The funny thing is, even though I live in Dublin, only about half of the friends that I’ve made are Irish. The rest are from all over Europe. I have a lot of friends from France, Spain, Germany, Holland, Hungary and Austria. The thing about Dublin is that, for as small of a city it is, it probably is one of the most diverse cities I’ve ever seen! This is a result of the Celtic Tiger era when the economy was booming and also the fact that Ireland has great tax write offs for foreign businesses (virtually zero taxes if you are a foreign business based in Dublin).
I’ve also done a bit of travelling around Europe by myself and visited Paris with my French roommate (that helped a lot with getting around and having a place in stay). It’s funny… all my friends (Irish or European) all seem to love the American intercollegiate sport of pong/beruit. And being the lover of college sport that I am, I’m thrilled to show them the finer nuances of the game.
Back to Dublin… it’s such a warm and familiar place. Often times we just have regular conversations about anything and everything, which causes me to sometimes forget I’m even a foreigner. Since I’m the only American at the radio station where I’m interning, I’ve grown so accustomed to the Irish “accent,” if you will. It is almost as if, when I hear an American speak, it sounds different. I love to compare the way Irish talk with certain English twangs that differ from American English. For example: instead of saying “I’m great,” someone at the station would say “I’m grand.” Others include: “lift” instead of “elevator,” “rubbish” instead of “trash,” and my personal favorite “Thanks a million”… OR…”Cheers” instead of “Thanks.”
But away from the typical conversations, it is fun to often times compare Irish and American culture. The Irish presidential elections recently took place here so it was nice to compare and contrast American politics to Irish politics. A big topic is the type of music I (or Americans) enjoy listening to and also our favorite television shows/movies.
Christmas preparations and advertising have been in full gear since November 1st. Thanksgiving is not recognized here or anywhere in Europe (naturally). Although that is where many of my friends ask me questions. They are very interested in why we celebrate Thanksgiving, and what we do for Thanksgiving. I will be going out with the guys from the station on Thanksgiving to watch some NFL games at a local pub (the games will start at 5p.m. local time, which is very early for NFL games in Ireland). I’ve expressed, from a male point-of-view, the importance of watching American Football on the TV with family. Of course we have our turkey to enjoy and the family together, but come on, we love our football on that special Thursday in November. I am forcing some of the guys to wear the NFL jerseys I brought to Ireland when we go out… ha ha!! I told them they have to act like an American for just one night, so why not look the part?
In all honesty though, when it comes to any other country out there, (at least European countries) no other country has such a strong cultural tie to America than Ireland. I can speak on this because of the many great people I met from all across Europe. They all love America, but no one really adopts the American culture more so than Ireland. It’s interesting because their location gives them the British English culture and the American English culture. It’s up to the Irish which they prefer. Many prefer America… MANY have close family in America. I am not of Irish decent at all in my bloodline, but when I walk about the streets and go to the pubs, I feel right at home. So I may not have Irish in my blood, but I feel some have adopted me into their culture causing me to call this land my second home!