“I was born in Ireland to an Irish mother and a Serbian father, but I grew up in Serbia. I left Serbia and moved to Ireland when I was 30.
The thing is I used to come here on holidays and I thought there was an interesting difference between going on holidays and visiting my family, and living here. When I was in my teens and if I brought up my half ‘Irishness’ people would say ‘ahh ahh, well you’re Irish then’ and when I moved to live here it didn’t really work, it was more like ‘oh your half Irish, that’s interesting’. It was more my foreignness that was noticed.
In the beginning I only moved for the summer and I was thinking ‘will I stay, won’t I stay’, so it was a very gradual process, but it also coincided with me taking up real work. I was at working age but there wasn’t really much work going on at the time in Serbia and I was living with my parents. I had a kind of dependence on them so when I came to Ireland I became independent.
I mainly missed my family and friends. I would say that was a big thing for me. In those days in my bedsit I didn’t have the internet, so there were no emails, or viber and there was a big gap in communications.
I have two points of origin and I think that’s always an enriching thing. But even if you don’t have two points of origin, when you migrate you lose yourself into another culture and you adapt. I can see it in myself, when I moved here I was going ‘well I’m half Irish’ but I realized by the way that people reacted to me that I am actually more Serbian, because that’s where I grew up and I have more Serbian cultural traits.
Moving abroad gives you the opportunity to learn good parts of other cultures.”