A broad abroad

February 14th, 2013

DUBLIN – I wish I could tell you that in the past two weeks I’ve been on all kinds of grand and glorious adventures, and I’ve met interesting people and fallen in love and pet a baby sheep (I guess that’s called a lamb) and seen amazing sights, but instead I was in bed sick with a cold, which is very exciting.

But since I’m back in the real world this weekend, I intend to make the most of it. My friend Maggie and I are joining a couple of other girls and going to the Aran Islands, which are located basically at the mouth of Galway Bay and are supposed to be beautiful and kind of remote and one of the only places in Ireland where the Irish language is completely preserved.  And you can bike around the islands, and you know I like that.

I don’t think it has hit me fully that I’m in another country and that I’m going to be here for another three and a half months. The only time I get bothered by the distance is when I think about the time difference. I’m five hours ahead of you guys, and let me tell you, the future is super rad.

Other than that, though, I still don’t walk about on the average day conscious of the fact that I am in a foreign country. I am international. I am technically a foreigner here. I keep waiting for it to hit me, but it hasn’t yet. Maybe I just haven’t been here long enough to stop feeling like a little bit of a tourist. Then again, maybe the whole time here I will feel like a tourist. I hope not.

I am trying my best to just assimilate. I try to do what the other Irish students do and live how they live, for the most part. I feel most out of place when I make peanut butter and jelly because they don’t eat that here, and they think it’s very strange that I do. I shared mine with one of my roommates. She wasn’t blown away by it.

Other than the PB & J, I do what I can to blend in. I’ve started watching rugby. It’s actually a great sport, way better than most that we play in the states. Not to say I don’t like American football, and watching baseball for hours on end does have its own special appeal; but if you consider yourself a man’s man, you should try playing a rugby match. I don’t think that I would want to run into any of the members of Ireland’s team on the street. They’re big. And they’re tough. And they’re scary looking. They are rugby players, but they could also be used as muscle for hire.

They don’t wear pads. They’re constantly tackling one another. And, while it’s fairly low impact, I think that any tackle when all you’re wearing is essentially a soccer uniform, without the shin protectors, hits pretty hard. Try it sometime. Let me know how it goes. If you can.

Another thing I’ve started doing is calling soccer by its proper name, “football.” I did it a bit before I left the states, but I doubt I’ll come back calling it soccer at all. It just doesn’t make logical sense to not call it football. American football is hardly played with the feet. We should probably come up with another name. Sorry guys. I’m not trying to be a hater, but if you think about it, our way really just doesn’t make much etymological sense.

Football is just the tip of the iceberg with words that I’m trying to incorporate into my vocabulary. They call sweaters “jumpers” and cookies “biscuits,” and I got made fun of because I called potatoes “potatoes” instead of the usual “spuds.” They use the word “grand” a lot. I don’t know yet if I want to start using that one. Holden Caulfield finds it phony, and so do I generally.  Although, with their accents they make it sound much nicer.

And I know that we aren’t supposed to buy into stereotypes and believe that certain things are true about entire populations of people, but what you know about the Irish having foul language is pretty much true across-the-board. But it doesn’t really seem so foul because they’re so casual about it.

Whether or not I’ll come home with an Irish brogue remains to be seen; but even if I don’t, at least I know I’ll have a few linguistic souvenirs in the form of slang. Cheers!