By CATHERINE YIğIT
The philosopher Heraclitus, born in Ephesus on the Aegean coast of Turkey, said in the fifth century BC, “You cannot step twice into the same river, for other waters are continually flowing on.” Expats understand this concept more than most.
It’s been over two years since I went home and I can feel the need to return pressing more urgently every day.
I realize things have changed. Ireland is in the middle of a crushing recession as the Celtic Tiger exhales its last breath. There have been additions and sudden unfortunate losses in my extended family. Yet when I think of going home I don’t consider these to be more than the expected changes of life.
I imagine afternoons in warm pubs, pints of Guinness on the table and conversation flowing. Favorite holiday spots around the country; a session in Falcarragh, Co. Donegal or high tea in Gougane Barra, Co. Cork. I envision wandering through the streets of Dublin, listening to buskers, window-shopping, drifting at will through the city. Warm cups of milky coffee in Bewley’s café with sinful cream slices.
The logistics only rarely cross my mind. Two young children who get bored being walked around the streets, who may not be welcome in the pub and would much prefer to visit the zoo. Trips down the country become a mess of rented or borrowed cars and car seats, expensive accommodation.
What I really miss is the lifestyle I had when I left Ireland, not just my family or even the place itself. I miss being a student, living away from home in the centre of a vibrant city, free to do what I want, when I want.
What do you miss most about your home country? The solid reality of family and places — or an atmosphere long since vanished?
Catherine Yiğit is a native of Dublin, Ireland and writes from Çanakkale, northwestern Turkey where she lives with her Turkish husband and two children.