DescriptionConor McGlade (27) speaks with his fiance Sarah Clark (28) about how they met during a study abroad program in New Zealand, started dating and eventually became engaged in Ireland.
Subject Log / Time Code
- Sarah Clark
- Conor McGlade
Recording LocationsAtlanta History Center
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00:04 I'm Connor mcglade's I'm 27 years old. It's November 12th 2016. I'm in Atlanta, Georgia, and I am my partner's fiance.
00:15 I'm Sarah Clarke. I'm 28 years old and today is November 12th 2016. I'm in Atlanta, Georgia, and I'm here with my fiance Connor.
00:26 So Sarah tell me how we met.
00:30 So we met back in 2009 when we were studying abroad in New Zealand if it's pretty early and to our study abroad experience that I remember meeting you I particularly remember having a water fight with all of our neighbors. Everyone was throwing water balloons at each other and I spotted you and I hot and he's pretty cute and I knew your Irish so that sort of piqued my interest. What was the first thing you notice about me. I think it was actually a day or two before the water fight. We're just sitting on the benches in front of 480 where he lives and you were sitting up higher and I saw your toes and you had this really bright neon yellow nail varnish.
01:30 I like this girl is way too cool for me.
01:38 And after that we became pretty good friends, didn't we we went on all kinds of trips together every weekend we go climbing glaciers or
01:48 Rolling through few words. So why don't you describe the first night that we kissed we started it in 480 with all our friends and we went into the Octagon know we went to stay with bar first in Dunedin and
02:10 We were just hanging out with you and I suppose started talking and getting to know each other a little more and then we went to we went to the octagon and we are in this strange club that I don't really remember and we just ended up kissing on the Dance Floor.
02:27 And the rest is history. And then I remember the next day we were going to go to Queenstown and Queenstown is part of the adventure capital of New Zealand where we are going to go bungee jumping and Jet boating and doing lots of Adventures. And so we had to get up really early the next morning after we've been out the night before and we had like a crazy day not together actually a square with different groups of people and I remember thinking that day like likes me because I knew that I liked you and I thought you were really cool and I had a good time tonight before and
03:20 I like how I wonder if I'll see him in Queenstown and then we ended up going out again the next night and dancing and kissing again. I think do you remember how long it took me to get your number?
03:38 It must have been like a week though, at least you stole my headphones. And so he thought you'd never see them again again, and I was just like right I guess that was it and then we were all going to go out to get burgers one day and I was like, maybe I should get your number so that we can tell each other when we're going to get burgers and then you gave me my headphones.
04:22 But yeah, so I guess after that we just started hanging out all the time. You basically lived in an apartment in New Zealand and we went on and tons of adventures with our friends is a really really cool experience New Zealand was like the best time of my life.
04:46 But then you were staying for two semesters and I was only there for one. So I had to go and leave my family before I flew to Thailand to hang out with my friends. We were still texting during all that time, but I think I spent three days until end of a plan 3 weeks and I remember calling my dad and saying like hey, this isn't this isn't where I want to be right now. I think I should fly back to New Zealand to hang out with Sarah and he said Connor, you know what you should do that any help me out and we we got a flight and I flew back to hang out pivotal time in our relationship because if you ingest
05:39 Gone to Thailand's I might have not seen you again. Cuz I know that we left things when you were leaving with like.
05:49 Okay, I don't know what's going to happen. Now. We knew we really liked each other but
05:55 Being in that study abroad situation. We are still in our third year of college. We had no idea what the future is going to hold. So that was sort of a scary time for me. It was really sad when you left but then when you decided to come back that changed everything and I really like
06:19 I guess I realized how much you liked me and it seems that you liked me as much as I like to you. But what was going through your head when you decided you wanted to come back. I was just with a group of guys who were wanting very different things from their time in Thailand compared to the trips that we had been taking a New Zealand and actually trying to to get out there and see stuff and go on adventures on it just wasn't where I wanted to be right at that time. And then I couldn't really get you out of my head as well. I think having talked to my dad about you for three weeks in Australia.
07:00 Yeah, I just called him one morning and I just wanted to go back and I thought yeah, I would be a huge missed opportunity if I hadn't.. Time.
07:10 That's so you just went for it. When I arrive to remember to go break that somewhere there was swine flu drugs with you for a few days and I was terrified I had swine flu because Scotty your roommates was under quarantine for possible symptoms that he didn't have tonsillitis.
07:44 Nurse you back to health but that was an awesome two weeks that we had together then cuz we went on more Adventures when you're in sick and I think that that's sort of solidified how we really wanted to try to make things work I suppose.
08:08 Cuz I'm when you left.
08:13 I guess we sort of.
