Saturday, March 25, 2017

Maura Donovan and her First Year

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By Maura Donovan, from Sheila Connolly's County Cork Mysteries
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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  1. Sheila, I think this might be my favorite series. As for the move, I lost my teaching job in Kentucky in 1980 due to decrease in students. I was devastated! My self-esteem took a nose dive. We moved to Michigan where we had a "camp" in the north woods, I subbed until I got a full time job, and taught up here for 30 years. Best thing that ever happened to me. (Self-esteem is just fine now!)

    1. Good for you! I'm taking the old saying a step farther: when life hands you lemons, open a lemonade stand, go corporate, and create a new and healthy product that will be sold nationally. Why not dream big? And never give up.

  2. This sounds like a wonderful series, I had better find this book.
    I was forced to start my life over at the age of 50. I moved to a city I had never seen, I had to learn to drive and get a license, find a job after not working for 25 years and generally build a life. I did get a license, I bought my first car with a credit card, I had lots of jobs, and then I started finding jobs I liked. Eventually, I got the best job in the world and enjoyed that until my health failed me.
    For me all this was a huge learning experience. I have learned that I am capable. I have learned that I could learn just about anything. And I have learned that just because your life is not what you planned and expected it to be, it is still your life and you darn well better start living it.

  3. Congratulations for toughing it out and learning to trust and believe in yourself. It takes a strong person. That's one reason I wanted to write about Maura--she's still learning how much she can do.