Continued from Part 1… (duh)
6. If Soibhán and her family ever came to visit, I could never, ever feed them enough food. I know this for a fact. Every meal I had at her house was enormous. Seriously humongous. She fixed a plate for me one evening that would have fed both my husband and myself with leftovers. Piles of roast beef, mashed potatoes, home fries, parsnips, mashed carrots and cauliflower & cheese. All covered in gravy. Plus dessert. I have never seen people eat so much food on a regular basis. Ever. And they’re not fat at all. At all. I want to know how that works…
7. Unlike the Vikings and the English, Peeps have yet to invade Ireland. I brought three packages of Easter Peeps with me in the new flavors – sour watermelon, birthday cake and blue raspberry. Yuck. But her three kids devoured them. Naturally. Mr. Soibhán loved the Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs… I guess he doesn’t object to peanut butter and chocolate. Just jam.
8. People who live in Ireland can fly to the U.S. way cheaper that I can fly to Ireland. We checked out the Aer Lingus’ website at Soibhán’s house. The round trip airfare is 40% less to book in Ireland than I can book from the US. Whaaaat? Isn’t that illegal or something? Isn’t there some sort of international airfare equity law? But it’s probably a good thing. I’d be eating Soibhán’s ginormous meals more often.
9. Soibhán’s lives near a Gaeltacht area of Ireland. That is, the primary language of the area is Irish. And don’t call it Gaelic. Gaelic is what they speak in Scotland. But sometimes Irish is called Irish Gaelic. Confused? I still am… Anyway, her three younger kids go to Gaeltacht schools. These schools are dedicated to keeping the Irish culture and language alive, and the teachers and students speaking Irish exclusively. Soibhán’s Irish isn’t too good since she didn’t attend a Gaeltacht school. Her kids are starting to talk Irish in front of her. Gotta love those kids. Her eight year old daughter sang Uptown Funk to me in Irish. It was cool.
10. Sadly U.S. reality TV knows no boarders. Unfortunately. We spent two hours one evening watching “Say Yes to the Dress”. Doesn’t really put the best face on U.S. matrimonial rituals does it? But like a car wreck, we couldn’t not watch. Or stop watching. At least she hasn’t seen “Bridezillas”. Yet.
So yeah – there were some differences – mostly involving the roll of jelly/jam in the Irish diet vs. the American diet. But I also found out that we had much, much more in common. And that’s the gift you receive from travel if you “live like the locals” as my hero Rick Steve’s says.
You see with eyes wide open.
So today I went shopping and got the ingredients for a “thank you” goodie box… A jar of peanut butter and grape jelly swirled, a can of Disney Princess chicken noodle soup, a box of Lucky Charms (her six year old loves them – go figure…), Neosporin spray (can’t get it in Irleand), Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs and a pack of Peeps.
They’re going to love it! But possibly hate the peanut butter and jelly. I’m willing to take the risk.
The Irish have two categories of people who come to their country. You are either a tourist or a visitor.
The tourist comes to see the sights, snap pictures, listen to some traditional music and drink Guinness. They complain about the weather and how long it takes to drive from place to place and about how you can’t get a short answer when you ask a question. Short of St. Patrick and the Great Famine, they really don’t know much about Irish history. And they’re really not interested in learning that much more.
The visitor comes to see the sights, snap pictures, listen to some traditional music and drink Guinness. They also don’t care if it’s cold and/or raining (not much at least…) And they love the long drives and exploring small villages and getting stopped by sheep in the road. Multiple times. Visitors think the twenty minutes of craic that they exchange on a street corner with the person they stopped to ask directions from is a highlight of their day. They know something about the incredible history of both ancient and modern Ireland. A visitor admires the irrepressible Irish spirit that would not be conquered by the Vikings, the Normans, the Scots or the English despite hundreds and hundreds of years of occupation.
And they like nothing better than to spend an evening by a coal and peat fire with new friends laughing about putting jam on toast.
Éirinn go Brách!