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Italian Husband (IH) looks outside: “F*#@ another grey sky today“
Irish wife (Me): “Yes but at least it’s dry”
IH: “No point to head out for a walk, it looks like it’s going to rain”
Me: “Ah come on! A few drops of rain never killed anyone”
The weather….a constant topic of conversation for Irish people…a big source of conflict for an Irish / Italian couple living in Ireland! As a proud Irish girl, I love my beautiful home country but I’m not stupid I know the weather is crap. We don’t get seasons, we don’t have a climate, we just have weather! And not particularly good weather. It doesn’t rain all the time as some people think but the unpredictability of what type of weather we will have from one hour to the next is excruciating.
On the inside I fully agree with my Italian husband when he gives out about the weather, however, I still argue with him about it as if he’s launching a personal attack on my identity! My national pride perks up and our conversation about the weather degenerates into how I was raised and how the summers were lovely when I was younger and we got to go to the beach and we had ice-cream and how I turned out just fine didn’t I? Cue the comparisons between his home country and mine…
Me: “Yes you have beautiful weather, great tomatoes and wine but there are feck all job opportunities where you are from – good weather doesn’t pay the bills!”
IH: “Well at least our child would grow up knowing the beach and the sun and playing outdoors instead of being stuck inside.“
Me: “I grew up here and I turned out just fine.”
IH: “Just fine…are you sure about that?!“
And so the story goes for many ‘international’ couples I guess. We have many shared values but also many differences that raise their heads at the strangest of times…
IH: “You’re having a cappuccino after dinner????”
Me: “Yeah so what?“
IH: “Oh my god….it’s a breakfast drink.”
Me: ‘What?’ (#confusedface)
Bringing our son up in a bilingual house with strong influences and major cultural differences has been a very fun part of our journey so far. Seeing that he gobbles up mashed potato but could take or leave pasta was a small victory for the Irish side 😉 I wait with bated breath to see which language will win out for his first word! There are clashes between IH and me when he is a little under the weather and IH’s first instinct is doctor, hospital, medicine! From the Irish side I tend to be a bit more relaxed ‘he’s a baby, babies get coughs & colds, he’ll be grand’. And he is.
In many relationships there is one person who is far from their own family and this comes with feelings of guilt as parents get older and as grandchildren arrive, worry about any emergency happening and how long it would take to reach them and the lesser issue of having to spend precious holidays from work always visiting family instead of exploring other destinations (not an issue in my case because IH is from Sardinia so I’m totally ok with spending all my holidays there!).
In our case, we use technology as much as we can to bring the family closer to us. Our son has dinner with his Italian grandparents on the screen in front of him almost every day. They sing, chat and interact with him and he knows them well even if he doesn’t see them in the flesh frequently. Sending photos, videos and voice messages throughout each day also makes them feel that they are not missing out as much.
IH still can’t accept the style of driving here (more easy-going than Italy for sure!) and to my horror, he often beeps the horn and uses colourful language at people in traffic where I feel it is completely unnecessary. I can’t get my head around how in this day and age Italian talk shows are still filled with girls in short skirts with no real purpose but to hang around and look pretty. He still can’t get his head around Irish guys’ obsession with check shirts!
Although we both lament the fact that in Ireland you cannot buy 98% alcohol to make homemade liqueurs like limoncello – at least there’s one thing we agree on!
I have to say that discovering all these differences are part of what keeps it interesting (as well as frustrating!). Getting to know my husband’s culture, how Italians eat (wonderfully slowly), what they drink (Aperol please!) and what’s important to them (family…and soccer of course) has been and continues to be great fun.