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What an American thinks about Belfast…

Overall, I really really like it.

I’ve pretty much liked it from the moment I moved here, with a few exceptions. I am totally *not* enamoured of the lack of customer service (although that is getting better), especially compared to what I was used to in the US. I can understand the apathy, based on Belfast’s history. There was so much tension for so very long, its hard to be cheery to customers, I guess. And I am not really asking for cheery. I am asking for (and this just happened about 2 weeks ago) the tills to be ready to accept payment 45 minutes after the store opened (although that might have been because of the snow we got) and someone available to take my payment at the tills (which happens *all the time*).  Grant the ‘finding someone at the tills’ thing happens in the US.  But I don’t get a face made at me when I ask for help in the US.  Well, not usually.

I think another part of it is that people don’t expect it.  They have received bad service for so long, they just go along with it. And until people complain, nothing will change.

I do really like the people here.  Bus drivers call you love.  People really do say ‘crikey’ and (and this is *very* Irish) ask you what the craic is.

Sometimes you have to watch what you say.  If someone is going to England for something, they will usually say they are leaving the country, even though, technically, they aren’t.  And please please please please make sure you call it Northern Ireland.  Ireland, or the Republic of Ireland, or the Republic, or ROI, is a totally different country to the south.  Some people are still hoping for a united Ireland, but I doubt it will ever happen.  And at least we seem to be past blowing each other up over it.  For the time being, at least.

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