America 6 months in

6 days ago I hit 6 months here. In 5 days time I will be half way through my contract. Not to sound like the typical spoiled little asshole who goes to Thailand and India soul searching but I have learned a lot about myself and also have learned a lot about America. So I got this idea that I had to travel otherwise I’d regret it later in life. Ex girlfriends and friends of mine had all done the traveling thing, most did it either before college or right after it. I always felt a little bitter and resentful because so many people I know got to do it, I really got a chip on my shoulder when the people were going to America. I was born here, I felt it was kind of a birth right that I at least get to try living here but until about 2 or 3 years ago that was never possible. When college was through I owed over 2,000 in loans I took out to try and get myself through college. I was turned down for the grant for my first three years and got it for my final year but due to a clerical error I didn’t receive it until the second semester. After I cleared my own loan, I took out another more sizable loan to help my parents out of their bad financial situation. This resulted in the travel idea going away again for a while.

During that period, I unfortunately fell for a girl whore which then made me pro-long it even further. So. By the time I moved here, I was 5 days before my 27th birthday. Now I’m not some dick that thinks that’s old or anything, I don’t feel all that old BUT I do think maybe I’m a little too old to be doing this traveling thing now. As Steve will tell you, Long ago I grew out of the nightclub scene, I also don’t go in for one night stands, I have not had a drop of alcohol since I got here and I don’t do any drugs. So I got here and have enjoyed trying all sorts of new foods, making friends at work with all sorts of different backgrounds, I’ve gone exploring around the area BUT it’s not the traveling I think I or most would have done in their early 20’s. Because I’m this age now and everyone I know traveled when they were younger it also means I’m out here alone. I like being alone but when I’m alone I don’t exactly go mad. Also I usually don’t mind eating out and doing stuff alone but now that it’s all the time it gets kind of annoying.

Before I came over here one thing I really admired about America was the idea it’s the land of opportunity. Everyone here thinks they can make it, they can make their fortune and live the high life. I read a comment that the homeless in America think of themselves as temporarily embarrassed millionaires. When you work here you find out, this place is a pressure cooker. You don’t get many days off and your life becomes about your job, you need to stay sharp because if you don’t they’ll can you in a second. Then add into that fact that if you get fired right now you may not be able to get a new job right away, if you get social welfare at all, it runs out after a while. Then what? You can’t afford rent, you and your family live on the street. You get sick and you die. I use to admire this. I thought this is what made America a superpower. That the people here were the best at their jobs, they were the experts and innovators because they worked not only for success and riches but to keep themselves employable. They undoubtedly are very sharp but at what cost!? People are super friendly anywhere you go but you can tell most are really tightly wound at the same time. If I’ve ever been to a country where the people deserved a decent social welfare, it’s here. They are busting their asses working. But they don’t want it, they think it’s un-American. You live here and get the opportunity to make something of yourself, not to free-load. But there’s people just down on their luck with no helping hand. You see homeless guys wearing shits and suit pants who would like some change but really want to be given a chance. They hold signs “Help a guy down on his luck” or something equally depressing. It sucks.

I got fed up in Galway, like a friend of mine had said before, you drag your ass out of bed and go into work in the freezing cold and pissing rain, going past places where you see the curtains closed and you just start to think, that fucker in there probably won’t get up until 11-12 today because they don’t have to, they are probably on the dole. People out drinking in the middle of the day, the buses being their busiest when you’d think most would be working etc. etc. And Galway was really getting on my nerves but having seen the opposite end of the scale. I’d take that over seeing people being pushed to their breaking point. Now that doesn’t mean something shouldn’t change in Galway because that’s ridiculous too, it’s just not as bad as seeing hard working people who just want to earn their way having to beg, borrow or steal to stay fed. I’d fear for Ireland now though that the sense of entitlement has been so ingrained into our culture that any change will be next to impossible.

