miss- and love-lists…..

The weather in Ireland has been very disappointing this year …. yes it is the middle of May and temperatures are not where they are supposed to be.  We are in spring, some say it is already summer….and we are still wearing winter clothes!   It can be very depressing indeed.

I have lived in Ireland now for more than 12 years and the weather is definitely not a reason why one would move here.

Recently I made two lists.  One list of what I miss about the country I left behind,  South Africa, and another one what I love about living in my adopted country Ireland.


–       No surprises what tops my list – the weather, the climate.  Winter is just toooooo long here and I can never wait to get outside.  The sad thing is, sometimes it looks wonderfully sunny outside, but unfortunately it is never as warm outside as I anticipated.

–       Walking bare feet, it is just too cold and I might do it for a few weeks in July or August, but that’s about it.

–       To confront and talk honestly is hard to do here.  I think the Irish in general are wired differently and prefer to keep quiet or sidestep an issue rather than to talk about it.  Maybe it is the Dutch blood running in my veins, but they don’t like it if you speak your mind.

–       White and not grey sand on the beaches and big frothy waves to swim in.

–       The vibrant creative mood you find in many parts of South Africa.

–       A South African magazine for women – Die Sarie.  I haven’t found an equal.

–       Most of all my mom, sisters and brother, you just sometimes yearn for a good old natter with those who have known you from the start,  in your own language, and just to be totally yourself, like only they know you.



–          Beautiful Eire filled with character and steeped in history.  Look at the amazing cathedrals and castles, ruins and stone walls all over the place, it takes your breath away.

–          The peaceful way of life in rural Ireland.

–          The new green leaves on the trees in April/May and coming from a country where the grass is often yellow and brown the greenness of the country is beautiful.

–          The love for children Irish people generally have and are not afraid to show.  It is a great country to bring up children.

–          The trustworthiness of people.  It has happened a few times that I forgot to lock my front door going away for the morning (even a weekend once) and everything was still in order coming back.

–          To be able to travel relatively cheaply to other interesting European countries, what a privilege.

–          To make Elderflower cordial with my son at the end of May (hopefully it will happen this year, because the sun has been really shy so far….).

–          That it stays light for so long during the summer days – absolutely love that!

–          Indoor heating and to have the stove burning, even in the summer.


I can continue for a while, but it might get a bit tedious.

I read a book some years ago about an Australian journalist who moved to France and her toils and troubles of being so non-French, no matter what she did or how she tried to become more French, she was always the outsider.  In the book she tells how she was constantly surprised about the differences between the two cultures which she sometimes just couldn’t figure out, even though she had been living in France for about ten years.

And I have to admit I also have that.  Just when I think I understand  the Irish, the culture and society, then I have it totally wrong.  I will never be Irish.  Not only do you have to be born here, but you also need to be educated here and know this nation’s history, have the culture and background to be so Irish, which is probably correct for every nation.  Although I would dare to say that exposure to many cultures from a young age will definitely help in accepting and understanding other cultures.

Luckily (I am sure opinions differ here)  this island has seen an amazing influx of non-Irish people settling here which really helps making it more cosmopolitan and acceptable of others.  And with this I am not saying that it is not important for a country to have an identity and in this case to be Irish and to hold on to that, but it is the inclusiveness that is elusive for non-Irish.  And it works both ways, respect the culture of your adoptive country, but stay true to your own roots.

For outsiders it’s a bit like being a woman in a man’s world – as a non-Irish you have to work twice as hard in an Irish society, or non-Dutch in a Dutch society.

And I am not complaining, not looking for sympathy votes, it is just how it is.



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