7 years in Ireland

2555 days in Ireland. 7 years. They are not a few so it’s time to reflect.

The 30th of January of 7 years ago I was on a flight to Dublin with some savings, 2 suitcases, and 3

booked on-site interviews. I think I had savings for maximum 4/5 months after which I would have returned home.

The memory of that day is still vivid in my mind, having to say hello to everybody, Katiuscia’s face, and the understanding that things ahead would have been pretty though.

Fortunately everything went fine and I got a good job in 2 weeks.

A lot of things happened in these 7 years: Katiuscia decided to take a big leap of faith and moved here 6 months after, it wasn’t an easy decision for her. We made new friends and we left others a bit behind. I married her, I nailed a wonderful job at Facebook 3 years after arriving here, and I now have a wonderful daughter.

There were a few challenges that I had to overcome and different ways of doing things that I needed to embrace/accept, some problems I had back then seem stupid now but some others are still with me today.

First of all the language barrier, moving to a place which doesn’t speak your natural tongue when you have little exposure to it is difficult. You cannot compare the experience to one of an english speaker who moves to Australia, US or wherever people talk english. Things are much more difficult for non natural english speakers.
Cultural differences are wider and the language barrier doesn’t help.
I only had technical english skills and I remember the frustration trying to have random conversations on non technical topics due to my lack of vocabulary. In addition to that I practically had no previous speaking experience. The first 4 to 6 months were full of headaches both at work and outside of the office. Breaking the ice was difficult but it is much better now.

I remember the first washing machine cycle, looking for an apartment, having to make phone calls and being very nervous about it (will you understand the thick accent on the other side? will they understand what you have to say?)

Then you have the problem of having to cook for yourself something remotely resembling what you are used to back home (I didn’t have free canteens at work back then :P). I never really seriously cooked for myself routinely before and I had to learn it all on my own here, eventually discovering my passion for good food and cooking.

Living away from your own family is hard. Leaving them behind feels like an egoist action but technology helped. Emigrating changes you, it changes the perception you have of the world, you learn to appreciate the good things your home country has to offer but the outsider position you have gained also allows you to start taking a more objective opinion about it.

Occasionally when you go back home you’ll have to face the opinions of who remained and tells you that emigrating is easy and act of coward and the real heroes are those who remain (!!).

You always go back to your home country with nostalgia about the good old days but you realize that the place as you remember has changed, people have gone somewhere else, and the relationship with others have faded. Nothing is like what it used to be before, neither worse or better, just different. You see your parents changing a bit every time you come back and you feel sorry that you can’t always be there when they need it.

Going back home sometimes feels like a cultural shock: you struggle for Italian words sometimes; you hit someone in the supermarket and say “sorry” automatically getting weird looks from who you just hit.

You think about what your life would be now if you didn’t take that leap of faith: would you be married? unemployed? happier? saddest? Did you do the right thing? Will you ever go back? And the more time passes the more you realize that you’ll probably never go back, that you are in a limbo. Feeling a little bit a stranger in both nations.

Then a kid arrives into your life, you feel the urge of making sure her future is safe and that you can give her the best possible options, you feel the need of making sure that she gets exposure to your own culture too and that she understands where you come from. But in the same time you want to make sure that she integrates well with the rest of the people here. A thousands thoughts will pass thru your mind like the worry that she will not want to talk Italian and therefore will be unable to talk to the rest of the people back in Italy.

I suppose this is what is called adulthood.

While I think about all these worries I still think that I would make my leap of faith 1000 times if I had the possibility to go back in time.

I’m excited and worried at the same time about what the future will bring, but I know one thing for sure, that I’m a lucky guy that can take care about himself and my ladies and that once you set roots somewhere and overcome all those fears you can do anything in your life as long as you commit to it.

Comments Posted in Comunicazioni, English posts, Irlanda, Nessuna categoria

Comments

  1. PJ says:

    I’m just starting my Dublin chapter.

    I was trying to confirm that Celtic Halls will not take cash and dissapear and it looks like you have lived in their apartment for some time. Right?
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/pallotron/albums/72157603835692801

    Who know mayby someday we will meet at work kitchen.

    1. pallotron says:

      I didn’t have any problem with them. but that was 9 years ago…

  2. Marco says:

    No more than a couple of days ago I stumbled on your name on a talk on how Facebook is changing its internal DHCP strategy with ISC Kea – it bugged me as I knew I got your name somewhere… then I said to myself ‘it’s the guy from “vita di un sysadmin”‘ 😀
    I’ve been delaying my “I need to go away from here” for too long; your post made me realize that I can’t say “one day” anymore. As a father of a newborn, I owe him at least this.

    1. pallotron says:

      eheheh 🙂

  3. I found your blog on Google by searching "Cucciddatu".
    I wanted to show my girlfriend how bread is made in Catania (she's from Naples).

    By the way, we are planning to study in Scotland: I want to study Computer Science while she wants to study Biology, but I need to take the IELTS and she's going to graduate this year.

    Cross your fingers for us 🙂

  4. pallotron says:

    @Federico Balice – Grande complimenti!

  5. Federico Balice says:

    Hi Angelo!
    I was just checking if new posts would luckily appear, and here we are! 😀

    A couple of years ago I moved to Ireland, after have been inspired mainly by your blog.
    And I’m currently working in Cork!

    I’d simply say…grazie! 🙂

    Thanks for the entire blog and for this latest beautiful post!
    Hope to read new posts soon! 😉

    Fede

  6. pallotron says:

    @zioPippo: passaporto di entrambi
    @Diego: grazie! dove vai di bello?

  7. Diego says:

    Grazie del post e del blog, anche io ti leggo praticamente da quando sei partito, ed ero all’hackmeeting a pisa 😉 sono in partenza pure io, senza biglietto di ritorno. Leggere di te è sempre stato di ispirazione 😉
    Continua a pubblicare per favore!

    Diego

  8. zio Pippo says:

    Bravo Iangelo……
    ma tua figlia e’ cittadina italiana o irlandese?

  9. Condivido il 100% di questa sensazione dolce-amara. Vorrei non aver dovuto scegliere ma… come hai scritto tu, e’ l’adulthood. In bocca al lupo e prova a scrivere piu’ spesso, ricordo di aver letto tutto il tuo blog prima di partire.

  10. TopGun says:

    Auguri :).

  11. pallotron says:

    @Matteo – if you have devops/production engineering type of skills feel free to send me your cv, we are always looking in Facebook 🙂

  12. Marco says:

    Keep writing.
    We’re still reading. 🙂
    An IT brotha from anotha motha.

  13. Matteo says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I follow this blog since 2007. I remember a post with a photo of a man holding a suitcase and your thoughts about leaving Italy, and now look: you work at Facebook and had a great family! 😎

    Interestingly, I’m working in the IT field and I’m thinking about leaving Italy to improve my english and try a work experience in Ireland, and that’s why I came here today. Luckily, I found such an inspirational post after so much time… isn’t it awesome?

    All the best,
    Matteo