I have never felt a sense of belonging in North America. Even though I was born here, my family's origins are in Western Europe, and throughout my life I have been influenced by Irish and Scottish culture. My Irish cousins keep expecting me to be Americanized, but I’m not. In fact, I couldn’t be less Americanized. Yes, some of the expressions I use are American, and I call my mother “mom” instead of “mum”, but otherwise, I have never really felt at home here.
I hate the feeling of being uprooted. I have always wanted to return to my roots, to where I belong. I want to live in a country where I can feel completely myself and at home, somewhere I don’t have to wear a hat and put on sunscreen all the time, somewhere the weather is more agreeable to me, somewhere I feel a cultural and emotional connection to, and somewhere I understand.
I feel almost no connection to North America. Of course, there are places I will always remember, because much of my childhood took place here, but I still have always felt out of place in this country. You can take an Irish girl out of Ireland, but you can’t take Ireland out of an Irish girl. That's how I feel about it.
Ireland is in my blood. Irish people "have a love for the land", and to be separated from it is painful. Like my family, I can't feel completely whole without it. It's a part of me, and there's no getting away from that.
"It's my field. It's my child. I nursed it. I nourished it. I saw to its every want. I dug the rocks out of it with my bare hands and I made a living thing of it! My only want is that green grass, that lovely green grass, and you want to take it away from me, and in the sight of God I can't let you do that!" - The Field (1990)
|Richard Harris in The Field (1990).|
My homesickness has only increased more and more over the years. Lately, it has reached the point where it is nearly unbearable. I know now that I will move to Ireland at some point in my life, and live there. I don’t want to stay stuck in North America forever – I’ve got to go home at some point. The question is when? Should I go before or after University? (Because my mom is Irish and Scottish-Canadian, I sometimes refer to College as University out of habit.)
So, I discussed this subject with my mom, and she made some very good points. If I want to move to Ireland, it’s better to go sooner, while I’m young, rather than later. When my mom was young, she wanted to go to Ireland too, but they wouldn’t let her in. At that time, Ireland didn’t have enough jobs for everyone. They wouldn’t let anyone into their country. That was why my dad left Ireland – he came to America for a job. Many people were leaving Ireland to find jobs at that time. Now, it’s different. I can go to Ireland. The first step is getting my Irish citizenship with help from my dad.
My mom pointed something else out, which I have been considering. Perhaps I should visit Ireland first, and see if I would really want to live there? Maybe America has become my home now, and I would feel homesick all over again when I got to Ireland? Of course, I’ve been to Ireland more than once, to visit my relatives, but actually living in Ireland might take some getting used to. This is actually a terrifying concept to me. What if I can never feel at home anywhere? I could end up feeling homesick no matter where I go.
I clearly remember Ireland, and how at home I felt there, and I’ll always remember how much I did not feel at home here. I believe that moving to Ireland is the right choice for me. The only downside is the separation from my mom's side of the family, though I would have my dad’s side of the family in Ireland. Although, however much I love my dad’s side, my mom’s side are the people I have grown up with, and the thought of leaving them saddens me.
So you could say I am going through an uncertain phase in my life right now. But really, when you get down to it, it's all very simple - I just want to go home.