A Modern Love Story

United States of America - Raleigh, North Carolina

I squeezed what I could of my life into two suitcases, a carry on and a backpack and traveled the 3000 miles across the Atlantic to my new home.

I met Katie online in 2016. We spoke for months before finally closing the distance when she visited Ireland for the first time. We were smitten. My family welcomed her with open arms, they loved her and were happy for us. Katie fit in nicely, the biggest shock to her was that you can’t put on the kettle without the whole room wanting a cuppa. She learned fast!

After that it was like clockwork, we would visit each other every 3 or so months. I took her to some of my favourite places and explored new ones. Dun Laoghaire, Glendalough, Grafton Street, Galway, Belfast and more. We did this for 3 years before she asked me to marry her on the Giants Causeway. We then married in December of 2019; our families finally got to meet in person in a tiny ceremony in Katie’s parents house, adorned with Christmas decorations.

I celebrated Christmas there, then headed back to Ireland for the final time.

As I finished up work, said my ”see ya later’s” and booked flights, the world had other plans. It was March 2020 and the Coronavirus was quickly sweeping the globe. Scared and uncertain, borders rapidly closing; I pulled my flights forward and took off for America the day before St. Patrick’s Day. Suddenly 28 years at home didn’t seem like enough. Not even close.

The airport was packed, everyone scrambling to get home or get out not knowing what Covid was. With my visa papers in hand and hours in the queues I made it to the other side. As usual Katie was waiting for me with open arms.

We were so naïve to think I’d be able to visit home again so soon. That I’d be home again for Christmas. We thought the visa would only take a couple months but we’re onto the last part of it so 2022 will have to do!

So this year again I’m putting up another tree with different decorations than the usual childhood ones I see every year. An ugly round Santa I lovingly dubbed ‘football Santy’ as a child. I asked my mam to make sure she kept it so I can take him with me next time. Katie and I are starting our own collection and traditions to make it feel like ours.

It’s hard being away from family and friends, I especially miss seeing my nieces and nephew growing up, we talk on face time and the youngest refers to me as ‘Lan on the phone’. That’ll do for now and I look forward to when I can hop on a Flight and put football Santy up again.

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