Do I stay or do I go?

A couple of days ago when I sat down at my desk in the morning I browsed to the news to see how the Dollar was doing vs the Euro. The surge of the euro was worrying for me! When searching, I saw a story about a shooting, clicked on it and watched the video. It was the story about the Lady Reporter and her Cameraman being gunned down live on the air in Virginia. Whenever there’s a mass shooting in the US, it really saddens me. The way this story played out with the gunman tweeting and posting on Facebook really, really saddened me and still does. It galvanized my thoughts in the last year of moving back to Ireland.

Over the last few months I’ve been tearing my hair out over where I’m going to settle. I’m pretty sure I want to settle in Ireland but I won’t have the same work opportunities as I have over here. When I speak about my gripes with friends living in other states e.g. New York, California, Washington, Oregon etc. my negative views are met with, “that’s just Arizona, dude” It’s made me think about moving to a different state before deciding whether or not to move back to Ireland. I recently spent some time looking at rent in Seattle and the general cost of living. In the end it was too much of a hit to take. I would actually have been making less there, salary wise in the job I was offered and spending way more just to maintain the same standard of living.

It made me widen my scope, though. I started looking around at rent and places to buy. At one point, I was even contemplating renting in Hawaii. Again, it was too much of a hit to take financially but at least it would have been a much different culture and lifestyle. California is beautiful in parts but the parts I like are way too expensive e.g. Monterey. I’ve met people in similar jobs as me that live outside of LA or in the Bay area and make about 1.5 times my salary but even at that, it wouldn’t be enough for the increased cost of living.

It made me ask myself some questions. What do I miss the most about Ireland? I miss a lot but what did I miss the most…. I really miss the air quality in Ireland. It’s not bad up in Washington but there’s something different in Ireland. I think maybe the mositure in the air makes it soft to breathe in. I have been to half of the states in the US but have yet to find air as good.

I miss the temperate climate. For this I was told to try the East Coast. The only state I’d like to live in over there is Connecticuit but again it’s very expensive. They also have very cold winters and warm muggy summers. For temperate weather. I believe the two best states would be California or North Carolina. One has water restrictions and is one big eathquake away from being a memory and the other has a reputation that’s not too disimilar to Arizona..they also have Hurricaines and poorly built homes.

I miss the Ocean. Along with the air quality, this is something I took for granted. I really didn’t factor in that I would miss being by the Ocean. I don’t swim much, if I wanted to I’ve had a pool here for the last 3.5 years, I don’t use it. I don’t even like the beach much. I realized I missed the Ocean a couple of years ago on a business trip to Rhode Island. I took a drive over to Cape Cod. It was so nice just to stand with my face feeling that Ocean brreze and listening to the waves crashing. I embarked on a 14 hour driving day to drive up and down the Pacific Coast Highway last year…same feeling, though a lot of that stretch of Coast hag big ugly looking rigs ruining the view.

I miss the quality of the food. Recently I became a vegetarian over here not just for any moral reaons but because I’ve had stomach problems for years now. I’m trying to remove things from diet to figure out what might be causing it without success so far. I have found you can good quality food here but you have to pay $$$…to the point it’s more expensive to buy your weekly gorceries here than it was in Ireland. Even so, when I go into Sprouts and see the size of their Organic Chickens I have to double take…if those are Organic, I’m the fuckin’ Pope.

I miss more than just those things. At 30 years of age and these thoughts of settling down, I’ve been factoring in the long term plan. Where’s best for my kids? US schools have rolled out common core, which seems to suck! There’s also now drills for kids incase of an active shooter…that’s disturbing. Quality of the school your kids go to depends on where you live..which has benefits but disadvantages too. Then there’s college. I do not want my kids joining the forces over here. For many that’s the only viable way to get an education here. Fuck that.

