Cork and Communication

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Ireland summer is really in full swing at the moment. The sun has been peeking out and I have been lucky to have the warmth follow me to Cork. The instant I got off the train, I got Pittsburgh vibes from the city. In the distance, you could see houses on the giant green hills. Yet, one could still be submerged in a bustling urban setting. It was weird to experience something familiar to Pittsburgh since I have been in Ireland this long. The city itself though was really nice. There are a ton of different shops and the infamous Blarney stone and castle are a close bus ride away. Touring the castle grounds and climbing to the top of the arduous castle to kiss the stone was really fun. The plants in the gardens and views from the top of the castle were unmatched. Did I mention it was a poisonous garden? I got to educate myself on just how gorgeous, yet intense plants can be.

The train ride home gave me a lot of time to reflect on how this is about to be my last week in Dublin. I am sure my next post will go into more detail, but I have truly fallen in love with this city. I can’t believe I was nervous that first week while now I am almost too adjusted that I do not want to leave. It is almost strange to think about heading home after staying here so long. I don’t want to be too cheesy, especially considering this is even the last blog post or anything. For now, I am just looking forward to the last week I will be here. Be prepared for me to be really bummed to leave in the coming posts though. No more sappy stuff for this week. To get this post back on track, let me discuss my journey with getting adapted to Irish words and accents.

In a different country there are bound to be communication barriers. It helps that they do speak English in Dublin, but there is still slang and verbal tones that I am not used to hearing. For instance, my boss may use words I have not heard of, even if they are items I have heard of. The first time I was asked to use the “hoover” I had no clue what that meant. I assumed it was a brand of something such as when Americans use the word “Kleenex” instead of “tissues”. Turns out I was not too far off since “hoover” is another word for “vacuum” and the Hoover company produces vacuum products.

I have not come across any words yet that I could not use context clues to determine their meaning. It just throws me off guard the first time I hear a new word. The same goes for my coworkers though. I threw out how a lot of American’s own a Keurig and they all turned there heads asking what that was. I also know there was the accent adjustment at the beginning of the internship. It took me a while to get used to the Irish accent. Now it doesn’t faze me at all. In the moment, I was worried that between the new words and accent that I would struggle to communicate in the work place. Fortunately to my relief, that was not the case. I will even find myself automatically thinking of words such as “hoover” before thinking of the word “vacuum”. Hearing tourists from the south of the US on the streets of Dublin is more jarring to me now than hearing an Irish accent.

Outside of the work place, I have heard some differences in communication as well. At restaurants, I have found that I get asked “are you ok” more often than “do you need anything”. The first time I heard that I thought the waitress was genuinely worried about me. As I heard it more and more I just came to realize that the phrase is just common. There is also the communication difference about time since Ireland uses 24 hour time as opposed to us using hours 1-12 and repeating it after 12:59.

I have appreciated getting to learn more about the communication style in Dublin. There were some differences I expected and others I did not. The ones that threw me for a loop the first time are just the norm for me now. I think that goes to show how much I have gotten used to this country.