10 Things I Miss About Ireland

Temple Bar, Dublin

HAVING SPENT TWO of the last three years in South America, I found myself getting a bit nostalgic today about home.

Finally parking my backpack down in Medellin, Colombia I’ve decided to give this writing lark a proper go, with my first novel released in two weeks time (yikes!).

On one hand, I love writing and the creative process, giving birth to new novels and following my passion.

On the other hand, I hate the fact that I’ve cocooned myself away, hours each day buried in my laptop, not embracing the culture and people here as much as I’d like.

Social life suffers a little during these times so my umbilical cord back to the Emerald Isle is regularly tweaked to make sure they haven’t forgotten me. Things I miss from back home include:

  1. English Speaking TV. I normally have it on in the background at home when I work. Unfortunately, Colombian TV wants to involve your eyes as well as your ears. The soap operas are soft-porn adverts.
  2. ‘Proper’ Bars. They just don’t do them here! I’m talking old man bars where you can sit, have a pint and chat with mates. The nearest equivalent in Colombia is hanging out in coffee shops.
  3. Large Coffees. Sizes here are extra small, small and medium.
  4. Music. Raggaeton and Salsa dominate the club scene. You want to see an Irish man outside his comfort zone? Throw a teetotal, sober foreigner in a bar on his own at 2am in Parque Poblado.
  5. Family and Friends. Most of them might be nobs, but they’re MY nobs.
  6. Fry-Up. A mainstay for me back home every Sunday morning, normally to choke a hangover. Pure fatty heaven.
  7. Seasons. In six months of living in Medellin, I’ve probably seen rain less than a dozen times. QUIT WHINING! I hear you say. My lily white skin has been flayed more times than I care to recall.
  8. English. My spanish is probably at an advanced improver level, which means I can get around. However, speaking in limited spanish also limits my experience, and certainly the conversations I can have. Exceptional at ordering coffee. Woeful at flirting.
  9. The bustle of Temple Bar/Grafton Street on a weekend. Buskers, wandering tourists, the cobblestone paths – I miss going for a saunter around town, side stepping nackers and rivers of puke, taking in the charm of Dublin which I used to take for granted.
  10. Home Comforts. Originally from the North, I would head up to Antrim from Dublin to visit my mother every month. Dinner would be served on a plate as big as a shield, a roaring fire, city roads that branched out into country lanes as I closed in on the little village of Cloughmills – a world away from the hustle and bustle. The simple things in life.

There are plenty of ex-pats living here in Medellin, but so far I’ve resisted meeting up. I still harbour this romantic notion of immersing myself in the culture, going months without uttering a word of English.

Hooking up with Yanks and Brits abroad, while nice to grow your network and connections, always seemed to me like a cop-out when it came to embracing new countries, something like hitting up an Irish bar the moment you land in a new country.

So for now, I’ll keep plugging away on my laptop under the shade of a Ceiba tree, drinking my fresh fruit smoothie 🙂

pathfinders chapter 1

image attribution Rene Silvio H via Flickr

10 thoughts on “10 Things I Miss About Ireland

  • So many things that resonate in here. When we came to NZ we thought we would try to integrate…which has been less than successful so far. Despite speaking English, there are cultural nuances where mixing with other Brits has been a release for all those “what the…?” moments. Also everyone has their lives already and friendships take a long time to build as a rule. All you can do is keep trying to say yes to things really.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Rugby Union…maybe. Other sports not quite so much. Yes, I read Yes Man…brilliant book…very funny…but so true…you have to try to get out there and accept invitations. We went to our first kiwi barbecue not long back where they tell you to “bring a plate”…taken literally you would take a plate…but no…take food is what it means.

        The barbie was for bonfire night…in the summer…Guy Fawkes’ legend has spread it seems.

        Liked by 1 person

      • My brother lived in Wellington for five years and misses it every day, especially the BBQ. That’s hilarious. Like Barney from Simpsons bringing his beer keg to a party and asking where he can fill it up!!


  • good summary ! advanced improver level Spanish? this is very good, with your English/French, you could speak with language, will come handy some time later in career or personal life…. maybe you could stay in Asia country for sometime 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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