It is officially my last night, which means I have officially finished my last day as a study abroad student in Ireland. Please excuse me while I go have a brief panic attack. It seems like just yesterday I was arriving at Shannon and agreeing to go in a car with a strange man (Terry did know my name after all.) I think I can safely say these have been the 5 most amazing months of my life. I’ve made awesome friends, had great craic and I will have so many memories that will last forever. I’ve learned a lot about myself in the process as well.
In a lot of ways going back is going to be harder than leaving. When I left the US I knew for sure that I would be returning on 12th June 2012. But, when I board the plane at Shannon Tuesday week I won’t know when exactly I will be coming back. I can plan all I want, but nobody has any idea where we will be in a year. All I can hope is that one day I will get to come back and visit all the amazing people who I have to leave behind.
To commemorate these last months I have come up with a list:
Top Ten Things I Love/Will Miss
1. My host family - they have made me laugh, we’ve had philosophical conversations, I’ve played with some of the cutest kids ever, and I will miss them all dearly. I couldn’t have asked for a better family.
2. My friends - After we all got over our initial shyness I have made some really amazing friends. We crammed for tests together, cracked up during lunch and spent many weekends in Killarney. I wish them the best of luck next year, I’ll have to come visit after their Leaving Cert.
3. My tiny town - I love living in small town where everyone will smile at you, your chemist recognises you and there is a friendly atmosphere. I think I may find the city a little overwhelming after my cosy, quiet town.
4. The mountains - I know it sounds odd, but I will miss the sight of green hills ad towering mountains that are always in the distance no matter where you look. There’s something comforting about it.
5. My school - When I first heard I was attending an all girls catholic school I just had to laugh. But, I will definitely miss the close-knit 5th year where everyone knew everyone and we all helped each other out. Not having any stairs to climb was a big bonus too.
6. The food - Oh gosh, where to start. Bacon and cabbage, honeycomb ice cream, soda bread with tons of butter, cadbury chocolate. I may go through Irish food withdrawal.
7. Tea - So much to say about tea. The fact that we had an electric kettle (just like everyone does) that heated water super quickly for my 5 cups or so a day. Nothing can compare to a cup of tea and a biscuit for relaxation in just a few minutes.
8. The accent - After five months I’ve finally puzzled out some of the various accents in Ireland. (A clue to all other clueless foreigners, pretty much every county has a different accent.) Things just sound nicer overall when they’re said in an Irish accent.
9. The peat fires - It is what I looked forward to every night, a blazing fire that took the chill out of my bones and helped put me to sleep for the night.
10. Life here - The thing I will mist the most is the thing that combines everything I mentioned above. The friendly people, the hilarious slang, the cosy atmosphere. Life moved just a little bit slower and it was just a little bit easier, I can hardly look forward to leaving that behind.