List posts are in right now, right? At least that’s what they told us in my marketing class. So I figured I’d jump on the bandwagon in an attempt to organize my thoughts. It’s been just over a week since my return from Ireland, and in that time I’ve been thinking a lot about the differences between the Emerald Isle and good old America. Like seriously, study abroad has infiltrated just about every thought I have.
So rather than force my friends and family to listen to me blabber on about Europe this and Ireland that, I’m just going to write it down. This way you can feel free to bow out when you get bored. I won’t get mad. Probably. So here we go.
1. America smells like gasoline.
I didn’t notice it at first, probably because I was too enthralled by the fact that I was home and my cat was sleeping on my feet and there was a new kitten to love. My dear Sarah actually messaged Abbie and I a few days after our return to tell us she thought America smelled funny, but at that point I really hadn’t noticed anything. Maybe it was a Virginia thing?
Nope. It’s an America thing, and it’s not just a weird smell, it’s a gas smell. I wouldn’t say that it’s all over–my small town is relatively immune. But it’s a very distinct scent in more populated areas. You’d think I would have experienced something similar in Dublin, it being a city and all, but I didn’t. America just needs to get some deodorant.
2. Not including tax in the price is a major pain.
This is arguably one of the things about Ireland I miss the most. If the price tag reads €4.29, you pay €4.29. It isn’t that you don’t pay taxes; they’re just already factored in. Talk about convenience. Catch up, America.
3. Americans really are ruder.
This one really makes me sad, but I think it’s true. When we first got to Ireland, everyone kept talking about how the Irish were soooo much nicer than people back home. And I was like, really? Maybe it was because I wasn’t from a big, fast-paced city area, but I didn’t see much of a difference.
And then I came home. Turns out, they were kind of right. Don’t get me wrong–there are good and bad people in all parts of the world. But people in America, in general, tend to be ruder. (I’m looking at you nasty police officer guy and cranky dog-walking lady. I’m sorry I was lost. It’s called compassion guys. Some simple directions would have sufficed.)
4. But we do honey mustard 1000x better.
In Ireland it always had a weird spicy taste to it, or else it was way too runny, and that’s if you could find any at all. Here it’s just right.
5. Money is just weird.
When I first got to Ireland, using euros felt like using some kind of pretend-currency. But after using euros consistently for four months, suddenly dollars feel like the Monopoly money. And when you really start to think about it, does our money really mean anything anyway? Doesn’t it just have value because we give it value? Weird.
Also, I kind of miss two and one euro coins. They’re handy.
6. America needs to calm down when it comes to sensationalist media.
I’m not saying that terrorism and viruses aren’t newsworthy, but can’t we just report on them and be done? The constant fear-mongering doesn’t seem worth it.
7. A scone tastes so much better paired with a latte in a little independent cafe in Europe.
Yup. That is all.
8. Europeans are significantly more progressive.
Ireland, perhaps one of the most historically Catholic nations in the world, has legalized gay marriage and is currently fighting for women’s rights to abortions. Meanwhile Americans are seriously considering electing a man who wants to build a wall along our border to keep out an entire race of people. Enough said.
9. Even so, all eyes really are on American politics.
We may know we’re a pretty major player as far as international affairs go, but I think we forget just how closely the world watches the American election. I could be sitting in a pub in Ireland or at a cafe in Italy and the second someone realizes I’m American they ask me what my opinion on Donald Trump is. (For the record, we don’t all agree with him.)
10. The “Well in Europe…” struggle is real.
I never wanted to be that girl who came back from her study abroad experience and just wouldn’t shut up about it. I mean, how annoying are those people?
And yet here I am, the words “In Europe they…,” involuntarily slipping out of my mouth every other sentence. Every time it happens I mentally curse myself. I just can’t stop seeing the differences, and the similarities, in culture. It reminds me just how lucky I was to have this experience and to be able to carry it with me.
So I apologize if my running commentary annoys you; I’d probably annoy me too. But I’m not sorry that I do it, mainly because it represents all that I’ve learned. And I don’t ever want that to go away.
Feature photo courtesy of Criss Cross Tours & Photos.