Going to London has always been a dream of mine as far as I can remember. England became an ideal place in my mind, far far away from home, where I could be happy. When I would ask my parents if we could ever go, they would say that it was too soon, that I had to wait until I grew up. To be honest, they would give me the same answer whenever I asked them to take me to Disneyland.
I grew up, but my parents never took me to London – or Disneyland. London was still the Wonderland of my dreams and English had become my secondary language (of three) in a country where saying you don’t go to the cinema because you can’t stand dubbed films sounds crazy.
I needed to really submerge myself in English – I also needed to escape from home – so I did some research and I learned about au-pairs. After talking with different work agencies and English schools that had these kind of programs, I decided that London would have to wait because it was way more expensive than any other European destination, but it was fine, at least I would be talking in English 24/7… in Irealnd.
It was the summer of 2010, I was 19 and I lived with a family of seven children – no kidding – in a small town called Gorey. After a couple weeks of adjustment, I had the time of my life and even though I really wanted to come back home and see my little sister and my family again when it was over, I immediately wanted to go back.
I realised that I kind of become a different person while being in Ireland, a happier person, in peace with myself… just like it happens when you are with someone you love, someone you’re comfortable with and you can be yourself around them, your real self. That’s how I felt during those few months and I had to come home and look back to actually notice the change.
I promised myself I would repeat the experience, that I would au-pair somewhere else, maybe in Dublin, or maybe even in the UK, but time passed, and life went on, money was tight, I continued studying and working, and I grew up even more.
Finally, and by surprise, the opportunity came: the language school that I’d always attended and where I was giving classes to a couple groups of little children was planning a trip to London with the 15-and-older students. May 15th, 2015, the day I landed in London, at last!
We were there for only four days, there was so much to do, so much to see… we were in a schedule and we sprinted everywhere, but it was enough; enough time for that part of me that I discovered in Ireland to wake up again, that alter ego that is more honest to myself than who I usually am, that feeling, that energy coming from deep inside my guts, a cry to explore, to see, to feel, to do… I was home!
It sounds crazy, I know, crazy and cheesy, but it’s the truth. There, I felt like I belonged, like I could do anything I wanted, something I don’t feel here, at ‘home’. It’s ironic, I guess, that after so many years saying I wanted to run far far away from home, it turned out that I was actually just trying to get there.
Have you moved far away from your home?