A Year Today.


Dublin Airport, July 1st 2013

This past weekend Gary & I decided to do some things together to reignite why we moved to this wonderful city as our 1 year mark was just around the corner. After travelling home for almost 3 weeks, slipping back into our comfort zones and then having to say goodbye to our families again it left us a little emotionally drained.

Saturday morning came and with it was a glorious day, we packed up a bag and walked down to the harbour front to catch the ferry over to the Toronto Islands. Only a short 10 minute ride across Lake Ontario, with the skyline to your right, the city airport in the middle and the Islands to the left, we definitely had a moment taking in all this wonderful scenery.


P.s The view never gets old


Once docked we began strolling along, talking about how far we had come in the past year and since the last time we had taken a trip over to the Islands last summer. We reached the beach and lay down on the sand, looking out onto the glistening lake with the pier just in sight. I couldn’t help but think about all the things I’ve learnt about myself in the past year and how the world has helped change me for the better. The one line from the song my brother-in-law wrote me kept playing round and round in my head;

“Fear has been your longest friend, but it’s going to get you to your rainbows end.”


It couldn’t be any closer to the truth. Fear had been a big part of who I was, but I left that back in Ireland when I stepped foot onto that British Airways flight. If I’ve learnt anything at all about myself in this past year, it’s that fear is only an emotion that we conjure up ourselves. That’s why we all have different fears, we all have different things that scare us, prevent us from growing and learning, change our actions and even our personalities.


As soon as I let that barrier down everything changed.

I no longer cared about the silly things that scared me, that fear had instilled in me. All the “If’s, but’s and why’s” fell by the wayside. I could see the rainbows end, my very own pot of gold. It was filled full of curiosity, travel, explorations, excitement, newness, life, cultures, experiences.. it was bottomless. One by one, I started to change. I gained independence, we built a home, I got a new job, I met friends, we travelled.. Everything was how it was supposed to be. Of course nothing in life runs without any hiccups, there was times when I missed my family, I wanted to be with them and only them. But, by getting through those times you realise the strength & courage you gain. What I’ve also managed to gain is the knowledge that you really aren’t missing out on anything at home, everything remains the same and it still will be there when we go back. I’ve learnt to live in the now and to embrace what I can, while I can.


One thing that changes your life is the people you meet when you travel. Sometimes when people come in to your life they have a profound affect on you. They open up your eyes in different ways, they have a purpose that adds to the time you’re spending in their city and what they teach you about their culture. If it wasn’t for the people I’ve met in Canada I don’t know if my experience would be the same or I would  feel the same. Knowledge is power and learning as much as I can about such a wonderful city and culture has enriched my way of living. Moments that wouldn’t matter in Ireland, now mean the most to me here. Like spending Sunday mornings rambling around the city with Gary to find a new place for brunch, sharing laughs over good food and early morning mimosas. Memories we are building and creating, that wouldn’t mean a tap at home.


The past year has also taught me a valuable lesson about material things. You can’t take them with you, so what’s the point in putting all your time and money into them? I’ve learnt that travelling can cost as much or as little as you like, but either way its the most rewarding feeling in the world. No longer do I worry about having the latest trends, make up or hair extensions .. but more about the glow you get when you stand at the Top of the Rock with your now Fiancée looking out onto the New York skyline, sitting next to one of your best friends at Radio City watching the Rockette’s on Christmas Eve, Eve. Standing on the Maid of the Mist, feeling the sprays of Niagara Falls hit me and my sisters laughing faces, standing at Webster Falls watching our two friends get engaged, all of these moments will forever mean more to me than any latest Michael Kors bag.


Do you know what else I’ve learnt? Appreciation. You don’t really know how good you have it until it’s gone and sometimes you can just get that little bit comfortable and then you have a level of expectations that have set in. When you move away you’re almost thrown into an uncomfortable situation, away from all familiarities and normalities, into this new life. You no longer have those comforts or expectations, and suddenly you have to be independent… that’s when appreciation sets in. You don’t only appreciate people but you appreciate time, the time you share with the people you miss. You appreciate all your parents (family & friends) do for you when you live at home, personally I had no idea what to expect on living in my house and worrying about money, pay, rent, bills, food, transport, washing, cooking, cleaning – all the things that my mam looked after before! I’m also very appreciative for the new life I live, that I’m fortunate enough to travel and grow, be part of such a huge city and learn something new everyday.


 After a year away from home I no longer count the days I’m gone but instead the days I’ve been here, I now realise that life goes on at home just as I get on with it here. I also realise how patriotic you become when you live away from your home-town, how proud you are of your heritage. Ireland is a big part of who I am, but I’m happy to leave the fearful old, scared, young, naive Julie back there and remain the new, confident, independent, travelled Julie I am today.

 “So you look at your life, and the two countries that hold it, and realize that you are now two distinct people. As much as your countries represent and fulfill different parts of you and what you enjoy about life, as much as you have formed unbreakable bonds with people you love in both places, as much as you feel truly at home in either one, so you are divided in two.” 

~ Chelsea Fagan

I can only hope to continue to write my journey along the way & look forward to the next year that not only Canada has to offer, but what I have to offer Canada.




P.s Back to the Ireland trip on the next post!








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