There’s this thing in Australia called Long Service Leave. Typically at about 10 years, your employer lets you take 3 months paid leave.
I don’t get long service leave, because although I’ve been working with my husband for 20+ years, I haven’t been paid for that entire time, so technically I’m not an employee of 10 years standing.
But since my gorgeous husband (team Eric and Trish) work hard we’ve been able a couple of times now, to take extended leave. The last time was 2013 when we were based in Spain for 3 months, and added the Greek Islands and Morocco with a side trip to the UK and Ireland.
So, 2019. After one week in Dublin to catch up with some cousins and aunties, I moved into Galway. As I write I’m 2 weeks today into Galway. I spent a lot of that two weeks worrying about justifying the cost involved and should I be achieving something during this break. Specifically, something that is measurable, visible and productive.
The answer is NO! According to me and my husband, that is. Others may have a different opinion.
Because I’m effectively a tourist in Galway, there’s the risk that I’ll only get to do and be a tourist. Tourist tours, into a site via the entrance and out via the gift shop 🙂 Only engaging with the people of Galway as a customer. Another woman who has bought a Claddagh ring this year (I have bought one).
So I was thinking, how can I find a community group where I could do some sort of volunteering, or at the very least engage in conversation with people about more than the weather, the colour or flavour choices in the shops, or what I want to eat for dinner.
I visited the library and looked for a community notice board. And unbelievably, I found a flyer for the Treasured Ladies Club. This is just an opportunity for women to meet over coffee with the potential to meet up with company for various days out during the year. And they have been so welcoming in the two visits I’ve had with them.
These lovely ladies are generally older than me, and mainly retired. Not all though. A lot of them have travelled. One of the ladies still working is a Project Manager who has been everywhere! Some of them have visited Australia, some of them have grown children living in Australia. Some of them have even been to Perth (my home town) which I found unusual because most people say they’ve been to Melbourne and Sydney, but not Perth.
Just in this last 2 weeks, someone is in Greece, someone is in France and somebody is going to France next week. So this is is a group of people with something to bring to the table, to add to the conversation, with open minds.
As a lady of middle-age, born in Dublin but having spent all of her adult life in Australia, this is an opportunity to just ‘be’ in Ireland. I want to listen to the Irish speak, watch their news, deal with their weather, explore their surrounds and engage with as many as I can.
I remain a shy introvert. But therein lies the challenge for me. Reaching out.