A few days ago I was reflecting on how anxiety affects your way of taking decisions in your life. I’ve always been a fearless and passionate person, that’s the way my granny proudly describes me all the time. To this day I still put passion into everything I do but I’m not anymore the fearless Ileana I was years ago.
Today I want to tell you my story, on how I decided to leave my country to come to Ireland. I’m from a small town in Italy where everyone knows each other, it has lots of defects and the list of things to complain about would be quite long but I still love it with all its imperfections. Eight years ago my life was going to get a turn that I would never expect considering how much I’m attached to my family and friends. Professionally the life I was living wasn’t exciting anymore and so it was sentimentally, I felt I was going nowhere. I needed something new but I didn’t know what and where, all I knew was that it wasn’t going to happen in my home town. I was determined to work with children as being a nanny for 2 years showed the passion to care for children. I am so thankful to the person I was working for for suggesting Ireland to me as a place to start my life over. “They are very friendly people” she said, it sounded like the perfect place to go. I was about to take the biggest step in my life, going to a foreign country on my own. From that moment the only person I could count on was myself, it felt scary and exciting at the same time. Some people thought it was the craziest idea and after all these years I feel that I can’t blame them. I did some researching on Ireland and I immediately fell in love with it, I felt like it was my place already, even before being there. I believe in destiny and I think that chapter of my life was already written. I booked a flight to Dublin for January 26th 2013, one way ticket. I then booked a hostel for 2 weeks, I thought it was the right amount of time to make some planning and know the town better. I left my job around Christmas so I could spend a whole month with my family and friends. I remember the day I left, when I was in the airport with my parents and they asked me “when will we see you again?” and I said “I don’t know”. When I think back to that moment I always feel very emotional. I feel I was selfish in taking that decision but at the same time I think that selfishness was needed to take that leap. After saying goodbye to my parents, just before entering the airport, I turned around and watch them for a few seconds while they were walking back to the car. Who knows what they were thinking and what they were talking about on their journey home, if they were talking at all. I was so excited that not even getting on a flight on my own would bother me. I never liked flying and it got worse since I started to suffer from anxiety. Breathing exercises and lavender oil are currently my saviours every time I go on a plane.
Ireland was the place where I put my hopes and dreams and where I created my happy life. Coming here pushed me to motivate and prove myself. I lived in hostel rooms for about 2 and a half months, I met some beautiful people that are gonna stay forever in my heart and that helped me to feel less lonely during the hard times. I am thankful I was given the possibility of studying childcare, taking on board the challenge of doing it in a language that was’t mine. Ireland holds my heart, a few months after I came here I met the most wonderful and caring person, which is my husband today. We created a family overcoming the challenge we had to face before finally achieving it. The support I received and I still receive regarding the decision of coming here is so precious and gives me strength. Most of the people tell me I was brave. It actually takes a lot of courage to decide to leave certainty for uncertainty although anxiety took away that side of me. I now find myself overthinking and panicking over stupid things. I mean objectively I know they are not so important but they have the power to play in my head sometimes. Eight years ago I came to a town where I didn’t know anybody and I was fine, I was confident. Today I sometimes have bad anxiety if I’m home alone when my husband works until late. I have to be honest accepting the new me is hard work and sometimes not pleasant. I miss the old me and that pisses me off.