It has surprised me how little I follow current affairs in Ireland. I no longer download the Sunday Papers. My knowledge of the world outside the Bow River Valley is what I learn from Twitter and my local radio station’s Facebook Page where national issues stand beside weather warnings and our county team’s endeavours. I get the headlines in a nut shell and nothing more.
It has not escaped my attention that things do not seem to be improving. When the leader of your country goes on television to warn about the upcoming budget; well it may have been brave but it wasn’t a good omen.
For me, the Canadian dream was not based on the state of the economy; it was a decision made from deep inside, a yearning to see more, do something different, grow. Yet, when I look back across the Atlantic, I wonder if it will affect my decision to go home. I have found myself serving Germans in the store, and the topic of the recession will rear its head, and I feel like I should say thank you for the money. I also want to ask those that are kindly lending us money and viewing our budget before we do, did you see this coming, did you warn my leaders that this would happen, were you wrong when you praised our economy? I think on all that was not done when we were “awash” with money: the long waiting lists, neglicence in health care and nursing homes and faulty equipment, rising bus fees and less public transport in rural areas, and wonder what it says about me, as a citizen. I am not angry, I am bewildered. I am confused.
I worked with inspiring youth on active citizenship and engagement, young people who fought for fairness regardless of age and a say in how their own lives are run. I wonder if we all had of been more engaged, more active, more knowledgable in our country’s financial affairs, would we have been more prepared, aware, holding our leaders to account? How did we go from the Celtic Tiger to a Celtic Sloth? I have deliberately not kept myself familiar with the goings on, many people there have stopped listening to; there is only so much negativity a person can absorb. At some point, I will get back in there, knowledge is power and, despite where in the world I am, I am Irish not because of where my ancestors were born but because that is where I live.
Money is not something that I adore. I was raised knowing that money in itself had no value. It was the way you used your money that counted, and I learned that it does not take much to be happy. In travelling, I see that what I need, I have in abundance. Yet, the issue of work is something different. I want to work.
I know that in the Spring I will be ready to reflect on the next steps and I ponder whether home is where the heart is or where the bread is.