Paddy In Poland |3| Being A Good Immigrant

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So you’ve bitten the bullet and you’ve decided to leave the auld sod. Temporarily at least, but you never know. You have your Aussie visa and your grand in the bank so the Aussies can send you packing if you misbehave and you’re good to go. The village has an American Wake for you. More so because it’s a decent excuse for a piss-up rather than any genuine emotional connection to you. It is, after all, just a couple of flights away now and not the 3-month boat journey it was for us lot back in the 1800s.

I didn’t go as far as Australia, I didn’t see the point in travelling all the way around the world to lay blocks or pull pints when I was doing that in Dublin already. But as you know I met a Polish girl and she got her claws in deep and after trying to survive on the breadline in Dublin for a couple of years we decided to survive on the cheaper breadline in Poland. No visa required. Although one woman in my local government office swore to me that Ireland wasn’t and had never been in the EU. That was a fun day.

I’m almost eight years away from Ireland now and I miss it terribly. The random acts of kindness you see on the streets, people just start talking to you, the chances of ending up at an all-night rave when you only went to the local for one at closing time. I don’t miss the weather, Irish bread is toxic crap and apart from Guinness and Smithwicks, the beer sold in Ireland is swill, expensive swill. But I miss home every single time I wake up, however, I’ve come up with a guide for how to fit in in your new home.

Learn Some of the Lingo

I suppose this doesn’t apply if you take the easy option and go to Australia/Canada/Yanksville, but still I suppose you can use some of their dialects. Say ‘guys’ instead of ‘lads’. Try not to say things like ‘how’s the craic’. And don’t be afraid to embrace the language. My wife, when I met her first told me a useful Polish sentence ‘Gdzie jest najblizszy bar dla gejow??’ I went back to Dublin thinking I was great and told my Polish colleagues my new sentence. It translates as ‘Where is the closest gay bar?’ One I used to use a lot was when locals would ask my why’d I move to Poland I’d say ‘Moj zolw umarl przez biegunke, dlatego wyjechalem z Irlandii,’ which means ‘My turtle died of diarrhoea and that’s why I left Ireland.’ If they laughed they were drinking-buddy potential, if they didn’t they were no craic.

For the Love of Jaysus, Wear Sunscreen

We’re the whitest of the white, it’s us and the Icelanders. Those sexy Scandinavians think they’re the real white people but those people tan like Greek gods so they’re not really as white as they think they are. We’re the pasty kings. Every other country in the world has better weather than Ireland, wears sunscreen, and doesn’t get skin cancer. Or at the very least never walks like a walking-talking beetroot with a mad accent.

Taytos & Other Irish Foods

I’m not one for debating King crisps and Tayto, or Lyons and Barry’s tea. Each to their own y’know? However, you’re going to have to get used to not being able to get home comforts. No Taytos, no Chef Tomato Sauce, the best ketchup ever, no Ballymaloe Relish, no proper brown bread, no rissoles (Wexford burgers if you’ve never had them, they’re deadly), no rashers and no Cidona. Look that sucks, it does, but every country has crisps. Here I can get Kebab-flavoured crisps. “Africa-flavoured” ones too. I think the producers believe that adding saffron and turmeric and cumin makes potatoes taste like a whole continent. It doesn’t. But they do taste nice. Polish tea is shite though, there’s no getting around that. It’s so weak that nobody puts milk into it. But you get used to it. Black pudding is replaced with Polish blood sausage, it’s even nicer because it has way, way more blood. I’d kill for a rasher sambo though.

Try and get into the local food. Everyone thinks Polish food would be bad, but it’s delicious. OK there’s the odd meat-in-jelly crap or carp for Christmas dinner but beats the bejaysus out of Irish dinners like Bacon & Cabbage, Crubeens or Irish pasta dishes, which is a bottle of bought sauce and Tesco pasta.

Be Slutty

You’re away from your parents, aunts, uncles, cousins; basically, anyone that will judge you. So, ride around as much as you can. Like, you’re going to be dying alone in a nursing home when you’re 80 anyway, drool dripping out of your mouth and piss leaking out of you below and you won’t be getting any action then so fuck it, get your rocks off as much as possible and lower your standards. It’s a great way of meeting people.

Seriously though, moving abroad usually means you’ve fuck all friends at the beginning so get sleuthing on Facebook and other Internet places and find groups that meet regularly that you can join. You mightn’t make long-term friendships, but, I hate this term, networking is a great way of getting set up when you’re new somewhere. Even if it’s advice on where to live, what pubs are the best, a discreet abortion clinic, things like that. And sure, at the very least you’ll get a few free sandwiches out of it.

How to Beat Homesickness

Look, it’s easy to stay-in-touch with everything going on at home. You have the TuneIn app on your phone so can listen to Irish radio and news, you can read the Irish rags online too. I don’t know why but you can if you want. I do listen religiously to Sean Moncrieff though. I love that radio show so much.

If you’re from a rural county you can get your local radio too and listen to the death notices at 8am, 8.30am, 9am, 9.30am, 10, 10.30am and 11am. Always in the morning, maybe people in the country don’t die in the afternoons, I don’t know. Always seemed weird to me, but yea, you can find out who’s dead and wonder if you knew them or if it’s a different Mary Doyle from Fethard. I think she was yer man’s auld one, but I could be wrong, maybe it’s a cousin. Could be yer one Barry rode either?

Joe Duffy. Joe Duffy’s radio show is the one I go to when I’m at my most homesick. I listen to that for half an hour and I thank Jesus, Allah, Buddah, Thor, Dadga and Zeus that I don’t have to share an island with his gobshite listeners anymore.


This week on The Comedy Cast I speak to English comedian Travis Jay on Monday 8th and American comedian and former WWE wrestler Liam Breunle on Thursday 11th. On my YouTube channel, I’ve got video versions of the podcasts and Trailer Trash and The Weekly Viral are out every Wednesday and Friday too.

G’luck.

Main image via potatoes.com
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About Author

Spud Murphy

Spud Murphy is a writer and podcaster; hosting The Comedy Cast, a twice-weekly podcast about comedians. He lives in Poland and loves Polish food and beer, doesn't love Polish politicians.