My worst fear is being homeless. Now, you might say I am being over-dramatic, and you'd probably be right, after all others have said it before :) but after all these years living like we do I learned 3 things - how little we really control, how quickly everything around us can crumble into pieces, and how rare it is to have people in our corner.
It can be work related, family related, kids related, health related. One day you wake up, get dressed, go to a meeting, and when you leave it, you discover nothing is ever the same.
True, we usually don't think about any of it, because it's just too depressing and deflating, but no matter how much we would have liked it to be so, things we don't think about don't really disappear, they just stay there, below the surface, and they create anxiety.
It took me years to learn how to control the panic attacks, to start sleeping full nights again, to not be afraid of official-looking letters.
But I am still very much afraid of being homeless.
Because we've been homeless. Twice. And it is not fun, or romantic, or highly recommend.
We were lucky enough to have had the money to pay for temporary accommodations so we were not living on the streets (though if I am not mistaken, the loans we had to take for it will finish in 2029), and we were lucky enough to be able to call it "between homes" and know it was only temporary.
But it can all come back. Next day, or week or month, with the state of things in Ireland currently we might find ourselves homeless again.
Because of the housing crisis in Ireland we ended up moving 9 times in our first 18 months here before settling in.
We lived out of hotel rooms, student accommodations, countryside guest houses, serviced apartments and Airbnbs, we lived above a noisy restaurant, behind a casino, and next to where all the junkies like to go apparently. And we never looked at ourselves as homeless, or unlucky, or deserving pity, because we were just "between houses".
And then we found our current home, and we've been here for the last 3 years, so everything is great.
But apparently the fear stayed.
So we took the kids to the Cost of Living Coalition protest last September (and to the one in February), to hopefully make the government take notice and make the necessary changes. And ever since then I've been struggling with this post.
Because even though it shouldn't be, people have turned it from a social thing to a political one, because as an immigrant we are not supposed to say anything bad about our chosen country, and because it is always hard to decide where is the line between private and public.
But everyone deserves to have a safe and secure home.
And no-fault evictions, which basically means landlords can evict tenants without real cause, and which is what the government here has chosen to reinstate in one of the worst housing crisis in history (which means people don't have anywhere to go to or anyone to turn to), have such a huge cycle of damage and destruction for everyone they touch, and especially for lone-parent families, victims of domestic-abuse, people with disabilities, and above all - children.
So this Saturday, April 1st, we celebrated Hidai's birthday by going to protest the government ending the no-fault eviction ban and leaving thousands of people, who are just like us, without safety, without security, without the ability to sleep easily at night, and without a home.