Sunday, October 19, 2008


After reading the latest of Brandon's musings on immigrating, I thought I'd jot down some of my own experiences and thoughts.

I've moved countries three times.

First time was ten years ago. After school I went to college in Germany. It was probably the best decision I have made. Ever.

At 18 I picked up so many experiences that I otherwise would never have done. Living in communist era dorms. Meeting up with people from all around the world.

A guy telling me about stories from his home Sierra Leone and his family in Freetown while rebels where at the gates. Spine chilling stuff.

Partying with Bulgarians all decked out with Matrix style sun glasses. Listening to old Russian folk songs played on guitar. Cooking up fake Indonesian dishes with cat food and passing them off as authentic at faculty culturual gatherings (there were v few Indoensians in my faculty, so we could get away with it :)).

Indonesian, Ethiopian, Indian, Ukrainian and Chinese pals sharing food with me. I'll be forever grateful for those meals and their friendship (not that I didn't cook myself) but sharing food is a deep thing. Maybe we fell out in the years since, and one or two in particular have good reason for falling out with me. But I will always be grateful for their kindness and their friendship especially in those early years in Germany.

Towards the end of college, I found myself getting bored of Germany. Nothing new. I was slightly bored, but also slightly worried. I would need to find a job. I taught English through that latter years of college. It paid well, I loved my colleagues (as I end up doing in all my jobs it seems) and things were comfortable. But I had no interest in pursuing teaching English long term.

I decided to leave Germany in 2005, and come back to a booming vibrant Ireland - a stark contrast to the situation in Germany. I found myself an OK job. Thing was I left my girlfriend behind. I met Tika on my second or third day in Germany all those years ago. We were great friends for years and later went out and lived together.

Well I never settled in Ireland. My girlfriend, my friends were all back in Germany. Soon Tika and I would break up acrimoniously, as sometimes these things work out. I never gave Ireland much of a chance. Things were tough. I was looking for a way out.

I had this idea that moving away from Ireland would change "stuff". It's weird. Cos when you think about it, moving geographically shouldn't really have an impact psychologically, but humans are weird things, and traveling to a new place can throw new challenges at you. Breaks you out of your fenced in thinking.

So one year, I told my boss I wanted to leave and work for a charity in Jakarta. He gave me a raise and I stayed. Next year I said I was leaving to work for some micro-finance research group in Jakarta. He offered me the possibility of a more interesting job and a move to New York.

And here I am. 10 years after my move to Germany. Living just off Wall Street. My colleagues and my two flatmates, other than that i know no one here.

First move was a good one. Second move at least in the short term may well have been a mistake. Third move, who knows, early days.

Just like my thoughts before the first move, I feel I have little to lose now - and who knows what I have to gain from my time in New York. I'll just have to wait and see I suppose. And if things don't work out here - despite my best intentions - maybe I'll get to live in Indonesia sometime soon.


TaTa said...

John: Second move at least in the short term may well have been a mistake

TaTa: It's too premature to make those statement, John... ^^


johnorford said...

yup, totally correct!

loveprince said...

I couldn't find a single reason why your boss is not allowed you to move to Jakarta...
Is that only because it's "Jakarta" or "Indonesia"?

johnorford said...

well, i think he wanted me to stay.