Generation Emigration

The Irish Times forum by and for Irish citizens living overseas,

Why we love where we live now: a response

The entries to the recent Generation Emigration competition were a breath of fresh air; they proved we are open minded, generous, tolerant and good guests in foreign countries, writes Barbara Scully.

Barbara Scully on a recent visit to her daughter's new home in Australia

Tue, Jul 24, 2012, 01:00

   

The entries to the recent Generation Emigration competition were a breath of fresh air; they proved we are open minded, generous, tolerant and good guests in foreign countries, writes Barbara Scully.

Barbara Scully on a recent visit to her daughter's new home in Australia

The Generation Emigration feature of the Irish Times is something I always look forward to reading. I, like thousands of other mammies, have a particular interest in the subject as my own eldest is making a new life for herself on the underside of the world, in Perth, Australia.

Last Friday Generation Emigration featured some of the 100 entries the paper received into a recent competition which asked emigrants to write short pieces about why they love their new homes. The results showcased some really good writing. It also provided a wonderful insight into the Irish psyche and gave us stuck here at home a glimpse of just how wonderfully eclectic the lives of our emigrants are. From South America to Australia, from Italy to the USA each short piece was a window on another world.

What is particularly remarkable is the fact that each writer managed, in two short paragraphs to provide us with a living, vivid picture of their adopted home – be it a remote village in Africa or deepest Manhattan. Each writer gifted us, the readers with the wonderful ability to view a place through the eyes of a stranger. They each wrote of the little details that make life there so different from here… “on the street below is the bustle of tuk-tuks and coconut sellers…” (Maeve Galvin on Cambodia), “… out of my window I see a small temple to the sun god on a pebble beach” (Matthew Smyth on Bali). The colour and the sounds of these new worlds are recurring themes; as is the vibrancy.

But what is also remarkable is the ability to look beyond the obvious; to read between the lines of the stunning sights and foreign smells. James Taplin talks of being able to see the future from the roof of his villa in Dubai.

However the over-riding impression I am left with having read these contributions is the need for us Irish to make real connections in these new countries we call home. Steven Lydon talking about Colombia says “in this neighbourhood… I am the only gringo. But I am immensely satisfied that the shopkeeper has begun to call me amigo.” Gerard P Montague in the unlikely location of Bavaria, Germany talks of helping his neighbours with the hay recalling that “it’s not long ago since they cleared snow from our driveway.”

After four years of this awful recession. After four years of seemingly unending bad news. After four years of us feeling bad about the mess the country is in, last Friday’s Generation Emigration was a breath of fresh air. It has renewed my faith and confidence in us as a nation. We are bloody great. We are open minded, generous, tolerant and good guests in foreign countries.

Well done to each and every contributor. Ye all made me smile!

Barbara scully blogs at barbarascully.blogspot.ie.

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