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By TheBOX featured Travel writer Sharen Ram
Ever since I began this traveling and working abroad mission of mine, I’ve taken on career-related work while being overseas. Not only does this afford me with a reasonable income to do as I please but I’m fortunate enough to be surrounded by locals day in and day out. Interestingly enough, this has turned out to be both a blessing and a curse as being the foreign entity amongst a swarm of Irish lends itself well to some interesting discoveries about the culture that I’ve forcefully implanted myself into. The big adjustment for me when starting my latest gig wasn’t the tasks at hand as much as it was adjusting to the environment around me.
For starters, when I was introduced to my coworkers, the names seemed easy enough to remember but then the emails started flooding in and it became a whole new ball game. Suddenly, all these extra vowels came out of hiding and complicated names that I thought I knew. At first glance, it seems that there are too many vowels strung together one right after another and so attempting to sound out a name is definitely the wrong way to go. Trust me – EPIC FAIL as I’ve been busted a few times saying something that just wasn’t right and ended up resorting to a description instead. So far I’ve been lucky and have gotten away with saying, “the dark-haired girl from downstairs”, or “the guy in finance” and people just fill in the blanks but the time will come when they’ll expect more from me and it’s this day that I fear.
If referring to my colleagues as “hey you” isn’t bad enough, there’s also my idea of what is and isn’t acceptable office banter while at work. Everyday has a moment where I just give up and scream, “OMG, I’m Canadian and this is sooo not acceptable!” and that’s enough to get everyone to burst out laughing. This might just be a reflection of the fact I work in a male dominated environment but since starting, I’ve heard about naked Fridays, no pants meetings, dropping your pants at parties, other things in pants that’s NSFW, man love moments, coworker discussing his “moobs”, going topless with mom, sweat, eating placenta, and getting called American one time too many. There’s days when I think the line has been crossed but then I think back to NZ and realize that it could be a whole lot worse. There’s no tongues making their way to my ear and so for now, I think these Irish men talking their talk is rather amusing despite the offensive nature of it all.
What makes up for the banter and extra vowels is the fact that they’ve decided to take me under their wing and introduce me to all things Irish. Thankfully, this has nothing to do with pants and everything to do with food. I’ve never worked in an office where people made pots of tea or brought in banana and Bailey’s bread pudding as an office treat. I’ve been educated about the best hangover cure of curry and chips (depending who you talk to it could be a 2 in 1 or a 3 in 1) and then there’s a mysterious chip truck that I’ll be taken to one night – slightly scared as I think someone is bound to go gangsta and pop a cap in my ass if I don’t love all things potato like the rest of them! All in all, I think it’s the people who make a place and if my first 3 weeks are any sort of indication, I think I’ve signed on for an interesting ride.