I have always been a dreamer. I envisioned walking down the red carpet, going to New York City, and traveling the world. I longed to see faraway places like South Africa and Australia. In high school, I finally made it to New York and in college I travelled a bit around the U.S. As I got older, that nagging dream to travel the world remained; it was just tucked away in the back corner of my mind. Thankfully I was not alone in my desire to see more of the world.
I had not shared that dream with anyone until I met him. Our paths crossed at Prairie View A&M University. I was a freshman from Missouri City, Texas and he was a sophomore from Los Angeles, California majoring in Agricultural Science. I will say, I think he was only intrigued by the fact that I had a Westside Connection sticker on the back of my Bronco and not by our initial conversation. But we connected over hip hop and common experiences and I shared my neatly folded dream with him. I can’t say he was instantly on board, but he had dreams of traveling to exotic places and experiencing animal safaris and adventure, so it worked. Fast forward several years, we got married (almost fifteen years ago), did some Caribbean and Mexican travel, and are currently raising a seven-year-old girl and a nine-year-old boy in Dublin, Ireland.
The decision to journey to Ireland was not an easy one to make and this move was not taken lightly. We have little humans we are responsible for, as well as family and friends we love and care about dearly. Our parents are fans of travel but living in another country — that was a huge pill to swallow. My husband works as an agriculture specialist with the United States government. A post opened in Dublin, Ireland and we decided to step out on faith and my husband applied for the job. We went on with our lives for two years and didn’t think anymore about the potential move.
And then, it happened. My husband got the job and we were told to pack our bags because we were heading to Dublin in two months. Two months! Our family and friends did not even get a chance to process the news. My mother stopped speaking to me for a week as she digested her feelings. My parents-in-law worried about our safety and researched Dublin and Europe more than the State Department does.
Our friends’ reactions varied. Some asked, “Why would you want to do that?” and others said, “That is amazing! When can we come visit?”
Two months is not a long time to pack up four people’s lives and move to another country, so, we had no time to waste. We comforted our families and friends, made sure everyone had iPhones and/or WhatsApp, and got to work. Now that we have settled in Dublin, everyone has embraced the move and the opportunities it has given our family.
Dublin is a great city. I can walk or take public transport everywhere. The culture and the vibe of the city is invigorating. The people are some of the friendliest people I have ever met. Ireland is absolutely captivating. The island is a great hub; the location makes it easy to visit other countries. And it has been a wonderful place to raise children. Our kids have exposed us to Irish history, culture, and music that they are learning at school and from friends. We are open and soak up all that Ireland has to offer on a daily basis. We love it.
Pack Your Culture
I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the fact that we are a Black family living in Dublin. We get the stares and the double takes on a daily basis. Not only are we Black, but we are Black Americans, which adds an extra layer of confusion for the Irish folks here. Since moving to Ireland, we have had more open conversations in our household about race in general, race in America, Black girl magic, hair texture, skin colors, Black American culture. And the list goes on. We read the same books, we listen to the same music, we watch the same movies as we did in the United States. We do miss our culture and don’t want our children to have an even larger identity crisis due to our negligence.
My son plays rugby at school and with an outside club. He is the only Black player on the team. He has fallen in love with the sport (it was completely foreign to us) and we expose him to rugby matches all over the world so he can see other players that look like him. My daughter takes Irish dance classes at school and gymnastics classes with an outside club. She is the only black girl at the club so we watch videos of Dominique Dawes, Gabby Douglas, Simone Biles, and Sophina DeJesus all the time. It’s hard when you go three-to-four days without seeing another face that looks like yours. We have only had one visitor from home (for twenty-four hours); it was beyond awesome but we long for more. The reconnection would be fulfilling for all of us and it is essential for our children to experience close relationships in real life and not on a phone or computer screen. As parents, we can only pray, do our best, and raise our little Black children to always be proud of who they are and aware of the world we live in.
Despite any challenges encountered along the way, I am literally living a dream. Remember that dream of living in New York City I mentioned earlier? Dublin is not exactly New York City but it is my little NYC dream. I am beyond grateful that my family was granted this opportunity to live abroad and I am so glad we took this chance. I will admit that the days can be long and missing home can weigh on the heart. But we are keeping our eyes on the prize and living this life to the fullest.