Every time I go home or I talk to someone new, the same question always come back: "Why do like living in Ireland so much?". Well, here are a few reasons why...
Living my life in a foreign language
The reason why I came to Ireland in the first place is because I loved speaking English. And I have to say, if I was to ever go back home, I think what I would miss the most would be not speaking English every day. I've come to a stage where I can speak the slang, use idiomatic expressions, understand Irish references. For me, speaking English has just become natural, I don't think in French and even if I occasionally struggle with pronunciation, I consider myself bilingual. It's just part of my life.
Last year, we invited friends over for my son 7th birthday. From the 10 adults present, there were 7 different nationalities. This is one thing I love about Ireland. You can meet people from all over the world and learn about various cultures very easily. I definitely became a lot more open-minded as a result.
The Irish mentality
Obviously there is good and bad everywhere. Nice people and not-so-nice ones, Irish or not. But in a general way, I just like the Irish "It'll be grand" attitude to life. There is less stress, people are more relaxed and I have learned to put things into perspective. I'm definitely a realistic person, but my French pessimistic side has gone down over the years. I'm a lot more patient too.
I know I had a big rant about school hours a few days ago. Having said that, school rhythms are a lot more adapted to kids than in France (it's just a bit of a hassle for parents). Maybe I'm lucky, but all the teachers I came across were extremely helpful. I also find their way of teaching very positive. They encourage children to work to the best of their abilities. I will always remember when the teacher said to me after I received my eldest's National test results: "Don't compare him to the rest of the class, or even the country's average because of course, you will be disappointed. What you need to know is that, given his abilities (he has autism), he really did the best he could. So you should be proud of him". That's what parents need to hear. Especially special needs parents...
Culture & history
Being from Brittany, I was always attracted to the Celtic connection so it's no surprise I'm a big fan of Irish traditional music, dance, legends and literature... Even before coming to Ireland I watched movies and learned a bit about Irish political history. Don't ask me why I had such an interest, I don't really know. I guess I could relate more to Irish people struggles than the French kings...
The Irish Humour
Dark, dry, sarcastic and self-deprecating, that's how you could define Irish humour. I don't know how the Irish do it, but they have a way with words that I will never have, even if I'm bilingual. I also love the fact they laugh about themselves, whereas French people tend to laugh more at the expense of others. I think the Irish have this ability to laugh about pretty much anything, and that's what gets them through life... Something we could all learn a thing or two about.
Nah, I'm just kidding. I can't stand it. And I come from the Brittany, I should be used to rain and wind. The truth is, although it's never too cold, it's never too warm either, and if there's something I learned here, is not to trust the weather forecast.
What about you, what do you like most about your host country?