International Texas Day was at the start of the month on the first of February. A pervious Ulster University student spoke on living in Northern Ireland for six years, until recently moving back to Texas.
Twenty-two-year-old Parker Lemley, moved to Northern Ireland when he was just 16, in the summer of 2017. He lived with his parents’ friends for two years on and off, until moving out and living at a student house in Portstewart, while at Coleraine’s Ulster University. Then going on to live in the area of Ballymena, Parker began to love Northern Ireland and the small countries differences to the State of Texas.
When asked what shocked him the most about Northern Ireland, he commented: “the scenery…Texas is massive. I’m from the tropical part of Texas, so we have beaches and palm trees. Huston itself is really flat, you can’t see anything. Driving up a hill and being able to see for miles was crazy for me”.
enquired what he found difficult to get used to in Northern Ireland, he laughed as he told me he struggled with sarcasm culture. He said, “The sarcasm culture was really hard for me…for us sarcasm is how you show your love and appreciation for someone.” and, “I was told there was a saying, if an Irish person is being nice to you, they hate you and if there being mean to you, they really really like you.”
“When I went there, I made really good friends, and I saw potential for myself.”
One of his favourite memories when in Northern Ireland was “running around town with all my mates, when I was younger.”
“It’s like a double aged sword, everyone knowing everyone. Unless you’re in Belfast, you’re in that small town mentality and everyone knows your business.”
Parker said that his family was very supportive of his decision to move at such a young age: “My mum was really supportive…my mum just wanted me to be happy and she knew that I was happier there.”