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!

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, 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?  🙂


15 Years!

Not too sure if I should be worried or delighted when I recently received a mail from the company I work for, congratulating me for having spent the past 15 years with them.  Should I be worried that I had been with them for 15 years or delighted that I have been there for 15 years?

Well, I choose to be delighted.  It may sound corny, but for me it has been a great journey – a journey that many of my colleagues over the years have expressed amazement.

OfficeSpacePicYes, I have been ridiculed for being a company man, but I’m actually proud of that.  To me it shows that they believe in me just as much as I believe in them.  The more cynical would say that I’ve been stuck in the Matrix and that I have not lived.

For the cynical, as we say in Ireland, well feck ya!  I’ve had a blast and I’ve met so many wonderful people … and some have even inspired me to do better.

The year I started my job the Celtic tiger was still alive and roaring across the Globe.  We had a fantastic life inside our little Leprechaun world, where most bankers would give you a 110% mortgage, the credit cards limits were increased weekly just for being happy and the only house common people could afford was 15-20 miles outside Dublin City … unless you of course didn’t mind buying an overpriced town house that would eat away at both your incomes.

A lot of Irish people who had left the country in the mid 80’s came back to their homeland to take part in this phenomenon, trying to reach the pot of gold.  But as many found out in recent years, we got somewhat shafted by the same generous bankers and people ended up leaving again.

During the 15 years I made great friends.  Some are more than friends, but that’s because we grew up together, started families, had kids and got older.  At times I spent more time with my colleagues than at home, and our partners participated in various corporate events.

The worst memory of my working life was in 2008 when we had to make a number of very hard decisions.  At this point in my career I had made it to senior management and was now faced with some harsh realities of management.  We had to reduce our team by 25% and I was part of the team having to share the news with the individuals.

That afternoon, after having told friends they were no longer with the firm, I spent good parts of 15 minutes crying.  Many might think it’s easy being management, but it breaks my heart to send people into the job market, especially because we weren’t parting ways because of poor performance, but because some twats in banking society had started the killing of Celtic Tiger.

A few years later I was offered a great opportunity to move to the US and be part of the Global organisation.  Professionally it was a side step, but I’m willing to work hard and become part of another great team.  More importantly, it was a fantastic opportunity for the family to improve our quality of life.

The only laughing matter was how the company would actually thank me for all these years?  Was I really at the age where they would dish out the traditional gold watch or would I just get a free meal in the canteen.  It didn’t really matter to me, I was just happy to have been able to contribute to the growth of the organisation over the years.

I was utterly amazed with the selection of gifts I could select from; iPod, Bose sound system, TV, bicycle, lamps, etc.  In the end I decided to get a pool table.

We don’t really have space for a pool table, but that’s a minor detail.  We just have to buy a house that has the necessary space.

Roll on the next decade and may I find new opportunities to grow professionally, and I’m certain it will continue to be an adventure.

How long have you been with your company?  Are you prod to work for your company?  Or do you work to live?


The real tourist

Tourism is important for any country and the best way to gain more free advertisement is from the tourists themselves.  The following video was created by Shannon & Stephen Parker from Canada, who developed this wonderful video … it actually made me a little homesick.  Kudos to the Parker team for creating this snippet of the Irish culture and countryside.

To see  more videos from Stephen, visit his YouTube site.