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@wwaycorrigan

[For an audio/vlog version of this story, click here.]

As a sun worshiper of sorts, travelling to Ireland as winter sets in may seem a rather curious thing to do.

A little blue in the green, green grass of Ireland

Ireland is nice for a visit but it’s not the best place to be when looking for work.

While summer in my birthplace does not at all mean glorious sunshine, at least the hours of daylight surpass the hours of night. So for a better chance of enjoying some sun heat in Ireland, visiting between April and September is the optimum period. Just always have a rain jacket close to hand.

Tired land
That being so, cloudless skies and sultry air over Ireland at any time are almost as rare as finding precious-metal-laden cooking containers at the end of a prismatic optical phenomenon from the heavens (locating leprechauns may be an easier task).

That the country gets tourists at all — those with little-to-no blood ties to the land that is — is thanks to its topographical treats and friendly folk, so it goes anyway. It’s not for the weather and it’s certainly not because it’s relatively cheap to visit — far from it these days.

My backend-of-the-year trip home has been chiefly for family reasons.

Had my father’s parents been more considerate back in the 1940s and given birth to him sometime during that aforementioned April-September window, his 80th birthday would have fallen during what I consider to be a more agreeable season. Shame on my grandparents for such a lack of forethought. The difficult hand one is dealt in life, eh?

That aside, considering it had been five years since my last trip to Ireland, I felt a visit was called for. Also, it’s not like I was leaving behind a host of well-paid projects in Colombia. 2023 hasn’t exactly been a year of joyous jobs.

Thus, the chance to celebrate a joyous jamboree or two with family was welcome. It was something to aim for during complicated times.

I wasn’t, however, filled with huge excitement making the journey back.

This had/has nothing to do with family. It’s more a case that regardless of where I am I face the same dilemma: What do I do to make ends meet?

‘The laneways of Lisacul and its surrounds that I’ve trodden many a time don’t offer a sense of adventure.’

So while it’s been great to see family and some friends again — and a niece and nephew for the first time — that what-do-I-do cloud is one that no west of Ireland gale will blow away.

And of all the places I could be whilst trying to source some fulfilling work, rural Ireland in winter, with its long dreary, uninspiring nights, is well down the list. Indeed, selfish as this may sound, being back in the house of my increasingly dependent house only adds to the sense of gloom.

Yes, the travails of old age are inevitable for most of us yet it’s particularly sad to see our loved ones decline. (This is balanced out somewhat by seeing nieces and nephews grow and develop into young adults.)

It speaks volumes that I was only back in Ireland a few hours before I felt that I’d never left. I guess that’s normal.

Where the wind blows
Right now, though, in this time of particular uncertainty — nothing is ever certain, of course — I believe I’d be far more energised stepping into some unknown new adventure, finances permitting.

The laneways of Lisacul and its surrounds that I’ve trodden many a time don’t offer that. Nor does the slobbering around on the unkempt family farm. These have been well tried but not quite trusted to deliver any sort of fulfilment, so to put it.

As things stand, the default is to take the return flight to Bogotá. For sure, I’ve had my struggles there. It’s also not an unknown new adventure. Yet, from a purely financial perspective, I could manage my affairs a little better there. My Colombian pesos carry scant weight in high-income Ireland.

Colombia can be my, whisper it, wolf’s lair, until, perhaps, La Cancillería finally tells me I’m a persona non grata (my current visa is valid for another year yet).

It could be argued that a return to Colombia is just a return to an increasingly less satisfying, mediocre comfort zone — to clarify, that is mediocre in terms of what I’ve been doing there, not the actual country.

There’s truth to that, although I feel I can be a little freer, more independent in Colombia than in an expensive, public transport-light rural Ireland.

I do still have, though, a few more weeks to go in my birth country. And far from fixed to one place as I am, a winter storm could yet blow me in another direction.
__________________________________________________________
Listen to The Corrigan Cast podcast here.

Facebook: Wrong Way Corrigan — The Blog & IQuiz “The Bogotá Pub Quiz”.

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La vida en Colombia desde la perspectiva de un periodista y locutor irlandés, quien ha vivido en el país desde 2011. El blog explora temas sociales y culturales, interacción con los nativos, viajes, actualidades y mucho más. Escucha su podcast acá: https://anchor.fm/brendan-corrigan.

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