There is No Place Like Home
Anonymous Dublin, Ireland
Interviewed by Brittany Lealao
"The entire plane ride here to America was very unforgettable. I cried the whole way here. I was so sad leaving my family and friends behind to start a new life with new friends. I felt hopeless and alone because I had no say in moving to America."
Growing up as a child you have dreams of a very wealthy life, with all the unnecessary things in life and being happy that you can get anything that you want and ask for as a child. Well my life as you know it wasn’t exactly the kind of life that every child dreams of. (long sigh) Being born in the country of Ireland isn’t like the kind of life growing up you would be fond of. (sighing) “Ireland was a very poor and underprivileged country; people didn’t have much where they lived. But even though people weren’t rich in material things and worldly possessions, families were happy and content with what they had. The health and happiness of their families seem to make up for all the worldly materials that families didn’t have.”
My family life was pretty basic. “I didn’t have all the material things growing up, but having a big, happy and close family was better than any worldly possession that I could have possessed.”
As a little girl growing up my father was the only one working to support my siblings and I. My mother would stay home and take care of things inside our house like: cooking, cleaning, and making sure all her kids were fed and washed. (laughing) “Please keep in mind that I had six other siblings besides myself and my father was the only provider in my family.” (long pause and a sigh) “My father was a very hard working man and I admired and looked up to him in so many ways (laughing) I even considered him my superhero. No matter how sick, tired or in pain my father was he would still manage to wake up every morning and go to work on a bike. (sniffling and sighing)
“We would always wait for my father to come home from work because he always had loose change in pocket. So he would gather all the kids together and he would shake the coins in his hands and the person who guessed closet to the amount of coins in his hand would get all the coins.”(laughing) We were so proud of our father in everything that he did. He’s helped me instill to my children that you are to work for everything that you want and not to expect to be given anything. My family life wasn’t the best in materials things but I felt as if I was the richest person knowing in my neighborhood knowing that I had a close family and a well brought up home.
With my family being close as we were we all attended school together each and everyday. (laughing) Going to school in a big, ugly, dark, grey building that was almost run down showed you how much money Ireland had to go towards school. (long sigh) “School was not fun. Most of our teachers were nuns and very strict. Schools now-a-days have parents who are very involved in their child’s school life. At my school growing up there were no parents involved in any of their child’s life because of the economy in Ireland. (uhhh sighing)Each and everyday we would have to march in single file line to go from school to church and from building to building. In Ireland girls weren’t given an opportunity to receive an education, girls were to stop receiving education at age 14. They would have to leave school just to support themselves and their family.
So growing up in Ireland I really didn’t receive a formal education, so when the chance presented itself to my mother and sister for me to move here to America they took it as an opportunity for a successful and brighter future. (laughing) I really didn’t have much say in the decision of me moving to America. So my mother being the caring women that she was said that “moving to America was a great opportunity for me to make something of myself”. They claimed that the United States was a great opportunity to a successful future. Dreaming of life outside of Ireland made the trip to America easier. The entire plane ride here to America was very unforgettable. I cried the whole way here. I was so sad that I was leaving my family and friends behind and that I had to start a new life with new friends. I felt helpless and alone because I had no say in moving to America. Moving to America took me awhile to adjust. It took me five years to get used to the food (laughing) and I’m still managing to adjust more and more too new things each and every day. I lived such a sheltered and over protected life growing up; it was such a cultural shock for me when I moved here. (sighing) There are so many crimes and the lifestyle is such a dangerous one here, compared to the lifestyle back home. Life was laid back and safe.
The economy here is so much better. When I first arrived in America I lived in Boston for a few years then I relocated to San Francisco, California. Moving here was a complete cultural shock not knowing what to expect when I arrived made it that much more interesting and fun! When I moved to California I met my husband and as we got to know each other throughout the five years we knew that we were meant to get married. Later we had three children: two daughters and one son. As I watched them grow up in the American culture I told myself that they would excel in all they do. When my children started to become older I began to involve them in sports, music, and Irish dancing. I wanted my children to take part in Irish dancing because I didn’t want them to forget their culture and where they came from. My family and I visited Ireland last year. Visiting there feelings weren’t the same, and the Irish economy really made a drastic change. Ireland is more diverse now, also there are more cultures living there. During my visit there I really missed America.
I love living here and cherishing the blessings that I have received all throughout my life. I wouldn’t change anything about my move here and making America my home. I am very grateful and blessed to have the opportunities that I was faced with each day as I progressed with life here in America. I would never want to move back to Ireland, this is my home now and I’m staying put.
Well as the saying goes “Life is a risk and without taking risks there is no life,” and it seems that when I made that risk 35 years ago I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Now I’m living a life full of love and blessing. All thanks to that one risk. (sighing)