Thursday, January 13, 2011

One year later

It has officially been one year since the plane touched down in Dublin, and I miss Ireland today more than ever. A lot has changed in a year. I spent time in six different countries in 2010. Six! While being home has been a great comfort, I almost feel like someone has clipped my wings. I just need to get back on a plane and go somewhere, anywhere! Even a crowded hostel has started to look tempting.

But while the nostalgia stings like a fresh cut, I'm overwhelmingly grateful for the time I spent abroad. It has given me this itch to travel and try new things. I want to see the world, and try all of the cuisine along the way! And I have made some amazing friends who I know I will be in touch with for years and years to come.

If I am sure of anything, it is that I will return. There is so much I have yet to see and appreciate and I'm excited to explore new cities and countries. So I'll raise a glass with a Slainte! and cross my fingers that it will be soon.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Smooth Operator

Not being able to chew has its perks after all. Turns out, smoothies are delicious and much more filling than I thought. Mom has been combining strawberries, bananas, raspberry sorbet, ice and some fat free milk for me to drink while my wisdom teeth still limit what I can eat. They're so tasty and nutritious, that I'll definitely be incorporating smoothies into my everyday diet and exercise routine...that is, whenever I can find a way off this couch.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Year, Fresh Start

Happy 2011!

It's been months since I last blogged, so I decided the start of the new year was as appropriate a time as ever to get back into writing. So why not update the blog design a bit? After returning from Ireland, I felt that nothing was worth writing about, no story worth telling. I still miss my semester abroad as much as the day I left, but it's time to get back to the present. It's time to start celebrating the little gifts of everyday life, which was the purpose of this blog from the beginning.

So here's to a new year! With graduation a mere five (!!!) months away, job hunting and perhaps a trip back to Europe on the horizon, I have a lot to look forward to. That being said, I've resolved to be healthier. That means more regular workouts, more nutrient-rich meals and a more balanced lifestyle. I've subscribed to Women's Health magazine and updated my bookmarks toolbar to include more health and fitness blogs. Plus, all of my Christmas candy is gone at this point, so I might as well start eating more veggies.

Well, that is, after my mouth heals. See, the most recent little gift I've received is having my wisdom teeth out. Ok, well maybe that's not exactly a gift (I look like Mrs. Potato Head), but I am enjoying the relaxing couch time and seemingly endless marathon of Law & Order: SVU episodes. But all this lounging around has me itching to get started on my resolutions, and even get back to Boston. I've got a full schedule of journalism classes, as well as an internship at STUFF magazine! I'm so excited to get started with everything!

Now if I could just get over this pesky swelling...

Friday, April 30, 2010

The last day

Today was our last day in Ireland and it was a great one.

We started off with finishing our portfolios and handing them in to officially complete our academic years. A few people are seniors, so they are now really done for good. For the rest of us, it just meant summer vacation.

The program threw us a farewell lunch at DCU, where we ate with some professors and Mary McCloskey, the woman in charge of making sure we're taken care of in Ireland.

She even got us each a stuffed Ireland bear as a souvenir.

As we were leaving the lunch, Jack, Jake and Mike surprised us with a water balloon attack. I'll give credit where credit is due; it was a really funny idea.

After packing for a bit, a bunch of us headed into the city center to give our home away from home, Messrs Maguire, a proper sendoff. It's been our go-to pub given its convenient location right on the O'Connell Bridge, and its usually pretty good craic. We all had some Guinness and Jameson and reminisced about the first day and first impressions.

Then it was back to DCU for more packing and cleaning. Some goodbyes have been said since not everyone is on the group flight tomorrow, so it's all really hitting me that it's over. I hate to be sad because it was one of the best experiences of my life and I don't want to leave on a sour note. We're all trying to be happy and upbeat, listening to Irish music and trying to sing along. But the cloud of tomorrow morning's departure hangs over everyone, and the songs make us nostalgic already.

