The last three weeks I visited Ireland and Sweden. Both were different and both had their own bits I absolutely feel in love with. I had never traveled out of the country before (well I did go to Ireland once when I was three years old but I don't remember it so it doesn't count) so this trip was definitely eye-opening, heart-warming, and breath-taking.
The best part was that every place I went I had family to visit, as my mom is from Dublin, Ireland herself. Seeing my aunts and uncles and cousins and grandpa and family friends, some of which I have only met through Skype and telephone calls, made me feel so at home in places I had never been before.
The thing I feel in love with about traveling was the differences, how a whole country of people can do something totally opposite from another country and it's totally fine! Different isn't always bad. I found bits of the trip so interesting I decided to write about the ones I found most prominent in each country.
1. When You Go Out Everyone Sings and Dances (Even If They Can't Sing and Dance)
It was so much fun, even if you go to just a small pub people aren't just sitting around on their phones bored. It makes sense, you go out to have fun, not to sit around and stare at people.
And the dancing is pure fun, and the singing is mostly out of tune but it doesn't matter. It's just lighthearted, they only worry about the things that matter. After spending nights out there I learned to get over myself, you feel like it is more a team effort than an individual one, everyone looks out for each other even if they don't know you.
It was a nice change, being with people who didn't just sit around minding their own business. Dancing like fools always leads to great laughs and singing with a group of people does something for the soul.
2. The Food
Cows and sheep and horses are everywhere. Livestock gets to roam freely for the most part. Due to this the meat I had there tasted way better since everything is free range. Irish aren't known for being the best cooks so I was worried about what the cuisine would taste like. But no worries, it was fantastic.
Everything tasted fresh and the portions weren't gigantic so I would have room for desserts which tasted even better. The real cream and sugar and milk - yum! So delicious.
The strawberries I had there were the best strawberries I ever had in my life. Also, you must learn to like tea because it is always being offered to you or you are offering it to someone. The second you step into someone's house you drink tea, whether you want to or not (again remember, get over yourself).
3. People Are Real
People tell you exactly how they feel, you'll be walking down the street and they come up to you and tell you that you're gorgeous and not in a creepy way but in a matter of fact way.
I found people to be very straightforward, not harshly but just out of the pureness of their hearts. If you're being an annoying eejit, they'll tell you too. It's nice hearing people speak their mind and not worrying about being politically correct. I think Americans are a little to sensitive sometimes.
4. It's Not All About the Money
There is less worry in the air, at least that's what I noticed. In America I feel like it's all about the money. Work, work, work for a job you hate all your life to keep up with people you don't like.
People don't treat you differently if you are a waitress as opposed to a doctor - it's more about your personality than anything. I found that people weren't as obsessed with money as I had seen back in the states.
1. For The First Time In My Life I Was Short
Everyone looked like blonde, blue-eyed, tall supermodels. I am 5'5'' and due to American standards I am average height. In Sweden I felt like a midget.
When I went to the bar to get a drink my chin barely went above it. On the bus the handles to hold onto were higher than I would have liked. It was funny, I felt like I was in a world that was way too tall for me. It was funny to see a whole country be full of tall people.
2. Everything Is So Technologically Advanced
It was so organized and clean and you couldn't even buy bus tickets with cash, everything was online. I felt like I was twenty years into the future. My aunt and uncle owned a lawnmower that worked itself! A robot lawnmower. I also went on the metro which was basically a train with no driver! I feel like robots weren't far off from existing in Sweden.
3. I Was Impressed on Their Knowledge of the World
This was also true in Ireland too, I feel like the whole rest of the world knows more about other countries than America does. America only really focuses on America, but other countries are more globally aware.
It made me realize how easy it is for Americans to be uncultured since we are taught that America is the best country in the world, so why should we really learn about the rest of the world?
It was just amazing how they all were fluent in English, what is America doing wrong that we can't educate our people to be fluent in other language?
Overall I learned that different cultures are different for a reason, it is part of a deep, rich history. America is fairly new, we are allowed to look to other countries to see what they are doing that works.
Sometimes, I think America thinks everything needs to be bigger and newer to be better. Seeing the differences were one of the parts I liked most about the trip, and they were the parts that made me understand more about myself and the world altogether.