Tuesday, April 5, 2011

An ex-pat I shall always be

I recently visited the ex-pupils Facebook page from my old boarding school. I hope some old chums will post me, however I only resided at the Franciscan secondary school for three years and not the normal full five years so perhaps any imprinted memory may be somewhat vague. I ponder that I've kept moving on for most of my life. I guess I was born an ex-pat, whenever I return to Ireland to visit my parents I get the feeling that I've been here, I've done this. Am I a stone that gathers no moss? I suspect not. It's just that the moss has many coloured hues.

At the age of 16 I realized that remaining in boarding school would stunt my preparation for adult life. By 17 my girlfriend would sleep over, by 18 I knew my future would be founded in work and travel and not taking notes in a lecture hall. At 19 I had grown disillusioned with advertising and commerce and joined the Army. By 20 I was in London. By 24 I had bought my first house and was a junior partner in business. At 29 I became a Buddhist and at 32 moved to Amsterdam to live with my wife.

I suppose since then the rolling of the stone has slowed somewhat. I did return to Ireland in 2002 at the age of 36 for a career change only to find it a step backwards in time. I still see that boy from Dublin in the mirror, he's not altered beyond all recognition. As I would walk the streets of south Dublin as a young man, shuffling from one friend's house to another, from pub to party, I always felt I was just biding time. That I was not meant always to be with the people of that city, I felt the outsider. I probably felt more at home in international London of all the three cities I have lived, but towards the later years friends were few and many relocated elsewhere in England.

One of the things I have learned over the years is that it is many things to be Irish, it's a bag that you can't let go of even if you wished. It's acquired in the formative years growing up there, but that originates from a collective Karma, it doesn't come from a place but from a people who come from a people who have lived in particular places. I think many ex-patriots reading this will be able to relate to my tale and perhaps you like me have always been an ex-pat.

7 comments:

Robert Grundulis said...

Odd as it sounds I am the opposite. I was born in Carlisle to Irish parents and at a young age I was moved 'back' to Derry.

I hated Derry with a passion and I would consider Derry my home city as I did most of my growing up there.

I moved to Dublin five years ago and I rather like it here.

It's big enough to have everything a good city should have, but not so big it becomes impersonal. But as me ma said, happiness comes first. Just be where makes you happy.

DubintheDam said...

Robert many thanks for popping by, I always love going back to Dublin for Holidays, it's just that when you have grown up there it presses a lot of buttons too.

As an outsider you can approach it without the hang-ups, I can say the same for Amsterdam.

I'm very impressed with your blog and look forward to the Annora Society becoming a success - eventually. As a pipe smoking, tweed an hat wearing ex-army Irishman I would consider myself a suitable candidate. Perhaps if our agendas collide on one of my following visits we will one day meet in person.

Yours Pearse

mr. billfantastik n KHNL said...

hello, just surfing through blogger. congratulations on your first public exhibition. it was interesting stuff to read about an irishman, never been there but my beau's irish and talks about the culture all the time.

Bianchii said...

Hello.
I started to write blog in English.
I will write about everything, will be a lot of pictures, reviews of books, films, songs etc.
So it would be nice if you visit my blog sometimes :)
(Sorry for mistakes, I'm still learning English)

http://bianchii.blogspot.com

Rants by M and J said...

Ireland is a beautiful place, I'm from Dublin myself, harsh times at the moment, the states is an option. Also everyone knows everyones business, but I will say one thing when your away you miss it and appreciate it more. You can't win really haha.

All the best.

DubintheDam said...

MnJ, I do love Ireland and miss the landscape a lot, also the humour and spontaneity of the people, I always enjoy my trips back. I think the down turn was a much needed reality check, but it will still take a few years for it to shift things to another level. If you can get a US visa I'd say go for it.

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