Lots of Good Craic!
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: where has the time gone?! Last week I remembered that it was two weeks since I had gone to Dublin with the IFSA group. The morning before we boarded the bus to leave, I submitted my most recent blog post. Now another week has gone by and I’m about to submit this post. How have 3 weeks already passed? This Friday I’m heading on another IFSA weekend trip, which means that it will be a month since the Dublin trip. Oh, and it’s spring break and April begins on Friday. Is this some mean April Fools’ Joke? Do I really only have two months left in Belfast?
The saying “time flies when you’re having fun” could not be more accurate when describing my experience. I learned in orientation that craic means fun, so I guess you can say that I’ve been having a lot of craic. (now that’s fun to say out loud! It sounds like crack!)
I have also realized how little activity I do at home. If I do at least one extra curricular activity outside of work and classes, like going to a friend’s house or out to dinner, I’d consider that a successful week. After the amount of activity we have shoved into the past 2 months, I’m quite embarrassed by my previous track record! Two weeks ago I went to a club with some friends on Friday and I was wiped out for the rest of the weekend. Here, the local students like to go out during the week instead of the weekends because that’s when a majority of them go home. That has taken some getting used to, and frankly, I’m still not even used to going out on the weekends. Next year, I really want to make the most of my senior year. That doesn’t necessarily mean going out to clubs and bars every week, but I’m definitely going to make more of an effort to do more outside of work and classes.
Now, instead of focusing on what I’m going to do, let’s recap what I have already done!
On our second IFSA-Butler weekend, we went to Dublin! This bus ride was smooth, and it was very easy to forget that we were traveling to a new country. Of course, my mom has trained me to have my passport ready and a folder with all of my important documents easily accessible, but there was no need for any of it! When my family drove to Canada this summer, we had to cross the border patrol on both sides and they thoroughly inspected our documents and asked questions. Driving to the Republic of Ireland was a breeze compared to that! I slept both ways, so I don’t even know if we passed any toll booths.
On Friday night, we went to a great burger place and I think I had a sweet potato burger with mango salsa. I don’t remember the burger as much as I remember how amazing the onion rings were. (Natasha, in case you’re reading this, I will eat onions if they’re battered and fried). After that we went to a few bars and danced all of the fried food off!
We didn’t really have a plan for the day, so we picked up a bunch of brochures from the hotel lobby and headed out to explore Dublin. One of the many things I’ve realized about myself while abroad is that I like plans. I must get it from my mom who is excellent about planning our vacations. As enjoyable as it is not to be tied down to anything and to spontaneously explore a new place, I think I’m more motivated to explore when I have a plan. (type A much?) Also, for the blog’s sake, it makes it easier to remember what I actually did! Ha!
While walking around the city, we posed with a bunch of statues, did a bit of shopping, marveled over gardens, and saw more taxidermy animals than necessary. We ended our tour of the city with a stop at the Guinness Storehouse. May I just add at that the museums I have been to in Ireland are some of the best museums I have ever been to. (I live in Connecticut so I’ve been to my fair share). The storehouse is shaped like a pint glass for goodness sake! Amazing! I knew that some of my family and friends wouldn’t care about the history and exhibits as much as they would care about me trying Guinness, so I gave in and tried it. It wasn’t just my first sip of Guinness, but it was also my first sip of alcohol. Ever. I was not a fan.
Once I got that big milestone out of the way, I tackled another one; I learned how to play handball, Gaelic football, and hurling. (I hurled?) Let’s just say that I don’t plan on joining any teams in the near future. I’m so glad that IFSA planned the Gaelic Games experience for us because if I had gone to Dublin on my own, I never would have thought to do a program like that. It was such a unique experience! It was so much fun and exhilarating. I was sore for at least four days after the trip. Seriously though, I needed the next weekend to recover.
To continue the Irish experiences, we celebrated Saint Patrick’s day! In high school, I used to march in the parade with colorguard, so I have always liked the holiday. I was actually a bit nervous to celebrate in Ireland because I heard it gets a bit crazy, but that made it so much more fun! The parade was so lively and full of music and dancing, which only continued at the concert held at the end of the route. We saw Irish step dancers and local singers perform. On top of all that, the weather was perfect! After, we headed to the Holy Lands, otherwise known as a crazy place where the students congregate, smash bottles, roam the streets, and sit on couches on front stoops, or crowd together on roofs, watching the madness. It kind of looked like the aftermath of riot, or at least what the aftermath of the Pumpkin Fest riot of 2014 looked like (like that reference, Brenna?!). We ended the night at pub and again, we danced! (sensing a pattern here? Lots of dancing!) Technically, the night ended for me when I finished writing an essay on Friday morning. Then our three-week spring break commenced!
I have had the song Tell Me Ma/The Belle of Belfast of City stuck in my head all week. You’re welcome.