I decided to write about this today because it’s been one month since I arrived here in Belfast. So I thought that it would make a good occasion for me to write about « how to survive in Northern Ireland? ». It was not easy I can tell you that! I like Belfast, the city is great but the weather is t-e-r-r-i-b-l-e. I mean, it might be okay if you come here during winter time, but in April, it is hard and it is even harder when you are from the South of France, where it is sunny almost every single day of the year… haha!
1/ THE WEATHER
If you don’t like the rain and the weather changing every two minutes, then I would recommand you don’t try to live in Belfast because you will definitely not survive the weather. After a month here, I have seen so many rain and bad weather: it is mostly cloudy and cold in April, but people told me it would get better in May (fingers crossed)!
What you need to do is to buy a warm raincoat or a light raincoat depending on which season you plan to come to Norther Ireland. By the way, the same rules apply to the Republic of Ireland, it is the exact same weather. So if you plan to go to Dublin, I would suggest you do the same !
2/ THE FOOD
Well, I don’t mean to judge but, as a French person, I really miss my « fromage » (cheese) and my « baguette » (French bread). It was really hard for me to get used to the food here, since it is really different than what I normally eat at home. I am a vegetarian, so my first instinct was to look for soya/quinoa/etc.. burgers, and I couldn’t find any! (Yes, because I love this kind of « similicarne » at home). In the end, I found some in the frozen section, and they were vegan but they were really spicy and I didn’t really enjoyed it. So my solution was to eat porridge, quinoa, lentils, and many, many fruits and vegetables. You can find lots of amazing vegetables at the Saint George’s Market in Belfast (only opened on Friday, Saturday and Sunday though). But if you feel bad sometimes, because of the weather, I would suggest you go out and find a coffee or a pub to drink at.
3/ THE PEOPLE
The people here are very, very friendly, but sometimes I found them a bit too much friendly. I think it is a cultural thing, that us, French people, are really « reserved » (but not shy) and we don’t go and talk to people that easily. But here, in Northern Ireland, people are really open-minded and outgoing, which was hard for me at the beginning of my stay. But I got used to it, and I am happy about it. You just need to get in your mind that people in here are not as reluctant to know other people or foreigners than us French people mostly are. And therefore, I got to meet so many nice people around here !
4/ THE ACCENT
Well, well… Let’s talk about the BIGGEST struggle of my stay here. The accent here is really different from the one you can hear in England, and I don’t find the English accent really easy as well. So imagine me, trying to understand what the people here were saying without asking them to repeat in order not to be rude… At first, that was a bit hard, but the Norther Irish are really comprehensive and they would usually talk slowly so I could understand. It took me maybe 2 or 3 weeks to get really used to it, and i still struggle sometimes but not as much as I did back then. I guess you just need to be very patient !
So this post comes to an end. I hope you really enjoyed it, because it won’t be my last post about Northern Ireland. By the way, here is a link to see a video I made about my first month in Belfast : click here.