What One American City Girl Did for Love

Posts Tagged ‘Irish’

7 Things You Always Wanted To Know About Being Married to an Irish Farmer, But Were Afraid To Ask.

In Life on November 4, 2009 at 1:54 pm

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1. Yes, it gets smelly! How could it not? From the air outside to the scent of our mud room (cleverly designed to be out of sight/smell). Farm animals create odors and that’s just a fact. Some days are better than others depending on what season it is. Somehow I’ve acclimated to this and that “fresh country air” does not affect me at all anymore. The upside? I suppose it is an improvement on polluted city air.

2. Farmers can be stylish. Richard looks just as handsome in a pair of wellies and a fleece as he does in his beautiful Burberry suit.  It’s nice to have variety in a relationship (smile).

3. Indeed, male farmers tend to be “mommas boys”. Is that so bad? I rather like it especially now that I am a mother myself.  In my experience here, all the men I’ve met who grew up on a farm consistently put their mothers/sisters/wives on a pedestal to be respected and admired through thick and thin (literally and metaphorically)

4. Of course, seclusion plays a role in living on a farm. We are miles away from the city and neighbors are a drive so things can get lonely if you’re not staying busy. On the other hand, being alone can boil you down to your very essence and drive your consciousness to another level.  It also forces us to be more creative in the parenting department which can’t be all bad.

5. Daddy farmers are the best. Despite the long hours, if you live on a farm then dad is always right there even when he’s at work. Geoffrey frequently gets to go with daddy on the tractors and to feed the animals which, in his world, is absolutely the cat’s pajamas.

6. Today, most farmers are college educated. Richard has a B.A. in philosophy and is planning to go back for an MBA. Education is absolutely necessary to be successful in farming these days. No longer are the profitable days of dairy, cattle and poultry alone; farming is a business and diversification is key.

7. Farming is extremely dangerous. This is something I hadn’t thought about before marrying a farmer. I just waxed poetically, “oh farming… how lovely….a beautiful, slow-paced, organic life…with horses to ride and a  beautiful garden” Things can get really hectic on the farm and farming accidents occur no matter how cautious a family may be. Much to my surprise, injuries and even death are a part of the work considerations for all farmers.

Slainte,

Imen

I.S.T. (Irish Standard Time)

In Life, Uncategorized on October 20, 2009 at 2:21 pm

irishtimeOne thing that I was pleasantly surprised about after being here for awhile is the fact that the Irish are notoriously behind schedule.  This is a fact that nobody will deny–even folks who are always on time, will attest to this. Call it laid back..call it relaxed, but don’t call it irresponsible because no one here will be on your side.  In many ways, I covertly love this and empathize with it because I am someone whom has always been accused, and rightly so, of being tardy. Tardy is actually the term that my American school system used…and used against you with harsh consequences, T-A-R-D-Y. If you were late to class, you were marked down as tardy and would receive a detention unless you had a damned good excuse. Which, of course, nobody ever did. TARDY…just sounds so bloody tasteless.

The first time I was formally introduced to Irish timekeeping was when I was going into Limerick one evening to meet girlfriends for cocktails. I was to be there at 9PM and had arrived at 9:30 armed with a smattering of excuses (baby wouldn’t go down, baby wouldn’t eat, baby wouldn’t stop crying, hubby home late, etc etc). I was met with two of the five friends (3 others were later than I!) cajoling and laughing and taking absolutely no notice that I was late. Thirty whole minutes late! Not one text or phone call to see if I was okay either. When I apologized they would hear nothing of it…and when I started to spat my plethora of excuses I was enlightened with the philosophy of what I now deem “Irish Standard Time” whereby everyone is always at least a little late and nobody, NOBODY cares.  Whew, what a relief! I instantly felt so much more welcomed here than I ever had before. Finally, a place that accepted constant lateness and didn’t bat one pretty eyelash about it. Glee!!!

But then I started to notice this in other situations. I’d go to a shop, bank or restaurant at the posted opening time and would be kept waiting for 15 minutes for the doors to open. When I finally did get into a shop I could be kept waiting for another 15 minutes while a clerk is on a personal phone call before even being greeted. When you go to the cinema the trailers always start about 10-15 minutes later that the listed film showtime. All of this is unheard of in the States, where customer service is king. At one point, I considered starting a time management/customer service orientation business, but then I was reminded by my loving husband that A. I wasn’t qualified and B. I would be late for my own funeral if that was possible and certainly wouldn’t be able to turn up on time to give the orientations which would in turn make things even worse. He was right, but I might add that, ironically, he is the most punctually retentive person I have ever met. We always manage to get to the airport 3 hours before our flight..he arranges for us to leave extremely early just in case we get a tire puncture or get into an accident or lord knows what else….

