Shanell Peterson is an official CAPA blogger for summer 2016, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A journalism major South Dakota State University, she is studying abroad in Dublin this term.
In this week's post, Shanell shares a few of her observations of life in Ireland as it compares to the US.
Last weekend, two of my friends and I went to Rome. It was a wonderful adventure filled with culture, new friends, and awesome Instagram photos. However, even though I had an amazing time, I found myself missing Dublin. Ireland truly is becoming my home away from home. Even so, there are some things that I miss in America, and that’s what inspired me to write this article. Here are 10 things Ireland does better than the US and 10 things it doesn’t (complete with personal anecdotes).
10 Things Ireland Does Better...
1. DOORS. This is an odd one to start out with, but let me explain. Dublin’s doors are gorgeous. I’m not sure the exact history behind them yet, but most houses have a big, painted door with a rounded window at the top. It adds something unique and beautiful to the neighborhoods.
Photo: Here is just two of the many, many unique and beautiful doors you’ll find in Dublin.
2. STRAWS. Straight straws are very rare here. Instead, you’ll get a bendy straw for your drinks. It’s a small perk, but it’s a fun one nonetheless.
3. BREAKFAST. A full Irish breakfast consists of sausage, black pudding (Don’t ask what it is. Just eat it. It’s not bad.), hash browns, toast, eggs, mushrooms, beans, and more. I’ve never had a more filling meal to start my day before.
Photo: While filling, I didn’t find this breakfast particularly tasty. I’ll try other full Irish breakfasts to see if there are any better ones out there!
Photo: Amber and I tried black pudding for the first time at NOSHington.
4. NOT TAKING EVERYTHING SO SERIOUSLY. My first week of my internship, we were given free tickets to an event called The Taste of Dublin. This event actually took place in the park next to our office, so we went there for lunch. When we got there one of my supervisors looked at me and said, “Are you OK with taking a longer lunch today?” This flexibility is the norm here, and I love how it makes everything much less stressful.
5. TEA. I didn’t like tea before I came to Ireland. On my first day, the people at my internship put milk and sugar in a cup of tea they offered me, and I’ve been hooked ever since.
Photo: This adorable photo of Amber sums up how I feel about tea with milk and sugar.
6. HOSPITALITY. Speaking of offering a cup of tea to someone, the Irish do hospitality right. No matter who you are—a coworker, a subordinate, the CEO of a company—everyone offers tea to whoever wants one. In fact, the plumber came to my house one day and while he was fixing our shower I peaked my head in and said for the first time, “Would you like a cup of tea when you're finished?” He was delighted and gratefully accepted. For twenty minutes, my housemate and I had a wonderful conversation with this man. I wouldn’t have thought of doing that when I was in the States.
7. SOCIAL INTERACTION IN GENERAL. It’s incredible that barely anyone is buried in their phones here. When you go to restaurants everyone is truly in the conversation. While walking down the street, you seldom see someone talking on a cell phone. I think that’s something we Americans can learn from the Irish.
8. CROSSING THE STREET. In busy American cities, you normally push the crosswalk button while on foot and wait for the go-ahead light to cross the street. In Ireland, you can go whenever it’s clear. At busy intersections you have to wait to cross, you’ll hear the crosswalk button make a sound that just makes you happy.
Photo: I haven’t gotten a chance to take a photo of the pedestrian crosswalk signs yet, but they feature green, yellow, and red stick figures much like this bike streetlight sign.
9. DAYLIGHT. I am currently experiencing 17 hours of daylight right now. The sun rises at 5am and sets at 10pm. If I were back home, I would only have 15 hours of daylight from 6am to 9pm. I can’t express to you how grateful I am for those two extra hours. It makes getting up in the morning easier and increases my productivity during the day.
10. WORDING. It takes a little while to get used to Irish slang. Craic (pronounced “crack”) means fun. Instead of “what’s up,” they say, “what’s the story?” And “that’s grand” takes the place of “that’s OK.” Casual conversation is so much more fun with these kinds of phrases! However, my personal favorites are “fab,” “savage,” and “class” instead of “cool.” I’m taking those back to the States with me.
... & 10 Things It Doesn't
1. SHOWERS. There’s an Irish saying that goes, “Don’t leave the immersion on.” That is, don’t leave the hot water heater going all day because it will be expensive. I take for granted the fact that in America I can take long, hot showers.
2. WEATHER. I never know how to dress for the weather here. One second I need a jacket, the next I don’t. One second I need an umbrella, the next I look silly for carrying an umbrella in the sun. I wish the weather would stay consistent!
3. PRICING. Dublin is an expensive city. While it’s not completely outrageous, I look forward going back to my super-affordable Midwestern hometown.
4. RECEIVING COMPLIMENTS. I don’t personally have any stories about this, but I’ve heard that the Irish can’t take a compliment. They are too humble to just say, “thank you.” In fact, in my class our professor showed us a commercial that makes fun of this. Check it out:
5. PRESERVATIVES. I never thought I’d say this, but I miss the days when my food was packed full of preservatives. Everything goes bad here so much faster! I have the hardest time with bread, and I eat a lot of bread.
6. TIME. Everything is in military time here, yet people still say things like “6 at night.” It’s confusing. I have to do twenty seconds of math to know what time it is. I’m working on making it much faster.
7. LOCKS. I’ve had the hardest time with keys while I’ve been here. I am completely aware that it’s not the locks’ fault; it’s mine. But blaming the locks makes me feel better.
8. SHOPPING FOR DAILY NECESSITIES. I kind of miss Wal-Mart. It’s a one-stop shop for all of your needs.
10. I adore Ireland. Eight, tiny downsides are all I can think of. You’re a whale of a time, Ireland. <3
Shanell's journey continues every Thursday so stay tuned.