Moving to a new place is moving to an entire new ecosystem. Like moving from the desert to the rain forest. You need to learn to adapt in order to thrive.
Different cultures have so many different nuances that you need to pay attention to, sometimes it's challenging but also exciting to learn from and take as a life lesson.
As it’s St. Patrick’s weekend, I want to share with you 3 skills I got acquainted to by my Irish friends (and I hope they won’t hold them against me):
1. Three degrees to “how are you?” - as an extremely direct person, I’m used to answering straight out to any question, especially an easy question like how I am. Whether it’s good, bad or neutral, you’ll know it as soon as you ask me.
When I just moved here and all the Irish people’s answer to “how are you?” Was always “good” or “grand”, and it seems like everyone is living their best life without any hardship or bad days.
Only later I realized that I will never receive the real direct answer on my first try. I needed to let the conversation warm up a little bit and ask again, peeling the first layer of common courtesy. Still, I felt like there is more under the surface and that there's another layer to co through. If we'll keep on talking for a little longer and create an environment that invites a deeper conversation, then at the third time that I ask I will receive the real answer.
One might think like it is an effort, however, since I started embracing that it’s part of the culture and I've learned how to leverage it and my directness to dig deeper with people I care about.
2. Listen to the unsaid - I’m a woman of words. I love reading and writing and in general embracing things as they are said. However, one skill that is an ongoing lesson that I learn from the Irish is to listen to carefully to the unsaid. There are a lot of things that can be said between the lines that require one’s attention. This is a new muscle I am working on and it’s not always easy to stay on the top of things. But, I like long distance running, so this is my ultra Mara for the upcoming time.
3. Bring the craic! I am a relatively social and friendly person who likes to hang out with people, but my Irish friends are on another social scale. My local friends can go for drinks for a solid night out and stay out until 2am. When I leave earlier, I often hear: “Now?! The Craic has just begun!”.
I find it inspiring that they can know how to have a good time with friends, living each moment, socialize for so many hours straight and that's on a school night. I might never be able to keep up but I take inspiration from you and your spirit!
Looking forward, here are my two cents
In the spirit of "If you're lucky enough to be (hanging out with the) Irish", I think the main take away is to be open minded and patient. Although I feel very different and isolated sometimes, there is a great feeling of personal growth when building close and strong relationships with people who are so different from me and where I come from, but we still share the same interests and values. Happy Paddy's weekend!