08:15 How to relieve it I don't even remember what I do know is we talked basically every day for the next six months while you were still in New Zealand. Yeah, so I was in New Zealand and you were in Ireland and we had like at 12 our time to friends, but somehow we managed to keep Skyping every day and I don't really know how we made it work. Other than like, we just really wanted to like it wasn't a conscious effort yet never felt difficult.
08:55 And just like I wanted to do each day each morning for me. I think I talked to you before but thanks to technology. We managed to keep talking for the next.
09:16 5 months I suppose cuz I was still in New Zealand until November.
09:22 And then I decided that I should swing by Dublin on my way back to California when she makes no sense. But luckily my parents are on board with everything to didn't mind me going back. Dublin. It was the day I just finished my exams or know that my last day of the semester. So we went out with all our friends that I've been in New Zealand with us and then at 6 a.m. The next morning we flew to Paris for a trip and I think you were running on fumes at that stage. I definitely I can't believe that we have that and that was a very romantic little trip to Paris my first time there.
10:22 After exams, I think I actually did pretty well. So my my parents asked if you could come every year around exam time.
10:31 But we had a good two weeks together then that's well, and I got to see Dublin in the whole different light because I'd been there before but not with somebody who lives there. And so it was really nice to be with you and with our other Irish friends that we met in New Zealand Kevin Claire and, cancel.
11:00 But then you went home again. We started talkin just as before except 8 hours in California was actually more difficult to do than the 12 hours in New Zealand. Was that more Awkward timing? Yeah, the time difference was more difficult, but we still talk to everyday but
11:20 And then I managed to come back to Dublin for my spring break in March and luckily. I got some money and they hold to buy a plane ticket for 10 days.
11:37 So we just kept going back and forth.
11:44 Me and Kevin are friends decided to spend the the summer in San Diego with all it with you and all your friends working and having fun for the summer and was probably one of the best summer is like I was living next door to most of my best friends and you and some of your good friends were down the street living the dreams. We are right by the beach to go to the beach a lot that summer you didn't have to work very much. I didn't have to work right with either and we had such a fun time. Do you remember anything fun? We did that summer?
12:32 To your house in Puerto Penasco. We went to Boston and New York on my way home and we went to San Francisco to visit Laura and Charlie and Taylor. That was really funny.
12:48 It was pretty great and you got to meet my family.
12:57 For the second time because I forgot we went to Vegas for that New Year's Eve before my friends and that was my really close friends. That was another really good Venture. That was that was when you met my parents first time and you got to experience Jocko's Steakhouse in my hometown, Nipomo, California.
13:30 But the end of that summer was probably one of
13:34 The most difficult times we've had together.
13:38 I think probably the most difficult we were in the Square Harvard Ave Cambridge. We were kind of discussing how we should go forward after spending so much time together for the last 3 months or the previous 3 months.
13:57 And knowing each other for you know about a year-and-a-half.
14:03 I think I remember it was my fault saying I don't know if I could go back to just talking to you everyday and not seeing you all the time.
14:12 Oh, yeah, and we didn't know we didn't know like what the future held for either of us cuz
14:21 I was still in college you are about to start a masters.
14:27 So I was still in San Diego you were going to be back in Dublin there. We didn't really see a Way Forward at the time.
14:41 I think we had about six weeks of
14:45 Actually sticking to not talking to each other all the time when we broke up. I mean it was a hard breakup because neither of us wanted to break up.
14:57 And so I was really really sad and I went home to my parents house like the next weekend and cried a lot and my mom gave me a soft blanket to comfort me when I cuddle with my cats and then I felt a little better talk to my friends a lot and it's starting to feel a little bit better.
15:23 But stand
15:25 Rachel and I decided to plan a trip to Europe and so like a graduation trip after we are finishing College in December. We wanted to go travel around when you're up. So she really wanted to see all of our Irish friends who had been with us the summer before and of course, I wanted to see them too, but I was afraid of seeing you when we are trying to be broke enough.
15:54 And then they're all that you and I started talking about planning a trip to so want to see you and when you came we were going to try and just be friends and have your trip and then I think an hour into you arriving at my house. We were alone in a room together, and I couldn't stay away from you. I couldn't quit you.
16:30 So I guess that's sort of culminated with us getting back together or just then really? Yeah sort of cuz Rachel and I traveled for about eight weeks and then I came back to Dublin to see you again cuz we had a little extra time towards the end of the trip.
16:55 Then I was like, you know what I don't have anything to do right now. I just graduated from college and I don't know what I want to do with my life. So I'm going to look into moving to Dublin and luckily it's fairly easy for graduates. Come to Dublin.
17:13 And work and live there for a few years one year.
17:20 I got a one-year visa to work there and
17:25 In May 2011. I was like I was going to go for it cuz you know, we still managed to keep things going after all of the distance You know despite trying to stay away from each other. So I figured let's give it a shot. Yeah, you got to spend so much time with my family. We tried to make it feel like home for you.
