You never know when a stranger will change your life

wait·ing/ˈwātiNG/

Noun:
  1. The action of staying where one is or delaying action until a particular time or until something else happens.

“Waiting” is a word that I have become very familiar with this year. I returned to Canada in February with the intention of “waiting” for three months for my new visa to be approved for Australia. Three months passed and slowly turned into four, five, and six months, until suddenly it was September and I had been home for eight months.

Good things are worth waiting for, and trust me, my life in Australia was one of those things. It was so good that I cannot even begin to describe the beautiful times and amazing relationships I experienced. Eventually though I started to feel the constraints of waiting, and although I never let go of my desire to move back to Brisbane, I began to dream new dreams.

One day I sent an email to the Australian immigration office inquiring about the status of our application, and received an automated email that implied our application was considered invalid. It was unexpected, freak circumstances, but our application was thrown in the trash without them directly notifying us.

I had been waiting for so long, refraining from making any future plans. And then, once I received that email, I was released from the waiting game. It became possible to take action.

That night I served a lovely couple from Dublin, Ireland. It was a slow night at work so I had the opportunity to really chat with them. As it turns out they own restaurants in the Dublin, and after I shared a bit of my travel tales with them they told me that if I were to move to Dublin tomorrow they’d give me a job. The very idea gave me butterflies and I thought “well, why not?”

Two completely random people planted a seed in my mind and got me thinking about Ireland non-stop. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to go to Ireland and even looked into schools there at one point, but I had been so distracted with Australia that I didn’t even consider getting a working holiday visa somewhere else. I desperately want to travel Europe, and working overseas will give me a really affordable option to experience Europe.

After that day things quickly fell into place. I got into research mode and discovered how simple it would be for me to move to Dublin. There are plenty of serving jobs, housing, and cheap flights to choose from. Applying for a visa is straightforward and I met all of the qualifications. It was meant to be!

Ireland feels right and makes me excited in the pit of my stomach. It seems crazy that I was waiting for eight months for my Australian visa to work out, and then the possibility of Ireland unfolded so easily in a couple of days. Now I am about to begin a brand new journey, filled with new cultures, people, music, food, and land to explore. My future holds the promise of adventure.

I met that couple from Dublin on September 8, 2012, and my flight to Ireland is booked for October 26, 2012. You never know when, and how quickly, a stranger will change your life.

Thinking of moving to Ireland? Here’s what I did:

Visa application: SWAP working holidays (www.swap.ca). You have to apply at least four weeks before your departure date.

Flight: CanadianAffair.ca (found a flight for $303 taxes in from Toronto)

Health insurance: applied through SWAP for RBC’s Bon Voyage travel insurance. I got 12 months of coverage for $432, which is half of what I paid for my insurance when I went to Australia.

Accommodation upon arrival: Hostel World

Housing research: daft.ie

Job research: http://www.jobs.ie/

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A season for change

Dah dah dah dah! Spring is here.

It’s currently 8 degrees outside, and I couldn’t be more pleased.

I went for a walk today because I had to say hello to the sun. It’s been so long since I’ve spent some time with the sun, and it would’ve been rude to ignore it.

I’ve been thinking lately how frustrating it is that I’m in Canada for my two least favourite seasons – winter and spring. However, since I’ve been here I’ve been reminded of the beauty in both seasons.

View from the kitchen window.

For me, winter’s best quality is its outward beauty. Snow covered mountains, snowflakes drifting from the sky, and hoar frost covered trees are some of the most naturally beautiful things I have ever witnessed. Winter completely transforms a scene, magically covering yesterday’s mistakes and replacing them with sparkling beauty. It’s a treat for the eyes.

Outwardly, spring is muddy, wet, and not yet warm enough to bare any skin. However, it’s exciting because it holds the promise of summer. The children that live on Robyn and Chris’ block have been taking full advantage of the warmer weather and snow-free pavement. They’re always biking, playing basketball, or drawing pictures with chalk on the pavement. When I was a child I didn’t think about the mud or the fact that spring isn’t as “good” as summer. I was thrilled with the change and loved it for what it was. As soon as the weather warmed up I would shed my coat, put on my rubber boots, and bike all around the farm for as many hours as possible. Once the snow melted, I’d spread a quilt out on the damp grass and read a book. I only saw the positive, not the negative.

It’s the time of year when I become inspired to make changes, probably because the change around me is so stark I can’t help but feel like it’s possible for me to change as well. I find myself thinking maybe I will head back to school one day for a post-grad program. I catch myself imagining all the different cities I want to live in and possible careers I could have. I even go so far as to picture myself settling down in my own home, planting a garden, and writing a book.

Spring is special, even if in the beginning it’s not as beautiful on the outside. It does something to people. Gives them hope.

Spring warms my heart and fills me with inspiration — even if I do still need to bundle up in three layers.