BY: MEGAN DRAKE and JORDYN FERRARO
Four years ago today, we left Ireland, enchanted with the people and open green fields only hoping and dreaming that one day this place would be home again. For some reason, this day, December 19, has always stuck with us. We called it our day of mourning (we’re obviously not dramatic at all) as it was the day our study abroad experience ended. But now, here we are. Four years later with 14 new countries under our belts and this place we once called home, is now our home again. It’s crazy to think it was four years ago, yet at the same time, with every December 19th that passed, the Lord continued His work in our lives to bring us each here.
As to be expected, moving to a different country has had its ups and downs. When we were looking into moving to Ireland we knew that we would be in for some differences, and we knew that the lifestyle we had in Glendora would change – some sad changes like no more Starbucks or Target runs, saying goodbye to friends, family & our church, and also some not so sad changes like finally escaping the LA traffic California is notorious for & the year round heat wave we found ourselves trapped in (ok, that’s a little dramatic, we weren’t trapped). Nevertheless, we were headed in the direction of change, full speed ahead.
Although Ireland may not seem like the most different country compared to the U.S., it still is different in a lot of ways. We thought we would share some of the differences with you so you can laugh along with us as we adjust to life here in Galway.
We tried to think of all the things that we have had to get used to, some realities were harder than others to face (& adapt to daily, like lack of central heating after getting out of the shower) and with others that have led us back to our ungraceful travel selves, laughing through the differences. So, without further adieu here is our list thus far:
1. Grocery Shopping – unlike our Costco loving country, we have found grocery shopping is done in smaller amounts. No more stock up runs for us because we A) can’t carry it all home (one of the many joys of living a car-less life) and B) our fridge is the size of a college freshman’s dorm room fridge. We now shop for only a couple days at a time, instead of our monthly Costco stock ups. And while it can be a struggle to drag ourselves into the rain at times to get some needed groceries, it has given us the luxury of buying fresh – aka fresh baked bread every few days with the (occasional) mixed in fruits and veggies. Living outside of California means living by the fruits and veggies of the season, instead of a plethora of options anytime of the year. While Megan is a bit more used to this from Colorado, for Jordyn it’s been a whole new learning experience.
2. Public Transportation – in the move to Galway we left our cars behind back in America, leaving us to either walk, bus, or taxi everywhere. We are both currently unemployed, looking for work and let’s just say the bus is a luxury we pinch our pennies for. Walking is great on the nice days, not so great when you get caught in the rain, leading us to create our ‘rainy day fund’ – a jar of extra change to save up to take the bus on those downpour days or when we have bought too much to walk home in our run to the city centre. To our advantage, we have a stop directly outside our apartment (that even has a covering for the rain) which we’ve both come to extremely appreciate on those stormy days.
3. Limited Space – we have talked about the size of our apartment and how God has told us no to our dream of a 3 bedroom, but provided immensely with our 2 bedroom. But with a small apartment comes a limited amount of space. If you ever had the privilege of seeing our closet in our Glendora apartment you know how much we love shopping and our clothes. We are adjusting to a small wardrobe to store our clothes and having to get creative with how and where we store things. Let’s just say our old closet was about the size of Jordyn’s room (Megan won Rock Paper Scissors for the bigger of the two rooms – it’s how we make most of our split decisions) and it’s a hard fall back down to reality of the everlasting struggle of finding closet and storage space. But thanks to the ever-so-brilliant Pinterest, we’ve both been able to learn and find new creative ways to maximize our limited space.
4. Weather – now this one probably comes at no surprise as we chose to move to a country with more rainy days than days of sunshine. A complete 180 from the California sunshine. But with our tiny suitcases and still lack of clothes from home, we learned very quickly that the contents of our suitcases did not equip us for the often rainy days. After a few days of trying to tough it out and wait until our wardrobes from home made their entrance to Ireland, we gave in after several caught in the rain moments. But if there is anything we’ve learned, it’s that with the proper gear, the rain really isn’t all that bad. And for those days that we were without rain attire, we embraced the life of the unemployed and had many Netflix marathons to fill our time (something we’re both extremely thankful for as we love our movies and tv shows).
These are just a few of the adjustments were navigating our way through as we continue to hunt for jobs and anxiously await returning to our families for Christmas. All in all, life here is simple. Time seems to move slower, pots of tea linger longer, and the winter weather leaves the perfect excuse to watch endless Hallmark movies (thank you, YouTube). We’re learning and laughing our way through the moments of bags breaking and rain drenching, and as we look back over the past four years, each of us with different circumstances that led us back, we can both confidently say it’s all been by the orchestrating of the Lord and his faithfulness. He’s opened the door for us to live here, and truly, it’s been the best kind of adventure yet.