5 Things I Learned From Living in Ireland

When I first arrived in Cork with my Croatian boyfriend, we hadn’t a clue how we were going to make it. We were staying in a run-down bed and breakfast outside of the city. We didn’t have jobs or an apartment. I began to question why I fought so hard to get a working-visa to come to Ireland in the first place.

Despite this, we decided to spend our first night in Cork at the legendary Oliver Plunkett Bar. I stepped into the Irish pub like seemingly any other American tourist listening to the live cover band. But as I began to lose myself in the energy of the live music and friendly locals, I felt like everything was going to be okay. I started to think there was a place for me in Cork.

Short of a year later, I found myself in the same pub on my last night out in Cork. This time, I wasn’t with my boyfriend. I was with two of my closest friends, among several that I had made over the past months. I taught myself how to navigate Irish bureaucracy and adulthood, first with my partner, and then on my own. I successfully helped run a study abroad summer program on top of mastering the art of working in a fast paced international education office. Most of all, I was leaving with countless of memories and adventures across the Emerald Isle.

I closed my tear-filled eyes, and in that moment, I felt that I really did create something for myself here. I created a home.

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Cork City Chronicles: The Emerald Summer

If there’s one thing that Ireland taught me, it’s that you can’t trust the weather forecast. You can mope about how there’s a 100 percent chance of rain all week, only to be surprised by nothing but sun and blue skies.

And that’s exactly how my solo experience and Ireland has played out. I braced myself for a summer of solitude, solely focused on work and avoiding the dreary weather. But instead, I’ve turned my time here into a new era of friendship, adventure, and opportunity under the Emerald Isle’s summer sun.

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Cork City Chronicles: the Pieces Falling in Place

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. Read more

Cork City Chronicles: the Luck of the Irish

It didn’t hit me that I was actually moving to a new country (again) until the plane was about to leave. Once I finally made it on the plane, buckled my seat belt, and heard the engine starting to fire up, I realized there was no turning back. I sent out my last “Taking off now, love you!” texts and accepted my unpredictable journey ahead.

I was overwhelmed with a feeling of déjà vu. Leaving it all behind becomes an easier pill to swallow after every time I leave. But my roots weren’t just in Minnesota anymore. I built roots in Chicago, then Croatia. I am now branching my roots in Cork Ireland, with the luck of the Irish on my side. Read more