Emigration: Is Home Away From Home Really Home?
HERE at the end of the summer, I have suddenly found myself in a position that I think many young Irish people – specifically in the demographic of teens to thirties – have found themselves in. What position is that, you ask? Well it’s the saddening and slightly worrying position where it is getting more and more difficult to call up a good pal and ask if they’d like meet up that evening for a coffee and catch-up after work, or send them a text wondering if they’d be available at the weekend for a perusal of the latest indie band in the latest trendy bar.
No longer is it so easy to make plans for a birthday party months ahead or even to rely on a friend’s company and comfort when things are at their worst. Not easy at all when suddenly these good pals, these friends that have been there from the beginning of time, are thousands of miles away, gone from our lives but for sun-kissed images on the computer screen and the occasional call where the connection seems to grow worse and worse with each try.
There are so many good things to say about travelling abroad that it would be ridiculous to try to go into them in this small article, beyond perhaps mentioning a couple of words like adventure, culture, growth, sun, freedom, change. But what I will mention here – perhaps to try to explain my own reasons for not joining the rest of my kind on the sandy lands across the seas – is one of the more negative aspects of moving yourself away from everything and everyone you’ve known all your life.
I’ve seen it with my own eyes, in family members and friends who’d travelled away years before in search of some of those words I’ve listed above. But they have in fact, maybe without them really realising it, ended up building lives where they went – relationships, careers, new families. They made it so they can’t really come home again but I think in some small way, they always want to. At least it is what I see on their faces when they come back for those rare, egg-timer visits at the holidays or when they share those hesitant goodbyes with their parents for who knows how long this time.
There’s a realisation there that suddenly home is the thing that has become foreign and the relationships that were developed at the beginning of time have been permanently reduced to pictures in a frame. There are the phone calls where the connection seems to grow worse and worse with each try.
So now, at the end of the summer of 2014, I find myself in a position that I think many young Irish people are in. The position where we have to choose if we should join all the others across the seas and see what adventure awaits us there or if we should stay where we are, with everything and everyone we’ve known all our lives and try to find excitement in that – happiness and a future. We have to decide if home away from home can really be home.
Photos c/o spiegel.de, abc.net.au