This website is how one Irish guy has observed day to day life in Silicon Valley. It has three main purposes. Firstly it is to be a guide for people who are thinking of moving to Silicon Valley or families who have recently moved to this part of Northern California. Second, it is to provide a take on life in the Bay Area from the perspective of one Irish immigrant. A third purpose is to give a little insight into Ireland, for my American readers, while providing an outside perspective on events in Ireland to my Irish readers. By doing this, I hope to serve as a bridge between the two places that I have called home for most of my adult life.
The tagline of the website is “living the dream” partly because that is certainly the impression my family and friends back home in Ireland seem to believe. Wether it is a Facebook post, a WhatsApp message or a Facetime call the pharse “Livng the Dream” is often mentioned. So I decided to use it as my logo. However, I really should have put a big question mark at the end of that statement because the jury is still out as to whether or not we are ‘living the dream’.
There is no doubt that California is a wonderful place to live. The weather alone makes it very appealing. The line about California from the British comedy Fawlty Towers that you can “swim and sunbathe in the morning and in the afternoon drive up to the mountain and ski” is true (sort of). There is also an economic opportunity, and a positive “can do” spirit and, crucially, tremendous cultural diversity. I have met people from all over the world in my relatively short time here. The Bay Area offers the best argument in favour of a multicultural society. It feels like how the world could be. Different races, religions and nationalities are living and working together as adopted Californians. There are plenty of reasons why people are continually moving here.
However, it’s not without its significant problems. There are also plenty of reasons why people are also moving out of state. For some the high cost of living, the insane rents and house prices, the traffic nightmare and the vast economic inequality are “the problems of success” (as a Californian Congresswoman once advised me). Still, they have real negative impacts on people’s lives. Many people worry about the impossibility of their own kids being able to live here in the future.
It is also difficult to say I am “living the dream” when I am so far from my family and friends and my own culture. There are so many things that I miss from home. Family is so important to me and yet I am thousands of miles away. I am missing them more than you could imagine. I have missed big family occasions, and that’s tough, but, it is missing out the day to day things that is the most difficult. Niece’s and nephew’s growing up. The day to day conversations that are about nothing in particular but that are everything. I miss my friends. The chats. The GAA. Irish food (Sausages, Brennan’s Bread, King Crisps and pints of Guinness). And, of course, the Craic.
We moved here in July 2016. Obama was still the President. Candidate Trump was running his “America First” anti-immigrant campaign. We took an opportunity to come to the United States. We were coming to America in a spirit of adventure. We felt we had something to offer, and we wanted to experience life in the Golden State. We had our concerns and issues, but we decided to take the risk and give it a shot. We are fortunate. We did not have to come. We had a very nice life at home. We can always go home. I am writing this from a very privileged position. So many other immigrants are not in this position. So many people are coming desperate to build a life for themselves and their families. Many are fleeing economic hardship or fearing for their safety. My heart goes out to these poor people. This is not their story.
I hope to look at the good, the bad and the ugly of life living in the technological centre of the earth. At times the articles may deal with serious topics while other pieces will be a lighter, more humorous take on life. They should always be interesting and thought-provoking. I will always be honest.
I approach life with an open mind. I’m sure plenty of people will disagree with some of my observations and arguments. I am not infallible. I am open to correction. I also am open to changing my mind. However, once you think about what I write, you will find yourself nodding in agreement and saying to yourself “he might have a point” or more likely “he is dead right”.