Tag Archives: Ireland

Washington state bound!

27 Dec

By the time most of you read this, I will be heading west on a flight to Washington state. The roommate I had while studying in Ireland this past summer, Alex, lives there, and I am so excited to be able to spend the next 9 days with her. It’ll be the first time we’ve seen each other since Ireland, so this is an anxiously awaited reunion for sure. Though we won’t be in Ireland, I’ve heard Washington state has very similar scenery and weather, and I think that’s as close as one can hope to get without actually going to Ireland.

Since I will be posting tons of pictures while I’m in Washington state, I thought I’d post a few pictures of Alex and I from Ireland. Though we won’t be in the incredible city of Galway together, I am excited to experience Alex’s home state and get to know her family and friends. Though I have been to Washington state once before, I was only about 8 or 9 years old, so I don’t remember much. Therefore, it will be like I’m going there for the very first time, which is always exciting! 🙂

In Galway, Ireland.

In Galway, Ireland.

 

At Bunratty Castle.

At Bunratty Castle.

At the Roisin Dubh in Galway.

At the Roisin Dubh in Galway.

Stay tuned for pictures and bits and pieces of my adventures in Washington over the next 9 days! 🙂

Photo Friday: Missing Ireland.

23 Nov

I’m spending my Friday following Thanksgiving not shopping, but in my house with coffee and The Weepies on Pandora writing a research paper on mysticism and mental illness. Though music by The Weepies does make the process somewhat bearable, I still wish I was somewhere else. But not just anywhere else…..specifically, Ireland.

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland.

Missing Ireland.

7 Nov

Ireland-Summer 2012

I’ve been missing Ireland recently, and with that strong sense of missing I am filled with a sense of hope….hope that I found another place I love and hope that one day I will return to a place that showed me what it is to feel truly alive. My 5 weeks studying abroad in Ireland this past summer were the hardest and best 5 weeks I’ve ever had. Heck, I made the decision to spend 5 full weeks in a foreign country where I didn’t know a single person beforehand. Thankfully, I could speak the language, though at times the accents took some getting used to (no matter how much I loved them). I experienced things I never dreamed: I climbed to the top of an Irish castle, I sat in numerous pubs and enjoyed traditional Irish music, which the locals called “trad,” I experienced the horror and excitement of having to remember which direction traffic was coming from, I enjoyed Bulmer’s Hard Cider to my heart’s content, and I made some of the most incredible friends. For the first time, I really did take a bite out of life. Actually, I ate the whole dang cake!

A quote from Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy sums up my experience perfectly:

“Sometimes the briefest moments capture us, force us to take them in, and demand that we live the rest of our lives in reference to them.”

The glorious debris.

17 Aug

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland.

“Every one of us is called upon, perhaps many times, to start a new life. A frightening diagnosis, a marriage, a move, loss of a job…And onward full-tilt we go, pitched and wrecked and absurdly resolute, driven in spite of everything to make good on a new shore. To be hopeful, to embrace one possibility after another–that is surely the basic instinct…Crying out: High tide! Time to move out into the glorious debris. Time to take this life for what it is.” -Barbara Kingsolver

Let’s talk about the weather.

14 Aug

When I was in Ireland for my summer study abroad program earlier this summer, I took an Irish language class that met twice a week. I was hoping to learn some Irish phrases so that I could come back to the States and impress my friends and family with some Irish, or maybe an accent. Unfortunately, I came back with neither. However, I did learn one interesting thing: The Irish love to talk about the weather. One of my language professors said that in Ireland it’s typical to spend about 15 or 20 minutes every day just talking about the weather, as if it is as important as something that happened at work or an interesting conversation you overhead while standing in line at the grocery store. I found the importance of the weather as a conversation piece very interesting mainly because that’s not how the topic of weather is viewed in the States.

Here if someone brings up the weather as a conversation topic, they’ve done it for 2 reasons: 1. The conversation is so boring or awkward that they’ve settled for discussing the weather or 2. Something big is happening in terms of the weather (i.e there’s a severe storm coming their way or it’s been unseasonably hot). Normally, I think that if the weather is brought up as something to genuinely discuss, the conversation has already been shot to hell. However, imagine how things would change if we put the same emphasis on the topic of the weather as the Irish do. Though we normally view the topic of the weather as a mundane discussion, taking the time to actually sit down and comment on the weather could help us slow down a little bit. It could give us a break, even a small one, to discuss something that seems as simple as brushing our teeth in the morning. When I was in Ireland, I noticed the slow and overall relaxed nature of the Irish. They don’t rush. If the bus is 15 minutes late, it’s not a big deal. The earliest classes begin at 9am rather than 8am. However, forbid them to go into their favorite pub as soon as they get off work at 5pm, and you’ve got trouble.

I know that if I took a few minutes every day to talk about (or at least observe) the weather, it would be a daily reminder to slow down. Though I know that it is a common saying to “Stop and smell the roses,” how many of us really stop and take the time to notice the little things? Maybe today each one of us could try to connect to our Irish roots (that we may or may not have) so that we can be reminded to take things just a little bit slower.

Invisible words.

12 Aug

Taken at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland

“The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.” – Vladimir Nabokov

Ireland detox: not as hard as I expected.

29 Jul

I returned from Ireland late Thursday night, or more accurately, during the wee hours of Friday morning. Even though I wasn’t quite sure how I would adjust to being back, I’ve drifted back into my life in North Carolina pretty nicely. However, at this point I’ve also realized that it’s only been a few days. A week from now I could be longing for Ireland in every fiber of my being. For now though, I’m loving being back.

I think it also has something to do with the fact that I’m jumping back into routines soon, so it’s not as if I’m sitting around for a few months before really getting back to my life. For instance, I start back at my internship with Lark Books (a book publisher in Asheville) tomorrow, I move in to my very first apartment on the 15th of August, and classes of the fall semester and my first day back to work at the bookstore both begin on the 20th of August. Therefore, I have things to look forward to and prepare for, which I’m thankful for. If I came back from Ireland with all this time to sit and think about what I was missing, I think it would be a lot harder to adjust to being back.

I also just love where I live, so it’s not as if I left the beauty of Ireland to come back to a place that I didn’t like. I absolutely love living among the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, and I’m even more anxious to head back to Asheville so that I can be among my friends again. However, there are definitely things that I miss, most of which are the people who I met and got to know. Even though I know that I won’t keep up with all of the people who I met in my study abroad group, I know that there are a few that I’ll keep up with just because we connected so well when over in Ireland. In terms of smaller things, it’s a bummer that I have to go from being able to drink in Ireland to not being legal yet in the states. However, when I was Ireland, I talked to this Irish guy who said that he went over to the US when he was 20, and it sucked that he had been able to drink for 2 years in his home country only to come to the US and not be able to. Yeah, I agreed with him that that would have been much harder.

Despite knowing that there will be things that I’ll miss about Ireland, I know that I’ll find a way to go back one day if it’s something that I really want. However, during my time in Ireland, I also realized how many places there are in the United States that I’m longing to visit too. Therefore, maybe when the travel bug bites again, I’ll settle to head somewhere in my home country. I’ve got so many options regarding terrain though. I think that’s what’s so great about the US. There are so many different places that are a relatively short distance apart, especially compared to the distance between the US and a place like Ireland. Now that I’ve been to Ireland, I have no doubt that I’ll want to explore all the different areas in the US as much as I can.