Well, i’m getting close to the end of my time in France. I had to say goodbye today to one of my very dear friends, Veronica. We’ve known each other since she first got here in July. She has been the one person I could go to with any problem or complaint, and I know she would be there to listen and have insightful feedback on. We used to go to the gym together almost everyday and share stories and memories and advice. I will most certainly miss her, but I know i will see her again soon.
That has by far been the hardest thing to deal with in this job, is constantly saying goodbye to friends. I can’t believe how many people have come and gone in just the few short months I have been here. The hardest thing being neither of us know when we will see each other again. But I suppose that’s life, it just happens in a much shorter amount of time here.
All in all, I am glad to be coming home for a while. I’ve nearly forgotten what it’s like to live in California.
But on to more exciting things, I recently paid a visit to Ireland! It was by FAR thee best trip I have taken since being abroad. The people I met, the things I did, the people, the atmosphere; it was all perfect. It started off a little rough when 3 days before I was scheduled to leave, I came down with a stomach bug after eating some Chinese (still not sure if it was the Chinese or not). I went to the doctors and got some meds which helped, but I was dealing with it the whole time I was in Ireland. Well, the second I got off the plane, the first thing that struck me was the fact that everything was written in Irish first. I didn’t realize Irish was really that big of a language. I assumed that Ireland was just part of the UK and everyone there spoke English. But I quickly learned that Ireland has it’s own language and they are very proud of it. Everything is written in Irish first, and then English beneath. Ireland suffered from imposed language by the English, much like Whales and Scotland did as well. English people are apparently very territorial and believe everyone should be English. I’ll get to a little of the history I learned later. So I walked through the airport and found the bus I needed to take to meet my friend in Dublin. The second I got on the bus, I could just feel a friendly atmosphere, nothing like i’ve felt in Paris. Everyone was, for the most part, very friendly and very helpful. I could not stop smiling the second the bus started driving; from the Irish language everywhere to the cars driving on the left side of the road. It was just so nice to have a change of scene. Everything was so green and IRISH. I was constantly just looking to the beautiful brick buildings everywhere. Finally got to my stop and got off in a big plaza. I went to the nearest starbucks and waited for my friend there, everything on the menu was about 25% cheaper than what it would have been in Paris. I was so happy I got a drink AND something to eat!! Waited there till I got a text and went straight over to meet him crossing the river Liffey. We caught a bus back to his house which looked just like the houses on Picket Drive from Harry Potter! Every house was stone with a little car in front. Everything was just so quaint including his house. After, we headed back to town to get some dinner and head over to his Panto. A Panto is a British style show that surfaces every year at Christmas. There’s many of them all over Ireland and the UK. Panto stands for Pantomime and it’s basically a children’s show for adults. If you want to read more about it, here’s a link. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantomime Basically they get local stars and have them star in the Panto’s and the audience yells back at the people on stage. They will say something like, “But cinderella doesn’t have a fairy god mother, does she?” And the whole audience is supposed to yell back, ” Oh yes she does!!” And he’ll say, “Oh no she doesn’t.” Then the audience again, “Oh yes she does!” and so on just for a few rounds. Also, the audience boos the bad guy and cheers the good guy! Basically an interactive show for kids, but with some adult humor. Like in every panto, there is always a boy dressed as a woman. We saw Cinderella, so both the step sisters were boys in RIDICULOUS wigs and costumes. It was such a laugh. The whole show waas great, even though there was a lot of jokes I didn’t get. Oh and they always add in the top songs from that year. It was great fun shouting with all the kids and parents. And my friend danced in the ensemble. After the show, we headed down to the bar in the theatre for a few drinks before we head out. I got to meet all his friends and see where he spends most of his time. Spending the evenings the Irish way!
The next day, we had a bit of a late start. We headed out about 12 to the city. We walked around the city a bit, just taking in the sites. We saw some parks and stores and stuff. The disney store in Dublin was about 100x’s better than the one on the Champs-Elysee. We saw the Christmas markets and everything. Then my friend said he had a surprise for me. We walked across town to a museum. It was only once we were inside he said it was the National Leprechaun Museum. It was SO cool inside! We learned a bunch about leprechauns and just Irish folklore in general. There is TONS of Irish folklore and it is FASCINATING. Today’s leprechaun looks the way it does because Walt Disney made a movie about leprechaun’s and put their leader in green. Then lucky charms came out with their loveable green suited man. Now, people identify them with green. In the museum, there was also a room that was designed to make you feel like you were the size of a Leprechaun. It was SO cool as well. It really worked, I actually felt like a leprechaun.
