32 THANK YOU, Ireland

January 23, 2024

“When the soul of man is born in this country, there are nets flung at it to hold it back from flight. You talk to me of nationality, language, religion. I shall try to fly by those nets.”

James Joyce

Living outside the country of our birth has been one of the most enriching adventures we’ve had. It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions, and sometimes, explaining all the feelings that blend when you decide to experience something like this is challenging. This story goes from how fortunate we were and continues to be with this experience with the support of having each other and those we love, who, even with the distance, haven’t forgotten us.

✍🏽 When the goodbyes started, I saw everything in slow motion. I didn’t quite understand what was happening, maybe because, in my mind, I thought we would be back in a couple of years. As the departure date approached, I started to feel it more. I remember one of the last people we said goodbye to was my mom, and I never imagined what my body would feel when I hugged her and said goodbye. I always thought of myself as “very free” and “very detached,” but in that hug, I felt strongly nostalgic for leaving my mother. I was terrified at the thought of not seeing her again.

That’s when the real adventure began. When we arrived at the airport, my legs were already trembling a bit, and up to that moment, I wondered if we were making the right decision. But there was no turning back. Some of our closest family and friends were there; this was very nice because it helped make the moment better. Few people can grasp the cocktail of emotions that this entails. From the outside, everything looks easy, but everything has its challenges.

The most intense moment was when we got on the plane. When we fastened our seatbelts, and they announced that we were ready to take off, I heard the last message from my nieces and became a sea of tears. I remember looking at my loved one and asking him, please, let’s return to Mexico after two years; I didn’t want to stay longer in Ireland. I cried and cried, felt a very strong emptiness, but also, deep down, I felt that we wouldn’t be back for a long time, and almost six years have passed.

I must confess that arriving in Ireland was not the most exciting; we already knew the country, and it wasn’t the place where I had imagined us. However, something about the “Emerald Isle” attracted me, something I couldn’t understand.

Today, from a distance, Ireland gave me very enriching lessons. It showed me sides of myself that I never imagined having, confronted me, and allowed me to recognise everything that dwelled within me. It was as if every day we spent there took more control of me. I never realised what my body and mind would experience with the cold and darkness. I can perfectly remember the smell of every place we visited. I can also relive how my body was losing strength. I never imagined I could connect with such deep sadness; with the darkness, we were very sleepy and avoided going to bed early, knowing how dangerous this could become.

When the season of short days and few hours of light arrived, many signs were placed in supermarkets to prevent suicide. Just by reading them, I was terrified because I could recognise what my body was experiencing.

Fortunately, there is also a lot of light in so much darkness. The Irish have been the kindest people I have ever met. I remember one day in the supermarket when the song “Despacito” was playing, and the cashier looked at me with a big smile. She gestured for me to listen to the music in my language and tried to sing a bit of the song. Gradually, we got to know people who became a great support during our stay. Our landlord was like a guardian angel; his look of nobility was impressive. I just wanted to hug him; he had many good gestures with us. I have always felt that he was a heaven-sent to care for us.

The company my loved one works for was very kind to us and took care of us a lot. We received many courses that I took full advantage of. My first teacher was a journalist with whom I had fascinating conversations about books and Irish cases. What I admired most about her was that she smiled with great pride despite having two missing teeth. She was a beautiful woman because that’s how she chose to be.

My second teacher is someone who resides in my heart. She taught me what it means to have a good soul. She was a woman dedicated to her family, home, and plants. She gave me the most beautiful flowers that brightened my grey days. We shared our life stories, books, pains, and smiles.

Of course, here come back my favorite people, our little friends from the book club. They are and will be those women I admire, love being with, nurture my soul, and listen to with every part of my being because I want never to forget everything they teach me.

Later, I will talk about the people I met during my work stay. The Irish “office life” also welcomed me, but I also found their not-so-friendly individuals. When someone marks my life, I am very clear about that moment when I see the person because my whole body, my whole being, lets me know. In that “office life” period, I had one of the best bosses, although I have only had two great bosses, and she was undoubtedly my great inspiration. I also met a great Italian friend who made my days brighter, and I hope to keep her friendship for many more years.

There was a time when the mere thought of Ireland filled me with sadness. Ireland took away all the shells I had created throughout my life and made me return to myself, to that hyper-sensitive girl, to what I never liked being because I had been taught that I couldn’t be weak. Although it was challenging to connect with my darker aspects, now, looking back, I am tremendously grateful for what I experienced in that place. I no longer remember those moments on the train at 5:30 in the morning when I was going to work, and tears came out of me without any explanation. Now, I have more clarity about how necessary that experience was to rediscover myself.

I will always be grateful for the Irish’s kindness, warmth, and unexpected smiles. Their most beautiful thing is their way of building a community, not forgetting their history of pain and thus empathising with humanity.

Irish landscapes are very dramatic; they encourage introspection and tempt you to go to very deep places within yourself. They challenge you, knock you down, and caress you when you are ready to see beyond what appears in your eyes.

❤️ THANK YOU, A THOUSAND THANKS, IRELAND. We had to meet. ❤️

Thank you for reading.

Have a great day! 😘

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