Have you ever read a book that you really enjoy because of its serious subject and the ability of it to make you laugh so loud as well?
That is what I am experiencing. The book is called ‘The Truth About The Irish’, written in 1999 before the Celtic Tiger emerged, by the renowned English literary and cultural critic Terry Eagleton.
This guy decided to expose his biased theories about the Irish by blaming others for stereotyping them. For example, the Americans who are only interested in one thing: Irish leprechauns. It is biased and unbiased tell-it-all literature, both entertaining and annoying.
I have the luxury to entertain both because I was not born here. So in one passage Eagleton rebukes what he calls a curiously common Irish affliction especially among middle-aged men. He says that you will notice that every few minutes one or both will say “Ah?” even before the other person has said enough for there to be anything to mishear. One would wonder why I even bother reading the humour and anthropology of the lucky Irish; I should stick to the black social landscape here. 
To integrate oneself people should try to educate themselves funnily, getting to know the local jokes and ways of saying things. This is so important.  It can be natural, it removes suspicion and isolation in a conversation that you are part of. It is sometimes enriching, and on some occasions awkward and unbelievable when the things that have been said are not understood in context. 
When the winter is on its way, we better be prepared. For some, the winter is never over, they feel the cold all year round, which is the nature of the beast called integration, even the weather spoils it for you, and it is in the head you think you are freezing during the summer.
And then when you are that foreigner who has lived here for what seems like centuries, like me. You think you can stage pop-up weather classes – hilarious. 
There was a certain winter that I will never forget.  The Beast from the East, it was called. The February 2018 temperatures dropped to -10C overnight in some parts of Ireland and the UK. Then there was the coldest winter in living memory in 2010 which pushed its sub-zero temperatures through to April.
These are the kind of climatic events that help to determine our identities, how much one can take. I was horrified seeing men and women taking pictures posing in their birthday suits out there on sub-zero temperatures.
Maybe they were showing off, perhaps it was a morsel of practical joke, humour by inflicting oneself with pain so that the audience can laugh along. 
By the way, do you know that I have met people here in the North who asked me the genuine question: Does it rain in Africa? Ask the American rock band Toto. They did sing the lyrics ‘I bless the rain down in Africa.’
Have a blessed weekend.
Elly Omondi Odhiambo is a writer based in Belfast.     ellyomondi@gmail.com