By Anne Rieger
I can’t believe I’m in NUI Galway for a month already. Time flies, and so do the assignments. This is why today in this column I don’t want to talk about anything university – related. Which is hard, because my life is basically on campus at the moment. We need to get your minds off college just for a little while. So here are my top five things I noticed Irish people doing a lot, and I thought they were pretty amazing and unique:
- Obsession with the weather: It rains a lot. We all know that, but people here don’t get tired of making sure you don’t forget that it actually rains. “It’s really wet today, isn’t it?” or “It’s supposed to rain later on” is the most common conversation starter, especially when it comes to the older generation.
- Positivity about the weather: Again, weather related, who would have thought? What I want to say by this is that people always assume the weather will be better tomorrow. It just shows such a positive mentality that really helps you through the day sometimes. After the usual “It rains today” most people would say something like “But the weekend is supposed to be good” and even if it is most likely not true, it really helps to make you feel a lot better.
- Cups of tea: I probably don’t have to say anything else, because you might have noticed in your time here that tea is the most important social factor in Irish society. Imagine if all the tea was gone, what would happen to all the tea breaks and all the “let’s go for tea”-s. It’s a horrific scenario that is similar to an apocalypse.
- Phone calls: Calling Irish people is a really funny and interesting experience that you shouldn’t miss out on. Obviously, you get the “How’s the weather” starter, but I don’t even want to point that out here. People here don’t seem to hang up until they have said “bye” at least five times. I don’t know what that is about, but five byes last better than one, I guess.
- The last fact is one that is true for most Irish people, and it is by far my favourite one. Most Irish people I met here don’t get tired of you asking questions about their culture. The pride they put into being Irish, while keeping an open mind towards other cultures, is something I truly admire. I love hearing people talk about their upbringing and their background, and to see that little sparkle in their eyes when someone is interested in hearing about the Claddagh Ring or about their parents’ farm. I never tire of asking questions and learning more about the country I’m so drawn to.