When Szymon Leszek visited Ireland for the primary time in the course of the summer time of 2005 he felt excited. His household had not too long ago moved to Cork and Leszek had come to test it out earlier than returning to Poland to finish his ultimate yr of secondary college.
“My Dad owned a small grocery shop but the bigger supermarkets were taking over so they were forced to close down. My father knew a guy already in Ireland who said he should come for a few months and make some money. There was work on building sites but my dad didn’t have a background in that area. But he chanced it, and he’s still here.”
We came upon Malwina was pregnant. It was an enormous shock, it modified every part
Leszek nonetheless remembers his mother and father’ concern about leaving their son in Poland together with his grandparents so he may end college earlier than shifting. “It was not easy for my parents to leave me behind but my mum visited quite often. They were more worried about my sister because she was only 10 and didn’t have English. But luckily she managed very well, she didn’t have to stay back a year in school and made friends easily.”
After his quick go to in 2005, Leszek began planning together with his then-girlfriend Malwina to come back with him to Ireland. They arrived in Cork metropolis the summer time of 2006 and Leszek utilized to check for a level in psychology at University College Cork.
“We wanted to make money during the summer holidays so I got a job in a plastics factory and she did cleaning jobs. And then we found out Malwina was pregnant. It was a big shock, it changed everything. I decided to postpone my education, I realised I couldn’t be full time in college and also work full time to support my family.”
Leszek continued working on the plastics manufacturing facility and in 2007 – when he was 20 and Malwina was 19 – their daughter Rachel was born.
The younger couple additionally had help from each Leszek’s mother and father, together with Malwina’s mum and pa who had additionally adopted their daughter to Ireland. “Our parents were a great help. At the beginning it wasn’t the material aspects that were difficult, it was the mental aspects. We had to grow up so quickly, that was the biggest challenge.”
As the months glided by, the couple realised they had been spending little or no time with individuals their very own age. “We had to think like a family and they were still thinking like teenagers. They could go out whenever they wanted, travel whenever they wanted. But I wasn’t jealous because I’d think of my daughter and the love for her took over.”
In 2009 the couple bought married and the next yr their son Colin was born. In 2011 child Seán arrived on the scene. Around this time, Leszek began an evening course in mechanical engineering at Cork Institute of Technology whereas persevering with to work full time on the manufacturing facility.
“I’d been out of education for so long it was tough getting back into it. But it was a great relief to be learning again. And when I finished my course my wife started her studies to become a beautician and then set up her own business.”
In 2014, Leszek secured a job with a serious tech firm in Cork. He cherished the work and made associates from throughout the globe in his new workplace. However, after practically 4 years with the corporate, and simply months after securing a mortgage on a brand new house, he was made redundant when the challenge he was engaged on was discontinued.
Leszek briefly discovered work with a brewing firm however then determined to grow to be a truck driver to make ends meet at house. “It was not an easy time. We’d bought that house and had to pay the mortgage. I was also going through some difficult personal matters but needed to provide for my family.”
I’m undoubtedly extra humble now, I can see the world from a special perspective
Leszek needed to depart house between 3am and 4am every morning and work till mid-afternoon when he may spend a while with the youngsters. He didn’t thoughts the driving however felt disheartened that each one the years he’d spent constructing a profession had been for nothing. “I don’t want to make it sound bad but I’d been a team leader in my other job, I had responsibilities. And now I was just driving a truck, getting my dockets, making my deliveries.”
Leszek continued this work by way of the early months of the pandemic, driving the abandoned Irish roads throughout peak lockdown. He found there was little or no infrastructure for drivers making lengthy journeys, comparable to cease off factors the place individuals can bathe. Leszek finally discovered work as a driver with a backyard centre which supplied extra sociable hours and was shortly promoted to a supervisor position. However, he says the time he spent driving throughout Ireland taught him an enormous quantity about himself.
“I’m definitely more humble now, I can see the world from a different perspective. In my new job I was actually scheduling truck drivers and I understood what the job was like. I understand how it feels to drive a truck.”
A lover of mountain biking and different outside actions, Leszek has been battling lengthy Covid signs since contracting the virus three months in the past. However, he not too long ago began volunteering with Together-Razem charity which helps members of Ireland’s Polish and Romanian communities who’re battling addictions.
“Not getting outside was really impacting my mental health but working with Together-Razem has helped me a lot. I’ve always been interested in psychology so when the opportunity came up I thought why not do something for someone else and learn along the way.”
I like how Irish individuals are pleased with being Irish and this nation is properly recognised all over the world
Leszek has not too long ago moved into a brand new position as a producing operations supervisor at a Cork meals firm. Meanwhile, he spouse is attempting to rebuild her enterprise which struggled vastly throughout Covid. “She’d worked so hard to build up her business but with lockdowns it was always the first to close and the last to re-open.”
While his youngsters additionally struggled throughout Covid lockdowns, he’s optimistic about their future in Ireland. Bilingual from delivery, the kids converse Polish with their mother and father and grandparents however English with each other. His daughter likes studying Polish books and his son is fascinated by Poland’s historical past.
“To be honest I feel good about my kids growing up here. I like how Irish people are proud of being Irish and this country is well recognised around the world.” Leszek has now spent practically as lengthy residing in Ireland as he did in Poland. He helps the Irish soccer group and has a number of shut Irish associates. However, he’ll at all times establish as Polish. “Poland is where I grew up, but Ireland is my second motherland.”