Something else I have noticed about America is the attitude towards alcohol is completely different. Firstly the guys I know are all into cars and are real guys guys types but most of them don’t drink beer. If they do drink they drink something like a Margirita or a mixed drink. And there’s not some smart arse remark from anybody about being a pussy because alcohol isn’t a matter of male bravado here. They have much more maturity when it comes to alcohol. I heard it discussed on the radio a few weeks ago, there were people phoning in, a lot of people too! Who said on the rare occasion they do drink they make sure their kids never see them. They will get a babysitter to stay over rather than get home and risk being seen by their children when drunk. I thought that was amazing. I’d guess another big difference is that in Ireland if a kid gets drunk and acts like an asshole they don’t get in trouble where as here, they sure as shit would. So there’s something Ireland could learn from America for sure. On the flip side of this however is the drug culture. Crack heads and Meth heads a plenty near where I work. Also I got prescribed Vicodin by my dentist for a fuckin’ toothache, is it any wonder there’s such an epidemic in the country.

I had said it before on here too but the amount of advertising really gets on my nerves. I was getting so annoyed with telemarketers that I had my phone disconnected! Some of the laws I feel contradict the notion that it’s meant to be land of the free. Like them banning online gambling. It’s less of a nanny state than Ireland but some of the laws would just make you wonder.

On the positive side because I do tend to be too negative. I’m out here living in a loft apartment, there’s a 24 hour gym, 2 pools and a hot tub. As well as giant BBQ pits. The weather is about to change and get really nice for the rest of the time I’ll be here. The food and amount of variety for absolutely everything e.g. food, radio stations, tv channels, bars, shops, tourist spots etc. is amazing. The people are so friendly here too, the older generation mix well with the younger people, there’s no looking down on anyone. I’m also meant to be in the most racist state in the country and I’ve never been to a more racially tolerant place in my life. It seems like anybody will help anybody else. Right Turn on Red is a wet dream too, it’s such a time saver. The road layouts here are perfect actually, probably another thing we could learn from them if only the council in Galway would stop using the same fuckin’ idiots every time there’s upgrades..oh well. Yes, you do have to have health insurance here but from my experience so far the level of care is excellent and the fact they actually listen to you and seem to want to actually help you is unlike any appointment with a physician I have ever had. They do it because if they find something wrong with you it means more money for them but after being fobbed off in Ireland for the last 10+ years, I’m loving it. The prisoners here also work the chain gang, the roadsides are spotless, the entire city look pristine. The outlying areas follow color schemes, it’s like the place is picture perfect in some areas. Every day I get to drive through a mountain. It’s class.

I don’t regret coming here even though I will likely never get a job back in Galway in IT. But I feel this is something I needed to do. I also fucked up royally with my last girlfriend while here, so being here alone has given me a lot of time to reflect and look at myself which was probably long overdue. I’ve given up on the idea of having some crazy party of time here, that’s not me anymore. I finished college nearly 6 years ago. That part of me is gone and I’m looking forward to figuring out the next steps. I’m going to enjoy the next 6 months as much as possible, go back to Galway in December for my godsons christening, my sisters 30th and The City Fathers Anniversary Bash, then I might drive across America and act like an old age pensioner and go to the sights alone. I’ll document it for this site. Driving for weeks by myself, It promises to be the most boring adventure of all time but that’s the way it is now!

Later,

Rory

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We sit around all day stroking our beards, clucking our tongues and discussing what's to be done with this Homer Simpson
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9 Responses to America 6 months in

  1. Elaine says:

    This has to be quite possibly the best inspiration for getting my ass into gear and getting out to America. I’ve always seen myself living there and having my life there but I’m in a rut where I’ve got a permanent full time job here in Dublin in optics, I work with an awesome team and I have the ability for lots of career development. I’m just scared if I leave it then I’d be making a massive mistake. I’m not a college degree lady, but iv plenty of job related and work related courses and certificates. I’m just afraid its not what the U.S wants. Should I give it some serious thought??

  2. Hi Rory,

    I thought I had answered you, but I don’t see my reply, so I must not have. I’m in the Cork area.

