This week we talk with Helen Becarra (nee Flynn) originally from Millstreet and now living, married, in the United States. After a J1 trip abroad, Helen fell in love with her neighbour Jon Becarra, who serves in the Marine Corps. She now lives in Huntington Beach in southern California – otherwise know as The OC. All in all a pretty decent deal, especially with the constant sunshine.
Name: Helen Becerra (Flynn)
Occupation: Graphic Designer & Marketing Manager
Where in Cork you are from: Millstreet
How long has it been since you emigrated from Ireland?
Why did you decide to leave Cork?
I went on a J1 summer and my next door neighbour ended up being my long distance boyfriend and then my husband.
What made you emigrate to the place you live in at the moment?
A marriage proposal. I think I would have tried hard to come back here even if I never met him, I fell in love with the place from day one.
What’s your favourite thing about your new home?
The weather is definitely number one! The convenience of everything would be next - whatever you want, groceries, pharmacy, alcohol etc is available all day and all night as long as you know where to go. I noticed this a lot when I visited my parents last summer and was faced with a mile long walk for a bar of chocolate! Anything you want is probably available within an hour drive radius – they have a saying here that California is a state where you can go to the snow, desert and beach all in one day.
What do you miss most about Cork?
I miss knowing everyone, the craic and mostly the Irish sense of humour. Americans have such a different brand of humour. And Hillbillies breast in a bun. Oh and Penneys!
What do you miss least about Cork?
The rain, the No 5 and No 8 bus on a “soft” day when the whole bus is steamed up and late. Also the price of drink and the bouncers, that’s about it.
How did family and friends react when you emigrated?
My emigration kind of happened gradually so I think they saw it coming. My family and friends were delighted for me when they heard about my engagement and permanent future here. My mother knew I would never stay in Ireland, I haven’t lived at home since I was 19. Between summers away and Erasmus years at college I was on the go all the time.
Do you plan to return to live in Ireland anytime in the future?
If I do I think it will be far in the future. At the moment we are set up pretty well here and I couldn’t imagine leaving it. Plus my husband is under contract with the Marine Corps so he has no choice about where to live.
Would you like to raise your family abroad?
Yes I would like to raise a family here because I think there are a lot more opportunities for someone growing up. The facilities in some schools are amazing. I would like our children to experience plenty of Ireland too because I would hate for them to be a stranger to it.
Does social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Skype make it easier to move abroad?
Yes most definitely. I would be lost without Facebook to stay in touch with everyone back home. And Skype is the greatest invention ever!
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