At 8.20am we leave the house to walk to school. I’m still processing the question my daughter asked me the night before: “Mummy do you feel settled here?” A few minutes into my long-winded answer, I think she regretted asking. How can I sum up what I’ve been analysing in my head this whole year and a half: how is life since we moved back, after living abroad for more than 20 years?
The short answer is: we’re getting settled, it always takes time, but this has been the hardest move we’ve ever done.
As we leave the house, the traffic is right there on top of us, and hovering above that is a pall of stress I feel in Dublin, which feels more like a big city than I remember from when I was growing up. A bus crawls past and it’s sporting an ad for a world-class theatre show, reminding me of one thing we love about choosing to live in a creative, top-class capital city; in a country that has seen such changes while I lived away.
One year here and the feeling of strangeness has mostly gone. My accent merges in with all those around me, making me almost nostalgic for when I was the foreigner, the Irish person in the room.
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