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 to Boston, Massachusetts! 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.
Differences in Irish Culture Compared to Western Europe
Many Irish people don’t consider Ireland a part of Europe. The nation is isolated geographically and has fewer cultural similarities. There isn’t as much of a relaxed outdoor cafe culture compared to mainland Europe. Though weather plays a significant roll in that.
But Ireland is obviously far more convenient for exploring Europe compared to North America. In truth, Ireland is like a hybrid between continental Europe and the United States. By Western European standards, this is a socially conservative country. Abortion is still illegal in all of Ireland, including Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. Abortion is legal in the rest of the UK. And divorce was prohibited in Ireland up until 1996. Divorces can still take years to finalize even today.
Contrast this with our previous home of the Netherlands. Many long term Dutch couples choose civil unions over being married under the eyes of God. While Ireland is breaking away from the reign of the Catholic church, civil unions are still largely frowned upon. And on these values, Ireland parallels some of the most conservative states in the USA.
Why We’re Moving from Dublin to Boston
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. 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 witnessed the economic situation 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. While she’s excited about the new challenge, she’s also sad to be leaving the university world (she received her PhD in Amsterdam).
While excited on the one hand, I have my reservations about moving back to my home country. I find American culture is too often far too obsessed with violence. It’s also a nation where workers rights in many states are severely lacking.
I spent most of my formidable years in Orlando. From 2005-2008 we lived in Tampa, Florida. While I’ve missed family and friends and have visited yearly, I couldn’t imagine moving somewhere so behind with public transportation (Like Florida). Historic Boston offers good public transportation. So it’s not as significant of a cultural leap from Europe. This 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. Though my team, the Buffalo Bills, are a huge rival of the local Patriots. So Bostonians are sure to annoy me with their constant gloating.
Bell is looking forward to visiting Salem and seeing where the witchcraft trials were held, since she learned about this in school in Australia. We’re both looking forward to having proper seasons. Though winters in Boston are much colder than Ireland. So that will be a rude awakening for us.
We’ll Always Reflect Back on Dublin with Fond Memories
Like Bell and I’s previous homes together in Melbourne, Tampa and Amsterdam, we’ll certainly miss living in Dublin. We’ll always think back with fond memories. 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 miss his visits to Ireland.
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 chapter of life in New England!