Thursday, October 24, 2013

French Kiss or Irish Hug?

Image from
The rhythm of life is so different here in Ireland than in France and our body clocks are just about getting used to the new timetables as we potter along in our new life in Clonakilty.
For one thing, we all miss "La Cantine" , that wonderful French luxury of a 4 course delicious 2 hour lunch at school. These days, Irish kids are given 20 minutes to wolf down their sambos and get out into the yard to play. The lunch box used to be a fairly simple affair in my day, now, the list of forbidden foods is the length of your arm :

  • Crisps
  • Chocolate or anything containing chocolate
  • Fizzy drinks or fruit drinks
  • Cereal bars
  • Biscuits
  • Nuts and anything containing nuts
  • Sweets or anything sweet etc etc

While I agree totally with the healthy eating concept, lunch box filling has become rather a challenge ( ideas welcome)
The kids finish school at 2pm and 3pm ( how handy is that - NOT!) For my two who are used to finishing at 5pm in France and then launching into homework, as far as they are concerned, they have a half day every day! Whoopeee! That 's a lot of hours to entertain them though! After school activities take place every evening, not just on Wednesdays ( their day off school en France)
For us adults living in a small town, social activities don't usually start until about 9pm or later! Dancing classes, toastmasters, music sessions, they all start after 9pm. In France, in sleepy suburbia, the shutters would be coming down and people bunkering down for the night. If you are going to the pub, you might start thinking about going out around 10pm or later. Huh? but that's way past our bedtime! I recently joined a running club and we start training at 8pm. As we finish at 9pm, there are others just starting!!
Setting a fire and drying clothes in front of it and watching the weather like a hawk for signs of rain when the clothes are out .. these are things I haven't done in over 18 years!
I still go to kiss people on each cheek when I meet them, resulting in usually head butting the recipient - It feels funny not to physically greet people you haven't seen in a few days ; a "howzitgoan?" will do. In place of the sterile French air kissing though, what you do have is the Irish hug. At a family gathering recently, it was a veritable hugathon as I got lost in Aunties' perfumed bosoms and long lost cousins' embraces.
French kissing 'aint all it's cracked up to be anyway ;-)


  1. Wow, what a list of forbidden foods! I am all about healthy eating but would struggle to put together a lunch for my son (I too love the canteen here in France). I think a little bit of something sweet at the end of my lunch is very important, like everything it is all about moderation. Good luck!

    1. Thanks for your comment Jacqueline. I must admit, it is a challenge! Sent them off today with rice and chicken dish so we'll see how that went down! Oh yeah, no wrappers are allowed either, no tin foil, cellophene, etc. A tough assignment!

  2. hello my friend, I am much familiar with french kiss. But I didn't heard about Irish hug. You helped me to make familiar with it. Thanks for explaining much about both here.

  3. I was just talking about the awkward Irish hug with a colleague the other day. I still find that very strange , considering Irish people don't like to invade each other personal space that much. After all, you see people you know and it's just a " How are you" answered by another " How are you", you get the occasional handshake ( even from girls, I thought that was freaky at first)... so why are people hugging? My Irish friends know I kiss, so then they try to do the same, but I'm always waiting for the 2nd cheek that never comes, how awkward , and it ends up being half a hug, half a kiss !

    1. lol! I know , for the first month back, I was head butting people going in for the second smacker! Funny!


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