It was really amazing. We learned a bunch about swans and dogs and stuff, but I can’t remember all the stories. And at the end of the museum visit, we got to take a selfie with Seamus!!
After, we headed back over to the center of town to the center square. A few years ago, Dublin I guess felt that they needed a recognizeable icon to stand for Dublin, so they decided to make a spire that looks like a giant needle sticking out of the face of the city. It’s not a good look I don’t think, and im sure it cost them a fortune. But if it helps, then hey-ho. Here’s what it looks like.
It’s the big pole in the back, you may be able to see it in the other pictures I post later. After this, I wanted to see the oldest oub in all of Dublin, established in 1198!! The Vikings used to drink mead here and things like that. It was very old, but still modern enough looking. Inside, there was a room with just flags on the wall, another with dollar bills and patches from all over the world, another room had a fireplace and letters to the pub, it was a really awesome pub. Me and Keith tried both our very first Guinness there. We both LOVED it!! We thought it was great. Really thick, not something you could just warf down, but I really appreciated it.
After we head over to get some Mexican food…. My FIRST mexican food in MONTHS!!! I didn’t think i’d be craving it this much, but I am. It’s the first thing I want when I get off the plane. Well after that all, we head back over to Keith’s place to go to his local pub. It wasn’t much from the outside, dressed up like some kind of little putting golf, castle looking thing. But inside was BEAUTIFUL and way larger than it looks on the outside. We got another pint of guinness each and waited for his friends to arrive. They were all LOVELY people. All of them seemed very genuine, and happy. They all just appreciated each other’s company and presence and valued what each other had to say. And of course the Irish love to laugh and have a good time so that’s excactly what we did. Keith kept saying, “We’re gonna go have the craic!” on our way to the pub. Craic is an Irish word for basically a laugh and some convo. Google translates it to English as “FUN,” but it’s definetly more than that. But the craic was had. We laughed and talked all night. And many of them want to come to America at some point, and more specifically California. So I’ll probably be seeing all these people soon which I couldn’t be more excited about! We left the pub 5 hours later to get a “chipper” from next door. I got fish and chips. It was so greesy and delicious I could hardly stand it. Just what I needed. Then we head home for an early morning the next day.
We got up at the crack of dawn to head over to Keith’s grandparents house to head to Pheonix park. Pheonix park is where the president lives as well as the american ambassador. But it’s also the biggest enclosed park in all of europe. There’s wild deer running around that we could get almost close enough to touch. The just rome free in this park which is just 10 minutes from the city center, and it’s so big, if you stand towards the center, you can’t see the fences. It was great.
We were 15 feet away at one point. After wards, we head back to Keith’s where his grandma made us breakfast and tea and coffee. His whole family were such nice, sweet, genuine people. I could have talked to them for hours. They also liked to, “have the craic.” Great times. After, we headed over to the Guinness factory. We decided it would be fun and it was! Lots of facts and diagrams and stuff that I won’t go into, and they had a bar on the top floor that overlooked all of Dublin called The Gravity Bar. Great view of Dublin, and the best part was, we got to pour our own Guiness! There’s a whole art to it. You pour it 80% of the way, then put it aside to fizz a bit, then top it off about 3 minutes later. I got a certificate and everything that says I know how to pour Guinness. SO HA! One thing that I thought was interesting from the tour, was that Guinness signed a 9000 year lease on the land there. That’s right. 9000 years! Theyve only just hit 230 about. They have quite a bit of time to go. Really fun experience though and got one of m new favorite t-shirts at the end.
Last thing I did in Dublin was have dinner at a place called Nando’s. It’s really famous in the UK, and said to be in America in the next two years. It’s fresh, delicious chicken and America is going to love it!
It’s a really big deal because Californian to Mexican Food is Brit to Nando’s. It’s what they crave when they leave it behind in the UK. After that meal I had to get on a plane and come back to Paris! It was by FAR way too short of a time to be there. I wish I could have stayed a week at least. There was so much to see and do, and I wish I could have seen it. I’m 100% hooked on Ireland, and yes i’m absolutely ruined for life. Nothing will compare to these two days. I have been trying to express in words how great it all was, and I can’t seem to be able to express myself. I didn’t do it justice here, and I don’t think I possibly could. Being there did so much for me though and taught me a lot. I miss it and I will go back one day.
You’re history lesson on Ireland/Dublin will be posted tomorrow as well as some pictures from Amsterdam.