We are living in a time where it seems everyone around us is emigrating out of Ireland. Australia, Canada and Dubai seem to be amongst the most popular. We have waved goodbye to friends and families as the leave Ireland for a better life abroad. We have become known as the ‘Generation Emigration.’
When I was just 18 I decided I was leaving Ireland to move to the Canary Island, Lanzarote. Did I put much thought into, definitely not, I purely choose Lanzarote for it’s sun, sea and sand lifestyle. What was supposed to be a fun summer job for six months turned into six years. When I returned home I was constantly asked the question ‘ Why in gods name have I returned to Ireland?’ or Are you mad coming back here? All it does is rain! ’’Well I am here to say
The grass isn’t always greener on the other side
As I was only 18 when I made this move I can’t blame this on been biting by the travelling bug. To be honest I had never even been on a girls holiday. Regardless my mind was set on picking up a handy bar job, sunbathing all day and sipping cocktails in the evenings. Did I have any bar experience? not at all – to be honest I was kind of winging it. The reality from what I expected was much different, but I had been bitten by the island lifestyle and to say my feet were glued to the volcanic rock or Lanzarote was one way to put it.
Not one to sit around I started my first of many jobs in Lanzarote. I was eager to emerge myself straight into the night life and learned the tips of the trade. I say first of many because that’s exactly what it was for the first three months. You name I did it. If you have walked down Puerto Del Carmen strip only to be greeted by an annoying Irish girl offering you ‘ two for one drinks and free shots’,,, that was more than likely me. I tried my hand at being a barmaid and also being the world’s worst waitress ( an actually comment I received.) Wages is a funny thing in Lanzarote, the bars want you to work long hours, lunch breaks are unheard of, and wages at the end of the month were paid sporadically. Which is the reason you would find yourself jumping from job to job, each one promising you the sun and stars.
By June most newbies had thrown the towel in and headed back to their home country pennless and as pale as when they arrived on their Aer Lingus flight. I on the other hand was not willing to give up so easy. After months I had finally landed myself a barmaid\ PR job with a secure nightclub. ( Secure meaning they were known for paying wages.) I spent years working for this nightclub and made some amazing friends, some of whom I am still in contact with today. We worked 6 days a week, 10 hour shifts a day (without breaks) we shared moments of laughter and tears; they became like family. We worked hard and partied harder. The nights seems to all blend into one blur. We danced the nights away to spanish music, unendless amount of shots and getting by with the few spanish phrases we picked up along the way. The busy summer months came and went year after year along with new faces and new friends.
Goodbyes got easier with each time.
Cashing up the bar every morning at 7:30am ment sunbathing that day was not part of my plan. What people forget is I had a full time job and that I couldn’t just call in sick or not show up. I had rent and bills to pay. This was the part I had not heard much of from working abroad. This was definitely not a holiday.The novelty wore off quickly, falling into bed at 7.30am every morning knowing you had to do it all again that evening. Sleep all day and work all night became my mantra.
I never would have thought of myself as being a home bird. When I was growing up I was on the Irish team for gymnastics and from young age was very much at ease travelling away from home without my family. After the first year when the novelty had well and truly worn off, I began to miss my home terribly.
Watching photos of my niece graduating pre school and missing my little sisters 18th birthday brought tears to my eyes. This was before the social media craze on mobile phones, logging onto facebook happened once a week in a internet cafe. I was living paycheck to paycheck and even tho I was constantly saying – I was going home to visit as soon as the season was over, my wages never seem to stretch that far.
As the years passed, I was well and truly settled in Lanzarote and it’s culture. I had friends there, a job there, a boyfriend and an apartment. When I found out I was going to become a mum I was delighted but little did I know everything was about to change. I began to feel secluded from the life I had once known in Lanzarote. Becoming a mother made me miss Ireland, my family and friends every bit more. The lonely feeling of giving birth in a Spanish hospital with no friends or family around is a feeling I will never forget. I watched the other new mums rooms filled with laughter, enjoyment and flowers from their loved ones, while I sat alone with Dylan.
As Dylan started to get older I longed for Dylan to be able to celebrate Irish traditions, such as bringing him trick n treating or enjoying the festiveness that surrounds Christmas in Ireland. No matter how I tried to make the most of it it simply was, and never would be the same. I longed to see Dylan play and grow up with his cousins surrounded by a loving family.
When Dylan was one we returned to Ireland.
Oh the relief.
I enjoyed living in Lanzarote for a part of my life but I surpassed my stay. My time in Lanzarote just wasn’t as easy as it appeared on social media. The point I am trying to make; is going for a holiday is much different from living there. I loved my experience of working in the nightlife and would definitely recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity to go and experience it. Would I do it differently, yes 100% but I don’t regret it. It wasn’t all bad, I got to live and experience Spanish culture first hand, I made some incredible friends. One of whom I was bridesmaid for this year. I have most definitely not forgot all the good times I once had in Lanzarote and they will stay with me for ever.
I will never forget the first week back on Irish soil. I was walking down the street with Dylan when ‘’surprisingly’’ it started to rain. I think I was the only ejet standing in the rain smiling. The rain on my skin had never felt more refreshing or comforting. I inhaled deeply the scent of the wet freshly cut grass that filled the air and it was in that moment I knew I had made the right decision. I am home in Ireland four years and I feel as though I am moving a million times per minute.
I feel my life was having a siesta for six years and now I have hit the refresh button. Dylan and myself are continually looking forward to what lies ahead.
This was featured In Irelands Blogging Magazine ModaChic Ireland. Check it out online pages 16- 18 Modachic Ireland