Where do you belong?

I've a confession to make: I am not Welsh.  Actually I never claimed to be.  I just say that I come from Wales, which is absolutely true.  I was brought up in a little market town close to the English border.  My school friends came from both countries, but I was very confused when my parents told me that I had actually been born in London.  It seems that we moved to Wales when I was six months old.  Did I fit in?  Well my parents spoke BBC English, but I acquired a local accent, so fitted in without a problem.  But while I love visiting Wales and my family and friends who still live there, it doesn't feel like home anymore: so much has changed that it really is a foreign country.

Like most of my school friends I left town at 18, and went to college in Manchester, becoming a 'student', as in not a Mancunian: we had our own dress code, our own clubs and our own accent. But this was just a transition, I belonged simply because I was a student.

Post College I headed for the land of Essex, a unique place in 1980s England.  And some of what they say about Essex girls is true, everyone in my memory was blond, tanned and weighed down with gold jewellery.  There's actually photos of me wearing drainpipes and white stilettos *hangs head in shame again*.  I also picked up a London accent and a group of fabby friends, both of which I still have.  But I had to escape from Essex as I couldn't stick the traffic, so we moved to Dublin.  Yes I know, the joke is on me.



I've lived here for 20 years now, but as I don't have an Irish accent, strangers still ask if I'm enjoying my holiday, and acquaintances still ask if I'm going to go 'home'.  So where is home?  Where do I belong?
Maybe I don't belong anywhere - in my mind, I'm not English, Welsh or Irish, it's like I don't have a nationality - but Dublin is now home.  It's where my kids were born and where they want to be.  Many of my friends are here, my work contacts are here.  I feel at home here. Even at the worst of times, it's still a good place to live.  And, despite the dire state of the Irish economy and the merciless bond market which I believe is now playing "chicken" with the Irish Government and stands to make billions when we finally admit defeat and go to the IMF, other people agree with me.

So, do you know where you belong?


22 comments:

  1. BTW I hope no-one will think it insensitive of me to write a post that reminds me why I like living here. It's one way of cheering myself up, and I really need to with all the bad news and sad stories this week xx

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  2. I know that I am Irish but can't really get anymore specific than that. We moved around a lot when I was growing up, living in one place for just 3 months! The longest I have lived anywhere is as an adult in Dublin, but I don't consider myself a Dub! Similar situation to yours without the international flavour :D Jen

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  3. I'm definitely Scottish, even if I never live there again, it's where my heart is, machusla mo chridhe

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  4. Spent 33 years in Dublin and 8 in Wexford... I still don't know where I belong but will let you know if I ever figure that out xx

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  5. Definitely Irish even though it's questionable that I will ever be able to live there again. But my heart is there. I would go back tomorrow if I could! Nice post :)

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  6. H! My husband lived in London in the 80's and I asked him if he knew anything about "Essex" and he started laughing..he said "HAhahaha...Those girls had bleached blonde hair and wore enormous earings!" hee...I don't belong anywhere either..it's funny-but when people refer to the states-they think one country...but in essence we are a ton of different cultures..*sigh* New York is my hometown..and though I feel most comfortable there..I wouldn't say I fit in...lovely post. :)

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  7. I did my nurse training in Romford so I consider myself practically native. I was more into rock chic than stilettos tho!! I had a great time there.
    I'm Irish, but my 13 year old was born in London and even tho we moved to Co Monaghan when he was a baby, is very proud to be English.
    TBH I really feel the question of "nationality" is a bit mad. Where you're born is random and is totally out of your control. it's who you chose to be that's really important. It's so tied up in our identities tho I guess, that it's hard to escape.
    Really thought provoking stuff!
    XXX

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  8. born in london, moved to galway when i was 9 and now in Louth - but in my heart I'm a galway girl! Lovely post xx

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  9. I was born on the other side of the world, but i dont feel i belong there.

