I was born in Los Angeles. I spent the first 18 years of my life living there, in the same house, with my parents and younger brother. I loved LA, and always believed that I would go away for college and then return to create my own version of my parents’ life. Nice house in the same neighborhood, a kind husband, 2-3 kids, a decent job, the same family vacation to the same place each year, etc.
That’s not exactly how things have worked out. When I was 20, I moved to Dublin to study at Trinity College. This wasn’t officially my first time living abroad – I had spent a summer studying in Spain when I was 17 – but this was the first time I ever felt like I’d found a new home. My year in Dublin showed me that there was an alternative to the life I had in LA, and I was shocked to find that this alternative was a better fit for me.
After Dublin, I knew that I wanted to spend more time living abroad. While finishing my degree back in the States, I started applying for jobs that would allow me to live in Europe. I managed to find a job as an associate teacher at an international school in Italy, and moved there right after graduation.
Since then, I basically haven’t looked back. I returned to California once more to get my master’s degree, but never had any intention of hanging around. I spent three years living and teaching in Brussels before moving to London, where I’ve been for the past two and a half years.
I have literally lived my dreams, and it’s been incredible. I’ve met amazing people who have become some of my closest friends, explored dozens of new cities, grown as an educator, developed a greater appreciation for diversity, broken my picky-eating habits, and mastered the art of packing. While it hasn’t always been easy, it’s a life that I know is right for me.
Since leaving Los Angeles, my idea of home has evolved. Whereas it used to be the house in which I grew up, home has now become more fluid. It has changed and I’ve changed with it. Each move – each new “home” – has taught me something, made me stronger, and encouraged me to take risks. These versions of home have made me the person I am today.
However, this ever-evolving definition of home is about to become a lot more concrete. This year, my husband and I are moving back to Dublin. While we never say “forever,” because we can’t predict what the world will throw our way, this move feels pretty permanent.
In many ways, I’m thrilled – I get to return to my first foreign home, the place that gave me my dreams. In other ways, however, I’m terrified. Moving to a new country every few years makes you develop certain characteristics. I get restless easily. I’m a social introvert. I don’t particularly care about making new friends, because I’m the master of FaceTime. There are a lot of “firsts” with this move. We’ll be buying (and probably renovating) our first home, getting our first pet, and starting a family. I might have to leave a job I love and find an entirely new career.
This blog, which will probably never be read by anyone but myself, is a record of what comes next.
Amazing first post Em! Loved reading it and can relate to a lot that you’ve written. London will miss you, but the Irish adventure awaits you! 🙂
Thanks, Anna! It’ll be hard to leave, but it just means we’ll have to plan some fun trips together🙂