Thursday, December 12, 2013

Mind the Gap

On this the eve of my departure from the beautiful land of Ireland you would think I’d be posting some sappy, heartfelt blog post about how amazing and unforgettable my time was here and how I’ve been changed for the better. Although that remains true, I am still working on my closing reflection of the trip and therefore am dedicating this particular post to help all you lovely readers to become better acclimated with good old Irish life and culture:

Part 1: Talk like the Irish

Marnin – Good Morning!  
Cheers – “thank you,” “hello,” “no problem,” “I agree,” pretty much anything
Crisps – chips  
Lamb burgers with chubby chips and baked beans. classic.
Chips – french fries, varieties include chubby chips (thicker fries) or skinny chips (thin like McDonalds)
Craic – no real American equivalent, means something along the lines of a lot of fun and enjoyment, can be used in the following ways: “brilliant Craic”, “the craic was in the nineties”, “the Craic was mighty”, “what’s the craic?”
Trainers – sneakers or tennis shoes
Brown bread – wheat bread
Half past – 30 mins… so like “I’ll meet you at half past 12” aka 12:30

That's grand – that’s great!
State o’ ya (or the Head on ya) – you look awful
The Fear – the intense feeling you get the morning after a rough night when you are scared and anxious and worried and terrified of what happened, likened to a hangout but worse
Banshee – female ghost/spirit
Hooligan – boisterous peson
Sinn Feinner – “Sinn Fein” is a political party of Ireland that translates to “we ourselves”…if you are a Sinn Feiner, then you are self-absorbed and selfish
Strong tea – Guinness
Water of life – whiskey 


Part 2: SPORTS

Although I have greatly missed the ability to watch the Ravens kick butt on game day, I have come to appreciate many of the traditional and popular Irish sports. The top sports in Ireland to watch and/or to play competitively include Gaelic football (and ladies’ football), Hurling (called Camogie for the women, which I would TOTALLY plan), soccer, rugby, and cycling, sailing, and golf (Christian that’s for you….). The top sports in terms of recreation and fitness include swimming, running, boxing, cycling, and soccer.This past Tuesday some of us had the opportunity to tour Croke Park, home of the GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) which holds the men’s and women’s hurling and Gaelic football matches every year. It was pretty cool to see firsthand the importance that this park and the GAA had on preserving Irish history and culture. I also really loved going to the local Gaelic football game (described in a previous blog). The excitement and energy of the crowd combined with the passion and dedication of the players (even at an amateur level where none of them get paid to play) is what made the atmosphere really worthwhile!


Part 3: Mind the Gap

This familiar phrase that heads this section can be heard probably every 5 minutes while on board the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transport, if you don’t know that by now you might need to go back and reread every one of my blogs- from the beginning).
I remember when I was back in middle school and I’d have sleepovers at my friend’s houses, I was always surprised by the leniency of the parent’s rules or the lack of a big home cooked breakfast in the morning or even by the movies they chose to watch. It always caught me off guard because it was different than how things ran in my home and the way I was raised.
That being said, as with spending a night at a friend’s house for the first time, entering a completely different culture can be shocking at times. There will be things that will take a lot of time getting used to and things you may never really get used to (like eating carbs on carbs on carbs every meal). People will think you and your customs are weird too (Ann still doesn’t get why I put ketchup on my eggs or why I stretch and do planks after a run or even why I sometimes went to daily mass).
If my time here has taught me anything at all, it has been that everyone comes from different backgrounds and cultures and that you shouldn’t judge or belittle or poke fun at anyone else’s family traditions or customs or beliefs because odds are, yours are just as weird.  It’s all about “minding the gap,” or realizing that yes, there is a gap between cultures, but to recognize that that’s okay. For a lot of us, this experience has been about stepping outside of our comfort zones in whatever way. It’s been about getting used to the differences and adapting. It’s about flexibility and realizing that your way isn’t always the only way. It’s about being present to people and experiencing all you can where you are. It’s about the craic.

And boy did we find the craic.

Boarding the plane home tomorrow at 3:30pm, or 10:30am Maryland time (I’ve gotten so good at counting backwards because of the time zones…). Flying into Boston then layover for a bit then home sweet home BMORE! So stoked to finally be at home! Will most likely jump into Sean’s arms and squeeze Lauren to death (and anyone else who’s at the airport!) Will sleep like a log in my own bed after these 10 weeks away (and because of the jet-lag, oh boy) and wake up Saturday for Justin and Kate’s Wedding! Sunday is the Venanzi family (my mom’s side) annual Italian cookie bake where we hand make over 1,000 Italian cookies! Holler! So excited for this jam-packed weekend. Don’t know how I’ll be not dead for it all, but excited to be home again soon!

Cheers for now!

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