Okay. So. Here we Go. My final blog post to officially end my semester abroad. Apologies for neglecting the site these last couple weeks. With finals taking up much of my time, with any free moments I had I tried my hardest to be out of the house and making the best of my incredibly limited time. I’m currently flying 36,000 feet above the Atlantic, headed for JFK and I have no idea how I want this post to sound. But I want to start with this disclaimer: No matter how this post comes across, I truly am ecstatic to be home. If you were a reader of this blog or someone that kept in touch with me throughout my experiences here, you are 100% one of the people I am so excited to hug and see and talk to about everything going on at home! With that being said, I am heartbroken to leave the place that’s become my home over the past four months. It’s hit me a lot harder than I thought it would. The past couple of days have been nothing but nostalgia and hugs coupled with crying and laughter.
I spent my morning sitting out on our balcony (which is against the rules.. soo… sorry Gara and Laureth), with a coffee watching the sun move higher in the sky and trying to really reflect on my time here. Actually, that’s how I’ve spent most of my time these last couple days. I thought about my last night with the recent strangers that had become closer to me than people I have known my entire life. I thought back on a conversation we’d all had about how to describe exactly what we’re feeling. The best I could come up with was: “it feels like someone is breaking up with me and there’s nothing I can do to change their mind.” And once I thought about it the more I realized how true it really was. It’s like one of those great romance novels or Nicholas Sparks movies: It was love at first sight in Dublin. From the minute I landed to the minute I took off, I never once felt like I wasn’t home. It was so comfortable and so exhilarating at the same time. If this were a Nicholas Sparks movie, I’d have plenty of music-backed montages to show the incredible laughter and happiness and new experiences this Emerald Isle has brought me.
Just like in any relationship that comes to an end, it’s the little things that you miss the most. The walks to Tesco, topping up our leap cards, trying to make the DART on time, Dun Laoghaire and the 40 foot, the River Liffey, Grafton street and the incredibly talented street performers, Henry Street, the crazies on the corner across from the O’Connell Bridge, the proper voiced bus stop announcements in English and Irish, Temple Bar, the always interesting nights that come with Flannery’s, the communication barrier between the Irish texters, and of course our incredibly beautiful home, Ailesbury Road. This is probably incredibly boring for the readers that haven’t lived this, but that’s okay. I’m writing this for me, while everything is still crystal clear and fresh in my memories (sans the Flannery’s nights which have never been crystal clear .. sorry mom) because in the past week anytime one of the aforementioned little things came about, I’d get that tight feeling in my chest and the lump in my throat. I loved those little things and it’s important to me that I don’t forget what they are.
I thought about saying goodbye to our beautiful house and then I thought about the amazing family that came to be because of that house: the beautiful people who made that house a home. From that mildly awkward first day at the Guinness Storehouse, to our first night out, getting off at the wrong bus stop (Sorry guys), our less awkward trip to Belfast (Helfast for some), to the family we became in Galway, to the shared looks of boredom and giggles in Marnie’s class, and the laughter till we cried in the kitchen, we truly became the family that was so hard to part with this morning. I don’t think there’s much I can say that hasn’t already been beautifully worded by one of my housemates already. I just wanted to say, if you’re reading, Nicole, Cassie, and Tara, you’re ability and preparedness to help anyone, be there for anyone, and uplift anyone at the drop of a hat has taught me a huge deal about the meaning of friendship. Ashley N. Your hilarious stories and sense of humor brought a smile to my face every time I got to hear a recap of our Dublin nights. Kathleen and Joanne although completely opposite, you’re ability to truly be yourselves no matter who’s watching and what you’re doing is something I hope never changes. Evan and Lucas were just the brothers I needed to keep me grounded and keep me laughing at myself. Cara and Meredith, You are both truly beautiful people. Cara the energy you always have about you even when you’re stuck in bed with strep throat, you’re still able to make me die of laughter. And Meredith I am so happy I get to call you my friend and to know someone just as obsessed with the Jonas Brothers as I am. Gareth was always around with travel advice, a funny story, help with our way around town, or just for a laugh and Laura was like the big sister I’d never had, constantly there to show her support, give advice, or just listen. And then there were my roommates: Ashley and Josie, I cannot imagine this semester without you. You two goofballs taught me so much. You cleaned up after my messy side of the room, you danced with me to countless songs, you pigged out with me in the worst ways possible: Ben & Jerry’s, Pringles, Potato Chips, and Chocolates. I wouldn’t have been able to share that beautiful room with anybody else. You’ve truly become my sisters and I’ll miss our spacious bedroom with our more than comfy Ikea beds in the beautiful St. Michael’s Mansion on the breathtaking Ailesbury Road. What I would do for one more kitchen dance party. Those goodbyes were not easy. And then my thoughts turn to my tearful goodbye to the breathtaking Dublin Bay, which has proven to become an amazing friend of mine. I know only crazy people and 5 year olds are allowed to claim inanimate objects as their friends, so maybe I’m crazy, but that place was always there for me and never ceased to amaze me from my first run in January to my last one on Thursday. I always ended up there when I’d need to get away from the house, or my homework, or technology and when things got hectic a trip to the bay made everything clear, it brought me back to the present, it shut my thoughts up and let me just be. Anyone that knows me in the house knows I never shut up about that place. Sometimes a 6 mile run would take up to an hour and a half because I would find a new place to just sit and watch the waves roll in and out, or the sail boats in Dun Laoghaire blow around, or a new glimpse at my favorite bright red lighthouse in the distance. The Dublin Bay was definitely one of the harder goodbyes I’d ever had.
