I cannot describe this day in a more fitting way than to say it is bittersweet. In less than 5 short hours, I will be getting on my bus and heading to the Dublin airport. I know, I know-stop the pity party, right? Well, that’s why I say this day is bittersweet, rather than melancholy, although there is a bit of that. Today I got the slap in the face that I am leaving Ireland and going back to my “normal” life in Ohio. Bleghh-no, thank you. But today is also the day I realized that I am one of the luckiest people on earth. Although someone once said that all good things must come to an end, they didn’t mention that this doesn’t have to be an entirely negative thing.
Once I land in the Columbus airport I will already be thinking back on all of the unforgettable memories that I have made in the past six weeks. I’ve had more once-in-a lifetime opportunities in just the past month and a half alone than many people get a chance to have in their entire lifetime. No matter where I travel in the world, I will always be able to keep those memories.
So, let’s take a quick look back at the past six weeks of my life in Ireland, shall we? Since I would rather focus on the wonderful things that I’ve done, rather than the fact that my time in Ireland is coming to an end, I want to think back to all of the fantastic things that have happened here! Although I could never write them all down in words, I’ll give you a brief synopsis. The “cliffnotes” version, if you will.
A few things I am taking with me:
The close bonds I have formed with some of the people on this trip
The new friends I have met along the way
The awesome blue fiddle given to me by a random drunken Irish man (thank you Paddy Davern!)
The images of Inishmore, Dublin, Galway, and even quaint little Letterkenny that will be ingrained in my mind forever
The nights of playing truth or dare and getting to know each other while playing four square with the disturbing/creepy Iggle Piggle ball that traumatized us all
The knowledge that the worlds best pizza can be found in Ireland, and at an Indian food restaurant… who knew?
A greater appreciation for Fanta soda. Sadly, it’s just not the same in America.
The habit of calling fries “chips” and saying “cheers” even when I don’t have a glass in hand.
An even greater appreciation for rain. It’s been my habitat for a month and a half!
A huge appreciation for Irish tradition, history, music, culture, and it’s people
The ability to find beauty even in little things, and to always be looking for it in everyone and everything I come across.
Way too many new cloths. Hey! The Irish have a great fashion sense.
A camera full of pictures
Countless stories to share with my friends back home
And an even greater desire to travel the world and experience as much as possible in my lifetime. If I can have the best times of my life in just six weeks in just one country, I can’t even imagine what I could do with more time and more destinations. The world is my playground, and I’m ready to run free!
No matter where I go or who I meet, though, Ireland will always hold a very special place in my heart. So, yes, I did cry when I woke up this morning and realized I’d be getting on that plane to Ohio tonight. But I am unbelievably happy to have shared the experiences that I did with such a wonderful group of people. I wouldn’t change a single second of it.
Rock on, Letterkenny! I’m taking a piece of you home with me.