The tricky part now is figuring out exactly which home that heart belongs to. We’re almost three months into our new adventure here in the Czech Republic, and the initial feelings of anxiety and concern have turned into acceptance and….dare I say it….love. On Thursday last we flew back to Ireland for an all too brief visit, catching up with family, friends….and attending a same sex civil partnership ceremony…as you do.
The four days flew by in a blur and before I knew it, we were back in our apartment, watching NCIS and thinking about work the next morning. Just as I adjusted to life in the Czech Republic fairly quickly, I settled back into life in Ireland with the minimum of fuss. One of the days I walked the short distance to my old job, a journey I had undertaken for nine years previously, and returned my old uniforms. Of course I was returning as just a customer, but it actually felt like I was still working there, and just visiting on a day off. The same feeling prevailed when I met up with my friends in the “local” for a few pints. It wasn’t some weird forgotten experience, but exactly the same as I remembered.
The streets of Dublin, and my hometown of Portmarnock hadn’t changed, the same people walked past, the same cars drove by. And back here in Pardubice while we were gone, life went on. The cruise boat we took down the Nile a few years ago, has brought many thousands more tourists on the same trip, and continues to do so. Everywhere we’ve been, is still the same place and will continue to be so.
Emigrating makes you realise the World isn’t waiting around for you to explore it, life doesn’t stop in that place you visited after you left. Everything carries on just fine in your absence. In this era of social media saturation, software like Google Earth lets us explore places before even going there, we can almost have a holiday from the comfort of our own home. We can watch videos on YouTube and Vimeo to get a taste for new places and cultures. We can follow Twitter posts about the political upheavals taking place in a country we know nothing about.
This little planet of ours has never been more accessible and for me at least, the idea of moving somewhere else to live isn’t a terrifying prospect, but a minor adjustment. Pardubice is my home for the time being, but Ireland is my home..home. I’m just as happy in either of them and it’s comforting to know I can travel from one to the other in less than a day.
I was never very patriotic about Ireland but i’m proud to call myself Irish, and our country, despite its many problems, is a truly wonderful place. My appreciation for my homeland has grown a bit since leaving her shores, I smile that bit wider when I see something that reminds me of home and my desire to get out and see the countryside and explore the wilder parts of Ireland is stronger than ever.
However I think I have the Czech Republic to thank for that. I’m not the type to just sit at home and do nothing, despite previous references to doing just that…..
Before I gained employment here, I explored Pardubice, walking in a new direction every time, trying to find places of interest. And now I have an income, I can expand on that, branch out into the countryside and see the rest of the Czech Republic. This desire to explore my newly adopted home, encourages a desire to do the same in my original home.
It’s sort of like one of those lightbulb moments, or a smack to the back of the head. Travelling outside your comfort zone and experiencing new things, makes you appreciate the things you already had that little bit more. So you could say, the heart is where the home is.