Not to completely rail against the US. There’s things I love about living here. The American work ethic is something to behold. I don’t know if it’s the same in every Industry or not but in the Industries I’ve worked in, it has been incredible. I like that I can walk around my neighboorhood or any neighborhood around the Valley and people will say hello, give a smile or a wave. That might be unique to here, though..of course. But I do like that. Galway use to be like that when I was very young, you could walk around Newcastle or one of the nighborhood and get a head nod. Not any more. Living here gives you access to so many different amazing cities, landscapes etc.

Although, the food here is likely killing me! Some fo the food you can get here is incredible. Also, convenience! There may be a lack of unique small businesses but even so, there’s a lot of conveniently located chain places that are open late. on weekends and on holidays. Another huge and this is unique to the US…I’ve been to a handful of countries but so far, hands down the best quality service I have received has been in the US. It’s pretty consistently great. The road infrastructure in Arizona is also amazing and we don’t have any toll roads!

Back to the opportunities! I have recruiters contacting me constantly. When I moved here the economy was still hurting but compared to Ireland it seemed like a boom for me. Over here you get paid very well. Your hard work is also recognized. I have received multiple Industry awards, travelled the country and the world speaking at conferences and have been invited to review products and services. It’s pretty amazing. If I move back to Ireland, I have to sacrifice my career. That will probably be harder than I expect. The word career makes me dry heave…I’d like to think I’m not career driven BUT I know going back to a slow paced, go nowhere type of job will likely make me upset pretty quickly.

So, to summarize. I have no idea what I’m going to do 🙂


About thecityfathers

We sit around all day stroking our beards, clucking our tongues and discussing what's to be done with this Homer Simpson
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14 Responses to Do I stay or do I go?

  1. Ann says:

    You really should explore the mountainous areas of Pennsylvania. Google Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. We lived in that area, and my parents and siblings still live there. The summers are beautiful, rarely deal with high humidity. Almost always have a pleasant breeze. Winters are pleasant, snow and all. I’ve never been to Ireland (hopefully someday we will get there), but the air quality is much better in Pennsylvania, than the area of Kentucky were we have been living for the past 8 years, or so. The schools in Pennsylvania are very good, and had been safe when we where there. As for the food in America, the only real way to eat healthy is to grow your own. Planting your own garden with organic, heirloom fruits and vegetables is your safest bet. Honestly, you would probably be better off having your family in Ireland send you seeds. You probably would be able to avoid GMO foods, that way, and you would probably find some relief with your stomach issues.

    • I have been there. I actually have relatives in Pennsylvania. They live in the more rural part now but lived in Philly before too. It’s not bad, though it gets much, much colder than Ireland. Also, they also stilled liked their guns! The Amish scene is interesting!

      • Ann says:

        We lived in Philadelphia for a year, while our son was being treated for Cancer. I’m not much of a “city dweller”, Philadelphia wasn’t too horrible, but still not my favorite place. Nice for short visits, though. My grandparents have one of the few dairy farms left in Bucks County, about 45 minutes outside of Philadelphia. That area is so much colder than the Wellsboro area (North Cental), were we used to live. We didn’t have much Amish, up there. Were you in/around Lancaster, maybe? I can’t speak for everyone up there, but guns for my family are just tools to provide food. That’s it. I don’t quite understand why someone would want a gun, if they’re not being used for that purpose. I live in Kentucky, now. (very hot, grossly humid, mostly treeless…and flat!!) Lots and lots of Amish! We get most of our groceries from their store and farmstands. I also have a really great Amish guy come out and trim my horses feet. They’re a really great community, I think. I’ve only met friendly Amish people who share my love of horses 🙂

        • The Amish seem to be harmless and definitely not a drain on society. I bet what they grow is better than what you’ll find in big chain grocery stores! I’m not sure where in PA that was. My aunt lived there and then moved. My cousins and his family still live there but moved closer to New Jersey. Sorry to hear about your son. Kentucky sounds too humid and sticky for me!

