Screengrab of Alisa and Jon's interview on TV3
Shocked by media attention having met and become engaged to her Occupy protester fiancee in just 12 weeks

Gaelic Girl on heading home to the US to share her engagement news with her family

Most of you have read in my previous article, “Revolutionary’s Romance” that I am now engaged to Jonathon Keane, who I met here in Cork at the Occupy Cork site. It came as much as a surprise to me as to anyone and I am currently still floating in the shock of it.

With school, the Occupy Cork camp, my growing relationship with Jon, and recent events making our story a media interest, I have hardly had a moment to breathe or think or settle into the reality of the moment.

While it has been a joyful occasion, it has also been difficult having such a momentous and important event take place when I am so far away from my family and loved ones.

It has become even more difficult since two weeks ago, when the Irish Examiner was informed of our engagement and came to interview Jon and I for an article that appeared on the front page the following day. While it was exciting and an honor as most people don’t get to share their stories on the front page of major media sources, it was painful that all of Ireland was going to be reading this story when it was still so new to myself, my family, and my friends.

Without a moment for it to settle, it went public, and with the Examiner came more phone calls than I could count from various radio stations and also from Ireland’s TV 3 “The Morning Show”. Jon and I went down to Dublin on a Friday to give an interview for the morning show that would be aired the next Monday.

It was fun and exciting to be on the set and to feel like we were jet setting for the day (we gave a radio interview as we were getting out of the taxi, buying our train tickets and onto the train!). It has been fantastic to share our story and to get such a rare opportunity to make such stark and concrete memories around our engagement, but I miss the closeness of friends and family.
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I long to hear congratulations from familiar voices instead of from strangers on the street or even at times, discouragement, for not everyone has taken kindly to the story.

It’s understandable; it seems like such an unusual story, like something that only happens in books or movies, this ‘whirl-wind romance’ as they have been calling it. One woman was absolutely convinced we were getting married for no other reason than to give the camp publicity and she would not be swayed otherwise, telling me, “You know, you don’t HAVE to get married”. But, those who know me know that I would not enter into something so serious and sacred for the sake of media attention. I am, in fact, of quite the opposite disposition and dislike being so exposed and focused on. I am a quiet person who likes a simple life. But, I do not regret or dis-appreciate the experience at all! It is remarkable to be able to document it in such a way and to give people a positive human story. I only wish that my family and friends could be here with me to share it.

The interviews keep coming and as far as I can tell there is no end to the public’s interest in sight. I am looking forward to the story giving more people hope for the Occupy movement, as well as hope in humanity, as the story grows with our relationship, and sharing that with my loved ones when I return to California.

Leaving my fiancée, the Occupy camp here in Cork, and the country of Ireland is something I dread as much as I look forward to going home and seeing my family. Besides leaving a place that has become like a second home, a people that have become like family to me, my love, Jonathon, and addressing the sorrow of that parting, I am preparing myself for the challenge ahead.

The distance will try our love by fire but I am prepared to fight for the victory of that battle. I am fully committed not only to keeping our relationship intact, but to developing it and strengthening it as we fortify and encourage each other during this painful task.

Jon and I plan on finishing school and reuniting once we have graduated from our respective colleges in June. We have not set a date for our wedding yet, as our focus right now is on developing our relationship and preparing for this bitter parting, but we hope to marry next fall in both California and Ireland so that all our friends and family may have the opportunity to celebrate with us.

It is bitter-sweet to leave this place. I’m leaving so much that I have come to love behind but I will be reunited with those who I wish I could have shared all these experiences with the most. However, I am happy to say I can now call Ireland my home as much as I can call California my home and Jonathon and I (being wanderlusts and nomads) intend to make both places equal and shared homes throughout our lives.
Jonathon and I would like to thank those of you who have offered your congratulations and encouragement. This is as an emotional time as it is joyful, and we appreciate your support.

Go raibh maith agaibh!

To see Alisa and Jon's interview on TV3 click here and skip ahead to 18.23.