1. There is a thing known as salad cream, and it is basically mayonnaise. It is always put on the table in addition to mayonnaise. The Irish are all about their mayonnaise. Good thing I like mayonnaise. Not.
2. There are fields everywhere. And in those fields, there are sheep. I am quite sure I saw more sheep than people in Ireland. They are also spray painted, sometimes three different colours, in order to be identified by their owners.
3. Marshmallows are referred to simply as “mallows,” and are smaller, multi-coloured, and more delicious than in America.
4. Wellies are rain boots. I referred to them as “galoshes” and Susan laughed at me.
5. Pants are not in fact what we know of in America as pants, but in fact underwear. Hence, when I said aloud in public something about not having any more clean pants, I got some strange looks and Susan informed me thereafter of their true meaning.
6. Dogs are the pet of choice, and they are slowly taking over Ireland.
7. Summer in Ireland feels like winter in North Carolina. That being said, I’m quite sure that winter there feels like the Arctic Circle. I wore either a rain jacket or a puffy, fleece jumper over my sweater nearly every day.
8. A two-lane road in Ireland is a narrow, winding, paved footpath with blind curves and long grass on either side. Thus, if a car comes from the other direction, you have to pull off as far as you can to the left side of the road and let them pass.
9. The Irish are very friendly and for some reason think America is cool. I told them that everyone in America is obsessed with Ireland. Maybe everyone should just switch countries for a few weeks and see what happens.
10. The rumours are true: everything in Ireland is a deeper, lusher shade of green, since it’s so damp all of the time.
11. The Irish are obsessed with their hedges. They trim them into perfect squares surrounding their yards, like “Edward Scissorhands.”
12. When you roast hot dogs, it is referred to as a “sausage sizzle.”
13. You shouldn’t wear clothing that clearly defines you as from the north or south of Ireland, unless you’d like to get involved with the Protestant vs. Catholic debate.
14. Tea is drunk at least once, usually twice, a day. I was very happy to comply with this custom.
15. You can get student discounts pretty much anywhere.
16. There are stone walls all over the countryside that were built, stone by stone, generations ago. Susan’s dad told me that each stone weighs at least 30 kilos, if not more. They are beautiful and give the countryside a deep historic tinge.
17. The tallest building in Northern Ireland is called the Aurora building. It has 37 stories and is 300 feet high. John, Susan's dad, pointed it out to me as we passed it. It literally looks as tall as the UK hospital in Lexington, Ky., which is not that impressive in stature.
18. Even though NI (Northern Ireland) is so small, no one really travels around. I don’t know what they’d do if the Irish lived in America. I think they would die from the commute to the grocery store.