Our bus comes to pick us up tomorrow at 6 a.m. for our 9 o'clock flight. I'll actually land in Newark at 11:20 a.m. because of the time difference, so it will be like I was only in the air two hours. Except not really. Then it's a layover and back to good old T.F. Green and Cumberland in time for dinner. CHOP's anyone??

The next time I post, I will be stateside. How bittersweet.


As I handed in my internship portfolio today, I officially finished my junior year of college!

Translation: I'm done with school work until September. Four months of summer bliss, here I come.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Our first Céilí

Tonight Molly, Colleen, Tara, Melissa and I joined our dance teacher Mary Beth at O'Shea's Pub in the city center for some Irish set dancing. It was so much fun and it was a great way to spend our second to last night in Dublin. Tomorrow night might be full of packing and cleaning, so we were all glad to get out tonight to give the city a proper send off.

We all knew the Connemara set, but Colleen got pulled into an earlier dance because they needed one more person. She went in completely blind, but she did great!

Then our song came on, so we all joined in the sets. Colleen was my man and we did wonderfully. It was so much fun! Plus, it just felt so authentic and traditional, like it was natural to be in a pub spinning around in a circle to the sounds of an accordion. That's probably because in Ireland, it pretty much is.

In denial

I absolutely cannot believe that this amazing experience is coming to an end in less than 48 hours. I'm mid packing at the moment and it just seems like I'm going on another trip, not THE trip. The trip back to America, back to the same world I've known for 20 years. In less than four months, Ireland has become a home to me and I get teary just thinking about leaving it behind.

That being said, I am looking forward to going home. I've missed my friends and family, my mother's cooking and one dollar bills. I'm looking forward to warm, sunny weather, beaches, Del's lemonade and Ice Cream Machine's mint chocolately goodness.

But to list everything about Ireland that I'm going to miss would be impossible. The accents, the pubs, Irish boys in track suits, Irish girls with bad haircuts and fake tans, hearing "doyaknowwhatImeanlike?", pints of Guinness and being able to request "Galway Girl" whether or not they actually indulge the Americans and play it. I'm going to miss watching Friends every night with the suitemates as Tara makes fish, Mike eats a box of cereal with half a gallon of milk out of tupperware and Taylor eats an entire bag of pasta and jar of sauce in one sitting.

Everyone has become so close on this trip and it's insane to think we're all going our separate ways for the summer. And even still, some people do not go to BU, so it really will be strange to not see them around campus when September rolls around.

So to make the most of the last few days of the program, we have all had a week devoted to the craic.

Tuesday, I went to the Irish Museum of Modern Art after work. It wasn't my favorite museum that I've been to because it wasn't as modern as I was hoping, but I'm still glad I went to see it.

Wednesday, Molly, Melissa, Colleen, Mary, Tara and I met after work for dinner at Green Nineteen. We had a lot of laughs, both at the restaurant and on the long bus ride home.

Then Molly, Mellissa, Colleen and I went to Irish dance lessons. Our teacher, Mary Beth, prepped us for tonight's big ceili (pronounced kaylee) in the city. It's a traditional dancing gathering at a pub and we will be there swinging with the pros.

Today was my last day of work, and my coworkers were sweet enough to get me a few parting gifts. First, we all had muffins from Queen of Tarts. Mine was chocolate and banana and oh so yummy. Then, they gave me a card, a celtic style necklace, some adorable magnets and some Irish soaps. Everything was made in Ireland, they wanted to give me a real send off.

I had one last lunch at the Queen of Tarts and enjoyed it thoroughly, of course. The waitress I have gotten to know from going in so often was actually training a new worker today as she is heading home next week to Virginia. The place just won't be the same without us.

They let me leave work early, so I hopped on the bus back to DCU. I thought I'd take a few last pictures of O'Connell Street.

I'm not ready to say goodbye.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tea for two

Today after work, Colleen and I met for tea and pastries at Queen of Tarts. We shared a pot of black tea, a chocolate chip scone and some warm apple crumble. It was a nice way to end the workday and get some delicious goodies in the process. Plus, we could talk to each other for hours, so naturally we chatted up a storm and had quite a few laughs.