          • Ann says:

            Yep, skip Kentucky…is it bad that I just said that?!? Thank you. My son is my Angel now. Miss him a lot. You’re right. The Amish is not a drain, and we as a society could, and should, take a page or two from their book. They do not believe in credit. If they don’t have the money for something, they work hard, and save. Yes! Their food is so much healthier! Organic, usually picked the morning that they sell, and a huge point to me…its non GMO. Parts of New Jersey aren’t too bad, some are pretty dirty. Most everywhere I’ve been, in New Jersey, had an odd smell, though. Probably because I was used to mountain air, rather than the ocean air.

  2. kristina says:

    My husband and I recently returned from 3 weeks travelling around Ireland, getting a feel for the country. The main reason I went is because my youngest daughter has decided she wants to live there, possibly forever, and I wanted to know what Ireland is offering her that she feels she cannot find in Northern California. Of course, there’s a very nice young man involved, who is Irish, and has a lovely family he doesn’t want to leave behind, so her decision to move to Ireland is likely heavily influenced by that.

    Well, we went, choosing the end of September through mid-October for our visit to get a taste of the cooler, wetter weather, fewer tourists, and more time to spend with the potential in-laws. Getting out of Dublin, which is a nice enough big city, but is somewhat a generic European city that could be anywhere, we made it a point to experience cities and towns that were more Irish. We spent a week in a little town outside of Kilrush and Kilkee. We rode motorcycles around the Ring of Beara and Ring of Kerry, stopping and talking to local publican and shop owners, hearing their stories and sharing our tales of empty-nest parents and the challenges of the teenage years these days. We were properly teased in the Irish style, and gave it right back, earning a nod. We went to a couple seisiuns, my husband singing a bit and joining in. Mainly, we listened a lot, we learned a lot, and we opened ourselves to everything and took it in.

    Ireland is a lovely, lovely country. It is not without problems, as is true of any country. Ireland faces challenges with the economy, the healthcare system, the endemic issues and costs of being an island nation (like New Zealand or other island nations), limited choices for education or job, and so on. But Ireland doesn’t try to pretend it is something other than what it is. A country with a rich history, fierce pride in its roots, its language, its music and art. A country of dairy farms and sheep, of pubs and musicians, of dreamers and poets, and now, an emerging tech industry to supplement the tourist trade. And yet, Ireland retains the small-town feel, the safety, the bit of gossip, the open space, and the slower pace. Not bad things.

    As we travelled, we found ourselves making comparisons — I think all people do. This town reminds us of Sonoma, that one of Petaluma, another is like Point Arena, and here it looks like Sausalito. The comparisons frequently were to places in Northern California, which makes sense, given the climate and the rural similarities. There were really no comparisons to any other parts of Ireland, except Galway being a bit more cosmopolitan and European — more like France, perhaps.

    So, after this ramble, and having it all so fresh, I would offer this bit of advice. Before you decide to stay or go, get out of Phoenix and visit places that are a bit more like Ireland. You will not be surprised to find that places with organic dairy, sheep and farms in the States often have a large Irish population living there. North of San Francisco is cheaper than The Bay Area, but jobs are still good paying, and the lifestyle is slower, safer, and a bit more like what you may be missing in Ireland. Point Reyes is a bit like Baltimore or Mizen Head, Gualala is like Spanish Point, quite a lot of Sonoma is like quite a lot of Kerry. Where Bantry has mussels, Marshall has oysters. The Delta towns around the Sacramento River aren’t too different in some ways from towns around Portlaoise, Limerick and Foynes or Tarbert. Granted, their aren’t many old castles or ruins of monasteries, or Norman towers; but there are Adobes, shell mounds, and histories of Ranchos and Spanish landings from the 1500’s and 1600’s.

