My name is Áine Waterson and I live in County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland but I also have a second home in the Pacific Northwest. You see, my mom is an American from Seattle and my dad is Irish. While most of my time is spent in Ireland, I go to America for a few weeks each year to visit family. I like to think that I have the best of both worlds because I have grandparents in America and I have grandparents in Ireland. No matter where I go I am surrounded by family. Sometimes I get a little sad because I don’t see my grandparents in America everyday like my Irish ones. However with technology I am able to share important moments with them and I get stay with them when I visit America.
My grandad Jim was very well known in Ireland until he sadly pasted away. Jim was very sociable and probably knew half the county. I am very lucky because they only live a few houses down from me and almost every day after school I would go spend time with my grandad Jim and grandma. He has lived in County Fermanagh for a very long time and he would tell me stories of what is was like growing up in Northern Ireland. My grandpa Bill in America has also lived in the same town for a long time and when I go to visit I learn about our family’s history in America. These stories have helped me understand my history and shape the person I have become. Sadly, I do not get to hear stories from Grandpa Bill as often because I don’t speak with him every day.
My grandparents from America do come and visit me, they have been here for birthdays, school plays and primary school graduation. Since they live so far away it is important for them to be here for the big events. Unfortunately I do not get to spend as much time with them in person but I enjoy speaking with them over the phone and video message. With technology today I am able to share exciting moments with them. For example, when I won, “Overall Most Outstanding Artwork,” in Lisnaskea Feis art competition I emailed them a photo of the newspaper clipping and spoke to them on the phone. It is nice to share these day-to-day moments with them.
Ireland feels quite small compared to America. In Fermanagh everyone knows everyone and my secondary school (high school) is very small which I like. In Ireland the schooling goes by quite fast as well. I started primary school when I was 4 years old and I will finish secondary school next year when I am 16.
I am excited about the possibility to go to school in America, for a year of high school before attending university there. This would be a fun experience to be able to see the differences in education between Ireland and America.
The best part of having grandparents in Ireland and America is that no matter where I travel I will always have family. This will be extremely helpful if I decide to go to school in Washington State. Even though I am excited for the possibility to go to school in America I do feel that Ireland is more homely. It is where I grew up and both grandparents have contributed to this feeling. Even if they are on the other side of the world my grandparents make their presence and support known to me.
Contributed by Áine Waterson