I’ve been living in Northern Ireland for a little over two months, and can confidently say I am immersing myself as much as possible in the culture. It is not drastically different from the states, but there are a few differences that I am still getting accustomed to, one being the accent/lingo used. I still find myself saying “I’m sorry, what was that?” at least 10 times a day throughout my conversations with the locals. I have found throughout my short time here that some accents are stronger than others in different parts of the island. The Northern Irish and Southern Irish talk much differently from each other. This became very evident to me when my parents were here visiting a couple of weeks ago… we spent a couple of days in Dublin, then drove to Belfast so they could experience where I live in the North. The very first conversation (from the locals) that they heard in Northern Ireland happened to be in the restaurant, Nando’s. As soon as the hostess said “Hiya wanna take a wee seat over there?”, my parents both looked at me and laughed, wondering if they were in a totally different part of the world all of a sudden. It sounded so different than the voices we were hearing in Dublin, which was actually so cool for them to experience.
I genuinely enjoy hearing all the phrases that they use here, and swapping facts about our different cultures with people that I’ve met. A fun thing to do with my teammates or with the people we work with in the community is to compare the food, (especially the chocolate) from Northern Ireland to the USA’s. (Sorry America, but the chocolate here beats yours by a long shot). My teammate has already promised to send me care packages full of Cadbury chocolate when I get back home… thank goodness!
However, sometimes it is difficult to compare things since some of them have never tried some of the stuff we have in the states. For instance, imagine trying to explain what a Wendy’s frosty is, and how Americans actually dip their fries (or as they say here, “chips”) INTO the frosty… I was looked at like I was an alien.
Here’s a few things I have learned here thus far.
Here’s to hoping I come home with some of this lingo engrained in my brain so I can annoy my family and friends. Cheers!!!