17:59 Good Thanksgiving each year. That was a fun tradition that we started in Dublin during Thanksgiving every year with your dad.
18:11 So I stayed for one year working as a nanny and that was really fun. And I just kind of took a year off at that point and tried to figure out what to do with my life and you are working for Insignia on United 3 year contract with them. So.
18:32 After my first year was up. I was like, okay. What am I going to do now? I want to I want to stay cuz before I could go anywhere and they really loved despite what people think the weather is not that bad. It was just a really fun city to live in.
19:01 So I thought a lot during that year about what I wanted to do with my life, and I decided that I wanted to get a graduate degree in Clinical Psychology. So
19:13 There is a program in Dublin where you can do 2 years of psychology and get like a sort of specialized degree in Psychology a higher diploma. So I decided to do that so that I couldn't get into graduate school for psychology vacuum the us later.
19:36 And I was tough tough work. Yeah, so
19:41 3 years in Dublin
19:51 Italy and Friends Sammy went to
19:57 Croatia a few times and Romania Bosnia and Serbia. We went back to California one year to do all the national parks. We went to Yosemite and Zion and Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon think Rachel will fondly remember those times with the the three of us in a tent reading 50 Shades of Grey to fall asleep.
20:21 Yeah, that was an amazing trip.
20:25 And we got to see a lot of the US that we haven't seen before. We got to see a lot of Europe that we hadn't seen before as well. We've done a lot of like really fun trips to get living in Dublin was really great for
20:40 Going to different places in your up and having lots more Adventures, cuz the two of us a really love having adventures together. That's sort of defined our relationship. If I think you have to start planning your next step and you decided you wanted to become a clinical psychologist. So I applied to lots of different schools in the US has figureheads. I wanted to move back to the US and Connor wanted to as well or at least he said he wanted to and so I applied to lots of places and
21:31 The one that I ended up getting into and liking the best was Georgia State University in Atlanta, and I never would have thought that I would have ended up in Atlanta. But I moved here in August of 2014 and Connor was still in Dublin at the time finishing up his time with Ernst & Young so we had to go back to long distance for a little while. So this is us another. Where we had to keep Skyping check my countdown timer each day. But even before that when you decided you wanted to go back to the US I had started looking into how I can get over there cuz it's it can be difficult to get to get a visa to move over here to be able to work and live.
22:22 Without us having to rush into a marriage we didn't want to rush and luckily there was a company that specializes in recruiting people from Ireland to get them a job and bring them over and work in the USA. So I interview for that job in November 2013. I did my few interviews there. I found out I got the job in March 2014, and then we started the Visa process which was a lottery system at the time because there was more people applying them are available and luckily I got us and I was then going to start my job in November 2014 a year after I interviewed and I was moving to Washington DC.
23:05 And I was looking at one of my best friends was living there and an idea. I didn't know him very much of a DC at the time either but I moved over there and it was closer to Atlanta than building. So it was baby steps getting to be back in the same city, but I love living there was easy to to come to Atlanta every every few weekends. We tried to go every two or three weekends. When will it go whichever way we were able to depending on availability?
23:34 And you got to come up and have fun in DC and my family came to visit nice as well. And my sister is twice the good excuse. So yeah, you were in DC for 6 months. So we are doing long distance again from like August. And so yeah like August until June.
24:14 And then I managed to get a job in Atlanta over there at construction materials company who are actually owned by an Irish parents made it easier to to move down here and to get the job and then we are finally back in the same city where the big asterisk. I know I have the time for work. So now you know where one step closer all the time cuz Connor still traveling for work event, but we live in the same apartment as well. I've never seen myself about the coastal cities.
25:04 And not as many Irish move to move to Atlanta, but it's a really great City and you had a network of friends so much going on here and such an easy place to move soon to get to love. So we're hoping at least maybe in the New Year the travel subside of it. But last year when we finally got a new place to live together. We adopted two kittens as well so that we've got two cats together a little family Lila. Do you remember why you wanted to call him new age is named after one of the villains on an Irish TV show.
26:04 TV show with actual production value that was pretty good and really fun place to live and it's been fun. You been working really hard you managed to defend your Master's thesis recently. I've been traveling to all over the US to West Virginia and New Jersey, California, Illinois to getting to see all these different different towns and cities I probably wouldn't have seen otherwise
26:46 But this summer we went on a big trip. We were going to visit one of our friends from New Zealand, Katie and Tanzania.
26:54 And on the way there we decided to stop and Dublin for a few days. I hadn't been back for two years at this point. So I really wanted to get back to Dublin C Connors family see his niece and nephews who are a little fun of the Cities I love and call home again. So that was really exciting.
