Agrippinus was a Roman statesman and Stoic philosopher who lived during the reign of Nero. One morning, a messenger brought him some terrible news: he was being exiled, effective immediately.

He responded, in true Stoic fashion, “Very well, then, we shall take our lunch in Aricia.”

A powerful message of “go with the flow”; life throws us some of these proverbial curveballs, things that are not fully under our control. However, what we are always in control of is how we react to them.

Earlier this year, my wife and I made the decision to move from Canada to Ireland, where I had found a new job opportunity. This new role was one of the reasons for the move; we also found the prospect of living in Ireland an exciting adventure. We would be able to explore the different areas of the country, learn about their culture, history, traditions, etc. There was also the possibility, given the inexpensive intra-Europe airfares, to hop over to visit some of Europe.

Alas, the adventure is coming to an end. We are returning to Canada.

My wife is already back, as she had to go for personal reasons, and we have decided that she will not come back to Ireland; instead, I will be joining her in Canada.

There are two factors influencing our decision. The first is that the new job did not turn out as expected; I won’t go into details here, but suffice it to say that, similar to a divorce, the owner and I had “irreconcilable differences” on how to do things.

I decided about 2 weeks ago that I’d had enough and started looking for another role; I’ve had 5 recruiters (here in Ireland) looking for a new position for me, but nary a bite. This is the second factor affecting our decision: this global pandemic has slowed down a lot of business activity, and not many people are hiring. I may have been able to find something in Dublin, but we were not really interested in living there (many of the local Irish folks agree with this!).

There is disappointment, of course, and some sadness. We were really enjoying life here, and were hoping to explore so much more of the Emerald Isle. But regrets? None! We got to live in Ireland for 5 months and experience life in Waterford; we got to visit Kilkenny, Dunmore East, Tramore, Dungarvan, Cork, Clonmel, and a few other small villages in the southeast, all of them charming. We met some wonderful people and got to fill our eyes with beautiful landscapes.

There are many things I will miss about Ireland, notably (and my wife will laugh at this!) the food! We were quite surprised by the quality of Irish products: dairy, meat, vegetables, etc. I, for one, will certainly miss my big weekend breakfasts with the Clonakilty blackpudding, which I have come to enjoy very much!

I will miss the slower pace of life; the narrow (!), twisting country roads; the patchwork of green hills and valleys; the ancient ruins dotting the landscape in seemingly random places; the “oldness” of civilization here.

But now, we are coming full circle, so to speak, and heading back to Quebec, where we have the support of friends and family as we get back on our feet. We look forward to meeting up with some of them soon! I am currently looking for a new role, and have been encouraged by early signs of opportunities.

So there it is: like Agrippinus, I will pack up my lunch and have it wherever life takes us!