History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake

So what’s new since the last post:

I went home for Christmas to Ireland. Probably did more socializing in 10 days than I did in 3 months. I left home on the 26th with a backpack, and didn’t come home for a week. Drank my way around Ireland. Real fun. Forgot how much I missed being understood when speaking with a Dublin accent. I missed speaking Irish and hearing it spoken and sung. I came back to the UK feeling homesick on the 4th of January. That feeling hasn’t left me.

It’d be different if the UK was drastically different, but it isn’t. It’s more the friends and places I miss. I miss the sense of belonging. I’m definitely an outsider in a town that’s 97% British. And people can make you feel unwelcome when you start talking.

Like being asked by a managing partner about terrorism and my family’s role in it. After he asked exactly where I’m from, and I answer Dublin (the Republic in the South), he starts going on about the IRA in the North and the UK. How two soldiers from his friend’s father’s regiment were killed in the Troubles in 1988. How he was caught up in the aftermath of a carbomb in London in the 80s. Then he asked me did the Troubles in Northern Ireland make Northern people angry, or did they come about because Northerners were angry by nature. They said they didn’t know about the British paramilitaries and paratrooper regiments killing civilians because there was media blackout on it in the UK.  British trying to rule Northern Ireland with deadly force and paramilitary groups. All that colonial stuff. Given that my mother is Northern, and comes from a Catholic Unionist background, that fled Belfast in the 60s before the Troubles got too hot, I had to be diplomatic about it and say they may have been a grain of truth to what he said.

And he laughs, saying “Oh, that would be an ecumenical matter then?”

Taking the piss out of Catholics when I don’t give him an answer to an uncomfortable question is a bit shitty, particularly when he’s the head of the place you’re contracted to work in. But he bought me a pint, so whatever.

You get a surprising amount of flak and stereotypes from older and younger people about Irish being “feckless, lazy drunks” and all that guff. You wouldn’t get that from other Irish people back home, so it’s taxing to deal with. I think Irish people are just “other” enough for racism to kick in, but not too foreign for English people to feel bad about.

I think both of us know we want to go back home. It’s just that, as the woman said, “Ireland let us down.”. A third of my generation have left Ireland. I’m going to do some Cisco certificates for network engineering while I’m here, and after that, we’ll see where we end up.

_

Also re-reading Ulysses, which is making me very homesick for Dublin.

 

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4 thoughts on “History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake

  1. http://www.fluentin3months.com/usa-clashes/

    Now, I know there are 300 million of you, but I have had this exact same conversation on both the east and west coast, and in the mid-west and south:

    “Hi, I’m Benny”

    “Awesome! I’m X. Where are you from?”

    “Ireland”

    “Wow! You guys certainly know how to drink!”

    “Actually, I don’t drink”

    “Oh, you’re not really Irish then, are you!”

    Again, and again and again… and again. The same idiotic script – I knew it was coming every time. They demanded to see my passport, said that I’m the only Irish guy they’ve ever met who doesn’t drink (and very stupidly then admitted that I was the ONLY Irish guy they ever met!!) or had visited Ireland and spent all their time in Temple Bar (not even leaving Dublin), confirming that all Irish people are drunkards.

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