By David W.
Grade 6, Connecticut
Country of Origin: Ireland

David W. 10/14/03 I have picked my Aunt C. Traynor as my interviewee for this assignment. She emigrated from Ireland.
1. Where were you born? ˘I was born in Galway city, Ireland. Galway is on the west coast of Ireland. However when I was very young my parents moved to Dublin, the capital of Ireland. I lived in Dublin while I was growing up.÷
2. What year did you come to the United States? ˘I visited the United States in 1987 for three months. I came back in the summer of 1990 to live. I originally just came for a year.÷
3.Why did you decide to come to the United States? ˘I had the opportunity to get a green card. A green card gives you permission to live and work in the United States. I was on leave of absence from a teaching job in Ireland and thought it would be fun to spend a year in the United States.÷
4.What was the trip to U.S. like? ˘The trip was fine. I flew from Dublin (Ireland) to Manchester (England) and then caught a connecting flight to JFK airport in New York city. I chose this route as opposed to a direct flight from Dublin to the US because I got a really cheap fare. I chose to arrive in New York because we have family friends in New Jersey and I stayed with them when I arrived.÷
5.What was your first impression? ˘When I arrived in 1990 to live here I more or less knew what to expect since I had been here in 1987 for three months. My first impressions of large American cities was that they were very busy and noisy, and looked like what I had seen on TV shows. I was also struck by the difference of life-style in the city versus in the suburbs. I noticed that people drive everywhere whereas in Europe people walk more and avail of public transport. Public transport in the US, outside of major cities is very poor. You are obliged to drive. Money is very important to people in the US. The ˘mighty dollar÷ rules and commercialism is evident everywhere. People in Ireland and Europe are less materialistic. Materialism is very striking when you come to the US.÷
6.What did you do for a living before you came here? What do you do now for a living? ˘Before I came to the US I taught secondary school in Ireland. Secondary school is probably the equivalent of junior high and high school together. I taught mainly French, but also Math. For the two years prior to coming to the US I lived in Malta, which is an island in the Mediterranean where I taught at an American International school. The school in Malta had grades kindergarten through 12th.÷ ˘I am now a college professor. I teach Computer Science.÷
7.What did you do for fun in the country where you used to live? ˘For fun I would visit friends, go for walks, travel, play sports, and spend time with my family. Sometimes I would go to a movie or the theater.÷
8. What do you miss about your birth country? ˘I miss my family and my friends. Sometimes I miss certain foods, particularly at holiday times. The chocolate in Ireland is the tastiest in the world!! I also miss the slower more relaxed and free life-style. So many of the activities that I do here in the US are organized ahead of time. In Ireland things are more spontaneous. Friends drop by to see you often and you are welcome to stop by and visit friends and family without announcing your arrival.÷
9.What is the native language of Ireland and can you give examples of this language i.e. words phrases? How many languages do you speak? ˘Ireland has two official languages, Irish and English. Foreigners usually call Irish ˘Gaelic÷. Most people speak English as their everyday language but there are areas in Ireland (called Gaeltacht (pronounced gwail-tocked) areas), where people speak Irish as their everyday language. Everybody learns Irish in school from when you start in the equivalent of kindergarten through the equivalent of 12th grade. All road signs and public signs are in both languages. Many schools use Irish as the teaching medium.÷ ˘I speak three languages: Irish, English, and French.÷
10.What kind of foods did you eat in Ireland and what is considered a typical Irish dish? ˘The food that I ate in Ireland isnĂt too different to what I eat here. People in Ireland tend to eat a lot of fresh produce rather than processed or frozen foods. For breakfast I would have cereal, toast and tea, Lunch is usually a sandwich (ham and cheese, cheese and tomato), a piece of fruit, and a drink ű maybe tea or milk. For dinner people usually have meat, potatoes and vegetables. Irish people eat potatoes as part of their dinner most days.÷ ˘A typical Irish dish would be bacon or ham, cabbage and potatoes. A traditional Irish breakfast is rashers (bacon), sausage, black and white pudding, tomatoes, mushrooms, brown or soda bread and tea.÷
11.Do you have any special recipes or traditions during the holidays for example Christmas, Easter, St. PatrickĂs Day and Halloween? ˘For Christmas the traditional dinner is turkey, ham, potatoes, vegetables, and then plum pudding for dessert. People usually eat lamb at Easter. For Saint PatrickĂs day people eat bacon/ham, cabbage and potatoes. (They donĂt eat cornbeef as Americans do.) At HalloweĂen people eat barm brack which is a type of fruit bread. Halloween is actually an old Irish holiday. People in Dublin eat a dish called colcannon at HalloweĂen. (I am attaching some recipes in a separate file).÷
12.What is difficult about being in a new country? ˘When you arrive at first you donĂt know very many people and you donĂt know your way around the city or town that you are now living in. You also have to learn about the culture and customs of your new country.÷
13.Did you bring anything special with you and what was it? ˘I brought some photos of my family and friends. Over time I have brought back some favorite items for my house.÷
14.How do you feel immigrants are treated in the U.S.? ˘I cannot really complain. I have been very well treated on the whole. Many people in the United States have Irish roots so they are always interested to talk to you. People like to tell you about their trips to Ireland. I also came by choice, found a job easily and did not have to worry about money. I spoke the language, have a good education and knew what I was entitled too. I had lived in other foreign countries (Malta and France) before coming to the US so this was not my first experience in a new environment. I also knew some people here so had a support system.÷
15. How were you treated when you arrived and can you describe the process of emigrating to the U.S? What steps did you take and procedures did you follow to arrive here in the U.S.? ˘I was well treated during the emigration process. It was relatively simple. I completed all my paperwork in the US embassy in Valetta, Malta GC. They explained the procedure to me, and once I had gathered all the necessary documents and completed my medical examinations I had a brief interview with someone from the embassy. They then gave me a package that I had to present to immigration upon arrival in the US. I was not allowed open or tamper with the package. When I arrived at JFK I was taken into a special office where I gave an immigration official the package. He opened it and checked that everything was in order, fingerprinted me, and then stamped my passport. The stamp on my passport allowed me to work immediately. It took several months for my green card to arrive. I stayed with friends in NJ for the first 10 days and then went to stay with friends in Chicago. I based myself in Chicago for about two months. I spent the first month visiting friends and then started looking for a job.÷

Back to Immigration