Megan Storey is originally from Lisnaskea but is currently based in LA.

Q: Where are you currently based and have you been there since you left Fermanagh? Where else have you lived outside of the UK/Ireland?

A: I’m currently living in Los Angeles, California. I moved here in July 2019 so I’m still a pretty new Angeleno. I absolutely adore it here though. Prior to my move to LA, I spent 15 months living in Connecticut. Living a very short train ride away from New York City meant I spent a lot of time there also, particularly in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, so it really felt like home to me too. Prior to my move to the US, I spent three months living and working in Tuscany, Italy, as well as a period of time in Lake Garda for the second summer in a row. I also went on a solo backpacking trip through Morocco and visited a few other countries including the Netherlands and Spain during this period.

Q: When did you leave Fermanagh and why did you originally leave?

A: I originally left Fermanagh in 2014 to go to University in Newcastle, England. I studied Early Primary Education, specialising in The Arts, later graduating in 2017. The day after my graduation ceremony I set off to Italy, deciding not to immediately begin my teaching career. Travelling, working abroad and becoming deeply immersed in new cultures has always been a passion as well as a huge desire of mine, therefore this is what I have done since graduating and it is helping me discover my true goals and ambitions for the future. I really wanted to follow my own path albeit slightly different than the norm and I’m glad I listened to my gut.

Q: What are you currently doing?

A: I am currently working as an Au Pair. I love my job and I work for the most amazing family. Aside from allowing me the opportunity to live and work in the US, I’ve gained and learnt so much more than this from the experience and I wouldn’t change what I’ve chosen to do for the world. My job has also allowed me the opportunity to travel around North America, both on the job and during my vacation time. So far I’ve visited 27 of the 50 states and I hope to visit them all. I also currently volunteer in a Spanish immersion school. Aside from this I have been working on creating my own blog over the last few months and I am almost ready to publish it. It’s an idea I’ve went back and forth on for the last few years. Now I feel like I’m finally in a place where I can make the vision I’ve had come to light at the standard I desire - or at least give it a shot - because why not?

Q: What do you miss most about home?

A: The people, the heartwarming food and the cost of living. Many things in LA are extortionately priced (as was the same in NYC). Dare I say it, but I also lowkey miss the rain. It hardly ever rains in LA. I can’t complain because the weather here really is amazing, but a few more rainy days would be nice.

Q: Do you travel home often?

A: Unfortunately the nature of my job means I cannot travel home often. I have spent the last two Christmases away from home which was hard, however, I spent Christmas past in Atlanta, Georgia with the most amazing family who made me feel at home. The last time I returned to Northern Ireland was in February, 2019 to renew my work visa, so it’s been almost a year.

Q: What has been a highlight of your time living abroad?

A: Having to become so reliant on myself - it sounds so cliche but I’ve done a serious amount of growth and I’ve learnt so much.

Getting to know NYC so well that I felt like a local and now feeling like a local in LA. I’ve been able to visit some amazing places - New Orleans, Monument Valley and Tulum, Mexico being a few of my favourites. LA is also a treat - I could tell 100 stories - the craziness and things you stumble upon seriously just don’t get old.

I woke up yesterday morning and while making coffee looked out of the window to find a crew of at least 30 people setting up at the neighbouring house getting ready to film the TV show ‘Blackish’ - complete with white cast trailers. It’s moments like this were I realise I’m a long way away from Fermanagh!

Q: Was it difficult settling into life in a new country?

A: Overall, I found it exciting and I was happy that I was living out what I’ve always wanted to do so I didn’t find it difficult as such, but I’ve certainly faced some challenges along the way. One of my biggest shocks was the cost of healthcare here - it is seriously insane!

Q: Have you faced many challenges?

A: Everything comes with challenges but I guess that’s what makes it fun and rewarding, right? One of the funniest challenges I faced when moving to LA was physically having to become an ‘aggressive driver’. It sounds bizarre, but you can’t be a ‘nice driver’ unless you don’t mind never making your exit on the freeway - it sucks.

Traffic can be brutal, so trust me, you’re going to cut across those eight lanes of traffic in order to make that exit and not add an ungodly amount of time to your journey. Sorry, not sorry. There’s no waiting for someone to kindly let you in a lane. You wait and you’re never getting in.

Q: Have you introduced any ‘Fermanagh slang’ to the country you are currently living in? If so, what words/phrases have people picked up?

A: Unfortunately I’d say I’ve picked up more ‘American slang’ than I have passed on ‘Fermanagh slang’. Not by choice, I promise. Words like ‘awesome’, ‘dope’, and ‘lit’ now sometimes, ok, regularly slip out of my mouth before I can stop myself. While the American’s don’t bat an eyelid, I’m silently judging myself while hoping nobody from home heard the words that I just uttered.

I have been told many times that after FaceTiming someone from home I sound ‘more Irish’.

Q: How does the food where you live compare to food from home?

A: All bacon and potato bread donations graciously accepted, sincerely, an upset Fermanagh girl going through serious withdrawals.

Proper back bacon is just not a thing here and I really miss it. Potatoes also aren’t the same in the US. Oh, what I’d do for some good Irish spuds.

On a more positive note, I’ve tried some of the best food I’ve ever eaten in my life while living in the US. NYC has the best pizza while LA has the best Mexican food! I also can’t not mention how amazing In ’N’ Out Burger is - it’s my ‘no-longer-a-secret, secret obsession’, as well as being an LA staple.

Q: Who do you miss most from home? How have you found communicating across different time zones?

A: All of my family and friends - in particular my 97, soon to be 98 year old granny. I miss her dearly. In LA I’m eight hours behind Fermanagh time which often makes communication really difficult.

Q: Do you think you will ever move back to Fermanagh?

A: Maybe in the future, however there are a lot of places I want to see and things I want to experience. I don’t want to wait for the ‘right moment’ to do these things. The right moment is now. Seeing the world is beautiful, however it also makes you want to see more and more of it.

Fermanagh will always be in my heart and will always be my home. I do miss it, however I’m just going to keep following the path I’m currently on, and you never know, maybe one day it will lead me back to Fermanagh.