When I worked on television production here in 06, were worked on a variation of I.S.T.  I had been used to shooting from very early in the morning to late, late nights. And weekends were certainly not out of the question in LA or NY. Here, with the Killinaskully series, we worked 9-5 Monday-Friday and not a minute later unless it was planned well, well in advance. People take their time off very seriously in Ireland.

Nonetheless, the pièce de résistance was when we started building our house. It is just status quo that builders and carpenters are flaky no matter where you live in the world, but in this case the behaviour was literally astonishing. Our “reputable” kitchen/bathroom fitting company blew us off for nearly 2 months past our scheduled start date. They wouldn’t even answer phone calls or return messages. Working together became like a game of cat and mouse with all the suppliers. The only person that delivered on time and on budget was the German window guy, Bruno. At least when it came time to pay everyone we were even put off there. It seemed as though we were forcing them to be paid. Buying a car. We had to ring dealerships several times to buy a car that we wanted and we were even offering the asking price. Carpet. Furniture. Same story. Indeed, these are not contemptuous, reckless people; it is just them simply being laid back and losing track of time. It’s just Irish Standard Time.

I must run now or I’ll be late for my hair appointment.

But sure, that’s okay.

Slainte,

Imen

Cream Teas and Mac-n-Cheese

In Life on October 7, 2009 at 10:48 am

Our dear son, Geoffrey, is technically Irish because he was born in Ireland. But naturally I had to make sure that he would legally be both Irish and American. (You’d be amazed at how patriotic you become when you move out of your home country.) Being pragmatic, I immediately requested an American birth certificate and then applied for a USA passport so now he has 2 passports and 2 birth certs. He is fortunate to have dual citizenship and I hope he will take full advantage of all the wonderful opportunities that this will afford him.  Of course, I practically have him admitted to Harvard or Yale on a full scholarship straight after his Irish secondary schooling (and on the crew team, no less)

It’s fascinating to observe both his Irish and American characteristics as he grows up.  The best of the Irish traits has to be his absolute LOVE of tea. He simply loves to sip cups of tea with loads of milk and copious amounts of sugar cubes, “mommy, mommy, mommy, can I have a cream tea?” It started when he was about 2 and now he will have a cup of tea nearly every afternoon on it’s own or with a queen cake (i.e. yummy cupcake with buttercream frosting in the middle) or possibly a slice of brown bread with butter and raspberry jam. It is all very dramatic, he insists on doing it all on his own–boiling the tea kettle, steeping the tea in the teapot, putting milk into the tiny milk pouring cup, bringing over the dainty little brown sugar cubes, his distinctive porcelain cup & saucer and special teaspoon.  I suppose he picked this up from everyone around him, but I personally think it’s innate because I don’t drink tea and I don’t ever remember small children taking up coffee drinking like our parents in the States….in fact, just the opposite, my friends and I thought that coffee was the most disgusting smelling, bitter tasting thing ever and could not fathom how anyone could bear to drink it. No, I think his fondness for tea is part of his Irish-ness and it’s just the sweetest thing.  Plus, it’s great way to get more milk into his tummy.

On the other hand, he cannot live without mac-n-cheese. And by mac-n-cheese, I mean that all-American, orange-coloured, boxed-up, macaroni and cheese. We have to stock up on Annie’s Organic each trip to the States because you can’t get anything like it here. I’ve tried to make it from scratch and it just doesn’t cut the mustard..something about that salty orange powdered cheese is wondrous to him I guess.  One of his all time favorite lunches is a hot dog with mac and cheese. Doesn’t get more American than that!

When it comes to potatoes..he is still on the fence. Sometimes he’ll eat mashed potatoes, but dislikes chips (french fries), baked, boiled, fried, hashbrowned or cold potatoes. He will eat the odd crisp (chip), but is not really crazy about them either. I swore I heard him mention the South Beach Diet on one occasion, but he vehemently denied it when I asked him to clarify. Dislike of potatoes=Clearly American.  But, the Irish in him will trump that by the fact that he absolutely hates peanut butter. Yes, indeed, we are a “no PBJ household”. I still find that unbelievable. I’ve tried and tried but can’t get him to eat a peanut butter and jelly sammy, or just plain peanut butter, reeses peanut butter cups or pieces, monkey munch, ants on a log, Nutter Butter cookies, nothing! He completely loathes the taste and texture of it. It’s really disappointing because it’s a good protein packed snack or lunch option that all my American mommy friends can rely on. Perhaps I should give Nutella a try…we’ll see.

I will be off next week for a girly trip to Paris. Geoffrey has asked me to bring back some new teas for him to try and I will most certainly oblige, a’ Mariage Freres!

Slainte,

Imen