In a little under a week, I’ll tearfully say cheerio to my family as I walk through the departure lounge at Terminal 2 of Dublin Airport.
I’ll snivel and feel broken, leaving behind everyone I love and everything I know to embark on this fresh chapter in my life.
And as I relish my last five days in Donegal, I can’t help but feel a strange mix of cheerful anticipation and absolute dread.
I had been toying with the idea of heading Stateside for the past few years. I didn’t do a J1 visa in college, although I did some pretty cool stuff during my summers closer to home. I helped renovate a house in rural Sweden, I worked hard and played hard as a waitress in a boutique Dublin hotel, and I started earning my stripes as a journalist at a local news website.
I visited New York twice before, once when I was 8 and another time when I was 16. Now it seems, it’s time for another visit. Only this one will be for a little longer.
After graduating, I felt America calling. The path across the Atlantic, well-trodden by so many Irish souls before me, was beckoning. Last summer it was announced that the 1-year US Graduate Visa programme might not go ahead, meaning limbo land for Lainey. I considered London, I considered Edinburgh, but I was paralysed by indecision.
Sitting at my desk on a cold January morning, I received a text from USIT saying that the programme was going ahead. I immediately began contemplating whether it was the right thing to do, where I’d go, how I’d practically navigate the leap; moving away from frivolous, rose-tinted daydreams and towards the gritty, scary reality.
And still I thought and thought. When it came down to it, I knew that I’d regret it if I didn’t at least try. In the end, as cliche and cheesy as it sounds, it was the lyrics of a song that made me change my mind.
“You’re missing a party that you’ll never get over, you hate the idea that you’re wasting your youth, that you stood in the background oh until you got older,” James Murphy promised. Sick of being a wallflower, longing for something to force my out of my shell, I don’t want to stand in the background any more. I want to do something exhilarating. I want to move to New York.
Honestly? I’m not even sure if it’s the right thing to do. It still doesn’t feel real. Turning the page and penning this new chapter means saying goodbye to my family, my friends, my boyfriend, my wonderful job, the country I call home.
But what I do know is that it’s something I need to do. I’m sure of that much at least.
I’ll pound the New York pavements in search of a place to lay my hat. I’ll cadge for that dream internship at anywhere that’ll give me the time of day (if there’s any recruiters reading, heyih). I’ll throw myself into city life and all of its weird and wonderful ways.
Earnest angst and scared-shitless feelings aside, I have never been so excited or ready for something in my entire life.
And so, the adventure begins. New York, here I come.
Would you like to come with me?
Follow a clueless Donegal culchie as she navigates the concrete jungle: