I apologize for not blogging in over a month and a half. I have been super busy traveling, having visitors in Ireland, and studying in school .
Time has flown since the beginning of March! I had the chance to go to Rome for the weekend through the World Student Adventures travel group. Of course, we did all the touristy activities like going to the Colosseum and the Forum, visiting the Vatican, and of course, eating lots of Italian food. But I’m not complaining.
I had the chance to meet some great people while in Rome. Most of us were from the states, but others were from countries like Australia and Northern Ireland. I even met a classmate from Chapman who was studying in London! In a short amount of time, these people had become my friends and I couldn’t imagine going on this trip without them! Our tour guide, Elena, was amazing. She knew everything and anything about Rome and she took us to the best gelato shops.
After Rome, I got to travel to Switzerland for spring break! I was only there for a short amount of time, but it was a great experience. I learned three things: nothing is cheap in Switzerland, the Swiss either speak French, German, or Italian, and Interlaken is one of the most beautiful towns I have ever visited.
Unfortunately, we did not get to go skiing in the Swiss Alps, but we did get to go zip lining. I had the chance to free fall, walk across a tight rope, and swing from a ledge 60 feet above the ground. It may not sound all that exciting, but I literally walked off of a ledge only to be caught by a harness before I hit the ground. I was freaked out, but so glad that I did it.
After Switzerland, I had to take a 10 hour bus ride between Basel, Switzerland and Paris, France. I rode into Freiburg, Germany and explored the city for about 3 hours before catching my bus to Paris.
After a long bus ride and then a flight into Dublin from Paris, I was reunited with my family after two months! I’m sure I looked ridiculous, an almost 20 year old, running into her mom’s arms crying because she was so happy to see her. I honestly was so excited and relieved to see all of them. Two months away from my family is a long time, and I am so lucky that they were able to come visit for a week.
And of course, it was hard to say goodbye. I love Ireland and all the experiences and friendships I have made here, but I will be happy to return to California and be with everyone again!
Once March ended, the crazy month of April began. I have been traveling for three weeks in a row, non stop, and honestly, I am burnt out. I have loved every single moment, but traveling is exhausting.
The first weekend, I had the chance to go to London. And so far, London is one of the best places I have visited! We took a London Day tour and visited places like Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, The London Tower, and The London Eye.
And of course, going to London would not have been perfect if I didn’t go to a soccer game. Unfortunately I couldn’t afford the prices of a Manchester United or a Chelsea match (up to 300 pounds a ticket!), but I did still get to experience watching a football game in a British stadium. We ended up watching QPR play Charlton, and QPR won in the last 4 minutes of the game 2-1. There was a lot of “positivity” and “love” in the stadium’s atmosphere between opposing fans. The cursing and middle finger pointing was very evident throughout the stadium. But it was all apart of the British football experience. It was amazing to see an entire stadium of fans be truly engaged in the game, whether it be chanting themed songs, fighting with the opposing fans, or giving the referees and players a hard time, it all made the experience that much better. But honestly, winning the game in the final minutes definitely was the cherry on top.
And finally, this past weekend, I traveled to Scotland and visited cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow. Mary and I ended up going on the longest day tour in Europe, 12 hours! We had the chance to see the western and eastern highlands, Loch Ness, and lots of hairy coos! Scotland reminds me a lot of Ireland, a lot of natural beauty that has been untouched by the development of cities and towns.
We enjoyed hiking up to Arthur’s Seat and visiting the Queen’s Palace in Edinburgh. The city was very quaint. We definitely experienced four seasons while in Edinburgh; it would go from being sunny, to raining, to snowing, and back to sunny in a time span of ten minutes. But, it was all apart of the experience!
After spending time in Edinburgh, we traveled to Glasgow. The first night we had the chance to attend a Scottish Ceilidh at the University of Glasgow. We got to dance to Scottish music with Glasgow students, and man was it a workout. I’m surprised I didn’t get sick from the amount of spinning and twirling that is involved with Scottish dancing. But it was a lot of fun and it was great to be welcomed into the Ceilidh by the students.
The next morning, we got to watch a rivalry match between Glasgow Celtic and Glasgow Rangers in a local pub. It was very important to not wear green or blue and to appear unbiased as to which team you supported. We stood for a good 2 hours, watching the game. It was great to be watching a famous rivalry in a Scottish pub with devoted fans.
The rest of our time in Scotland was spent exploring Glasgow and its many ancient churches and graveyards.
Overall, the month of April has been crazy. Classes are finally finishing up and finals are starting up. I leave for my last excursion tomorrow: Paris! I cannot wait to have one last adventure before I have to bury my head in books and focus on acing these exams. Before I know it, I will be home and study abroad will be just an amazing experience that I had. The countdown begins, but I’ll make sure I enjoy the remainder of my time here. Can’t take one second for granted.