Over a year later…

Well, it’s certainly been a while since I’ve visited this blog, needless to say contributed to it. I promised my site coordinator, Doug, however, that I would offer a sort of “part 2” to the post titled What I Miss About Home, Y’all. In that post I listed fifty memories from “back home” that I missed. After that post, Doug asked me if I would offer one a year later that would list 50 things that I miss about Northern Ireland. I casually (and somewhat jokingly) agreed…and then forgot all about it. 


It has been well over a year. I guess I’ve thought about writing it from time to time, but I’ve had some trouble finishing it. And then I started to feel guilty. I felt like I had let down Doug by being silent (and Doug is one of those really sweet guys that you just don’t want to let down because it’ll make you feel like you just popped a small child’s balloon or something. Yeah, he’s that nice.). But then, after meeting with my therapist (Yes, therapist. The YAV slogan is “A year of service for a lifetime of change,” but many of us have come to say that it’s really “A year of service for a lifetime of therapy.”), she suggested that I write this post on July 12, the day that invokes intense anger and division for many in Northern Ireland. For some, it is a day that is reason for patriotic celebration, pride, and even superiority. For others, it’s a day that stands for a history of inequality, oppression, and tyranny. For me, this day last year was a day of confusion and discouragement, to say the least. That is why, on the 12th, I wrote this post. I want to remind others (and really, myself) that there can be many elements to cherish and miss about a place and a culture…just as there can be elements that are painful and only spark resentment. In that tension exists the reality of this world, a twisted paradigm that reveals that light and dark will always make a home in every time and place. I am glad to be in Seminary and to live here in Decatur, glad to not be in Belfast to see the hideousness of those bonfires and the flames of riots and angry youth…but I still miss many of the people, and I am thankful for the multitude of experiences that I was offered by that beautiful place. So now I dust off the cobwebs of cherished memories and offer this list of 50 things that I miss about wee Belfast, Norn Iron:


  1. The feel of pound coins in my hand.
  2. Boojum (More for the atmosphere)
  3. Whatever the name of that Mexican place on the Lisburn Road was…
  4. Cooku and Filthy McNasty’s
  5. Cafe Smart (and the staff!)
  6. Pub culture
  7. Wilma slapping my leg when it was shaking the pew at church
  8. Simon and I talking NFL
  9. Perfectly made coffee at the McKee’s
  10. Guinness poured properly and served in a Guinness glass
  11. Sunday afternoon walks
  12. Folding the bank notes a different way so that they would fit into my American wallet
  13. Dave and Kathryn’s banter 
  14. Cutting up with Lynne and Dee
  15. Zoning out while on the bus with my headphones in
  16. Conversations in the “Crow’s Nest”
  17. Being an outsider…and getting grins and questions when folks heard my accent
  18. The seafood chowder at Harlem Cafe
  19. Old women kissing me on the cheek
  20. Paul Mason’s accent
  21. Conversations with Doug
  22. The Beaver Scouts
  23. Calling supper “tea”
  24. 4
  25. Wednesday nights at the Millar’s
  26. The overwhelming hospitality of everyone
  27. DMC Youth
  28. Opening up to Heather before Sticky Fingers when times got tough
  29. Watching funny YouTube videos with Sally 
  30. Theological conversations with David
  31. English accents in every commercial (I mean, “advert”)
  32. Carrie’s eyes at the gym were I trained for the marathon
  33. The laughs in the PeacePlayers office
  34. Coaching with PPI
  35. Monday night, 5-a-side footy
  36. Waking up and reminding myself that I live on a different continent
  37. Laughing at the brotherly love between Owain and Cairan. 
  38. The soup and bread 
  39. St. George’s Market, getting fresh mussels 
  40. Joking with Gareth in the back of the church
  41. The occasional smoking of cloves and drinking cheap Italian beer in the back yard
  42. Feeling constant warm support from friends and family across the pond
  43. More news stations that actually had to do with THE WORLD and not just the country in which I was living
  44. Sunday night NFL and Gayle putting up with all of Simon’s (adorable) kitchen requests
  45. Going to the airport to pickup visitors
  46. Live music in the pub
  47. Phrases like, “Aye, I couldn’t be bothered,” and “‘bout ye?”
  48. Middle-of-the-night cab rides
  49. Feeling so many emotions and therefore feeling even more artistically creative
  50. The wit of Irish children, both in the north and the south





About Patrick

I am currently serving through the Young Adult Volunteer program, a program of the PC(USA), in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Just over a year ago, I graduated from Auburn University where I studied philosophy, religious studies concentration, and anthropology. I love spending time in a hammock, a good cup of coffee, and I'm always jonesin' for some Bluegrass covers of pop songs. View all posts by Patrick

One response to “Over a year later…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: