Around June of each year it’s a pleasure to represent MultiLingual at LocWorld in Europe. It gives me a chance to visit the “old world” I grew up in.
Europe. Quiet crowds comfortably brush up against each other. In a sense this physical contact makes you feel more connected to those around you. I consider how this makes me feel calm among strangers. People communicate more with their eyes and facial expressions rather than speaking.
I want coffee. There’s only one size and compared to the US it costs twice as much and offers half the content. It makes up for this in flavor. I adjust my table manners back to old world standards—use both fork and knife, take smaller bites—and begin feeling less like a stranger.
At first impression the Irish are chummy, but others might call them careless. They truly stand out among the rest of Europe and I quickly learn not to mention religion, though they are excited about politics. Someone became quite upset that the recently appointed minister of language did not speak Gaeilge (which they prefer to call ‘Irish’). “It’s like having a minister of economy who can’t count!”
I have an odd way of adopting the local accent wherever I go. When living in Australia it was all “Good on ya mate! Is that bee’ still coo?” and now that I live in the US: “It was, like, super awesome!” I’m sure the native Irish might have felt unsure what to make of my “I believe it’s tir-tee mailes from Doblin.” But I actually have no influence on it.
And in this way, I am localizing myself before showing up at LocWorld. It’ll be for that reason alone that I mean to drink two pints of Guinness a day.