15 Things People ask me about living in Ireland04/05/2019
An interview with myself
One of the reasons I initiated my Blog was to share my experience as an expatriate in Ireland. And hopefully to assist others with making a decision whether they should take that big step of emigrating or not. Before I left my life in Germany behind and moved to the „Emerald Isle“ I had a lot of questions myself and different thoughts were going through my head. All doubts and fears have vanished and lots of questions have been answered after having lived in Ireland for over five years. Thanks to all the people who helped my on my journey!
Now, people – not only potential emigrants – ask me questions about my new life in Ireland. In my blog post Would I emigrate to Ireland again? I have already answered a few practical matters. Here I would like to give an insight into quite personal things that people have been asking me over the years.
Did you emigrate for love?
No, I did not come to Ireland because of a man. I came to Ireland because of love, though. Love to a country with which I started a relationship many years before I finally moved here. It was a very conscious decision and not because of a job or any other practicality. Pure love and gut feeling.
Did you have an employment contract when you came to Ireland?
Yes I did. My successful application with a company that I really was interested in working with at the time was the security I needed for myself to move forward with my plans and to eventually emigrate.
Do you feel homesick at times?
I never really feel homesick. I do find it hard however that it is much more complicated to plan family get-togethers and that they can’t happen spontaneously. Since we have a child I find it even more stressful to travel and have become super inflexible with boarding a plane. Video calls have become more regular and precious since.
How often to you go to Germany?
I try to go to Germany at least twice a year. Usually I stay for at least a week to make it worthwhile. I tend to make an exception and plan an extra visit for very special occasions.
Where do you spend Christmas?
The first couple of years after I had moved to Ireland we celebrated with my family in Germany. Then it was my husband’s turn and we stayed with his family in Ireland. Since there is three of us we like to keep Christmas simple and establish our little tradition in our own home. Not that we would give the opulent Christmas dinner a miss that my husband’s sister is hosting on the 25th every year!
What do you miss most in Ireland?
There is nothing „German“ that I particularly miss in Ireland. I enjoy being at my parents’ and sometimes I fantasize about sitting in their lovely garden in the sun. Especially on a rainy day or when I know they are having a family BBQ without me.
Is there anything that you still buy in Germany?
That is a question that I usually answer to (female) friends only since it is quite private. There is a certain brand of female sanitary products that I still import from Germany as I cannot get them here. Other than that, Ireland has it all thanks to Lidl, Aldi & Co. Even herbal infusions that I used to „smuggle“ in from Germany are not an issue anymore. Thanks again to everybody who has sent me little care packages over the years!
Do you speak German to your child?
Yes, I exclusively speak German to our son. It used to be a bit difficult at the beginning when our little one didn’t talk yet since my husband doesn’t have any German. So every time I said something in German I translated it for my husband. By now my husband has a good few words in German or gets the context from the little one’s response. With nearly two years our child has far more German than English. However this will change as soon as he starts playschool at the age of three. I am very happy with his bilingual development, especially because I thought we were going to face more problems with that.
Do you speak Irish?
I definitely have an affinity to languages, but I am not a genius! Whoever learns Irish or Gaelic on the side and didn’t grow up with it deserves my adoration. To me – without being insulting – it sounds like random sounds put together that are extremely hard to pronounce. And it doesn’t seem to have any similarities to a language known to me, except the Scottish Gaelic maybe. Besides English, Irish is an official language in Ireland. Hence all official documents, road signs etc. are given in both languages. In the Gaeltacht Areas – the Irish speaking communities – in Gaelic only. I am happy enough with just speaking English and I love the different accents you hear all around the island!
Do you sometimes dream in English?
Someone told me that once you dream in a foreign language you have settled in well into your country of choice. For me that was definitely the case. After living in Ireland for a while I started dreaming a mix of English and German – depending on the language the people in my dream spoke.
What bothers you most in Irish people?
Tricky questions since I will definitely get into trouble for using stereotypes or generalisations. However I do find that Irish people are less reliable than Germans. Especially when it comes to casual agreements. People either don’t show up at all or cancel last minute. I am well aware by now that the statement „We have to meet up sometime“ doesn’t mean anything and you could be waiting forever for the person to get in touch. Most of the time people would even have a good reason for cancelling. Other times they just „overbook“ themselves which is due to a lack of proper planning rather than unreliability. Read my full „tirade“ about that in my blog post Typically Irish.
How do you feel about driving on the left side?
It has become normal to me and really isn’t a problem anymore. On the contrary, I now really have to focus when driving in Germany that I don’t enter a roundabout the wrong way around. I also bump my hand on the door every time I am trying to shift gears or get into the car on the wrong side for a start. But it really is a matter of habit and I can say that I safely drive on either side of the road – once I remember which country I am in…
Is Irish food really that bad?
When people ask me that question I assume that they have the reputation of the English cuisine in mind. Or that they haven’t eaten in Ireland in years and if so, probably in a restaurant of poor quality. I like Irish food. I am not a „food snob“, rather the opposite. I like reasonable sized portions in kind of „home-cooked“ quality. Pub grub is usually great for that.
How do you cope with the Irish weather?
Honestly, when we suffer the third week of rain in a grey and dull February, I ask myself that questions, too. But as soon as the spring sun is breaking through and all those colours start spreading around, the bad, long winters are almost forgotten. People bring their flip flops and shorts for a walk in 17 degrees and everybody is visibly in a good mood. Sometimes I do get a bit frustrated when there is no real summer and temperatures barely rise above 20 degrees in July and August. However when I hear about 40 degrees in Germany and a constant drought, I prefer the moderate Irish climate.
Are you planning to stay in Ireland for good?
There is no going back for me. In Ireland I have found what I had been looking for. I have settled in well and it is the home of my family. In other words, yes I’ll stay!
That means there will be much more different experiences following in the future. And I will gladly share them on my blog with whoever is interested. I have already answered the question Would I emigrate to Ireland again? in a previous blog post which gives information about health insurance, finding a place to stay etc. If you would like some more advice or have individual questions, please do not hesitate to contact me!