Friday, April 22, 2005

So far

At a project and funding review session today, I was asked by the outside reviewers why I'd chosen this position and whether I liked working in Ireland. I refrained from saying that I didn't want to have to learn German to take the other offer I had, but did say Yes, I liked working in Ireland. I've been asked this question quite a lot and at first just said yes because I think it was sort of the expected answer, but I'm finding that I'm not lying. I do like it here. The people are friendly, the lab is good, Dublin rocks. I've talked to a lot of people (especially, for some reason, a lot of Germans living here) and was surprised to find out that many of them just hate living here. Amongst complaints such as the roads and other infrastructure being bad and the government and bureaucracy being incompetent, the main gripe seems to be that Ireland is ridiculously expensive. Which, to be fair, is true. I then usually ask why they don't go back home, and the answer is always, There're no jobs at home. Well, so that seems to be the trade-off: you could live cheaply off unemployment at home, or pay 1000 Euro/month from your paycheck to rent your closet-sized studio here. It's expensive here because people can afford it. Plus I think the Irish are overcompensating at the moment for centuries of being desperately poor.

I wonder how much personality has to do with it. I've read about people who visit some place and "fall in love with it," who feel instantly that "they belong there." (It seems to happen to a lot of Americans in Prague. Although my guess is that it's because there are already so many American ex-pats living there that it's no wonder it "feels like home.") I don't know what that feels like or how it happens. I think I have the ability to be perfectly content with wherever I'm living. Or, to put it another way, I don't think my location affects my level of happiness very much. Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to move to Manchester permanently any time soon, but I was more or less happy during the time I spent there. And although I don't think I will live the rest of my life in Ireland, I'm also very much hoping that my contract will be renewed for a couple of years. Does this attitude mean I have no discrimination, no taste or preference? Does it mean that it doesn't actually matter where I live? Surely this is an area where one should have a definite opinion?

Reading: Mingus Rude arrives on Dean Street in Jonathan Lethem's The Fortress of Solitude and Maan gets freaky with a Muslim singer in Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy.


Evolvingthinker said...

You wouldn't live in Alabama though or on a farm or some suburb? Or maybe you would?

Anonymous said...


you lived in the tri-city area in washington for, what? 2 weeks?

you can't tell me that this location didn't affect your general happiness levels.

you are a person who at least needs a population of a certain size ammassed in the immediate surroundings for there to be good options in food, shopping, transportation, entertainment... etc.