In this week in Across the Water, Martin Grant talks to Wendy Cheung, originally from Ardee, now living in New York.
I am originally from Ardee.
Parents names and names of family?
My mother’s name is Ann-Marie Cheung (Callaghan). My father is Arthur Cheung, two sisters Donna and Ciara and my brother Colin.
When did you leave and why?
I moved to New York in May 2010. It was suppose to be just for the summer. Three and a half years later I’m still here living the dream. It definitely lives up to its name - “The city that never sleeps.”
What’s your occupation?
I’m a bartender in an Irish bar called “Burkes Bar”.
What’s the biggest difference in settling into your new home?
Settling into my new home in New York wasn’t too hard. There is such a big Irish community out here, people out here are very helpful the Irish really look out for each other.
Is the social life much different from home?
The social life is different from Ardee. There is always somewhere different you can go, but you still of course have your local bars that you can go too. That’s like Ardee, minus the fact that the bars stay open till 4am every night out here.
How do you like to relax?
There is lots of great parks in New York that I love going to. The football is very big out here, so there is always football games to go to which I love.
Have you been home since leaving and what changes have you noticed?
No I haven’t been home since I left. I use google map to have a look at Ardee ever now and again.
What’s the best and worst things about being away from home?
The best thing about living in New York is that there are so many opportunities, so many different things to see and do. The worst thing about living in New York is missing my family and friends. It’s very hard missing holidays and birthdays. Christmas is very hard out here, there is definitely no place like home at Christmas.
Have you plans in the future to return home to Ireland for good?
No plans at the moment to return to Ireland right now. We have a great life and are very happy we are both working full time. Our daughter has just started daycare, we have great friends and are part of the Monaghan NY football club which they won both the intermediate championship and league. Our lives are here right now but hopefully when things pick up in Ireland we will be able to return and settle there.
Name one thing from home that you wish you could buy in your local store?
It has to be a Chinese, as my parents own the Chinese Palace in Ardee. I really miss my father’s cooking. I would love a 3 in 1 with prawn crackers.
Have you a message for your friends and family?
Just that I miss them all. Hello to my granny and wish Lucy, my best friends daughter, a happy 2nd birthday.