It’s been a year since I came to Ireland, and I can’t believe how much my life has changed. When I got here, it was right after my grandmother had died. She was the only family I ever knew, and she was a really good person. She always helped anyone who asked, and that included a lot of people who had just come from Ireland to Boston and were kind of lost. She worked hard all her life, and she raised me right. I wish I’d had more time with her, but at least I knew she loved me.
She wanted me to come to Ireland and say her goodbyes—she’d never come back, after her husband died and left her with a son to support. So I did it to please her, when she was gone. It was only after I got here that I found out she’d made all sorts of plans for me, and told people to look out for me.
In the beginning I planned to talk to a few people who had known her and then go back to Boston. That was before I found out that I owned a pub. Wow, was I not ready to run anything! Suddenly I had a business to manage, and employees, and taxes to pay, and I was clueless about all of it. But people helped me, and here I am, a year later. (And the pub hasn’t gone broke yet!)
|The village of Leap in West Cork|
I must have been a real pain in the butt when I showed up. I grew up in a kind of rough part of Boston, and I didn’t trust anybody, and definitely not people who offered me help. I couldn’t figure out their angle. It took me a while to learn that was how things worked in Ireland. People look out for each other, even if they aren’t related. Believe me, that takes getting used to.
But I think it’s made me a better person. Now I feel like I can reach out and help people too—kind of paying back, or maybe I mean paying forward. I have friends, and people I can ask when I need help. What I started out thinking was silly and old-fashioned I see now as a lot stronger and more important than what I left behind in Boston.
If you can’t tell, I’m staying right here. It’s home now.
Have you ever made a big move that you didn’t expect? How did that work out?
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