“Home is where the heart is – but more importantly, home is where the craic is.”
The summer is coming to an end and as that ‘back to school’ feeling associated with September rears its head, a touch of homesickness has began to creep up on me.
It goes without saying that I have missed my family, friends and of course, REAL CHOCOLATE, since we bid our goodbyes last November. Aside from the aforementioned, just like every Irish expat, there are so many quirks and novelties that make me nostalgic for my home.
Dress: Free People // Bag: Accessorize // Sunglassses: RayBans // Shoes: Penneys (hun)
Let me count the ways….
Notions – Americans must be admired for their can-do attitudes and insatiable drive for success. Although I must admit that I secretly miss that uniquely Irish stance to dismiss anyone touting their own self-importance as ‘notions’… “Look at your one, who does she think she is!” (Must be read in your granny’s voice.)
Festivals – the warm cans, the forest raves, the rain lashing down at the main stage, the wellies, the mud, bumping into people from the Gaeltacht at the portaloos, the nonsense talk in the campsite until the sun comes up. Irish festivals will always be my most cherished memories (the bits I do remember, of course.)
Percy Pigs – ok, ok, I know they are technically a British national treasure but there is nothing like a trip to Marks and Spencers to raid the aisles for cookies and Percies. Just like my eternal grá for penny jellies; give me corner shop sweets over US candy any day.
Tamangos – I am only slightly ashamed to admit I miss this North Dublin institution. Sneaking in aged 16 with dodgy fake IDs, grab a granny nights, consession passes, the Boogie Bus, Cheesy Wednesdays, €3 skittle bombs, Rock the Boat on the soaking wet floor, Mick the bouncer and his scrutinising eye, taking photos with your one who worked in the loo, the fairy lights and wooden benches in the smoking area, the random second floor they occassionally opened, the DMCs and heart to hearts, the lurker’s corner, the Hallowe’en dress up, the world and its mother being there on St. Stephen’s night.
Not being lost – technically it should be easier to navigate your way around New York’s grid system than through the cobbled streets of Dublin, but I always felt a lot less anxious being lost in the capital than walking the wrong way through Alphabet City or Hell’s Kitchen.
Spelling my name FREYA DROHAN to strangers – here, ‘r’ is not pronounced OR, it’s RRRRR and ‘h’ is not HAYCH it’s AAACCCHH with a silent ‘h’ thank you very much. I won’t even go into the daily hassle I have when asked for my name at Starbucks.
The capacity to shite talk for hours on end – Americans call this ‘making small talk’ and seem to bemoan it. I adore talking spoof/waffle to strangers about God knows what for as long as they loan me their ear, which I feel is a uniquely Irish quality also fondly referred to as ‘the gift of the gab’.
Banter with taxi men – where most of us hone the aforementioned skill of ‘shite talk’, there’s nothing quite like starting your conversation with Mick or Joe asking how busy his night has been tonight, and the ensuing profound chat about the state of the nation.
Bank holidays – So. Many. Long. Weekends.
The novelty of good weather – when the nation collectively decides to call in sick to the work, scald themselves in the sun and head to the nearest beer garden or beach because who knows when the sun will make a reappearance.
Only tipping when it is desereved – American servers get 20% of the cheque total, and that’s a non negotiable. For the most part, I’ve had far more memorable servers in Ireland because they do not have that entitled, arrogant attitude that so many have on this side of the pond.
Being able to dash across the city in 10 mins – “You’re in Chelsea and I’m on the Upper East Side? Ok see you in an hour.” Never underestimate how long it takes to get from place to place in New York.
Sarcasm – that dry, ironic wit that everyone from inner city Dubliners to those at the far reach of the West Coast share.
Outfit photos: Edelle Kenny
Silly Season – the build up to Christmas is arguably better than the 25th of December itself – work parties, 12 pubs, novelty jumpers, tinsel on everything, Cadbury selection boxes, Kris Krindle, mistletoe, customer appreciation nights, the sight of your stocking hanging on the fire place in anticipation of Santy.
A cold pint of Bulmers on a Sunday session (you can take your imported bottles of Magners and keep them, thank you very much.)
Washing machines and tumble dryers – Oh how I hang my head in shame when the Asian women in my local laundrette call me out for having makeup on my white shirt collars. I never thought I would be excited for the day when I can do my own washing again.
The Sunday breakfast fry up with my family – sitting around the table analysing the week that was and disecting whether it was me or my teenage sister that made a bigger tit of herself on their Saturday night out.
Saying things like ‘It’s grand, ‘Jaysus’, ‘I will yeah’, ‘What’s the story’, ‘Are you out out or just out’, ‘A naggin please’, ‘Sh*te’ ‘It’s fecked’, ‘D’ya know’,’Come here’, ‘Genuinely,’ ‘Manky’, ‘Thanks a million’, ‘Ya bollox,’ ‘Ahh stop,’ and ‘Go way out of that’ and not being greeted with a blank stare in return.
Buying a sandwich and getting change back from a 5er.
Gigs by world class DJs in dingy city venues like The Button Factory, ALT, The Grand Social and District 8 – here they call it a ‘secret warehouse rave’ in Brooklyn and charge you $50 for the privilidge.
Streaky fake tan and orange tide marks on jaws – girls in Manhattan always look a little bit too perfect; not a haphazard spray tan in sight.
A short list of things I do not yearn for in the slightest:
Waiting on the 42 bus.
Sunday night scaries as another week of work approaches.
My bedroom – so small I had to turn my body sideways to enter into the labyrinth of clothes and sentimentally accumulated junk.
Being broke – it was a sad realisation to learn that I can make as much in a day as a waitress in the City than I did in a 40+ hour work week as a journalist in Ireland.
South Dublin accents.
355 days of rain a year.
Small town gossip.
Everyone’s obsession with making cups of tea.
The same presenters on every single programme offered on Irish television.
(See below for a selection of “only in Ireland” photos that literally had me in stitches of laughter while writing this piece.)