F is for Family



The following conversation took place over the phone with my sister, while walking along the beach in Muscat, Oman.


Me – Hiya. You alright? How are you? How’s things?

Note: Irish people use about 40 different “how are you” expressions to say ‘hello.’

Sister – Yeah. Grand. Do you want me to call you back? I have free calls.


Me – No. It’s fine. I need to use this money up on my phone. I’m coming home.


Sister – I know. That’s so great. You can see the baby. We’re excited.


Me – I know. Awesomeness. Do you want something back from Oman?


Sister – Eh……………………………….. No.


Me – Really? Nothing. Because I’m walking along the beach now and I’m going to an Arabic market.


Sister – Oh, very nice.


Me – Yeah. It’s super cool. Will I pick up something for you?


Sister – Can you get a Toblerone?


Me – What?

Sister – A toblerone.


Me – Are you serious? I’m going to a massive traditional market and you want chocolate.


Sister – Yeah. Or, M&M’s.


Me – Do you want a copy of the Daily Mail and a packet of fags as well?


Sister (in no way, understanding my tone of voice) – No. Just chocolate.


Me – They have chocolate made from camel milk.


Sister – Gross. No. Just normal people chocolate. You can get it at the airport.


Me – I know I can get it at the airport, but I thought you’d like something a bit more unique and exciting.


Sister – Nah.


Me – They have Frankincense. They do all kinds of cool things with Frankincense. I could get some and we can pretend the baby is Jesus and I’m a king.


Sister – Isn’t Frankincense that stuff priests burn in funerals? No. Don’t get that. I don’t want the baby to smell like a funeral.


Me – Right, OK. I’ll get you a Toblerone at the airport.



The following conversation took place approximately 5 minutes later over the phone with my other sister.


Sister – I heard that you’re coming home.


Me – Yeah, I am. Do you want something from Oman?


Sister – Perfume.


Me – Oh, cool. They have loads of perfume. I’m in a big market. But it’s a bit scary. I hate arguing over the prices.


Sister – Get me Chanel.


Me – They don’t have Chanel. It’s all local stuff. But the perfumes are pretty cool. They are like all handmade.


Sister – No. Don’t get me any handmade stuff. You can get it at the airport.


Me – I’m not getting you Chanel perfume from the Middle East.


Sister – Why not?


Me – Because that’s like an American going to Ireland and bringing a can of Budweiser home. Pointless.


Sister – Right, well just get me a Toblerone. A big one.


Me – Our family, literally has no culture.


Sister – We do. We’re just fatties….. Except you. You need to eat more Toblerones.




The following conversation took place a few days later. I had just arrived home from Zurich.

Sister – I can’t believe the only thing you brought back was chocolate.

Me – Swiss chocolate.

Sister – Sure, you can buy this at the local supermarket. I thought you were supposed to be the creative one.

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