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Derry Girl For A Semester: Chapter 4: In Which I Share 3 Things NI Is Missing Out On…and 3 Things I Love


Written by Charissa Roberson

A few random things I didn’t realize I took for granted in the US:

#1. Apple cider. In NI, cider is a cold, alcoholic beverage. The kind I know—spiced, warm, and tangy (the perfect fall drink)—just doesn’t exist over here.

#2. Road trips. You know the kind where you pile into a van, loaded with snacks and music, and drive cross-country. On the island of Ireland, you can drive from one coast to the other in a matter of hours.  So when I tell people that my family once drove 22 hours from MD to TX, I get frankly mind-blown looks.

#3. 24-hour stores. Definitely not as common as they are in the US. Even the “Sheetz” equivalent in Derry only sticks it out to 2 am.  You can’t count on somewhere always being open for a late-night study snack.

But there are also things that the US is distinctly lacking:

#1. Tea. Yes, we have tea in the US, but nothing like tea here. Tea is how you stay warm on rainy days, how you visit with friends, how you take an afternoon break, and how you welcome newcomers. It’s much more than just a drink.

#2. Sunrises AND sunsets on the beach. Living on the east coast, I had never seen a sunset on the beach until I went to CA. But here you could watch the sun rise from the ocean, drive across the country, and see it sent into the Atlantic on the same day.

#3. Slow Sundays. The stores are closed until 1 pm on Sundays, and they close again at 6. I know it goes against what I said about 24-hr stores…but it’s a lovely thing that the whole city takes at least one day to rest.

Oddly enough, these two lists are almost direct comebacks to each other—the pros and cons of a few of our differences. Overall, the US and NI are not so dissimilar, but the things that are different reveal interesting characteristics of our countries. Though this list is only a tiny sampling, I hope it gave you a new look at some things we might take for granted in the US…and some things we might be missing out on.


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