Three Years

danishamericanirishIt’s not exactly a tale like Brad Pitt’s ‘Seven Years in Tibet”, but I can’t believe it has been three years since we arrived to the US and were greeted by the gorgeous Lady of Liberty.  Greeted by 36 degrees celsius (95+ F) as we disembarked the plane.  Not too sure why we had to get off the plane a mile from the terminal, but I suppose Aer Lingus was either late on arrival or hadn’t paid its fees.  I’m sure it was just due to the delay, and we had enjoyed our first flight ever on business class.  It makes travelling so much more comfortable 🙂

The first 18 months had many ups and a few downs.  I suppose that’s what to be expected when you rip up your life as you know it and move lock stock and barrels to another country.  You don’t realise how comfortable you were until you start over.  And, the US has so much to offer, but sweet lord, it has so many interesting challenges for a new family.

It’s amazing how quickly our kids settled into their new life, gained new friends and improved confidence in the speed of light.

My oldest girl amazed us by quickly adopting the American life style and accent.  She no longer has her Irish twang, other than when she says bollocks, Dublin, Tayto, deadly and a few other expressions.  But, as soon as we meet up with our new friends (from Ireland) in the US, she reverts back to her cute Irish words.

My son has jumped leaps since arriving here.  Born with Down Syndrome was not ideal in Ireland.  Although the Irish health system tried to do as much as possible, resources are fairly limited, and what he received in services in a year in Ireland, he receives in a few days in the US.  For that alone the move was well worth it.

My youngest adventurer is American.  She was born in Ireland, but learned how to talk and walk here, so for her Ireland is just a distant memory.  I doubt she would even recognise the homeland if we went home to visit.

We love it here!

The home of the free, the brave and other amazing folks have truly made our life better and helped us along this journey.  We have met so many wonderful people in this country, and they have mostly been welcoming us with open arms.

We have our green cards, which are actually green, and look forward to when we can apply for citizenship.  This is absolutely our home and country.  We are prod being residents in this wonderful land of opportunities.

I still haven’t adopted NFL, MBL and MSL – I still support my might Chelsea and love the fact that I can see most games … KTBFFH (keep the blue flag flying high).

Thank you America, for taking us in and making our move feel easy – we love you!

Celebrating Independence

4 july small…or properly more accurately, the US is celebrating kicking out the British while holding hands with the Irish who also kicked out the British.  In reality, the British are most likely not too happy about being reminded about this every year, but tough!

Normally 4th of July is celebrated across the US using amazing fireworks, mouth dripping BBQ, loud music and family reunions.  It’s a time were neighbours reach out and get together for food and kids playing.

And this year would be no different if it hadn’t been for the arrival of Hurricane Arthur, who decided to kick off the hurricane season a little early by battering the East Coast.

We use 4th of July to celebrate our arrival to the US three years ago and a new chapter in our family adventures.  We still have many more chapters to write, but it has been a wonderful journey to date.

We can proudly say “Happy 4th of July” to all of our American friends, family, brothers and colleagues.  It has truly been a pleasure to get to know you and thank you for greeting us with open arms … especially after a few sips of the local moonshine 🙂

Every good citizen makes his country’s honor his own, and cherishes it not only as precious but as sacred. He is willing to risk his life in its defence and is conscious that he gains protection while he gives it” – Andrew Jackson (American 7th US President17671845)

Demystify the Irish

We’ve been in the US for almost three years and I must admit we are pretty much settled in.  Well, I still don’t understand the bloody health system and slightly overwhelmed with the oversized portions at the restaurants.  No wonder I’m gaining weight, when my mother always told me that I have to finished what I’m being served!

Anyway, one of the more amusing things about having an Irish accent and being familiar with many Irish sayings, are that many Americans have some difficulties understanding some of the phrases/words that I utter at times.  They politely smile or laugh, but I can tell that they don’t fully get the meaning of some of my words.

With the help from a few Irish sites (such as irishcentral.com), mixed with my own experiences, I’ve gathered a few things that only Irish people get – please understand, I’m only taking the piss here 🙂

So, here are a few things and words you need to learn when chatting with a person from the Emerald Isle.

  • No matter the time of day (or night) there’s always time for a cuppa tea – and it would be an insult to any Irish mum if you refused a cuppa.  Some might even be very persistent about you having a cuppa.
  • If an Irish says he’ll put on his runners, then be prepared to stand aside as he’s about to go running for a few laps.  You see, you are using these shoes for running!
  • The word ‘yoke’ can be used for many things and often replace words we don’t know or can’t remember when trying to explain something.
  • “Where’s me jumper” is actually an emotional song about a sweater
  • Chipper is the local burger / fast food joint.  It’s also the local hangout for youth and the last visit when heading home from a night out on the piss
  • The boot is in US known as the trunk of a car, which utterly confuses people in the US
  • Stuffed means full after eating and not something one does to an animal after killing it
  • 7up has magical powers – it cures anything from upset stomach, relieves vomiting, cures hangover and can clean chrome of your Ford Focus
  • “State of your one” is perhaps a little easier, but it often means that a person is not doing great
  • Just having one pint does not exist when drinking with an Irish person.  Also, please note the rules about drinking with one or more Irish people; you all pay for a round of gargle aka beer
  • It’ll be grand can be used with any discussion or any event.  Everything will be fine … roughly translated
  • Spuds, or more politely known as potatoes, are used with most dishes.  Well, you cannot enter an Irish home without stumbling over a sack of potatoes.
  • Most Irish people like their meat is well done – close to charcoal coloured and flavoured.
  • Most conversations at gatherings involve some level of rain debates, or simply talking about the weather
  • As a matter of fact, most rain showers in Ireland last for about 10 minutes and the Irish will known when to seek shelter.  Always carry a brolly when visiting Ireland.
  • If in doubt, taxi drivers have all the answers
  • Lastly, but the best of all, is bollocks.  I’m not going to explain this in much detail.  You can look it up
  • Gobshite –  a cool and exotic expression for a person who’s utterly unpleasant

And for the record, please don’t show an Irish person a two-finger salute.

