8 years in Ireland

Today 8 years ago I started my Irish adventure. I landed in Cork airport on the evening of the 27th and the 28th was the first day of work in Ireland. I did not have a fancy phone but had a semi fancy camera a Nikon D60 with a Nikor 18-200mm VRII lense! And so I was able to take this shot:

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It’s not very cool or astonishing shot but it represents the start of something completely new. It’s weird to talk about this as many would say I am an “ex-pat” but I don’t see myself as such I always saw myself as an economic immigrant. Simply put if I had a stable job and life in Portugal eight years ago I would have never moved to Ireland at all.

But back then the best job I could get was designing flyers for a teaching center and then distributing said flyers. i was proud of being able to distribute 10000 flyers a week. A feat easily made having into account how we have many apartment blocks in Faro with over 5 floors and multiple apartments per floor!

Before that I struggled for years to get a stable job as an Archaeologist. But the work was scarce and always on a non-contractual based. Meaning a job one day meant the next day might not be there. And that happened very often when archaeological services depended on construction work during the recession.

So when a job opening in a multinational company i very well knew the work opened up I applied immediately. I spent long nights preparing my CV and Cover Letter to apply for the job and in reality it took me 4 months and three denials before I finally got a phone interview. Each time I went back to the “drawing board” and refurbish everything for the application once again. In the meantime I was doing some photography work for the local theater and local museum.

Like photographing a play which curious enough had a scene inside a 1940s cinema:

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Or for the museum the photo work for an exhibition about traditional salt harvest:

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And in between… editing and CV prep I would go for walks along the old farms:

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And so I passed the phone interview, went to a real interview in Lisbon and once all of that was done I got the confirmation i was hired. Ireland and Cork City would be my destiny. Of course me and my friends made loads of jokes about. “oh you’re gonna get corked” “pretty sure there’s loads of cork in Cork” or “the cork laws are really strong in that city for sure!” *small history note – > Cork Laws where popular slang for freedom of speech repression during the fascist regime and it remained as a slang when you are trying to hide a secret now that Portugal is a democracy.

November was spent packing, getting ready for the big change. But still, just four days before leaving I decided to spend an afternoon taking photos along the coast:

When one changes country though I don’t know if we really know what to expect…

I did not know I would stay 8 years in Ireland but the truth is the longer I was away the harder I missed home. One becomes a stranger in a strange land. Trying to adapt to the new country and at the same time still trying to be the same person from that small town in Portugal…

It grows this wish to go back, to try and go back home. But when you return on holidays you realize that’s not your place either. Things have changed. And the longer you are away, the stranger your own home becomes… Slowly you drift away from your home away from home.

And so I became a mix of southern Portuguese and southern Irish, a kind of lusitanic and celtic symbiotic organism.

“Well you’re practically Irish now anyhow”. These words where told to me a few weeks ago and as those words set in I realized that I hardly  go back to that small town in Portugal where I grew up. There seems to be a detachment from it that does not seem it will be repaired anytime soon. And as this gap gets bigger the smaller the gap between me and Ireland.

Today I still feel like a stranger in Ireland, but I am today closer to Ireland than I ever was before as Portugal becomes stranger to me everyday…

So let’s hope for the future and see what it holds for the next 8 years. 🙂

 

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