Parklands native Paul O’Donovan left the bright lights of Cork 7 years ago for Dublin, and then proceeded to leave those big city lights for the windy gusts of Chicago. Paul now works as a risk specialist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Rather than leave for economic woe, Paul hit the shores of America for matters of the heart. Highflying Paul is this week’s Rebel Rambler.
Name: Paul O’Donovan
Occupation: Risk Specialist, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Where in Cork you are from: Parklands, Commons Road
How long has it been since you emigrated from Ireland?
I left Ireland in April of 2010, so it’s been a little over 2 years now.
Why did you decide to leave Cork?
I actually left Cork when I graduated from college back in 2006. Cork didn’t have the job options when I came out of college so Dublin was the natural next choice.
What made you emigrate to the place you live in at the moment?
While I was living in Dublin I met my (now) wife, Caily, who is from Chicago. When her visa expired back in June of 2009, she had to return home. Anyone who has experienced it knows that long distance relationships aren’t much fun. We always knew we wanted to be together but it was just a question of where. Chicago won!
What’s your favourite thing about your new home?
It’s so easy to get wrapped in the culture and hype of being in America. They’ve obviously had their economic problems here over the last few years too, but you would never think it walking around downtown or in any of the city neighbourhoods. There is always a buzz about the place and always something to do.
You can never get enough sports over here either which is great for me. I always enjoyed American Football even when I was at home, but now having all the college games too is pretty cool. People go crazy for college sports over here….Michigan’s football stadium is 100,000+ and packed for every home game of the year!
What do you miss most about Cork?
Undoubtedly it has to be family and friends. You can’t help but feel like you miss out on an awful lot going on at home. Thankfully with Skype and everything its a bit easier to see everybody because its hard to make the 4,000 mile trip home too often. But even with Skype, you never quite get used to the time difference. There’s something not quite right about watching Super Sunday at 10 o clock in the morning!
And my accent….which has apparently been fading at an alarming rate.
What do you miss least about Cork?
The Number 3 bus! Nothing worse than when it stopped running at the top of Fair Hill and you had to walk down from Eircom. So I suppose actually the thing I miss the least is the young fellas who used to throw stones at the Number 3 bus!
How did family and friends react when you emigrated?
I’d love to say they were devastated but thats probably an over-statement. I did hear that one of the lads cried himself to sleep for the first 6 weeks….but I won’t name names. I think for my family it was a little easier because we had been planning my move for a while and I was doing it on my own terms. Emigrating to get married isn’t as difficult as having to leave Ireland to find work.
Do you plan to return to live in Ireland anytime in the future?
At the moment it’s not looking very likely but you never know. I think if I had emigrated to go travelling or to find work then it would be a different story. A lot of my friends have emigrated to different parts of the world so if everyone else started coming home then I’d probably change my tune. But it’s tough to know when the economy will take a turn for the better and make it more appealing for people my age to come home.
Would you like to raise your family abroad?
As long as they go to an in-state college! Raising a family will always be difficult because you could ask my wife the same questions if we moved home to Ireland. Thankfully we’re a few years away from having to make a decision like that.
Does social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Skype make it easier to move abroad?
Infinitely so. It’ll never be easy to leave everyone behind, but when you can be the click of a mouse away from talking to and seeing your family on Skype, it makes it a little easier to bare. And Facebook is great because I can go on and ‘Like’ something so that people know I loves ‘em!
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