Laura: Expat With Kids In Dublin
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Dublin, etc.
My name is Laura Guerrero Madrid. I’m a Spanish housewife and mother of two sons (aged 3 and 5) living in Dublin since 2007. We moved to Ireland for working reasons; at the beginning, we thought this would be a relatively short experience, but as time goes by, we feel more and more comfortable here and, for the moment, we are not even thinking about going back to Spain or moving to any other country.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
When we arrived in the country, I started looking for blogs/sites about family activities in the city, or child-friendly cafés, nice parks and playgrounds… even B&Bs where to spend our weekends away. I found quite a few sites, but the contents they offered were all very standard: no useful opinions, no real comments from real mums highlighting good and bad aspects of the places described, no pictures (or just the typical one)…
So very soon I saw that it would be a very good idea to create a blog like mine. At that time I was working and didn’t have a spare minute to dedicate to my idea, but when my second son was born I gave up my job for a while and started working on this blog (just as a hobby). Since then, I’ve had very valuable feedback from mums and that is why I keep writing.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
Some months ago I wrote about Donadea Forest Park. I like this entry very much because the place is amazing! It was the first time we visited it because some friends told us about it, and we fell in love with it.
Tell us about the ways your new life in Dublin differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
It is always hard to say goodbye to friends and family and start a new life from scratch, but, as strange as it may sound, I consider that Spanish people and Irish people are not so different, so we didn’t suffer any big culture shock.
But I did have trouble getting used to the weather, though. In fact, I still miss the sun very much, especially during the summer time. It was very difficult for me to accept so much rain so often. Coming from Spain, I was not used to dealing with cloudy days and rain on a regular basis. My children (…and my beautiful shiny red wellies!) have helped me understand that “there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing”.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Dublin? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
We collected a lot of information about Dublin before moving. We also visited the city before taking the very final decision. I think that helped us understand what we were facing, but there are always things (good and bad) that you don’t find out until you actually live in the new country. I wouldn’t change the decisions and preparations we made.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
When we first started thinking of moving to Ireland, and people asked us why we would leave everything behind to start from scratch in Dublin, I used to joke saying that I would move only to be closer to Liam Neeson (my favorite actor, who is originally from Northern Ireland).
A couple of months before the final move, we visited the city for some days and Liam Neeson happened to be in the same hotel as us (we didn’t know), so one evening, to our great surprise, we ran into him at the bottom of the stairs – Mr Neeson very kindly said “Good evening” to me with a big smile in his face and I just paralyzed, I couldn’t say anything; I didn’t even ask for a picture with him (grrrrr). But, I knew that destiny had spoken: Ireland was the right choice.
My husband still laughs at me when I tell the story, saying how impolite I was for not even saying hello that evening!
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Dublin?
- Prepare: read about life in the city, visit if possible, talk to other expats, ask for information about the difference in cost of living between Dublin and your home town/city, make lists (pros and cons)...
- Expect the unexpected: I’m sure there will be some disappointing surprises when you move, but that shouldn’t discourage you. There will also be fantastic ones that will make you feel you’ve made the right choice.
- Enjoy: Dublin is a great city and your assignment will be as successful as you want to make it.
How is the expat community in Dublin? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
Thanks to our jobs, we have been in contact with many expats since we arrived in Dublin. And they helped very much to make our life easier at the beginning. Now, I’m part of a group of very active Spanish speaking mums living in Dublin – it feels good to be part of a group of people in the same situation, with the same interests and sharing the same language.
Dublin is a very cosmopolitan city and it is not difficult to find like minded people/fellow expats at work, in the neighborhood, at school…
How would you summarize your expat life in Dublin in a single, catchy sentence?
A highly rewarding experience in a city where the constant cool and wet weather is compensated by the amazingly warm and welcoming people who’ve made us feel at home since the day we moved.