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  10. Interesting post. I'm a born and bred northerner (north west england) but have been living in the south for over 25 years now. I still have a very strong northern accent but when i visit 'home' I'm told I talk 'posh'. Not sure if I could go back 'home' now though - I'm too used to all the facilities that are available where we now live and my daughter would kill me if we upped sticks and moved!

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  11. Lovely Post Blue Sky. Born and bred in Dublin, me. No doubt that I am a Dublin Lassie. But I have acquired a new home recently. Well, two of the in fact. And I do feel very at home there.... facebook and twitter!!

    Insensitve?? No...we do well to remind ourselves of what a great place to live our country is. We just need to get back on our feet. I fear you are SPOT on re: the Bond Markets....

    xx Jazzy

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  12. Scottish, Glaswegian. Anything else is purely a matter of geography. I'm never as happy as when I'm back in Scotland.

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  13. I was born in Tipperary, but brought up in Milton Keynes, England, where there is quite a big Irish community. Went to a catholic school so lots of our friends were Irish, and I felt very 'Irish' growing up. As you get older, it becomes less and less a part of your life, which is quite sad really. I'd love to move to Ireland as I have a large family over there, but I'm married to an Englishman who isn't too keen to go. Don't quite know where I belong - an Irish woman living in England, but who everybody considers to be English in Ireland!

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  14. I'm de Pure Nortsoide as yissers know.

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  15. I am Bulgarian, but was a student in Russia for 5 years. When I went back home, it felt so boring and domestic compared to student life - so, eventually, upped my sticks for Dublin. I was totally restless, never felt I belong, always thought I'd be happier somewhere else - not true of course, because you always bring your "baggage" with you. Would I be happier if I had my family move again? Probably not. I think at this stage I associate "home" with the people I love, not with a place. My home is where they are.

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  16. From one of those blonde essex girls - natural not bleached darlings!! - I'm happy to roam at will and call this planet earth home. xxx

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  17. Oops sorry not to return sooner to say thank you to everyone who took the time and trouble to comment here and on Twitter and Facebook, I really appreciate it :)

    It's interesting how some know exactly where they belong even if they no longer live there, while the rest of us are still trying to work it out..

    @Helen - I love your take on this, and that you didn't mind my comment about Essex Girls. Enjoy your travels and really looking forward to reading the next installment xxx

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  18. How funny - there must be something in the air - I posted on exactly the same thing earlier on this week.... and I *am* an Essex girl....Not sure I belong there either...

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  19. I don't know if this saying carries over the big pond, but here it is said: "Home is where the heart is."

    I'm so glad you tweeted this post (while I was asleep last night). Late coming in here, but this was very enlightening for me. I don't think you have to apologize for what you put into your own blog, and yes, blogging can have a therapeutic effect.

    We moved back to the town where I was born and raised in Texas. I had lived away for 18 years before we came back here. It feels like home, and everywhere else is new and exciting and interesting.

    The UK (which I visited once when I was very young) is a land of myth, history and magic, to me. To learn about the nuanced social differences in a country smaller(?) than my state is fascinating. Yet, there are similar borderless differences within Texas also.

    Thanks for a great read! Barbara

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  20. I'm a big mixture of all four English,Irish,Welsh and Scottish....hehe. Live in England though, that's home although I'm not particularly sentimental and if someone offered to move me to somewhere warm I'd be tempted! ;)
    Would love to visit Ireland one day, been to the others but not Ireland. x

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  21. Hello there - I popped over to read Smiley's story from Life in a Pink Fibro and I read part 1 or 2 and then spent ages reading other posts to make sure Smiley made it through!! And she did!! x

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  22. @Planb - thanks for visiting and I enjoyed visiting yours :)

    @Barbara - yes we have the same saying and glad you enjoyed this post

    @Chic Mama - Everyone I know who visited Ireland really loved it...even now, hope you visit one day when life settles down for you xx

    @Maxabella - So glad you liked Smiley's story. I plan to write more, but need to go through a pile of files to make sure I get the details correct x

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