    You know, I traveled when I was younger as most or your friends did, but I did most of my traveling when I was much older than you. I traveled alone and actually loved it – I met so many others traveling alone – people that I never would have met if I had been traveling with someone. So, if you should travel alone, not to worry. Just be street-wise and you’ll have an amazing time. There are a lot of Singles and solo groups out there to travel with if you prefer that. Just google them.

    I’m still in Ireland, but honestly DO need to return to America – I truly MISS the competitive nature of Americans and the “drive” that keeps you young! I’m dying a slow death here. It’s not the Ireland that I thought it was, but perhaps the Celtic Tiger has a great deal to do with that. I’m not sure, since I wasn’t here at that time, but I’ve heard the stories.

    I wish you the best – I really enjoy reading your “take” on our different cultures.

    Nancy

    • That’s cool that you enjoy reading my take on different cultures. Some people get offended when I talk about it. Some feel as though I am somehow bashing Ireland and the Irish. I love Ireland and it will always be home for me. I can criticize America just like I criticize Ireland but it seems some people can’t accept criticisms when it’s from somebody who moved away. I’m not really doing the ‘travelling’ thing though, that’s kind of my sticking point. I came here to work and live. I started my job less than a week after I landed, I have not taken any real time off since moving here. I’m not meeting anybody travelling because J1 kids and even just European immigrants don’t move to Arizona. They tend to stick to the more Irish or European cultured places on the East Coast or California for the image. To be honest, even if they did come here I would avoid them. I want to experience American culture and get to know people that live and work here, rather than people visiting. I have not been disappointed in fairness. I’ve got become friends with people with very diverse backgrounds. It’s been cool!

      • Puppet-Kidzz says:

        Enjoy your time in America. It will go all too fast and I’m sure you’ll look back on it as an amazing experience. The reason people can’t take the criticism is because they are unfulfilled – they are jealous…. sad, but true. I’m so proud of you!

  3. gemma says:

    Currently on a quest for change, this has helped majorally. I have made an application for an international nursing programme in america. Awaiting a reply. If I am unsuccessful at that I might just go anyway… hsa to be better than Eire right now!!

    • You should go for it! I’ll be honest. You’d think with us having the same language and a somewhat similar pop culture that the transition will be easy. It’s not so easy…even just going to the grocery store or going to a restaurant can be a complete mind f**k here compared to back home. But it’s a great experience

    • Puppet-Kidzz says:

      Gemma, you should definitely go for it! As an American living in Ireland (and have lived in other countries), there is nothing like living amongst other cultures! I honestly feel sorry for people that don’t have that amazing opportunity.

  4. Nancy Nurse says:

    Hi, I’m an American living in Ireland and your blog honestly makes me miss my home. You’re so right about the alcohol. I had no idea how much alcohol meant to the Irish. It’s seems to be the focal point of living. Kuddo’s to you for taking the time to not only travel but to take some time to know yourself. You have done a great job understanding both the Irish Cuture and the American Culture. Good job! I’m so proud of you and I don’t even know you. Thank you for writing this great blog and for your story. I assumed you were in Florida but then you mentioned driving through a mountain, so that let’s Florida out? I used to live in Miami Beach but actually thinking of going back to Naples or back to my other home in San Francisco. I also lived in Las Vegas for many years, but I actually have no desire to return even though it was very good to me. I long to leave damp wet cold Ireland and the culture of people that seem to have no desires to pick themselves up; it’s extremely depressing. There are some good people here, don’t get me wrong, but it’s so hard to get motivated here. Best wishes to you in your new American home.

    • Where in Ireland are you living? I’m guessing you don’t drink all that much? I’m actually living in Arizona, there’s mountains all around me here. It’s great. Vegas is cool but I’m not sure I could live there full time. It’s tough to get motivated in Ireland alright, a lot of people are happy to just do the minimum and if you raise your head and do more you are likely to get it chopped off for being different. I hope things get better for you! I have relatives in Naples. The humidity in Florida is a killer for me! I haven’t been to San Francisco yet but will hopefully go soon

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