October 21st, 2012 | Uncategorized
As I got off the plane in Belfast, Northern Ireland I really didn’t know what to expect. I had heard many things like: the food wasn’t good, the weather sucks, etc. What I didn’t hear is all the positives of living in Northern Ireland. As I expected, the things I heard from various sources were completely WRONG! Of course there are things that are different in Northern Ireland than in the States, but sometimes change is good, and in my case change has been great.
My life here in Belfast has been awesome! As an African-American male here in Belfast, I am automatically very different than anyone else here. It also doesn’t help that I am 6’5 and 210 pounds. It has been different, but a very good different. For example, every day I walk to class or even in the city of Belfast, I feel like all eyes are on me. I get looked at differently, stared at constantly, and even get an occasionally high five from an Irishman who thinks I am s
omeone famous. I feel like celebrity sometimes with all the high fives from random people while Jim, Caroline, and I walk around. In the states I tend to blend in with all my friends and family, but here in Belfast, there is no such thing as me blending in which is good for me. As a result, of this I am a lot less shy and more open to people while in group projects for school or just hanging out in the student union.
The culture here is very similar to how it is in America, but there are definitely some things I have had to get used to. One of them, believe it or not, is the dialect. I have had to get used to phrases like “What’s the Craic?” or calling the trunk of the car a “boot” or even calling basketball shoes “boots”. It has taken some time to get used to, but I am starting to get it now. I am even starting to call our basketball practice “a training session”, so I am starting to adapt pretty well in just 2 months. Another thing that caused Jim and me trouble when we first got here was how the shower worked. I have always just turned on the shower and water came out, but in our dorm rooms we have to flip a switch (like turning on the light) in order for the water to work. It was just a small culture change, but it caused us headaches as we had to walk to the gym or “sports centre” to shower.
Overall, my life in Belfast has been more than I could ever expect it to be: The people here are so friendly and very nice to you, the kids are very respectful, the food is good (Mr. Gareth and Mrs. Deirdre are amazing cooks), and the weather isn’t as bad as people say. My life in Belfast has been very different, but I have had a blast and can’t wait to see what else Belfast has in store for me!