Sun 7 Mar 2010
It’s been less than a week since I arrived in Ireland, but I’m starting to get the hang of life around here. Certain things have made the transition much easier, like the uncharacteristically sunny weather we’ve been having since my arrival (apparently I brought the LA sunshine with me!). And of course my wonderful friends – both old and new – have been taking good care of me and showing me the ropes.
I’ve learned that trends, as in fashion, food and entertainment, can be more apparent in a small town like Drogheda. All the girls wear dresses when going out on a Saturday night, and by “all the girls” I mean all of them. Last night at Bru, a popular bar in downtown, I couldn’t find a single woman – besides the bartenders – wearing pants. It’s a *thing* here right now. To me, it’s a mix of old-school and new. The idea of women getting dolled up in dresses to go out on the town is a throw-back but at the same time it’s a sign of feminine power and confidence. In any case, I embrace it. I happily bought a dress in town yesterday.
I’m learning that Irish time has got nothing to do with real time, clocks or schedules. If someone says he or she be somewhere at “half-eight” (that’s 8:30 to us Americans), it’s almost certain that they’ll still be in the shower at half-eight. By nine, the person will be walking out of the door and into the car and by “quarter-past-nine” (that’s 9:15 to us Americans), he/she will be arriving. It’s just the way it is and I will just have to grit my teeth and accept it, even though tardiness typically makes me want to pull my hair out.
I believe few other countries have perfected the art of the insult or joke better than the Irish. Conversations are peppered with creative put-downs and comical gags. Some recent favorites include “Oh she’s a stupid lazy hole!” and “Let’s make like a g-string and split this hole” (“hole” is a very popular word here, if you couldn’t tell already). When I asked my friend Trevor if he left a tip with the waiter last night, his response was, “I told him not to eat yellow snow.” They’re always quick on the draw, the Irish.
I’m starting to understand that traditions are very important, and no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, they play a pivotal role in day-to-day life here. Sunday mornings, at least in the Roche house (where I’m staying until I get an apartment), includes a late sleep-in, a big fry-up breakfast and lots of gossip around the kitchen table. Many cups of tea are drunk and everyone is updated on who’s doing what with whom and how and why around town. It’s the ideal fix for a hangover and not a bad way to spend a Sunday. Even after I move, I think you’ll find me here most Sunday mornings.
*Just a side-note: I’ve updated my last posting with the recipe for Sinead’s mom’s stew. Enjoy!