You and I don’t even know each other all that well yet, but I think it is safe to say that you are my BEST FRIEND. I can’t even begin to tell you what a good friend you are, Ireland.
You listened with polite interest while I explained that my Irish heritage isn’t Gangs-of-New-York/Bostonian thug Irish, but southern Irish: way older, way whiter, and substantially more obnoxious.
You generously poured more and more whiskey into my ginger ale while we made fun of the kind of Americans that we BOTH hate, plus all of the things that are (objectively, non-ironically) wrong with Ryanair!
You taught me that “craic” (pronounced crack) is not only an illegal drug, but the Irish word for fun and equally addictive! You only started rolling your eyes after the first thirty craic puns, which I thought was pretty accommodating.
While we were shopping downtown in Dublin, you had the directness and sincerity to tell me that the Aran sweater I picked out at the Avoca store made me look like a “feckin’ eed-jit,” and you were totally right. Later that day, when I ran out of cash, you took me trick-or-treating for Cadbury bars and Vitamin Water in the Google offices and wholeheartedly supported my new plans to learn to code (which I promptly gave up on after about thirty minutes on Codecademy.com)!
During all 60 (90?) minutes of that important rugby match, you listened to me explain with Alzheimer-level repetition just how different it is from American football, and how “I have an Irish friend who plays American football! Professionally! In Germany! Isn’t that random?”
Afterward, at the bar with your “work mates”, you swiftly took me aside and explained that “shifting” is slang for “fucking”, which is why everyone craic-ed up (ha! Another one!) when I said that “Shifting consciousness is an important aspect of environmental sustainability.” Then, you high-fived me and totally restored my credibility when I said I didn’t understand how “shifting” sounded more sexual than “work mates.”
More than anything else, Ireland, I know that you’ve totally got my back. Coming from Atlanta, a city where class and crime are painfully racially skewed, I learned from you that it is often in my best interest to also be afraid of white people. I always thought that “nackers” meant “tits”, but it actually means those guys who were peeing on the bus! It’s such a fun word to say, but now I also know that it’s probably better not to shout it.
Also, I know it’s a few months too late, but I really want to apologize for that time I passed out in the paddle boat while you were visiting me in Berlin, leaving you lost in an East German river with a potential medical emergency on your hands. I thought you handled that with aplomb. Did I mention that you are my BEST FRIEND?
Ireland, you drank that pint of pure foam that I poured at the Guinness Storehouse and gracefully intervened when I set off the security sensors around the Book of Kells. You are totally in the wedding party if I can ever trick anyone into marrying me.
After that boozy long weekend in December 2012 and the leisurely week we spent together last September, I’m hooked. Now, I’m delighted to tell you that I’ll be back in Dublin multiple times before the end of the year! I know you’re excited. It’s gonna be awesome. No. It’s gonna be GRAND.