I’ve officially been living in Dublin for more than a week now! I know that is only a short amount of time, but I’ve still picked up on many of the cultural differences between Ireland and Canada. It used to annoy me to hear travellers comment that something done in a new city is not done the same way in their home city. Of course it isn’t! You’re not in your home city anymore! This being said, since moving to Dublin I have found myself saying “It’s not like that in Vancouver” a little too often. Whenever I catch myself doing this, I remind myself that I am no longer in Vancouver and therefore of course it will be different here, and that the difference is exactly why I moved! I wanted to experience a new culture and adapt a new lifestyle, different from what I am used to in Canada. Here are a few differences I’ve noticed in my short time in Ireland.
Irish people do not speak English. Well, they do, but not the same English that we speak in Canada. The English here is made up of some of the strangest slang I’ve ever heard. Thank goodness I’m already used to it because of Seán. When we first met I could hardly understand him. Not because of his accent, but because of the actual words he was saying. I couldn’t even imagine moving to Ireland without knowing any of the slang and sayings and trying to understand it on my own! It’s seriously a whole new language.
Irish people are never in a rush. They never seem to be stressed out, never in a hurry, and always have time to stop for a cup of tea, a pint in a pub, or a chat with a friend. I noticed this especially on escalators. In Canada, it is a custom to stand on the right side of the escalator, and to make room for people walk up or down it on the left side. Here in Dublin nobody walks on the escalators, even in the crowded shopping centres! I know that an escalator takes less than 30 seconds, but for some reason in Vancouver that is just too long to wait. Walking slowly on the busy downtown streets is another thing that is common here. In Vancouver it’s normal to speed walk and weave around people like crazy to save that 5 minutes off your journey. Why are we in such a hurry??
They drive on the left side of the street. I am definitely not used to this yet. Last December when I first visited Seán, I may have mistakingly jumped into the driver’s seat of the car. More than once. Between driving on the left and all the one way streets, I cannot figure out which way to look before crossing the street. Oh and no one waits for the lights to change before crossing, they just go for it. That one is going to take some getting used to.
The (double decker) busses are unreliable. Tipping is not mandatory, or expected. Pints are actually 20 ounces here. Time is done in 24-hour format. Grocery stores close earlier. Pubs stay open later. Swearing is not offensive. The ground floor is floor 0, not 1. Fries are chips, gas is petrol, bathrooms are called toilets, grand means ok or fine, and craic is not a drug.