“What can be added to the happiness of a man who is in health, out of debt, and has a clear conscience?”
-Adam Smith

The quote doesn’t have direct relation to this post but I really liked it the other day, and identified with it. It does set the stage for how I feel about preparing myself to be more flexible for opportunities that come my way by being “stable” in life, which I guess is a comment at least on financial and professional well-being, or just being in a good place. Allow me to share the big news, the decision that has given me nightmares, the huge change on the horizon:

We are moving to Ireland. Holy shit.

A couple of months of are you mobile? will you? maybe? for two years. is there a budget? wait for the meeting. what do you think? here are the benefits. dog quarantine. abandon pets. no, wait, only for a year and lesser benefits. hand wringing. never mind, good benefits are back. paperwork issues to cover domestic partner. how about insurance? most questions answered. And the answer is…yes?

Now, nothing is official until all the paperwork is done and visas are granted, but after all this time of not knowing and feeling like life has been on hold while figuring out how to handle an international move without really telling anyone has been pretty challenging. I feel like I will regret it if I don’t take this opportunity and I’ll never be offered another chance if I turn it down now. My employer is cutting jobs and yet asking if I would like to spend a year abroad at their expense. I’ve always wanted to do something like that. In fact, it’s just ‘life’ getting in the way that makes it hard: David’s business and our pets, and the general hassle of figuring out what to do with your stuff. But I have been saving money, simplifying my possessions and expenses and life, all to be able to take an opportunity just like this! It seems almost perfect: I’ll have the same job but in a new place and my employer pays all the expenses to get me there and back, and pays for my housing and car too. There will never be a better offer, I will never be less entrenched in life, I have enough funds to make it fun and I’m still young enough to call it an adventure but old enough that I don’t want to always sleep in hostels when I go on vacation. Add to that a partner who seems willing to try the adventure and we’re in business.

David and the dogs get to come. It’s hard to figure out how he will maintain a business back home (let alone an income in Ireland without a work permit), but we think he’ll stay behind the first couple of months while the dogs finish their at-home quarantine. Now I have to work to find guardians for my rabbits, an agonizing part of the decision to go. I have bunny friends I trust and I will set up a stipend plus cover vet fees, but a lot of my nightmares have been about doing wrong by my pets. Was it not contacts in rabbit rescue that got me this job in the first place? How can I send Arliss and Vegas to live with someone else? They’re OLD! Plus the pigs, who at least seem to have a place with my parents. And there’s even a frog becoming homeless.

There are so many things to plan I don’t quite know where to start, but at least I seem to be past the nightmare/decision stage and now we’re getting into the practical planning stuff. Departure for me won’t be for a couple of months. Just how much prep will I get done? Can I purge some of my belongings? I love the idea of living simply (a furnished place where I can’t haul most of my stuff anyway is a great starting point), but wow. Just figuring out what to do for a cell phone (this would be why I still haven’t gotten that iPhone) and banking and OH GEEZ I HAVE TO DRIVE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET… it can be overwhelming. Exciting, yes, but I’m a planner and this is stressful.

Short term: line up pet care (and get the buns healthy) and figure out what’s going to happen to the house while we’re gone. Mid-term: buy raingear? Couple months: move by myself and entertain myself for a couple of months. After that: stress about dogs in cargo hold.

But I bet County Cork will be fun!

Allihies, County Cork, Ireland

Any advice is appreciated.

11 thoughts on “Expatriate

  1. How exciting!! Definitely an opportunity you shouldn’t pass up. As for advice; it may not be ideal, but have you thought about David just staying behind and maintaining the status quo with the house and his business and the stuff and the pets? It’s only a year and a short plane ride. You could get together regularly here or there?? I know several couples who’ve done this short-term and if your relationship is solid, it won’t be a problem. It would be easier all around

  2. NO WAY! What an awesome adventure!

    I have frog/turtle care skills if Mr. Frog needs a place to stay. No problem. 🙂

    and btw, my dad’s family is FROM County Cork. Once you’re all settled maybe you’d head to the local library for me? 🙂

  3. I am very sad, yet happy for my sister. I’ll tip a pint in your honor. just don’t decide to stay or anything.

    P.S. – I am willing to take Shoehorn the Frog if you need me to.

  4. This is just about the coolest thing I’ve heard in a looong time. Congratulations on a new adventure. Also, I have no advice. I suspect moving from Indy to Ireland vs. moving from Boston to Indy is a completely different bag of tricks.

  5. As a silent reader of this blog, I offer the following advice: at all costs, do not allow yourself to rationalize anything other than this course of action. The chance to live abroad will be among the most powerful and transformative experiences of your life. Be inspired. Be fearful. But make sure that at all costs, you do go.


  6. HOLY SHIT INDEED!!! 😀 Congratulations! And Yay! I let out a little whoop of joy for you.

    Can David get (a trusted) someone to take the reins at his business while you’d be away? Could you find a renter for your house?

    I can ask my husband for any tips – he made the move from England to the US in 2001/2002.

    Congratulations again – I’m so excited for you!

  7. Thanks for the support, everyone! We are excited but there’s a lot to think about and I tend to go into analysis paralysis (or procrastinate planning completely).

    Dog quarantine is six months but they can do it at home and that dates back to blood tests (they passed) in October. David is thinking about flying back to take a job or two in the middle; fortunately his business is very flexible and my income can support households in both countries. We would have left him home for a six month assignment, but for a year I think we’ll play it by ear. I don’t think I can be away from all of them for a whole year.

    Secretly I imagine loving it and getting a permanent position and having family and friends back and forth all the time, but that’s looking awfully far ahead! I think most of all I’m looking forward to divorcing my STUFF and maybe figuring out a bigger picture of what I want in life.

  8. I just happened upon this while looking for pictures of Cork.
    I wanted to share in congratulating you on your decision to go.

  9. Pingback: Amy’s Gripping Commentary » Obligatory year end/beginning thoughts

Leave a Reply