Christmas in Ireland

I’m starting to feel excited about this forthcoming trip to Dublin. It will be so great to watch my son enjoy his first Irish Christmas – he was there as a baby at this time of year, but I don’t think that counts. I’m going to enjoy taking him to see Santa, and he is sure to have a great time with his cousins, granny, and aunts.

Going Home for Christmas

I wrote on here a few months back about how I can still get homesick for Ireland (I can also sometimes feel a bit homesick for England because I spent so much of my adult life there). I left Dublin almost a quarter of a century ago, but this stretch of two and a half years has been the longest I’ve ever gone without a visit home. I will always think about it as home no matter how long I live in Thailand.

One of the scary things about reaching middle age is that it becomes harder to take things for granted. I might always consider Ireland to be my home, but that does not mean that I’ll always have a home to go to in Ireland. Who knows how many more times I’ll be able to return there to the house where I grew up? That thought sort of scares me and it can make me feel sad. For me getting older is a process of watching all those things I took for granted being taken away from me.

Twenty-four years is a long time to live away from your home country. In many important ways the place I left no longer exists – Dublin has moved on, but I can only relate to it as it was in the eighties. I don’t regret my decision to leave, but it has certainly had consequences both good and bad. The downside is that in a very meaningful way I no longer have a home. I will always feel like a bit of an outsider in Thailand, and I can also feel like a bit of a stranger back in Ireland. I never knew when I was eighteen that this was the decision I was making by leaving.

This Christmas in Ireland is Going to Be Special

This might be the only chance that my son Timmy has to experience an Irish Christmas as a child. It is the middle of the school term here, and so he will be missing out on some of his education. I feel that it is justified to do this now at his age. It will be harder to justify such a break from school as he gets older. So who knows when/if I’ll get to enjoy another Irish Christmas – it might even be the last one that my family has together. This is why it needs to be special. Maybe that is the benefit of no longer taking my home for granted – it means I appreciate it more.

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4 thoughts on “Christmas in Ireland

  1. “The downside is that in a very meaningful way I no longer have a home. I will always feel like a bit of an outsider in Thailand, and I can also feel like a bit of a stranger back in Ireland.”

    When I was living in Thailand I felt the same way. However, I think that if you focus on making where YOU are home, where your heart is, then as the focal point of your identity and the precious people and things in your life change or pass away, you will feel stronger.

    I think this is easier when you have a child to cement this sense of family and identity, closeness and warmth.

    1. Thanks Amy, in many ways where I am does feel like home, but it some important ways it just doesn’t. I’m not sure if it is ever possible to feel the same way about any place as we we do about the place we grew up. I suppose it is because so much of our identity comes from those early years.

      1. For sure, Paul. I was just reminiscing the other day about the home I lived with my parents throughout my college years, so this can extend even beyond childhood. My parents don’t even live there anymore, but I was considering driving by the old house next time I go to that city.

        I’ve just learned that things change so drastically that I remember fondly, but I don’t try and recapture those feelings because it for sure won’t be the same.

        I hope you share with us if any of these emotional issues occur for you in Ireland.

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