Europe, Farewell

I have often been asked why we are ending our European adventure and returning to San Diego. It’s a fair question, and one I have not articulated very well up to this point, in part because it’s complicated and not very clear cut.

We love Europe; the density and depth of cultural and historical experiences; the gradations of people and societies as you cross borders; the breadth of the landscape’s natural beauty. It’s not perfect of course; yet even so, and even after acknowledging the reflexive proclivity most Americans have to romanticise it, Europe is an incredible place to experience.

So a definite nod to the continent, its blemishes and Brexit and coin-operated shopping carts included. That said, long term residency in a foreign country takes a sustained mental transition, which is probably no surprise. Day to day living is different, the innumerable menial tasks one has to accomplish every day take longer, and outside of the Ireland and the UK, not fluently speaking the native language will begin to eventually sour the experience. And some measure homesickness sets in for many.

Layered on top of that, my job had run its course, in terms of the experience I gained and the skills and qualifications I wanted to pursue. I consider myself unbelievably fortunate for having the opportunity to fly for this particular company, and with this particular client. Yet to remain would have diminished that good fortune in my mind, for another set of complicated reasons, and so I felt an obligation to myself and to my employer to move on.

It was painful for me, personally, to leave our home in Dublin. More than any other place we’ve been, Ireland seemed most like home to us. Stewart’s relatives in County Donegal, my own ancestral lineage leading back to the Emerald Isle, and the easy connection we seemed to make with the Irish. So while it was the right decision to make, it was not an easy one, and not obvious, and one that left me emotionally fraught.

We might return to Europe, and if so most likely Ireland. So the door is not entirely closed. We will wait a little while, and think about it, and remember our time there.