Ciara Kenny

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

“Ireland’s not perfect, but it is home”

After two years travelling and working abroad, Sarah Lennon has just turned down her “dream job” in Toronto to return home to Ireland.

Thu, Nov 17, 2011, 08:47


After two years travelling and working abroad, Sarah Lennon has just turned down her “dream job” in Toronto to return home to Ireland.

Christmas this year for me will be an awakening. The excitement of the countdown even right this minute is giving me butterflies, in fact I’d go as far as to say I’m worse than a child waiting for Santa Claus. 8 weeks turns to 7 and slowly to 6 and suddenly time seems to be speeding up, if only a little. This waiting however is a different kind. I’m not buying myself a lovely new pair of shoes, or even a gift of any sort; instead I am waiting to go home. Yes, after two years of traveling the globe, the time has come for me to return to the green green grass of home. The unmistakable pangs of homesickness have sunk in deep, I need my fix of Ireland and the sooner I get it the better I’ll feel.

Some may think I’m stupid, others have told me I’m crazy but nothing appeals more to me now than settling back in my homeland. Sure Australia is a beautiful country where the people are similar to those back home and yes Canada is a land full of opportunity waiting to be discovered but you know what? They don’t have a patch on Ireland.

I remember saying goodbye to my parents at the airport in 2009, tears streaming down my face as I took my first proper steps into the big bad world thinking ‘ah sure it’s only a year, it’ll fly by’ and quite honestly it does. I was lucky in that I was traveling with my boyfriend and we had plans to meet up with many friends along our route roadtripping around the bottom half of the vast land down under.

That first year discovering Australia and Asia was great, new experiences, many new faces and never knowing what was around the corner, all added to it but at the back of my mind I knew it was only for a year. That always stayed with me. Growing up as a huge Destiny’s Child fan, I have always been adamant to keep my independence but for the first time I’m not afraid to admit that I am a true homebird. Setting up house in a country that takes a day to get to, eh not for me thanks!

The second year away was the hardest. Deciding to go to Canada in the first place actually came relatively easy simply for the fact that at the time of booking my boyfriend and I were working on a farm in the ‘bush’ as the Aussies call it and this taste of new experiences gave us both the idea that maybe there were more adventures to be had over there. We had no ties after all, nothing really to come back to Ireland for then in regards to kids, a mortgage or jobs. But, and yes there’s always one, we returned home for Christmas just before traveling to Toronto and this looking back, may not have been the smartest move. Even though it was only for a short period of time, the immediate connection I felt upon landing at Dublin airport ready to surprise my whole family was incredibly emotional, something I craved in that year away in Australia.

Nevertheless, God loves a tryer so I gave Toronto my best go and have gained a vast amount of experience that has hugely benefited my CV for my future job search in January 2012. Canada, however, although beautiful and full of life just didn’t suit me. Don’t get me wrong, the people are great, the jobs are there for the taking if you look hard enough and there is so much to see but for me, it’s not enough. The real test of my commitment to home came two weeks ago however, I was offered my almost dream job, in Toronto. I turned it down. Like I said above, there are those who think I’m mad, silly almost but if it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t fit.

They say we are the luckiest people in the world but with all this talk of the youth of Ireland leaving the country, how about we think about bringing some of this luck home to our native land to those who need it. Being a 90’s child I grew up with a huge amount of privileges and quite honestly I try never to forget this. At the end of the day I know that returning back to Ireland, my home, is not going to be easy. Right now I’m working as a social media manager and although this is a relatively new area for most businesses in Ireland, they are not really crying out for people to fill positions in this sector. Without a doubt there are going to be moments where I’ll question my decision to return home especially during the dream job-hunting phase, I’m not naive. But for me, and I can only speak for me, there’s no place I’d rather be spending time searching for that job other than our emerald isle. Sure it’s not perfect, I won’t argue with that, but it’s home.

Follow Sarah on Twitter: @sarahelennon