Having moved to Dublin from the Netherlands a bit over a year ago, people sometimes ask me if I have changed anything or much since. In general, I don’t think I’ve changed all that much (although I’m also not a 100% sure if I’d be the best judge of that). But there are some things I do differently now, and here’s a list of them.
1. I kiss people less often.
Okay I should probably explain that right? In the Netherlands it’s custom to kiss each other three times on the cheek (left, right, left) if you haven’t seen the other person in a while, if it’s someone’s birthday, if you’re happy to see someone, or just because you feel like it. In Ireland, I still haven’t really discovered THE way of greeting someone. I think it’s two kisses, but not always and since I was so used to three, I’ve had quite a few awkward encounters in which I was suddenly kissing the air or bumpin’ heads.
Instead, I now opt for a high-five or just spread my arms like wings ready for take-off, so people know hugs-a-comin.
2. Money talk.
Dutchies tend to be a lot more secretive about money stuff. Here, straight up questions like “What did that cost?” are a lot more common and I’ve become more open discussing money stuff too. “12 euro on sale, New Look.”
3. My parsnip intake has increased by a 100%.
It’s just not a hip and happening vegetable in the Netherlands. Good story.
4. I walk a lot, lot more.
Even when I had a bike here, I opted for walking most of the time as not all the roads are bike proof. Also, the public transport is complicated and terrible.
Walking is the way to go.
5. A sea of tea.
I drink more tea with more milk, and leave the teabag in my cup so it gets nice and strong. This has nothing to do with someone telling me that “taking your teabag out is for wimps”, btw.
Also, I bulk buy tea now. In the Netherlands there’s usually a lousy 20 teabags in a packet, over here the small packets contain 80, and regular packets of tea 160.
Favourite tea? Barry’s. Runner up? Tetley’s.
6. Face paint.
I’ve started using a lot more make-up. Women tend to wear more make-up here, especially in or for their jobs, and I started to feel shabby and bare without any, as if I had put less effort in.
Also, eyebrows are life.
7. I play the lotto now.
Had never played it until moving here. The Irish are partial to a gamble and there’s countless betting shops about. Paddy Power, Ladbrokes, Boyle Sports. I’m not even sure if those type of shops are a thing in the Netherlands.
Since in Dublin prices-for-everything are rocketing through the roof (just an example: 6,50 euro for a pint, no problem), I might as well join in on the hunt for a pot of gold. Also, there’s a bit more of a buzz around the lotto here. Especially when it’s announced there’s been a big local win, there’s quite some speculation going on.
8. I eat more pureed soup.
In the Netherlands soup is usually almost see-through with big chunks of vegetable. I enjoyed the Irish pureed soup a lot more, until that time someone said they thought it resembled baby food. Oh.
A few classic local expressions are now incorporated in my day to day vocabulary. The favourite among the dance mums in the class, “Ahh jaysus”, was first to escape my mouth. “Ahh lads gowan…” and “that’s gas” followed soon after.
10. “This will make for a good story.”
The Irish attitude towards bad luck and unexpected events made me more relaxed about certain situations. I’ve seen two of my teachers chuckle over a lost house key: “Oh dear, what are we to do now?” A group of dancers had their car break down on their way to the World Championships and all the while laughing they told me the adventures they went through to get there in the end. “It wouldn’t be a proper journey without at least one car breaking down, right?”
Been on a pub crawl with a group of friends and lost several items (a phone, a coat, money, glasses)? No problem, we’ll just do the whole pub crawl again tonight and get our belongings back.
Things that would upset or annoy a lot of people, the Irish don’t seem to be bothered about too quickly.
Why worry about things you can’t control? They are adventures and they’ll make for a good story.