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.