Friday, July 22, 2011

goodbye Ireland...for now

I am currently sitting in the Boston airport, trying to make the most of my really long lay over while I wait for my flight to Denver. Bad news, I am no longer in Ireland and my heart is a little bit broken. Good news, I am finally enjoying a real, ‘Merican Blue Moon beer, ah I’ve missed it. The last few days in Dublin have been really great. We have basically been free to do whatever since we returned from Belfast. On Tuesday night we did our farewell dinner with the whole group. While it was really fun getting to hang out with everyone one last time, it was also kind of sad. Don and Martin gave us some inspiring last words of wisdom and advice about readjusting to being home. We had a lot of “lasts” the past few days. We’ve gone to our favorite places for the last time and went and said bye to some of our Irish friends. We did a lot in the last few days and I would say we went out with a bang.  Leaving Ireland is extremely bittersweet. I was absolutely heartbroken leaving campus this morning for the airport, but at the same time, especially now that I am actually back in America, I am excited to see my friends and family back home. For my last post I have decided to compile a list of advice for prospective students. Here’s what I’ve come up with.

-Make one, I repeat only ONE trip to Penneys. Yes, the cute clothes and cheap prices are tempting but a lot of small purchases add up to a big hole in your pocket and your Penneys clothes will break anyway.
-When you need change don’t ask the bartenders to “break it,” they take it literally and will rip your 20 euro in half. On second thought, ask them anyways because it’s pretty hilarious.
-Don’t travel anywhere in large groups of Americans, you will never get to actually meet or talk to Irish people if you do.
-Only eat at the fastfood restaurant, Supermac’s, late at night. Trust me, it will not taste as good during the day.
-Upon arriving try and get comfortable as quickly as you can. You don’t want to waste anytime being homesick because time flies when you’re abroad.
-When Martin gives you an estimate about how far it will take you to walk somewhere, add 20 minutes onto it because he walks abnormally fast.
-If you get on the bus around 11:30 pm and they take a long time to move, don’t panic, get excited instead; you are about to experience the late night Dublin bus races. All the bus drivers start their last round of stops at the same time and see who wins, be sure to cheer your driver on, he will appreciate it.
-After you’ve discovered your favorite pub or coffee shop try and become a regular there, it will make you feel more local and it’s a great way to make Irish friends.
- Smithwick’s beer is pronounced “Smith-icks.” You may as well learn that now.
-As Martin and Don will tell you again and again, don’t stress. Something is bound to go wrong or happen unexpectedly on your trip, just go with it. Some of my best memories are when we made a mistake or ended up somewhere we didn’t want to be and we had an adventure and a good laugh out of it.
-The Irish have no sense of personal space whatsoever, and they have no shame in showing pda… just prepare yourself now and learn to accept it.
-Most importantly, be open to new experiences. Get out of your comfort zone and take it all in. You will come back changed for the better.
-Order a Baby Guinness for me, request Galway Girl at every pub and end every night at Flannery’s.
-If you are reading this blog and are on the fence about whether or not you should study abroad with CIEE Dublin… DO IT. I debated for a long time if I actually had the courage to go abroad and I am so glad I did. I would recommend this program to anyone. When else in your life can you frolick around a foreign country carefree? Studying abroad, much like college in general, gives you all the freedom of being an adult with none of the responsibility. Enjoy it.

All in all, this trip has been absolutely incredible. I have spent months and months preparing for this trip and I have spent years dreaming about going to Ireland, I can’t believe it’s over. This program was everything I hoped for and more. I can say with absolute certainty that deciding to come to Ireland for CIEE summer school is the best decision I’ve made in college. The two months I have spent in Ireland are two of the best months of my life. I have made memories and friendships that will last a lifetime. I want to give a big thanks to CIEE for giving me this incredible opportunity. I would especially like to thank Don and Martin, they both made this trip the best it could possibly be. And all I can really say now is that I left part of my heart in Ireland and I intend to come back in the near future and get it.



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