    But get out of Phoenix. It’s an artificial part of the USA, a place of imported water for the golf courses of Camelback, of air-conditioned shopping malls, and strip highways, a hub of commercialism and call centers held up by the coffers of capitalist day-traders. A Vegas-like sprawl that would dry up and return to desert if the electricity failed for a week, or the rivers finally dried up. Phoenix is a commuter hub, a desert outpost dressed in business buildings, a class-system of Spanish-speaking house cleaners and food servers, or native Americas all but ignored, that will never have the privilege of the guests at the Phoenician or the venture capitalists spending a week in Scottsdale at their summer house. Phoenix is interchangeable to so many cities in the USA that are built on money and stolen resources. Before you decide, see more of the States that are older and more organic, that have farms and families that have roots going back for many generations.

    • Thanks. That is something I gave a lot of thought to. When I quit my first job in the US, in my exit interview I told the guy, I’m not sure if working in the US is right for me but I owe it to myself to try working for another company here. So far, I have had 6 jobs here. I don’t like working here very much. Employees in the private sector, at least don’t have a lot of rights. It didn’t help that in my second job, they swapped out my contract at the last minute…they had two divisions in the company, made the initial offer under one division. From looking at it, it looked the same..the paid time off was different. The paid time off was listed in the handbook, not the contract, itself. I had 6 public holidays and 1 floating day.

      Your reply gave me food for thought, though. For a while, I was planning on moving to Seattle but didn’t go through with it. I’ve been up there quite a bit for work and it’s kind of like Ireland in ways but Seattle makes Dublin seem affordable! $25 for 2 hours of parking. Not forgetting the hotels also charge $25 a night for parking…some places charge $40.

      My employers office is right in downtown Seattle. Just commuting to and from work would cost a fortune. Let alone renting somewhere with a decent commute.

      On top of that. There’s a pretty significant homeless problem there. Which becomes more apparent when you drive around the place and see the tents setup at the side of the freeway. Very sad to see. Seattle, from what I understand is one of the most socialist cities in America but it’s hard to tell.

      I know Dublin has a huge homeless crisis. But I wouldn’t want to settle in Dublin either.

      I have a couple of concerns for my future kids too. The propaganda seems very strong here. Support our Troops. God Bless our Veterans etc. Coupled with the fact they are pulling pensions for new hires of private companies, increasing the cost of tuition for colleges. I’m really worried that my kid(s) will see no better alternative than to join the forces to get the education and lifestyle they want.

      The guns are a big concern for me too. My fiance was threatened with one recently when on her job. Every time I hear a loud bang around here, my first thought is gunfire. Schools are doing active shooter drills for kids. It seems like such a brutal environment now.

      Who knows. Maybe Bernie Sanders will win or if not, at least some of his ideology will survive through to the eventual winner and this place will become a little more friendly to live.

      It didn’t always seem to be this way. It seemed at one point this really was the greatest country in the world. Now, it doesn’t even seem to be the greatest country in North America.

  3. Andrea says:

    Almost a year ago you posted “The lesson I learned is that a legacy built on commercial or career success is a pretty hollow type of a legacy. My grandfather is remembered for a few acts of kindness and selflessness that have defined him as a person and has defined his legacy. ”

    I’ve written before that my husband and I are planning to move to Ireland. We are now to the point where he just needs a job (in IT) and we can go. We are almost down to the few possessions we will take and are ready to (excitedly) go! We are a lot older than you but our reasons for wanting to leave are very similar to what you posted above. We love our family here like crazy, but realize we want a better quality of life. We are simplifying our life. Life has shown us it is not “all about the money.” America is a money driven society, and yet as wealthy as it is, we are losing more and more freedoms. My husband will take a considerable cut in pay, but we believe it is worth it.

    You wrote that you were afraid of being stuck in a “go nowhere job”, but I believe that work is what you make of it. My father was a very successful man. He made a lot of money, but was never home or if home was still not really present. I thank God he retired early enough for us to get to know him and love him for the man he was. If you plan on having a family, as you mentioned, you may have to change your career path, but that may be a good thing to do. (Of course you want to be able to provide for this family.) Start by thinking outside the box. What are other ways you can use your skills, etc.

