These past two weeks have been insane! I arrived back in Ireland from Norway with the rude reminder of why I’m actually living in Dublin, for school. I had four papers to write in four days if I wanted some free time to spend with my long list of visitors arriving at the end of the week; so Monday I hit the library and got to work. I finished one a day until my last paper which took a bit longer than expected, but my best friend Ashley was arriving that day and I was too excited to concentrate!
Ash arrived in Dublin on the last Thursday of February and Josie and I couldn’t have been more excited! Ashley’s spending her semester on the Duquesne campus in Rome and her stories sound absolutely amazing. I get to visit her during Holy Week so just you wait people. I’ll have tons of great and Godly and stories to tell ya’ll! BUT While Ash was here we planned out our spring break together! We’ll be spending two days in Budapest, four in Amsterdam, and four in Barcelona!!!! If any of you worldly readers have any advice or insight on any of the aforementioned destinations I’d love to hear them!! Getting to see Ash after her month in Italy made me realize just how much of a truly life changing experience studying abroad is. Ashley has a completely different mindset about her: Before she sucked. Now she’s just mildly tolerable. (kidding). My crazy, wired roommate has become this laid back, silver lining seeking, culture addicted wander-luster. And being abroad really does open your mind. It makes you realize how big the world is, and how much there is to explore. I hope I never find myself laying in my bed in Dublin unless I’m sleeping or trying to plan my next adventure because after how quickly this week has gone by I’ve realized how little time I actually have to explore this side of the world.
Annnnyyywaayysssss: On to my next set of visitors. Brittany and Aunt Jackie arrived in Dublin the day after Ashley (Friday) and my parents and Uncle Eddie just two days after that (Sunday)! Throughout the weekend there were plenty of dinners, laughs, and love! On Sunday we went to one of my favorite pubs called “The Old Storehouse” where we were surprised with one of my favorite pub singers in Dublin Jake Suleman. Aunt Jackie cheered him on and afterwards my dad decided to adopt him as the new Irish Kevin. He offered him up the basement for the summer and told him to drop the English accent and adopt and Irish one and he would find him plenty of places to sing in Atlantic City. If only my dad could remember the poor kid’s name for longer than five minutes. I really loved getting to see so many familiar faces in such a far away place because it’s something not many study abroad students get to experience and I’m so so grateful that so many people have taken the time to come and visit me. In fact the whole entire time everyone was here I noticed a recurring question popping up in my thoughts: “How did I get so lucky?”
Tuesday was the day that that thought was loud, and clear, and infinitely replaying in my head. Aunt Jackie, Britt,Uncle Ed, my mother, my father, and I all loaded onto a tour bus and spent the day in Northern Ireland. Our first stop was the Carrick-A-Rede bridge. After some coercing from the entire bus, my mom agreed to partake in the bridge crossing, so we hopped off the bus and were on our way. The walk down to the bridge was beautiful. I think it’s so important for people coming to Ireland to get the heck out of Dublin and really see the naturally beautiful sights that exist here. The mountains were green, the skies were clear (well as clear as you can expect in Ireland), and the ocean was a beautiful blue and even had a little seal swimming around! Unlike my mom, I found the bridge to be a lot of fun. I bounced my way along, it felt like a trampoline. My dad bounced a long as well, while my mom was an inch above crawling and repeating the words “don’t look down” over and over.
Next stop on our bus trip was Giant’s Causeway. We learned all about the legend of Finn McCool. He was a giant (ridiculously good looking cartoon) man protecting Ireland from invaders, but there was a Scottish (Not so good looking) giant named Benandonner who was threatening to take Finn’s wife. In order to check out his competition, Finn built a bridge/pathway across the ocean to Scotland to spy on Benandonner. When he saw how large Bannandonner was he ran as quickly as he could back to Ireland. When Benandonner heard that Finn McCool had been to Scotland without challenging him, he made his way over McCool’s pathway to Ireland to fight for Finn’s wife. Finn McCool and his wife devised a plan. She planned to dress him up as a baby and place him in a crib, telling Benandonner that the “baby” was McCool’s his son. When Banandonner arrived at the house and saw the size of what he thought was McCool’s son, he thought McCool must be huge and he ran all the way back to Scotland, smashing the foot path along the way.
Tuesday we said bye to Aunt Jackie and Britty and spent the day at the kilmainham gaol (jail). Loaded with so much interesting Irish history and Friday, we left for Galway. My parents and Uncle Ed were only in Galway for the night, but I’m here ’till Monday. The train ride here was beautiful. We saw so many beautiful farms, and fields. Last night (Friday) we walked around this adorable little Irish city. The Galway bay is beautiful. We had dinner and then went to The Spanish Arch for some drinks and I learned a very important lesson: The Welsh love my mother and my dad loves the Welsh. The second my dad left for the bathroom a group of Welsh men descended. They crowded around my mom to the point that my dad could barely get back to his spot back at the bar. When we introduced them to my dad, they ended up loving him more than me or my mom. Typical. BUT They (my parents and Uncle Ed) loved the friendly little city of Galway. And so do I. I can’t wait to explore it some more!
This Morning I said my goodbyes to my final visitors. I was sad to see them go, but this week we made some of the best memories I’ll have in my four months of being here. Between catching up and cracking up with Ashley, taking in the sights and laughing at our parents with Britt, peeking in windows with Aunt Jackie, eating incredible meals and making friends with our cab drivers with Uncle Ed, making friends with all of Ireland and Wales and romping around in our Wooly Jumpers with my dad, and cuddling with my mommy I really can’t believe how lucky I am to have so many amazing people with so much love and support and positivity. I’m so grateful for my visitors I’ll miss you guys so much!!
Next is my weekend in Galway and shortly after that, my spring break begins. Now that I’m about half way through this incredible experience I cannot wait to see what the rest of my time here will entail! Until next time!!!
Wherever you go and whatever you do, May the luck of the Irish be there with you!