesn’t actually cover it! (Here is a picture of the Biddy Flag flying in Croke Park last week featuring my lovely Da!)
Thank you to everyone who made this year extra special. I’m still part of the Biddy Team, just the view has changed - I’m currently sitting in my office looking out at Mayo’s famously torrential rain and I’m so delighted to be back, staring out at it. Onto the next adventure… I better bring my umbrella!