New to the Parish: ‘I don’t want my sons to lose their Romanian heritage’

After being encouraged by his wife to follow his dream of working abroad, Ovidiu left Bucharest for Dublin. The family soon followed

Ovidiu Miron and his wife, Luminita, with their children, Tudor, Vlad and Stefan, at home in Clarehall, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Ovidiu Miron and his wife, Luminita, with their children, Tudor, Vlad and Stefan, at home in Clarehall, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Ovidiu and Luminita Miron: arrived from Romania, 2014-2015

Luminita Miron was six months pregnant when her husband, Ovidiu, moved to Ireland in September 2014. He had planned to accept a job near his family’s home in Bucharest, but Luminita encouraged him to move to Dublin and accept the position at Ammeon, a software company.

“I didn’t want to come here. My wife was six months pregnant with Stefan; I wanted to be close to my family. She was alone in Bucharest, the winter was coming and winter is very harsh in Romania. But Luminita said, ‘You’re crazy; your dream is to work abroad and to travel.’ ”

Still, Luminita, who worked as a business analyst in Romania, encouraged her husband to accept the position despite the fact that she would have to look after their two young sons alone, with a third on the way.

“I said, ‘You have to go. This is an opportunity, and if you don’t go now, when you have a job offer, when are you going to go? You’ll discover another excuse and not go.’ I said, ‘Go. I will manage.’ ”

They decided Ovidiu would move to Dublin for six months. If he was offered a permanent position after the company’s probation period, the family would follow him to Ireland.

“I said to my wife, ‘Let’s wait and see if I like Ireland and like the company I work at.’ It’s easy to make that kind of decision when it’s just one person. But when you have three kids? What if I realised I didn’t like Dublin?”

The wait for a website

The couple met in Bucharest in 2007, when Luminita was looking for a web developer to help her to set up a website for her new business. She contacted Ovidiu. Eight years later, she is still hoping to set up that website.

“We decided to make a family instead,” says Ovidiu with a grin on his face, as he bounces baby Stefan on his knee. Nearby, three-year-old Vlad and his older brother, Tudor, blow on the hot muffins their mother has just produced from the oven.

After Ovidiu left for Dublin, Luminita was kept busy looking after the boys and preparing for the new baby. Meanwhile, Ovidiu was trying to get used to life in a western European, English-speaking country.

“I didn’t know much about Ireland. When I arrived here I tried to plug in my laptop and I realised that there were three holes. My laptop only had two pieces.”

“I spoke some English, but when you’re learning English in school nobody tells you how to say ‘what’s the craic?’ or ‘howrya?’ The accent is hard to understand.”

He missed his family during that first winter in Ireland. “It was definitely difficult to see your kids only on Skype, without it being possible to hold them in your arms.”

Ovidiu made it home in time for Christmas but missed Stefan’s birth by one week. He returned to Ireland in the new year and completed his probationary period with the company. Then he began the search for a family-sized apartment.

“I searched for two months, and it was not easy because in Dublin there is a massive [demand] for house renting.” Back home, Luminita hoped her husband could find a home with a backyard.

“We wanted a house, but most landlords don’t want three kids and only one person working in the household,” she says. “Every week he had two or three places to visit and no one called back.” Eventually Ovidiu found an apartment in Clarehall, and Luminita and the boys moved over in May.

Tudor began school a few weeks ago, where he is learning to speak English. When asked his age, he proudly counts up to six in English. Tudor’s teacher has recommended that Luminita and Ovidiu continue speaking Romanian at home and allow their son to pick up English from his peers.

“I want my sons to be bilingual, because I don’t want them to lose the Romanian heritage: their roots, where they came from,” says Luminita. “When they go to their grandparents on vacation, I don’t want them to feel like strangers.”

“Also to have English, which is the first spoken language in the world, can help them go wherever they want on the planet, study at any university and have any job in the world.”

Despite her enthusiasm for Ireland, Luminita feels quite lonely in Dublin. She has tried to make friends with some of the mothers at the school, but she finds it difficult to break beyond the surface of just saying hello to begin building a real friendship.

“Maybe it’s my English, maybe it’s the subject or maybe they aren’t interested in another immigrant friend. I don’t want to look like a victim or gain pity, but you begin to feel a little isolated. That’s the only time when I can find other people to talk with. The rest of the time I stay with my kids and in the evening with my husband.”

‘I don’t feel complete’

Luminita is teaching herself skills in Python programming so she can apply for part-time work next year. “I still want to take care of my kids but have a source of income by myself. I feel very happy as a mother but I don’t feel complete. I need to have a job, something that makes me happy outside the house and be independent.”

Ovidiu misses Bucharest from time to time, particularly the city’s open market, where he often met friends for discussions and debates. However, there are many things he likes about Ireland and he hopes the family will stay at least five or six years.

“I like the weather. I know it sounds strange, but I like the wind. I like to run along the shore because I’m training for the Dublin marathon. I like to commute by bike. I like the multiculturalism. For example, if you are on a bus at 6pm you can hear at least three other languages that are not English.”

  • We would like to hear from people who have moved to Ireland in the past five years. To get involved, email newtotheparish@irishtimes.com
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