French native Ketty Elisabeth tells us about her love affair with Ireland in her guest blog post
|Dublin's fair city|
Ireland was supposed to be a 6 to 12 months period of my life. However, after just 4 weeks I met my fiancé and never left.
I fell in love with the country and especially Irish people. They’re laid-back, easy-going, chatty and know how to have fun. It was such a breath of fresh air moving from Paris to Dublin and life was much easier all of a sudden: no smelly metro, no grumpy people and no nightmare bureaucracy. I was amazed at how easy it was to rent a flat, set up a PPS number and do other administrative things that are such a hassle in France. I was totally living the Celtic Tiger dream back in 2004!
I made many expat friends in my first few years in Ireland, unlike me they didn’t have Irish partners and decided to leave, it was very difficult for me at this stage. They couldn’t stand the weather, the drinking culture, the food, the expensive cost of living or they just didn’t want to be foreigners anymore. Locals have their childhood friends, do stuff with them after work or go home to their families at the weekends which make it difficult to make real friends sometimes.
Now it’s different and easier as I get older. I don’t know people who leave every week anymore and I have friends with Irish other halves who I’m sure won’t leave the country. Being engaged to an Irish man certainly helps me feel more at home and more integrated. I’ve now made Ireland my home, feel I belong here and I’m never homesick. I don’t mind if the weather isn’t great and I miss Ireland when I’m away. I feel a connection to this little island that I don’t have with France anymore. Somehow I’m always reminded I’m not from here but I have to get on with it. People ask me the same questions; ‘Do you like it here?’ or ‘Do you go home often?’, I often get ‘Welcome to Ireland’ from the garda at Dublin passport control or people ask me if I’m on holiday. I wonder if I’ll still get this in 15 years’ time or when I’ll have my little Irish kids with me.
France lacks of craic. People complain a lot, seem unhappy and don’t seem to enjoy the little things in life. I don’t miss the use of the ‘vous’, people giving out about the heat, French men who chat you up in a vulgar way, skinny women who just eat salads, people analysing the way you dress, the French management style and so on. Sometimes I think about the food and the healthcare with nostalgia but that’s about it. Of course I miss my family and friends but not to the point where I’d want to move back.
I think you’re dead right to be back in Ireland. The rainbows, the atmosphere of the pubs, the Irish wit, the work mentality, the beautiful landscapes and your family are only a few of the reasons why you should be happy to return. I still wonder how you managed to cope with the French for so long.
I wish you the best of luck and a very happy life in Ireland!
French Foodie in Dublin, Ketty, blogs here on www.frenchfoodieindublin.com
She has also just set up her French Foodie tours in Dublin which I am looking forward to trying out when up in the big smoke. You can book a tour here