Restaurant Etiquette

Ordering food doesn’t sound complicated but in a foreign country it always brings some anxiety for me. My trip to Ireland has been no exception as figuring out how to navigate the Irish restaurant “etiquette” has been a bit of a learning curve. On our first day, a group of about nine of us went into pub called the Bleeding Horse, hoping to get seated. As we stood awkwardly in the entryway, we were surprised there was no host that came up to us to ask, “How many?” Later in the night as we were about to pay, we couldn’t help but feel like a nuisance when we were asking for so many things like separate checks. While in Pittsburgh, servers are for the most part more than gracious to split the check 9 ways, in Ireland servers are not working for tips. Thus, it’s much less likely that they’ll be willing be willing to bow down at your every last order and it even could even be perceived as being overly demanding. 

These situations for sure bring the discomfort of navigating a higher context culture like Ireland, but I also feel it also brings a distinct sense of feeling like an outsider. In Pittsburgh, I know how everything thing works and I rarely feel this anxiety. Here, I feel looking confused is a dead a giveaway that I’m not from here and I almost feel a sense of guilt. Tourism and tourists, specifically American ones, I feel can sometimes have a reputation for being ignorant, expecting everything to run the way America runs. Here, I have learned that not only do you need to become comfortable with being uncomfortable if you want to rise on the learning curve, but also how important it is to do your research before you travel if you want to avoid the ignorant American stereotype. 

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