And this year it changed my life but not in the way you might think.
As far as we can determine, my grandma was on the wrong side of the tracks. Born in Dublin, she moved out to Australia with her parents when she was 8. By 25 she had had a partner, a husband and an affair, she’d given up 3 children to adoption, gone by at least 4 different names and her only listed occupation was as an exotic dancer. Her very short marriage, during which she had no children, ended dramatically following claims of domestic violence after she attacked her then husband with a knife. In 1966 she was seen scantily clad in Side Show Alley at the Sydney Easter Show. This was the last known sighting of her, despite there being no record of her death. This is also the only information we have about her. With a checkered past and a few pseudonyms under her belt, grandma had vanished without a trace. Until this day not even the Australian government know who or where she is.
50 years later, all her name changes, lies, cover ups and dubious acts have had more of an impact on my life than I would have dreamt of. I write this blog as a very single 27yr old in the dimly lit, dank asbestos box that is my apartment in Dublin, Ireland. I live below a taxi-driving, drug using couple and next to a dog called Crumpet. The beautiful area I call home is Dublin 6 in the city’s inner south, affectionately nicknamed the Dirty Half Dozen. Earlier this year I packed my life in to 37kgs and crossed the globe to a place I fell in love with the previous summer. A place full of promise, intrigue and excitement. A place where, with my grandmothers Irish heritage, I could gain an Irish passport and settle for good. Ha if only.
Instead my Golden Ticket to the EU has remained out of reach. The privacy laws surrounding adoption in Australia and a shed load of government red tape has me left high and dry. You see, despite the undeniable fact that my grandmother was born right here in Dublin, I lack the documentation to prove it. With her apparent and seemingly deliberate disdain for honesty and her legal name, Grandma has made it almost impossible to convince anyone she’s one in the same. In a game that’s all about ticking boxes I can’t muster up as much as a coinciding name and birthdate. I mean, if the Australian government can’t determine this woman’s whereabouts, what hope do I have.
So after a year long wait and to no avail, I can wait no longer. My visa runs out March 4th and despite my efforts, I must admit defeat and make my way home, with my proverbial tail between my legs. But before I do I have decided to start a blog to document the places I’ve been, things I’ve loved, things I’ve not and show you why I really want to stay in Ireland. Despite the weather. Despite the ghastly minimum wage. Despite being away from my family. Despite the lack of decent healthcare. Despite not being able to pay with card in cabs. Despite the cost of living. Despite the chips not being properly salted. Despite 1 and 2 cent pieces….
My grandma was a prostitute and in a very weird way, it inspired me to start this blog.