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Jessica: Points of difference

June 9, 2011

There are lots of little things that make up culture shock between Ireland and home. Here are a few:

  • No one seems to use half and half. For anything. So I cool down my Americanos with “semi-skimmed milk” or whole milk.
  • The washer and dryers are in one unit- and take 5 times as long, sounding like rocket ships taking off
  • The symbol of Ireland is the Harp, and the color of the country is Blue, not green. Huh.
  • “What’s the Craic?” (pronounced “crack”); the term means “fun” or “what’s good,” hence why they made a shirt that said, “What’s the craic, Barack?” when he visited
  • Flipping off people is the peace sign, knuckles facing out
  • All students in Belfast seemed to wear uniforms– which leads to some ridiculously high heels and crazy hair
  • Shorts are the “going out” outfit, as they don’t often wear them during the day due to rain, it is the risque way to show leg going out
  • They wear rompers. And jumpsuits. A lot. With heavy floral pattern. Imagine Jasmine’s flouncy pants but with flowers all over them. In real life.
  • There’s a lot of dyed red/magenta hair–and it’s not frowned upon
  • Lots of consignment shops dedicated to cancer research or pets in need of vets in Belfast
  • Dogs dont have to be leashed–they run freely and are well trained to stay with their owners
  • The flute is a manly instrument here
  • Fire doors. EVERYWHERE. Fire extinguishers. Everywhere. We’re lucky that we found the ONE for our entire Minneapolis apartment building.
  • You have to switch all the outlets on to use them
  • The “goth” look is… cool?
  • Everything shuts down pretty early unless it’s a pub. But in Belfast they close at 1.
  • 9 Euro for a pack of cigarettes; or about 8 pounds in Belfast
  • Ireland is home to the highest heels I’ve ever seen. There are no heels in a normal range for me, I am on my tip toes.
  • In Dublin, you pay 1 Euro extra for each additional person in the taxi.
  • Many places in Europe charge you for bags at the grocery store
  • Less preservatives here–food spoils faster; apparently the EU doesn’t allow chemicals unless they’re proven to be safe. The USDA allows it until it’s proven harmful. Good job, America
  • Everything is in military time
  • THEY SELL CRISPY M&MS HERE
  • People don’t really wear leggings. Just tights.
  • They greet you with “hey-ya”
  • Solicitors here means “lawyer,” “to let” means for rent, “take away” is take out, “chips” are fries, “crisps” are chips, a man’s wallet is wallet, a woman’s wallet is her purse, and her purse is her handbag, “prams” are strollers, they say “holiday” instead of vacation, “give way” instead of yield signs, and countless others that Kelsey Bitney would be better at remembering…
  • I can’t find chicken noodle soup ANYWHERE.
  • The days in the summer are LONG here–it is light out till 9 or 10 in May
  • I don’t ever see locals wearing rain boots.
  • Lack of public restrooms and trash cans. Bad news.

Anyway this is NOT an exhaustive list.

But I must say, Dublin doesn’t seem to have any Irish culture but rather just a metropolitan, going-out, tourist culture. It’s very hard to find it endearing when it feels SO commercialized everywhere–it’s quite the culture shock from Belfast, which feels like home.

Not to mention several rooms in the hotel have run out of toilet paper but apparently so is the main office soooo we’ll see what happens with that. Rationing TP is not what I planned for in a hotel. Overall it’s kind of hilarious because the plan is now to hoard TP at every dining establishment we go to from now on.

Other recent happenings:

  • St. Stephen’s Green with Rachel- a giant beautiful park in the middle of this crazy city
  • Caught short parody performance of Macbeth there
  • Got tickets for Romeo and Juliet for Wednesday, since tonight was sold out
  • Shopped at Penneys
  • Went to part of a church service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and listened ot the men’s choir sing- GORGEOUS acoustics in the chamber.
  • Analyzed my spending so far– ew. Not pretty.
  • Watched Michael Collins for class
  • Laughed hysterically with my roommates
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