    Ultimately it is your life and your future family’s. If you do decide to stay in America longer, have you considered Tacoma, Washington? I spent my childhood there. It is close enough to Seattle for work. The climate is the same, and the drive is not that long.

    Best wishes!

    • I was actually looking around Tacoma and Renton. My situation changed recently so I’m afraid I’ll be stuck in Arizona for a while longer. Who knows, though…maybe some day. Seattle is really, really nice. The weather is actually worse than Irelands, though. When it rains there, it really, really rains. In Ireland, you usually get a steady drizzle. Of course, we get storms and those days when it just buckets down but the fact that I’ve been to Seattle 5 times and it’s rained heavy each time I went…leads me to believe it’s a pretty constant thing.

      I’m still hopeful of moving to Ireland again. My fiance is warming to the idea..though, her mother supposedly got upset hearing about the possibility. It’s pretty easy for me to move away from my family. It won’t be as easy for her to move from hers. Best of luck with the move! Let us know how you guys fair. Did your husband get a job? IT work outside of Dublin is getting a little scarce but he should find something…if he needs some info about the West of Ireland, let me know. I know most of the big tech companies there and other non-tech companies with IT workers.

      • Andrea says:

        Moving from family is very hard. My mother has decided to move to Florida since we are leaving Minnesota. Our son is staying here but is considering Ireland in the future. He is a butcher and have seen many ads for those and some specialties are beginning to make it on the Critical Skills list! Our 1 daughter is just beginning to get over her anger at our move and one of my granddaughters has informed her that she wants to go to University in Ireland. The rest of the kids are in Pennsylvania and we already only see them once a year. Maybe your future mother-in-law should take a trip to Ireland! Let her fall in love with it and then see how she feels. Blessedly we live in a day and age of internet, Skype, cell phones, etc.

        We are beginning to get some inquiries from recruiters regarding possible jobs. The hold-up seems to be the idea of the work permit. It is surprising how many of the recruiters aren’t even aware that the employer has to have offered a job before we can get the permit. Ugh! We are also learning the major difference between Americans and the native Irish – patience. We have none! Waiting for someone to get back to you is nerve wracking! I would appreciate any help, advice in the IT job sector you can give. I know if he could just get an interview, he would be hired. He worked at Mayo Clinic for over 14 years and designed many programs that are still being used today. (The Quit-line, now used by the Federal Government, the nurses line they use for triage, etc.) He now works for a Fortune 500 company that recently sent him to Europe. Unfortunately they do not have an office in Ireland!

        I have some acquaintances in Kilkenny, but hate to bother them too much. We are considering me moving there while he works in the US, until he gets a job. We just sold our house here and after the 30th we are “homeless”. Financially he makes enough for me to live there until he can join me.

        I appreciate you taking the time to respond and encourage. I really hope things work out for you and your fiancee. Please keep us all posted.

  4. Danny Hunt says:

    I stayed in Ireland this summer and liked it a lot. I know I need to go back. But if you stay here, other states to consider would be Oregon, which is a lot like Washington and may possibly be cheaper. If rural living’s ok with you, maybe even Northern California for the climate. I live in Southern California and miss the east coast. New York is my birth state and I love it, but Connecticut is also something I’d like since you can go all around New York or New England pretty conveniently. Keep looking for opportunities all over, and good luck with your decision.

    • Oregon creeps me out a little. It’s got a very strange vibe. One part bohemian hispter, One part Chainsaw Massacre. I haven’t been by the coast much but it was nice. Northern California is beautiful but so expensive. I love New York but even 4 hours outside the city costs 250k for a tiny house. Also, upstate is a little…backwards from my experience up there.

      Connecticuit was cool. Short drive to MA, RI, VT, NH and Maine…Maine looks amazing.

      My fiance is talking about doing a PhD. If she’s serious the obvious choice is go to Ireland. Become naturalized and then after a few years, do the PhD…the wait is better than 120k!! 🙂

      Thanks for the feedback!

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