Martin has a very large family & is from a small town, a village if you will, in Ireland. SO it’s the little things to me that I deeply appreciate. Things I haven’t had and don’t get to experience here in the US.

In Derry you can say to someone, “I’ll see you up the town” & you will run into them without a doubt. Where here you have to say what part of the mall you might meet. Especially some place like the Sawgrass Mall where we use to live in Ft. Lauderdale.

That mall is bigger than Martin’s whole town!

Martin and I were out to eat at one of our favorite places in Derry this time that we use to eat at when we lived there. We sat in the back which we normally don’t do. When we went to leave we ran into 2 of our nieces, Naomi and Laura, eating there as well. SO we sat with them and chatted and walked out with them and down the street for a bit. I thought it was cool running into family while out.When we were in Ireland last year we ran into Andrew up the town with his cousins. He took the bus up to an anima marathon at the cinema. Then he was going to the pub to surprise his Granny. If you want to see Granny you go to Porter’s pub. All the grandkids have been going there since they were wanes (wee ones) We chatted with him for a bit, hugged then we went our separate ways.

Even on the bus this last time going back to the town to catch a taxi with our niece Naomi, our nephew was on the bus going home. We didn’t see him till he was getting off the bus & he said “Cheerio” to us. He and Andrew did some mattress surfing down Mark’s stairs last year.

In Belfast, my sis in law, AnneMarie had some friends over from England that I met last year. We were all out for lunch when AnneMarie got called into work, she was on call. SHe is a flight attendant for Easy Jet. Our cousin Christine, took AnneMarie’s friends to the airport no question. Even though she had other plans. As they say in Ireland, “We won’t see you stuck.” And they won’t. It’s very much as it use to be many years ago in the US. One sister needs milk, the other sez take some from me I have extra.

It’s these little things I know they take for granted because it is the norm for them. I know they would miss it terribly if they were living here. They all pulled together for us! They gave us rides between Derry and Belfast, Belfast to Derry (about 75 miles) no problem and with gas being like $9 a gallon?? How many of us would offer that!??

No matter how much they might bitch about family, they would die without each other. They don’t even see how close they really are. But I do!

In Belfast, my cousin’s daughter is dropped off at her Granny’s in the a.m. SHe feeds her breakie, takes her to school then picks her up and takes her to her Great Granny’s for a bit to play. Maybe her Great Uncle comes by to pick her up to take her to the park with his daughter. Then back to her house for dinner and her parents pick her up. She has toys at everyone’s house. Leah is such a well behaved, loving child. Proving it does take a village to raise a child.

I remember when one of the grandsons came by everyday to his Granny’s for his lunch break from work. Or when my youngest cousin, ClaireAnne, who is traveling the world now, would spend every weekend with her Granny. Even as a teenager!

That’s what I love about Ireland, just watching the family dynamic. Watching the little things they do for one another. Thinking nothing of it. I know Andrew loved it for that reason too. He loved having so much family! I have so many more stories I could share but I think I’ll save it for the book! I can’t give it all away now. ;-)

If you have that here in the US appreciate it! Because it is the little things in life that make the hugest difference and we miss the most when they are gone!

No matter what….


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  1. Leah Clark says:

    Connie – it is the little things, for sure. I heard someone say recently that holidays were invented to remind you why you don’t live with your family! And while that is certainly true in some cases, I can tell you that my family always pulls together if something is needed.

    And I guess I’ll quit my… er… complaining about $3 a gallon for gas here!!

    (I wonder if it’s your cousin’s daughter’s name that has something to do with how well behaved she is? hahaha)

  2. Swati says:

    I know what you mean, I had that while I was growing up in India. The very close family dynamics. A LARGE “extended” family….although then they did not feel like “extended” family. They were all “immediate” family members. No matter how faaaaaaaaaaaaar flung the actual relation was. And then there were friends who became family just because we were so close. In India we do not call people older than us by their names. Calling anyone older than you by name is considered disrespectful. Everyone has to be called by an appropriate “relationship” word. So if you are old enough to be an older sister, you will be called “didi” whether you are really a sister or not. If one is old enough to be an uncle, they will be called “uncle”. If you are old enough to be a grandmother, you will be called grandmother. So that way, anyone you meet is your family. LOL! I felt very loved and cared for while growing up. It wasn’t just my parents who took care of me…but anyone and everyone around. But now things are changing there as well…its no more what it used to be.

  3. admin says:

    Yes, that is what I’m talking about Swati! It doesn’t matter how distant the relation is you are still family! 3rd cousin 400th cousin, cousin by marriage, it doesn’t matter. Our cuz Christine, Martin’s 1st cousin, his mother and her father were siblings. Christine’s Granny on her mother’s side is my Granny too! I always have to see ma Granny when I go over! :-D I mean, there is no blood relation to Martin even with her but she is MA Granny!

    I know more of my Aunt Bernie’s side of the family than my Uncle Christy’s side and Uncle Christy’s are the blood relation ones to Martin!

    I just think it is very cool and we are missing that here in the US big time!

  4. Joanie Light says:

    I know what you mean, Connie. Bennie and I grew up in a very small farming community of around 2000. Most of our relatives, extended out several generations, lived in the area. I remember Christmas day was a day we opened presents and then went to visit all of our kinfolks. Kinfolks…now that’s an old fashioned word. Imagine my surprise at family reunions when some of the kids I went to school with were my distant cousins. Then my mom would explain to me how we were all related and that was just my dad’s side of the family. My mom’s side of the family was always this big crazy loud Czech fest. Drinking is a big part of that culture, too. In German/Czech communities, it’s the beer joint that’s the equivalent of the pub. I miss that sense of community on one hand and on the other, don’t miss everyone knowing what I’m up to every blinkin’ minute. Can’t get away with anything in a small town. We do have the benefit of being only a 1 1/2 hour car ride to revisit our home town that’s still like going back in time. Bennie and I recently commented that we didn’t realize we grew up in such a special place until we left it.

  5. admin says:

    I hear ya Joanie! It can get a bit too much everyone knowing yer biz! AND having something to say about it! LOL But the good out weighs the bad. We still hope to have a house in Ireland one day. Maybe just over the border in the South. Close but not too close. ;-)

    We got closer to a few of our nieces this trip and I want to keep the connection.

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