Originally from Co. Mayo, Brenda Mannion recently emigrated to the U.S. with her husband and three young sons. The family now reside in a small New England town in the metro west area of Boston, and she blogs about raising her family in America at www.3boysinamerica.com
Where are you from?
“I was born and raised in Castlebar, Co. Mayo, but had lived in Galway for 10 years before moving to the U.S. I am currently a stay at home mother, although I am qualified as a secondary school teacher and taught history in an all-girls secondary school in Ireland before the move.”
When and why did you move to the U.S?
“I moved with my husband and 3 boys aged 12, nine and two in May 2011. I could not secure a full-time teaching position in Ireland, and as my husband works for a U.S. medical device company we decided to apply for an inter-company transfer and build a new life here.”
What’s the adjustment been like?
“It was a culture shock, and adjusting to life here was challenging at first. We felt as though we were back to square one. It took time to figure out what foods we liked and where we liked to shop. Not knowing the correct American phrases and words for things was frustrating in the beginning. We have had a few embarrassing moments trying to be understood in shops, but we are enjoying the transition and are settling into the way of life here.
Do you think there is faster pace of life here?
“We are currently living in a small New England town and the pace of life is definitely slower than at home. We are enjoying the laid-back live and let live vibe here. It feels like a good place to raise a family.”
What do you miss about home?
“I miss my family, especially my parents. I also miss being there to see my nieces and nephews growing up. One thing I really miss is walking through a town. I hate that I have to drive everywhere here, and parking the car and walking from shop to shop is not possible.”
What has been the most welcome change in your life since you moved here?
“We spend more time together as a family. The outdoors is a big part of what makes this area so exciting. We love the seasonal weather and we have a much healthier lifestyle here than we did in Ireland. The boys spend almost all of their free time outside.”
How are you kids enjoying life here?
“The boys are very happy and have adjusted well to life here. In many ways it still feels like a holiday to them, but they do get lonely for home sometimes. They were very popular when they first started school. The other kids were fascinated with their accents, and being Irish definitely worked in their favor when it came to making friends.”
Do you think you will return to Ireland in the future?
“We never say never, and would like to be able to go back, but unfortunately returning to Ireland in the near future doesn’t appear to be a viable option for us.”