Since my decision to stay in New York for the summer, the true extent and reality of the situation for Irish immigrants in America has become clear—It is no picnic, especially if you can’t get a job.
Here for only three months on a student working visa my optimism and enthusiasm for life in the ‘Big Apple“was at it’s all time high upon my first arrival.
Too optimistic really. My immediate rash decisions including moving in with a big gang of Irish and saying anything and everything to get a job and spurning the Jersey Shore job I had arranged,
But I loved everything about New York and wanted to stay.
I was delighted when I got a call back almost immediately from a village store in Queens for an interview. A job is a job right? In my desperate attempt for work I thought surely a small wee fib such as the fact that my cashier skills were quite great would keep my job.
Oops, I was wrong and as I was told it wasn’t working out after a few days.
After a few other fruitless days looking I wondered what the hell I was doing in New York City at all?
The reality of the cost of rent in New York really hit home to me when I was left with nowhere to go with friends for six hours outside McDonalds frantically ringing around landlords looking for a cheap place to stay after we lost our lease on our admittedly overcrowded apartment.
So having done the full circle of finding a job and a place to stay and losing them all over again I was know back at square one having to ring my family and once again hope that I could rely on that connection to rest my head in safety for the night.
The strength of connections are what most Irish have to rely on and tend to in this current economic turmoil but for many in today’s situation it just is not enough.
As I listened to two old men while temporarily covering for someone in an Irish bar, I was reminded of the dynamic of ties and links in this globalised world at ten in the morning.
Those were the bad old times it sounded like, but it is no picnic today either in the land of the crushed Celtic Tiger. The advice my father texted me from back home in Ireland was ‘to volunteer and do a Catholic food run’.
Bearing this text in mind and an incredible weekend from my boat trip to Ellis Island and witnessing the July 4th celebrations, my faith has been reinstated in this city, we Irish helped to build. For the moment. I have also found accommodation.
Now to the streets I go –to job hunt once more, let’s just hope the numerous homeless people going through the garbage don’t distract me from this new found optimism!
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