Living here abroad and traveling Europe has changed me in more ways than I can even think of and I’d like to think it’s all for the better. I’ve figured out how to maneuver my way around foreign cities without the help of the ever so present iphone. I’ve learned about countless new cultures, met some truly incredible people from all over the world, and I’ve learned a shit ton about myself. I know I don’t have much of a right to be so sad to leave because of how lucky I am to have been able to experience this life in the first place and I count my blessings everyday, trust me. Just two years ago the entire scope of my world was the drive from little old Margate to the halls of Atlantic City High School, but now, 24 months later, I find myself with three different places I’m lucky enough to claim as home: My quiet little South Jersey beach town, the skyscraper and river surrounded city of Pittsburgh, and the beautiful, breathtaking, buzzing town of Dublin Ireland. I’ve said it before and I know it’s cliché, but home is absolutely where the heart is and after this four month whirlwind, I’ll always have a piece of my heart on this Emerald Island. Until Next Time Dublin town
So much love,
PS: I also need to send HUGE and incredibly heartfelt and grafteful thank you’s to the people who are making my departure from Dublin so much easier so look fo yo name!
Aunt Ceil: My friends and I always knew that as soon as a post with my name tagged it in went up, you’d be the first one on there to show your support and love. They would always say: you’re aunt really loves you doesn’t she? So thank you so much for constantly keeping up with me, and keeping in touch with me. For taking time to send me cards and money on my birthday! I’m so lucky to have you!
Aunt Beth: Always asking for the next blog post and always just as excited for my adventures as I am! You’re visit is something I would talk about to my last day in Ireland. My friends still ask me about my fun Aunt Beth. Thank you so much for all your support and love I’ll see you so so soon!
Kar-mom: Every time my blog post would go up I could count on you to share it right away along with an e-mail complimenting my writing and letting me know that you’re right along this adventure with me! Also incredibly grateful for the time you took to have everyone send me individual birthday cards with updates and love. And for sending me money in hopes that I could make these four months everything I wanted them to be. And I did so thank you.
Aunt Ellen: My G-mom. Thank you for the e-mails and all the encouragement on facebook and the texts letting me know that it’s okay to be sad I’m leaving, but that I also have so many amazing people to come home to! You’re financial assistance is also responsible for a lot of the amazing times I’ve had here and I have no idea how to thank you!
Aunt Jackie and Britt: I’m still so happy I got to see you here in Dublin. Thank you for taking your time to come over here and let me share some amazing memories with you. And for taking the time to send me the birthday card with all those pictures.. I think you can guess which one was my favorite.
Uncle Ed: I don’t even know where to start. Throughout all the time I’ve known you (so like… my entire life) you never ever let me make excuses or take an easy way out. You’re constantly finding the holes in my stories and forcing me to take the risks I may have been trying to find an excuse to avoid. You’ve helped me to become a better person in so many ways. I know we don’t do this sappy BS but I don’t know where I would be without your support. You’re not just my uncle, but one of my closest friends and I constantly want to share what’s going on and my newest and most exciting stories with you. None of this would have been possible without you. So thank you so so so much.
Mom and Dad: For constantly supporting me, and never ever allowing me to limit myself to all the possibilities and adventures I experienced while I was here. For taking time away to come visit and allowing me to share my new world with you. I would be nowhere without your constant love and support and laughter. Another example of not only my parents but some of my best friends. I can’t believe I lasted so long without you guys around, but I wouldn’t have been able to do it if you didn’t teach me how to grow and be the independent person I am. I love you guys.
And also to Aunt Ruth, Nanny and Poppy, Patty Enright, and Suzie & Carl for all the mail. Everytime I’d see a postcard or envelope waiting with my name on it made my day a little brighter. Thank you so much for keeping up with my experiences here.
Alright readers, if you’re still with me, that’s probably about it for me and my adventures, I’m headed into a summer of two jobs and then an incredibly busy school year. Thanks so much for keeping up with me during my time abroad. My blog has surpassed 10,000 views over these four months and I’m sure to real bloggers that’s not a huge deal at all, but for me that’s incredible. So thanks for reading, even through my long rants like this one. Less than two hours until I’m home, I’ll see you all soon. Sláinte