A Year in Reflection: Our First Year in Ireland
July 11, 2016 – July 11, 2017
Today marks one year since our move to Wexford, Ireland from Chanhassen, Minnesota, USA. The year has come and gone so quickly, and I want to reflect. Short summary, since this post is long: life has changed, and I can confidently say, that most days, it is for the better!
The Good Stuff
The good stuff about living abroad is easily summarized with pictures. To preface the photos, Mathew and I have hosted five sets of visitors (with three more currently scheduled in 2017). These visitors are our friends and family and when they travel around the world to see us (and Ireland) they are not just staying for the weekend, they are staying for weeks. You learn more about these groups of people and immediately create memories that will last forever, at least from my end.
In addition to touring Ireland and Northern Ireland with our visitors, trips to France, Czech Republic, Spain, Scotland, and home twice (including excursions to Ohio and California) all occurred in the last year!
It’s been a year of travel and memory making!
Our Visitors to Date
Paris, France, September 2016
Prague, Czech Republic, New Year's Eve 2016
Note, my sister was on this trip, I seriously have one picture of her from her time in Ireland and Czech Republic and it's posted above. She must have been in a non-picture mood.
Madrid, Spain, March 2017
Edinburgh, Scotland, April 2017
Ohio & California, USA, October 2016 & June 2017
To see photos of my time in Minnesota check out my Instagram: laurenpexa
Ireland, a Compilation of the Year
My interests have shifted as well. Reality TV was my guilty pleasure at home and I watched way too much. From Real Housewives to Keeping Up with The Kardashians to every show on HGTV (Home & Garden TV). I have not watched a single episode of any of those shows since our move, okay maybe a half episode while back in the States, but honestly, I was too busy for TV when home. In Ireland, we only have Netflix and those programs are not offered through Netflix UK & Ireland. And I am doing great without all of it!
I now fill my time keeping up with friends through texts, emails, and even letters. Formatting my thoughts and experiences into blog posts. Planning and taking trips with Mathew (Lyon, Geneva and London are all coming up!). Researching diet and exercise plans that fit my lifestyle, then executing those plans. And one of my favorite things to do, spending time with my friends here. Learning about their lives, laughing about things I do not understand about Ireland and vice versa. I have enjoyed meeting new people.
The Hard Stuff
I think anyone who moves away from home would agree that the hardest part is missing family and friends. Yes, technology makes it easier to communicate, but FaceTiming into a bachelorette or gender-reveal party is not quite the same as being there in person. I miss people a lot!
We miss owning a home, if you follow me on Snap you know we have been back to Minnesota twice since moving. Both times, on day one we drove to our old home to reminiscence. And while the new owner has made some improvements we longed to do, the front entrance has been ruined. They removed the original 1955 front door and added a very ugly column. I have to laugh at myself, we are no longer the owners so the new owner obviously can do whatever they want, sans my opinion. But to go from owning to renting has been hard, and I know it is the reason we are both still sentimental about our Chanhassen home. Our original plan was to stay in that home as long as possible, until we were bursting at the seams. Obviously, that plan changed, causing us to transition from a single-family detached home in Minnesota to a duplex in Ireland. A year later, it is an adjustment neither of us is used to yet.
Additional comment, do we regret selling the home, should we have rented the property instead? Absolutely not! We moved on July 11 and the home closed July 29, managing our property for those 19 days while living abroad was unbelievably stressful and something I would never want to do again. Just wish us luck when we do return home, a year later it seems that the Minneapolis market has only gotten hotter.
Moving to Ireland also meant walking away from my full time career in Human Resources. At first not having the stresses of a job was nice. Twelve months later, I miss it. I miss having people counting on me and goals to reach. I miss having daily structure. I miss socializing with coworkers and hearing about their lives. I’m too young to be unemployed.
And finally, I went back and forth on listing this but I would be in denial to omit it, my marriage has changed. Now don’t worry, Mathew and I are still happily married and he was comfortable with me sharing this thought. But our relationship is different in Ireland, and I (we) prefer our Minnesota relationship.
We have not changed, we still love and care for each other immensely, and have the best time when we’re together. The environment and situation changed. We went from an equal playing field: both working full time, equal distribution of household tasks, similar mindset for weekend actives (rest Friday night, do something fun Saturday, take it easy Sunday), to the exact opposite. Now, I am home all day and he is working 15 more hours per week than at home. He comes home exhausted and I am like a crazy lady so excited to see him. It has to be overwhelming for him. Some days I mentally tell myself, ‘just let him change his clothes and get in the house before I start rambling about my day and asking him about his.’ Weird, right? It’s weird, I already know the answer. I find myself getting annoyed with him for decompressing or exercising after work. I just want him to hang out with me. But, hello, when else is he supposed to complete these tasks, he worked all day? It’s weird, and it is funny how quickly I forget that I was doing the exact same things after work just last year. On the weekends, he is tired and wants to recharge. I want to travel all over Ireland and Europe. Our lives are opposite right now, but hey, at least we are aware of it and communicating about it because in the big picture we have the best life together!
To conclude, I am happy that we stepped out of our comfort zone this year. Saying ‘yes’ to Mathew’s relocation has opened our eyes and allowed us to experience some incredible adventures. We will always be grateful for this opportunity.