You should also be aware that many Irish people have an extensive vocabulary when it comes to using strong language – the beauty is, they don’t mean any harm, it’s just the way they speak.  So, don’t be offended if an Irish says “howya ye auld fecker!”

So, what’s the story ye eejit?  🙂

irish_slang_words

Fried Bacon

Red Lobster Syndrome
Red Lobster Syndrome

I’m from a country (Denmark) where a nice hot and rare summer is around 25 degrees (approx. 77 Fahrenheit).  If we get those kind of temperatures, then it normally only lasts 2-3 days.  If we get more than 18 degrees we put on shorts, no t-shirt and run to the beaches.  In Ireland we were lucky if we had 20 degrees, and that would be considered a scorcher.  Most people in both Ireland and Denmark would get burnt red within a few hours, sore to the touch and the skin would be heating up all night.

I’m still not sure why the Irish always give out about not having a summer and roasting temperatures.  The island is part of Northern Europe and is the last speed bump before hitting the Atlantic ocean.  There’s a reason it’s called the Green or Emerald Isle – rain is part of the norm.  In fact Ireland has two seasons; rain and more rain!

So, when we moved to the US, to a region that actually has four seasons with temperature ranging from -12 (10F) to +40 (104F) degrees, it would obviously come with it’s pain points.

My brain thinks that my body and skin can handle the sun, so with the slightest increase in sun beams and rising temperatures, I walk around in my manly and awesome white tank top.  The sun can’t touch me!

A few days ago, we decided to visit the local beach.  The weather had “finally” improved and we were expecting temperatures above 30+ (86+F) and clear blue skies.  And, we hadn’t actually seen or visited any of the “local” beaches since arriving two years ago, so what better way to celebrate our US anniversary?

The “local” beach is about 1h 45 min drive from the house.  I’m sure there are beaches a little closer, but the we ventured towards Sandy Hook.  About 28 minutes into the drive the kids started asking “are we there yet?” which is not annoying, especially when you are stuck in traffic (queueing) with 5000 other cars going to the beach!  I suppose that being 4th of July weekend didn’t help either, and most families wanted to show their support to Jersey Shores after it got devastated by Hurricane Sandy.

Two hours after leaving the hours, we finally arrived at the white beaches of Sandy Hook. Wow, why didn’t we visit this place earlier?

Beach Boys
Beach Boys

We unpacked the mini-bus and I quickly turned into the local donkey carrying two adult beach chairs, cooler, two kids’ beach chairs, beach parasol and of course holding hands with the tiniest of the clan.  It was already 30 degrees (86F) and, as you can imagine, sweat was pouring off my body as if I was covered with mini sprinklers, spraying kids and other people as we headed towards to ocean.

I huffed and puffed my way towards the spot I had targeted and as I arrived I started to unload, only to be told by the missus that we should go a bit further.  The beach was covered with people, beach parasols, buckets, screaming kids, sun screen odours and the faint scent of fried human flesh.

beach games
Lost while playing

The next 3 hours were spent grilling the top half of my superior corpus, as well as my knees.  It’s strange, but one does not feel the slow cooking of the flesh, and especially not when we went to the ocean to play in the waves.  Not to mention the hours of fun playing in the sand.  The kids loved every minute of the beach visit.

My oldest daughter, who loves spending time in the pool more than out, was dying to get into the water.  I did warn her that the waves are strong, so extra care should be given … even when playing at the edge.  She brushed my advice away as if I was some old granny who knows nothing about the ocean.

Suddenly a wave knocked her off her feet and she landed on her bum.  I calmly asked her to get up before the next wave came, but she just brushed me away again.  The second wave was slightly bigger and knocked her over from her sitting position and rolled her on the beach, and when it withdrew, it slowly dragged her with it.  Then the third wave hit and she was clearly not enjoying it anymore, so I jumped to her defence and pulled her up, and she was now covered in sand top to toe.

It took her a while to get back into the water and she had clearly been surprised by the strength of the ocean.  I saw it as an excellent learning exercise as it gave her more respect for the ocean.

Streaky Bacon
Streaky Bacon

After 3 hours of grilling we started to head back to the car – me dragging chairs, cooler and beach parasol + a few tired kids.  It was a loooong walk back to the car.  Thanks to the baking sun, the inside of the car had reached about 38 degrees (100F) leaving any plastic surface ridiculously hot.  Nevertheless, we jumped in and headed towards our house and within minutes of leaving the beach area 2/3 of the kids were asleep.

I could feel the effects of the constant grilling on my arms, shoulders and chest; and for some reason my knees too.  I had to cover myself, several times, in after sun lotion to cool down the affected areas.  Sleeping while burnt is not easy!

I wonder, is this how slow roasting was invented?

ID4

My fellow Americans and immigrants like myself, today we celebrate Independence Day – the day where the Americans fought back the tyranny from French and British rulers, creating their independence and own country.  It’s a proud day for America.

Lets celebrate in style with pool, beer, BBQ feast and family gatherings.

…and no, there’s no alien invasion today, but if there were, we would stand together and postpone the Apocalypse as one nation. 🙂

Happy 4th of July
Happy 4th of July

How are you celebrating this amazing day?