Wednesday, October 7, 2009

no "troubles" for me in northern ireland...

Mural in Belfast
Causeway Coast

Last week I rediscovered a truth I’ve known my entire life: Paris is the best city in the world. But, before I ramble on about how much I love that city (it is a thing I do really well…), let me ramble about my time in Ireland: It is true; the grass is greener on the other side of the channel and it is, without a doubt, due to the amount of rainfall it receives. Every single day was soaked in a sort of misty rain that I quickly learned is called wet rain. Wet rain…in comparison to what? Dry rain? I laughed when I first learned that this is how the Irish refer to that sort of rain, but they probably laughed at me when they saw me walking around with an umbrella. In Ireland, as I unpleasantly discovered, umbrellas are pointless because this “wet rain” often seems to be coming up from the ground. It sounds magical but I promise, it’s really just annoying.

Despite lacking appropriate attire for the weather, Ireland was wonderful. My first thought upon arriving in Dublin was “I wanna know where tha gooold at, give me tha gold, I want tha gold” (if you haven’t seen this video, please search “leprechaun in Mobile, Alabama” on YouTube immediately). After a few days in Dublin, I took a train to Coleraine in Northern Ireland to visit two friends who are studying abroad there. It was so good to spend a few days with friends. Together we visited Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, and had fun going out in Portstewart at night. Irish people were a breath of fresh air after having been in France for almost two months, and maybe it is because I had been in France for two months that the Irish seemed SO incredibly nice. Those of you who have been to France probably know what I mean when I say that French people live in bubbles. Once you are in that bubble, they are the nicest people you’ve ever met, but until then, most French people seem distant and haughty (I should probably add here that not ALL French people are like this…I like to think that my grandparents are very welcoming to foreigners and my best friend Pauline is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, from the moment we met). While I’m thinking of it, I hope my blog doesn’t sound mean or offensive…? I want to be honest about my experiences and so much of that involves the strangers I pass on the streets and the impressions I get from them. I like to think of this blog as a sort of cultural commentary.

This is getting long so I will quickly summarize the rest of Ireland. I went to Belfast and had so much fun, even though I was alone. It is incredible seeing the scars left on the city from the “troubles” that happened throughout the 20th century. I went on a tour of the neighborhoods where most of the fighting was. Honestly, the buildings looked a lot like those one might find in the Mississippi delta…falling apart. It was so fascinating though, especially seeing the murals everywhere commemorating people who died in the fighting. It is strange being in a place where people my age have known and lived through such violence. It is so recent. A few fun facts about Belfast: it is the birthplace of C.S. Lewis (I love him) AND the Titanic, and, lastly, when the city decided to create a hockey team, they almost named the team the Belfast Bombers. This was rejected, however, and today they are the Belfast Giants.

A friend forwarded me an email called “The American’s Guide to France” and, within it, I found many laughs. Earlier when I wrote about French people being distant, I was reminded of the email. Here is an excerpt; I hope it makes you laugh like I did:

France has a population of 57 million people. 52 million of these drink and smoke (the other 5 million are small children). All French people drive like lunatics, are dangerously over sexed, and have no concept of standing patiently in line. The French people are in general gloomy, temperamental, proud, arrogant, aloof, and undisciplined; those are their good points. Most French citizens are Roman Catholic, though you would hardly guess it from their behavior. Many people are communists.

Haha. That excerpt is from the part entitled “The People.” Here is an excerpt from “Economy”:

France has a large and diversified economy, second only to Germany’s in Europe, which is surprising because the French hardly work at all. If they are not spending four hours dawdling over lunch, they are on strike and blocking the roads with their trucks and tractors.

France’s principal exports, in order of importance to the economy, are wine, nuclear weapons, perfume, guided missiles, champagne, guns, grenade launchers, land mines, tanks, attack aircraft, miscellaneous armaments, and cheese.

But, my favorite is “Conclusion”:

At least it’s not Germany!!

Well, I think I’ve reached the limit on this blog. I will write about Paris very soon though, not because you want to read about it, but because I love talking about that city. Ooh la la, Paris j’adore!


  1. haha! The "Conclusion" made me laugh~ I love you Emilie!!

  2. I would rank cheese a little higher on the list of France's principal exports, but otherwise that description sounds about right.


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