Life Update and our Top 5 European Experiences
This year has been CRAZY. Work went nuts in February of this year and hasn’t really slowed down since. We traveled a LOT both for work and personal reasons — a total of 8 countries so far this year! To top it all off, the hubby’s business took off and he started making money. In short, we’ve been crazy busy and juggling a million different things at once. Hence why the blog has been a little slower this year.
So, what’s the big news? First, let me give a bit of color to our situation here in Ireland. If you’re too lazy to read this part — skip to the HUGE text a few paragraphs down for the announcement. 🙂 We moved to Ireland on my work permit with my job. Which means that the hubby is not allowed to make money unless he is sponsored by a company. But, he owns his own company… and he can’t sponsor himself. So, in March when he started to make money we reached out to our immigration and tax counsel and they said he absolutely cannot make a penny while living here. Even selling cookies on the street! I mean look at him… wouldn’t you buy a cookie from him? 😉
We spent a lot of March and April thinking about next steps. Should we move back home? Should I apply for for EU citizenship (I have a German citizenship, but because I just recently applied for my passport this process takes upwards of 18 months)? Should we just wait another 4 years and get Irish citizenship? We made a pros/cons list and I weeped for hours when we realized our best option as a family was to move back home. In all honesty, we LOVE it in Ireland. We’ve met great friends, our pup is living the life, I love my job 98% of the time (rare, I know!), and we live by a beach AND a castle!
But, everything happens for a reason and it was time for us to make a decision “where” we would be moving back to. The U.S. is huge and there are offices at my company in all of the major cities so we could kind of pick and choose where we wanted to go (as long as I could secure a job within my company there). Within about 10 minutes of discussing it we ruled out San Francisco and New York City and landed on either Austin (where we are both from) or Seattle. In all honesty, if there is one thing I learned living in Ireland I am EXTREMELY impacted by weather. I never really loved Austin living there and I always linked it back to the weather and climate. Now that we’ve lived somewhere cold and rainy for a year and a half I’m 100% sure I can’t live in the heat again. I mean if I can’t even handle Italy in March, I sure as heck can’t move back to Austin.
Which… narrowed us down to Seattle! Fast forward 3ish months and lo and behold I’ve landed a job in Seattle (still with my company), we’ve booked movers to move our stuff, and bought flights for us and the pup to move to SEATTLE IN TWO WEEKS! AHHHH!!! While still pretty sad to be leaving Europe (who wouldn’t be??), we are stoked to start a new chapter in this beautiful city. Seattle stole my heart when I was an itty bitty tween spending summers there with my dad (who was in the military). Then in 2010 I spent a summer in Washington for an internship and was quickly reminded why I loved this region of the world so much. In short, we are getting really excited and can’t wait to show the beautiful PNW off on the blog to all of you!
Since we can’t just leave Ireland without reminiscing on our time here we put together a list of our top 5 experiences living in Europe. Like I said earlier we loved our time here and despite the challenges that come with being an expat we would ABSOLUTELY do it all over again. So, without further ado — let’s dive into our top 5 experiences!
Top 5 European Experiences
This was a super tough list for us, but we finally (after a coveted rock-paper-scissors war) decided on what our top 5 European experiences were. Some experiences are more personal than others, but it showcases how special (and important!) travel and experiencing new things can be for a relationship.
Our 5th wedding anniversary was spent in Siena and this gorgeous little city absolutely stole our hearts. The walled in city frozen in time was an experience like none other. We ate some of the best food we’ve ever had, sipped on cocktails overlooking the Piazza, and went on an amazing walking tour. We will definitely be back to this gorgeous part of the world at some point in our lives, that’s for sure!
#4: Eating our way through Budapest
Anyone that knows my hubby knows he is a hardcore foodie. In fact, he didn’t want to go to Croatia with me a few weeks ago because he didn’t think he would like the food (and he wouldn’t have — seafood galore, which isn’t his thing..). Me on the other hand? I like food (a LOT), but if a place doesn’t have good food (like Germany in my opinion) but has awesome scenery, I still would want to go. However, I will have to admit that Budapest is the ultimate foodie destination. We ate like KINGS (and queens!) on our long weekend visit in January. Despite freezing our tails off, we had a truly wonderful time eating our way through Budapest.
#3: Traveling the world with friends and family
We really are the luckiest of them all. Not only did we meet amazing people while living here, we also had multiple visitors from home throughout our time here. I spent a weekend in London with my dad, a long weekend hopping through Christmas markets with one of my best friends, trotting through Scotland and Northern Ireland with my childhood (and adult) best friend (basically my sister from another mother), exploring Ireland with the hubby’s parents, and various trips with new friends that we met here. Exploring the world with loved ones is so so special!
#2: Wine tasting in Spain
The Rioja region in Spain took our breath away. We fell in love. The mountains, the food, the people, and the wine — oh my! No, but really — it’s our favorite place in all of Europe. The Basque region and specifically the wine region really has it all. Even though we don’t live close anymore, this will be a place we go back to for sure. Stay tuned over the next few weeks for my gushing post on this beautiful region.
If you are a long-time reader you probably guessed Ireland would be #1. 🙂 We love it here. The rugged landscape, the green rolling hills, the beer, the people… everything! Ireland will always hold a special place in our hearts and we couldn’t be more thankful to have spent the last 1.5 years in this beautiful country. There’s no place in the world like Ireland and I can guarantee you we’ll be back to explore corners of this country we never got to see (looking at you Donegal).
As we close this exciting chapter of our lives we couldn’t be more excited to embark on the next pages of our life story. Don’t worry our Europe posts aren’t over (I have SO much catching up to do after our crazy spring of travel). Looking forward though to share more hikes, glamping, and the best of the PNW with all of you. And if you’re ever in the Seattle area let us know! Would love to meet some of you awesome readers! 🙂
– Boots not Roots