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"Why Ireland," with more implication than curiosity

I lived in Ireland from June 2001 until August of 2003, and from January 2005 until May 2011.

An Eastern European cannot understand why an American would want to live in Ireland.

And so I get a lot of questions.

It is often impossible for the Eastern European to understand, and — more to the point — difficult to accept an American's desire to be in Ireland, and — more still to the point — why an American would want to live anywhere outside of the United States.

The countries of Eastern Europe were under the thumb of dictatorship when people my age were growing up there. The world outside of their national borders to the west was a place of hope, of the unknown possibilities. The little information they had was only enough to give them dreams of something better.

And, now, early 21st Century, Eastern Europeans ask me variations of that one question: why are you in Ireland?

I never know what to say

There are questions that I cannot figure out how to answer within a casual conversation...

Almost as if I am taking something from them....

A dream — of the ideal civilization ... and I have a passport that allows me to go there at any time that I choose to do so....

Indeed, one fellow even said it almost explicitly to me — "it's my dream," he said (to be in the U.S.,) as if he meant "why are you here when it's my dream to be where you came from?"

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