Happy 4th of July 'Merica! (in August!)
by Kim Burke
I must say that without an outdoor BBQ, fireworks, and throwing the frisbee around, the 4th was a little bit of a let down. I was surprised to find that so many people here actually did celebrate it though. Much to the delight of everyone in our group, there is a pub on campus, which would be quite a rarity back home on an American campus. The pub on campus is called the NuBar and they were hosting a 4th of July bbq. After our fair share of hamburgers and corn on the cob at NuBar, we headed into town, and in true American fashion, we went to Temple Bar.
Many places in town had American flags hung and almost everywhere we went someone wished us a “Happy Independence Day.” Most the Irish people we ran into that night seemed genuinely excited for us that it was independence day and made a point to talk to us about it. Something I’ve noticed about the Irish is that they have quite a global awareness about other cultures. Almost every Irish person I’ve talked to is very knowledgeable about American history, politics and popular culture. I don’t know nearly as much about Irish society as they know about American society. As ethnocentric as this is, most of my perceptions about Ireland come from American movies, which is probably why most of my expectations about being here were wrong. Much to the dismay of all the girls on this trip, Ireland is not full of handsome Irish men wandering the countryside like P.S I Love You taught us, but nonetheless when we took a tour of Wicklow national park that didn’t stop most of the girls from looking. The Irish aren’t completely innocent either, considering that I’ve heard Jersey Shore quoted to me more than once. The first week of being here, when anyone asked where I’m from I would usually just say America, but most people usually seemed a little annoyed that I would assume they hadn’t figured that out. Turns out, everyone here knows where Colorado is, and I usually get some kind of response about Coors beer, the Rocky Mountains, and, much to my surprise, multiple people have asked me if I ride horses on the plains... I'm still a little baffled that that's the image some people have when they
picture Colorado. Enough pondering about perceptions; back to 4th of July. With the responsibility of representing American pride we of course all wore red, white, and blue. My friend in the program, Erika, wore a red and white-stripped shirt. This of course led many people to jokingly ask, “Where’s Wally?” We were constantly correcting people saying, “His name is not even Wally, it’s Waldo!!” The following day, we were shopping at a bookstore called Chapters when we stumbled upon the kid’s section. Turns out that in Ireland the Where’s Waldo books do not feature Waldo, but they feature “Wally” and are actually called Where’s Wally? Typical, the joke is on us.