After nearly 2 and 1/2 years on the emerald island and over 6 years total living and working in Europe, we are returning to live in the United States again, this time in Boston! Our landlord has been given 30 days notice and our one-way tickets are booked for May 9th. Moving from Dublin to Boston is exciting but also bittersweet, given our lengthy time on the continent and Bell’s Australian Irish roots, as her great grandmother was born in Cork.
But it isn’t for any of these reasons that we’re leaving Ireland. Like many Irish people themselves, the reason we’re leaving is because we feel we are being squeezed out. The Celtic Tiger created an economic boom here, and when the balloon subsequently busted, euros needed to be thrown back at the wealthy elites. And while the rich in Ireland are generally doing well again, taxes on the middle class have gone up, along with rents and the general cost of living, but employers don’t seem to have the money for pay increases. Bell loves her job, working on the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing, at Trinity College Dublin. But the reality for me has been different, with funding cutbacks costing me work, and making work difficult to come by. In 2 and 1/2 years, we’ve watched the economic situation here worsen. Despite what the Troika says about Ireland’s success, things are getting tougher for many. Yes we’ve continued to travel and we’ve been extremely lucky in that regard, but we’ve also made many sacrifices to do so.
Last month Bell was offered a good private sector job, for a consulting company in Boston, and while she’s excited about the new challenge, she’s also sad to be leaving the university world (she received her PhD in Amsterdam). And while excited on the one hand, I have my reservations about moving back to my home country, as I find it to be a culture far too obsessed with violence, and a nation where workers rights in many states are severely lacking. From 2005-2008 we lived in Tampa, Florida and I grew up in Orlando and while I’ve missed family and friends and have visited yearly, I couldn’t imagine moving somewhere so behind in public transportation. So this opportunity in historic Boston, that does have good public transport, will be an exciting new chapter in Wanderlust Marriage.
The things I’m most looking forward to about returning to the US, asides from family and friends, is American craft beer and NFL season (despite the fact that my team, the Buffalo Bills, are a huge rival of the local Patriots and Bostonians are sure to annoy me on this front). Bell is greatly looking forward to visiting Salem and seeing where the witchcraft trials were held, since she learned about this in school in Australia. And we’re both looking forward to having proper seasons, though winters in Boston are much colder than Ireland and will be a rude awakening for us.
Like Bell and I’s previous homes together in Melbourne, Tampa and Amsterdam, we’ll certainly miss living in Dublin and we’ll look back with fond memories. The Irish people are friendly, helpful and love to have a good time. My father visited two summers in a row, for several weeks each time, and remarked again last night that he will missing coming here. And we’ll certainly miss the occasional touristy trip to raucous Temple Bar, breathtaking coastal hikes and the beautifully scenic trips around the island to counties like Kerry and Clare. But alas life moves forward, and we are Wanderlust Marriage, so we’re excited about our upcoming life in New England!