Things began to move faster than I anticipated, and my only choice was to roll with the punches. Within a few short weeks, I found a part-time job, then took a new full-time job, traveled around Ireland’s coast, and built roots in my new home, Cork.
It wasn’t until I took a step back that I realized: all the little pieces and unanswered questions were coming together.
I thought back to where I was six months ago. I was living in paradise (Croatia), but stuck in a cycle of opportunity turned dead-end. Nevertheless, I persisted. I’m glad I held on, because the life I’ve created now was worth the fight.
Success is a combination of luck, hard work, and manifestation.
It’s now been about a month and a half since my Croatian boyfriend and I picked up and moved to Cork, Ireland. As I mentioned in my first Cork Chronicles, we were extremely lucky when we first came to Ireland. We were lucky to find an apartment within the first few days of arriving. We were lucky to pick one of the best cities in Europe for opportunities for foreigners.
Though we hit a lucky streak at first, it was determination and hard work that actually started to get things moving. With Ireland being relatively expensive, we needed to find jobs ASAP. Freelancing was no longer enough. We spent about one week applying to over 50 jobs, until we were completely brain-dead.
To clear our heads, we took ample time to explore Cork city. We made a visit to University College Cork, which has a lush, green campus. I was overwhelmed with a wave of nostalgia. I missed the community at Loyola University Chicago, and I just had a strong yearning to be back on campus again. Little did I know at the time, I might have actually manifested a future opportunity.
After not much luck on my own, I signed up with a recruitment agency. Then, Domeniko successfully landed a job in sales and customer service for a large company. We decided to take a little road trip up to Kerry county to visit friends and celebrate.
Though getting there with a rented car was dysfunctional, the view overlooking the Ring of Kerry was worth it. This was the coastal Ireland with emerald hills was what I was searching for. Something about being next to the sea always centers and calms me down.
We came back from our trip and Domeniko started his new job, and I got a call back myself. I started working part time as a social media and web content manager for a small company. After two weeks, we had to postpone the project for some internal reasons. I calmly told myself I’d find something else, no matter what.
By pure luck and manifestation, I got a call from the recruitment agency that same day, saying that a full-time position opened up at UCC with a 3-month contract. Just by reviewing by resume, they were interested in hiring me on the spot. I quickly said yes, and accepted my first full-time position abroad. I start tomorrow.
The path wasn’t straight and narrow, but things have worked out relatively swiftly for us in Cork. Success is a combination of luck, hard work, and manifestation. Sometimes you work hard for one month with no luck, and all the sudden you’re lucky enough for everything to happen at once. It’s often the little thoughts we manifest that we realize weren’t so little after all.
“The dream” still comes with mundane details.
Simultaneously, getting settled into a new country and life is a part-time job in itself. We have spent about a third of our time registering with all the government offices, trying to open a bank account, etc. I must admit, I suddenly feel thrown into the deep end of adulting. It’s like I passed level one, and somehow I’m now trying to pass level 5: navigating bureaucracy, taxes, and paying rent in a foreign country.
Aside from this and the rainy weather, I really do love Cork city. I joined a gym, which has significantly helped with my back problems. I’m involved in the American expat community here, even though I’m the youngest one. I even connected with other bloggers here in Cork, and will be helping out with the Cork French Film Festival this week with Cork Like.
Meanwhile, Domeniko has joined a basketball club and is making some friends of his own. It’s nice that we can do our own thing a lot more here in Cork, which was much harder for me in Dubrovnik.
We’ve been getting creative about being “adults”, like making up some avocado boat recipes and making grocery shopping a fun activity instead of a chore. But just a reminder to anyone thinking I’m living the dream… Well, the dream does still come with a lot of mundane details.
I think of myself as a combination of Europe and America, which is why Ireland is perfect for me.
I’ve actually adjusted much easier to life in Cork than in Dubrovnik. Studying abroad in Dubrovnik was entirely different than living in a village with a Croatian family, first of all. But perhaps this was the practice I needed to make this transition smoother.
I think of myself as a combination of Europe and America, which is why Ireland is perfect for me. Not only is it literally in between the U.S and Europe, the culture is a combination of the two. Like in states, the culture seems to be more career-driven with a professional focus, with ample opportunity and a growing economy. But like the rest of Europe, people still do prioritize enjoying the little things, and seem to go with the flow a lot more than in American culture.
Though I don’t think it has been as easy for Domeniko to adjust, understandably so. He is a true Dubrovnik beach boy at heart. Watching him go through the motions of a faster-paced city, with each day filled with rain instead of sunshine, is like seeing a fish out of water. It’s almost like the tables have turned, as it was harder for me in Croatia. Nonetheless, we are doing well and adjusting takes time.
Ireland is like England’s chill younger sibling.
“So, what’s Irish culture like?” you may ask. The only way I’ve found to describe Ireland thus fur is this: Ireland is like England’s chill younger. There are a lot of things Ireland has in common with England, like the proper roots, saying “cheers” instead of thanks, and having cynical and sarcastic humor. But Ireland seems to be more relaxed, with a lot of people having “it will get done when it gets done” type of attitude. (Here’s a full list of what surprised me about Ireland).
The people are generally extremely friendly. If I’m standing in a store or on a street corner and look lost, Irish people will always stop and ask me if I need help. Yet, it seems harder to get truly “in” with many locals in Cork. It seems like many people have known friends since childhood, and have a set friend group. It reminds me a lot of Minnesota in this respect.
But Cork is filled with international people. Walking down the street I’ll hear Spanish, French, Polish, and even Croatian. I even wrote a piece about the recent influx of Croatians moving to Ireland. You feel less like an outsider when surrounded by others.
Cork city is full of color, along with the rest of Cork County. We took a day trip to Cobh, which is one of my new favorite little towns. It was the last place the Titanic set sail before crossing the Atlantic!
The restless feeling of uncertainty has slowly disappeared, and I’m much more content. Though the long-term plan may still need work, I’m happy with where I’m at now. Mainly because I got here all on my own.
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