A Hundred Thousand Welcomes to Ireland – “C’ead Mile Failte”

As an expat you are confronted with many things that are outside of your comfort zone. Even though it might sound trivial, you don’t know that until things happen and you figure out that you are unprepared for it. For example, Liam got his first serious cold a few days back and when we measured his temperature in the middle of the night and it showed 39.4 we both got chills. We gave him a medication for babies and his temperature significantly dropped, but during the sleepless part of the night we were considering options, and we figured out that we have no idea which emergency hospital would be able to help us if we really need it.

When you are born somewhere, the system surrounding you is the system that built you as a person, and you know more or less such things just by the fact that you used it since you were born. For en expat, it can be a little bit different.

Among things that are different, weird “good old mantra” – “home is only at home” is something that will haunt you for a long time. Especially if you are from ex Yugoslavia (I’m not saying that other countries and other tribes are different than we are) where you are growing up with songs that state:

Stay here! … The sun of strangers’ sky
Won’t warm you like this one does.
Bitter are the bites of bread over there
Where there’s no one close and no brother

(Full lyrics both Serbian and English can be found here.)

In general, people consider those who left their “own country” (And I swear, in the country where I was born I don’t own anything just yet) weak. As well they are convinced and are convincing you and everyone around you that you will be a stranger for life there where you’re gone.

As I said, you grew up like this, and this sentence is a part of your subconsciousness. And it might be true for certain countries and certain tribes, but it’s definitely not true for Ireland.

Well, except the literal meaning of “The sun of this sky won’t warm you like the one in Croatia”. True that, it’s rarely above 25 degrees here, and it’s rarely below 25 during the summer in Croatia. 🙂

First story:
During the one of the past weekends we went with our Croatian friends for a lunch in a nearby and very local Irish pub. While organizing that lunch, one of the comments was that place owner is a bit racist, and that he does not employ eastern Europeans. While that still might be true (as all the customer facing staff that day were locals), when we were leaving I was stopped by an old small proud Irish chap. He asked me about my height in inches, and I just recently learned that I’m 6 foot .04 (just a bit above six-zero) so we started our small talk. I can’t really tell how old he was, but since he said he was in Yugoslavia many times, and he started describing Bosnian mountains, Croatian islands, Montenegrin peaks and chicks, I understood that he knows exactly what he is talking about.

After a 5 minute chat, he “officially” welcomed us to his beautiful country, saying that since the weather is usually shite he (as an old Irish) can compensate that with a very warm welcome and best wishes for our life in our new homeland.

Second story:
Since both Liam and myself were sick at home last week, we were home when local workers came to install some fire alarms. As it goes, I’ve let them in and we started chatting all the classics – where from – how come – great country – been to Dubrovnik. Long story short, when I said that in the past few years a bunch of Croatians came to Ireland, this guy told me – yep, I know, since the crisis started and you joined EU.

But no worries – he said – many Croatians and Brazilians came, and we need more Croatians to come. So in some 15-20 years we will finally have a hell of a national football team. Just please, give him a chance to play football. It will be a bit funny learning all the names, but as long as it’s on a Green Jersey it’s ours.

I said – I doubt you’ll have an issue with his name. He’s Liam.

– Green Jersey it is then! A Thousand welcomes to Ireland!

And these two stories are just some of many nice stories that happened here. Not to forget that Liam got his first Irish Aran (hand knitted Irish woollen jumper) when he was only a few weeks old, because evey Irish kid has to have one. 🙂

Now, I’m not saying that there are no bigots who think different and people who prefer to work with native speakers only, but their number is closer to irrelevant.

Ireland, thanks for welcoming us. 🙂

Till the next one,



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