Someone asked me once if moving to Ireland was a culture shock to my system. I said “Not really.” Honestly, I had more culture shock moving from The North to The South (Arkansas) – lol!
Sure, there are differences – the food (surprisingly), clothing sizes (see previous post), the way getting into schools work, driving on the wrong side of the road. But there are things that felt familiar. I realized that Chicago really is an Irish town. There are a lot of similarities…
…like randomly striking up conversations with strangers. People have always commented about how friendly Chicago is. I remember one time, going to Taste of Chicago with my friend Yvette when we were high school seniors, and afterwards, waiting for a train, we were chatting with everyone around us. People will gladly help you out and give you directions. This happens in Ireland. Heck, this morning, I gave directions to two ladies looking for the shopping centre (and for once was confident in those directions…)
…and people randomly crossing the street. As a teen in the suburbs of Chicago, as we left our high school, we would cross the street in droves, cut around the back of cars the moment they passed us, and a red light was just a suggestion to stop and look before crossing. Go figure, that’s how it works here in Dublin.
….they’re both commuting towns. I used to commute to the Loop in college, and now I’m commuting Maura to school. I’ve dug up my old commuter skills…though I’ve yet to have anyone fall asleep on me here, thank you God. And in both places, people complain that the public transportation isn’t great. Having lived in towns with barely any sort of commuter system, I know that what they have here in Dublin and in Chicago are both pretty darn good for being “lousy”.
…newspapers! I remember people on the train and bus with their Sun Times in Chicago, or getting the big Sunday Tribune for my parents. Newspaper sales are great here too. Probably because you spend time on buses or trains to get where you want to go to. Having watched newspapers go under or go digital, I’m kind of relieved to see them going strong somewhere in the world.
What’s funny is that Dublin also reminds me of Boston, another community known for its Irish. But that’s because in both cities, there is a significant lack of street signs. At least in Chicago, you know what corner you’re on!