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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Fumblin' around Dublin

Galway+is+no+different%3A+Group+photos+do+not+say+tourist%2C+they+scream+it.
Galway is no different: Group photos do not say tourist, they scream it.

HOW TO NOT BE A TOURIST, WRITTEN BY A TOURIST—

Since I will be living in Dublin, Ireland, for an entire semester, I have taken extra strides not to appear like I am a tourist so that I will not become the great embarrassment from America. Unfortunately, I have not been doing a great job on this front so far. Still, even though I cannot take my own advice, I figured why not force my ignorance onto others?

Thus, I have created a list of some of the measures I have taken or tried to follow only to have failed at the end of the day to not be a raging American tourist in Dublin:

1. Don’t scream when you are halfway across the street because you looked the wrong way before crossing. I haven’t done this yet, but this has happened many times with my fellow peers here in Ireland. I don’t scream because I pull a “deer in the headlights” move and just freeze in the middle of the road, which is a much more efficient way of handling such a mistake, especially when a bus is barreling toward you. Trying to look the right way before crossing the street has put a toll on my sense of direction. Now I don’t trust people when they tell me to look at something on the left. In my mind, I’m thinking, “Wait, does that mean I should really look to the right?” Alas, I look very much like a tourist every time I cross the street in Dublin.

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2. Don’t take pictures of your meals. I continue to break this rule. American scones aren’t as adorable as Irish scones. I photograph because I somehow need to remember eating this plate of mashed potatoes. As a study abroad student, it is my job to flood everyone’s social media with photos of my experience. Food is one of the main parts of this process. Every meal photograph takes me one step closer to everyone back home hating me. Perfect.

3. Don’t look mildly worried when a police officer is willing to tell you where all the good crack is. He actually means craic, which is having fun. Not the drug. The police officer is not tipping you off. He is trying to give you good outing tips. This could greatly affect the way you view Ireland if you do not know any better.

4. Don’t be too loud. Americans, apparently, are very loud creatures. Our ears are used to fireworks and parties and barbeques. Whenever we stop talking, there is a very deep silence. This happens in restaurants, buses, streets and basically anywhere that Irish people are also mingling with us (also known as the entire country of Ireland). It makes me feel good knowing that there is an entire café of people out there that now know more about me than I do about them. It is easy to find other Americans in Ireland at, let’s say, a grocery store because you can hear them giggling about the candy options two aisles over. At these times, you pretend to be as amused as your fellow shoppers.

5. Don’t worry about the uncomfortably comfortable pigeons. Even if they start pecking at your shoes. Remember that you are a giant human and they are tiny, feathered blobs. Giant human beats tiny, feathered blob. Try not to scream when they fly towards you and don’t do what I do – punch them away. You just end up looking ridiculous.

6. Take a break from the dancing and the “wooing.” Americans like to dance to live music. Irish people tend to want to do more listening than dancing at times. Americans like to “woo” a lot when they clap or when they dance or even when they receive a giant burger they just ordered. This type of “wooing” is not as common in Ireland. I have both danced and “wooed” my way into looking very much like a tourist, especially when the giant burger came out.

7. Calm down. There is probably nothing more touristy that we all do here in Dublin than point and squeal at random things on the street because “it’s so Irish.” We point at doorways that are so amazing and “so Irish.” We try to pronounce the names of certain pubs and squeal because “it’s so Irish.” Even people’s dogs are just “so Irish” we can’t resist swarming the poor creature and demanding its affection. This also seems to be a very American tourist thing we do. Every person who is walking their dog is subject to our tyranny. No one has been mad that we’ve approached their dog first before addressing the owner, but they always have a smile on their face that suggests an, “oh, silly Americans,” sort of attitude.

The adjustment between America and Ireland has provided a lot of insight into how I live my life. Who knew I’d miss ketchup so much? Why can’t I find any leprechauns with pots of gold? Why are there coins and bills that are of the same monetary value? Why not just pick one or the other?

Hopefully I will stop looking like a big tourist at some point. Or not. At least I stopped walking around with an American flag wrapped around me like a cape. With study abroad, it’s all about the baby steps.

3rd Place Series of Articles winner in the SCPA 2015 Collegiate News Contest.
3rd Place Series of Articles winner in the SCPA 2015 Collegiate News Contest.

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    brasandbiscottiFeb 10, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    I love this post! 🙂