27:31 Went to my dad's house to drop off our stuff and I had wanted to
27:37 Go for a walk with you before we went for for lunch and let our friends later on and my family were bugging me to go and why why can we see you when you arrive and I had these plans that I wanted to do. I wanted to go and walk by our old house and go and get a chicken. Fill it Roll Along the canal. I also wanted to propose to you had me cut to the canal and it was very difficult to try and get my family to leave me alone for that. Where they were telling them what I was planning on doing very secretive about this. I didn't tell anyone that I was going to propose to you and I had the ring for
28:22 Must have been eight or nine months before actually proposed. We have a guy that you didn't look in that drawer and we went to the canal we were talking and you were trying to take photos of the canal and head lice. It looked cuz I was our special place when we lived in around while we used to go walk there and sit down and talk and I love the canal in the most beautiful places, but then as my once I started getting fidgety and nervous and trying to see if there be a gap for when people weren't around the canal and you started to notice that I was acting weird no idea.
29:22 What was going to happen? We're just sitting there eating a sandwich and I was taking pictures and then Connor. Yeah started getting a little Shifty which is not normal and I was like, okay so things off right now and then the thought popped into my head. Oh my God. What is he's about to propose to me actually did think of I did think of that like two seconds before.
29:53 Well, luckily you said yes, I can't really remember how I asked I think I just blurted out a few things. He didn't say much cuz
30:07 We've always assumed that we would get married.
30:13 So it made it easier to ask the question if you weren't sure if they say yes right away. I was really excited about this. Actually, the ring face is right size and I was just so surprised. I couldn't believe that he had gone to that much effort and he waited so long and I mean I was really happy. It was like one of the best days ever liked was a gorgeous day in Dublin and sunny and beautiful and
31:01 Connor then took me to an amazing lunch afterwards love trying new restaurants, like most of our money traveling to places to try different restaurants. Definitely that's one of the finer things in life that we like to do is try any restaurants. So he took me to one of Dublin's Michelin star restaurants for lunch. That I deserve it was really really good and I am we met up with with my family to tell them when I think they had expected it as well to eventually happen, but just didn't know when they were surprised but really really happy and excited for us.
32:02 Just in case of special occasion.
32:08 Poor poor Fiona was in Ireland, but couldn't be there with us. She got emotional on the phone with crier. I'd like when I'm happy. I don't cry. It's so like I was smiling all day. My face is hurting everybody. So happy for us. It was really nice. Like we later went to a pub that day and
32:40 All Connors friends that were in Dublin came and a couple of my friends that are still in Dublin came. We all hung out had a few drinks every one of those really excited for us to sort of an impromptu engagement party. Wanted to see the great to have this excuse for a little impromptu engagement party if we flew to Tanzania right after that to go visit our friend Katie and we basically had an engagement honeymoon.
33:28 All these animals is pretty incredible to see the white sand beaches and go snorkeling that so that was a pretty incredible Adventure.
33:46 So yeah, that's where that has topped off our relationship so far City, and we're going to get married next year you have any advice from our experience that you'd like to give people?
34:07 My the only advice that I can really give is to just keep an open mind and don't be afraid to take risks. Cuz I mean that's basically the theme of our entire relationship each of us had taking huge risks by going to live in a different country, you know, trying to find a job trying to start a career whatever I'm doing a new group of friends and stuff moving to New cities when you don't know anyone like you just upped and left as art when you're still 20 21 22 year olds and when I move to Dublin, even if you do take these risks and things don't work out things would still be okay, you know
35:01 Yeah, you could have you could have just gone home and talked it up to experience. You probably would have regretted not ever trying but I think people normally regret the things they don't do rather things they do do so. Yeah, I would never have but I think that that's what I've learned from. Our relationship is to just go for it and don't be afraid and also, you know don't put too much pressure on yourself to make everything. Perfect. We threw out everything we managed to keep.
35:43 Talking to each other despite really trying too hard trying to pursue this relationship which makes it a lot easier cuz I know my family miss me in your ear your parents definitely missed you a lot when you lived in Dublin and if they have been putting pressure on you to come back it would make you put much more of a strain in that regard to have people that are so supportive of our relationship. I mean, there are so many things that have sort of worked out to get us to where we are now like very lucky things like, you know me suddenly getting a check in the mail so I can buy ticket to come visit you and you getting the lottery for your visa and luckily Connor.
36:43 Laura took toe spots. Do I have to go to otago? Funny. That I believe in fate or not that I even really believe in the one but
37:04 You are
37:14 The I couldn't be happier without things worked out.
37:21 This is Sister.
37:30 So we're going to get married next year. We're trying to plan everything at the moment.
37:37 It's going to be.
37:43 Kennedy grave
37:47 Thanks for talking to me today rehash our whole relationship and you know, keep it for posterity take the stroll down memory lane.