Monday, July 4, 2016

I'm Back!

Happy 4th of July everyone! I'm super late posting an update, and for that I apologize (not that I expect many people to still be reading these posts ha!).

Since my arrival in the great U.S. of A, it has been a whirlwind of activity. I arrived in Boston, Massachusetts on June 10th and then stayed in Essex, MA with my brother and his family. Instead of traveling back to Maine, I will be staying in Essex working at a restaurant in town to earn some much needed money before school starts up again in the fall.

Now for an update about the 10 day trip of the UK that Mathilde and I embarked upon last month.

Day One-
Our trip started with me waiting in the cab for Mathilde to come down from her apartment (French people...tsk tsk). However, after dealing with a random girl who insisted the cabbie would bring her into town because no one was waiting for the cab (...even though I was in the back seat...), we set off! Cue us arriving in Edinburgh! Finding our hostel was a hot and weary experience, especially with all the luggage we had. Thus concludes our first day.
My luggage...crazy I know
Day Two-
Ah, day two. Day two involved a short train ride to St. Andrews, a quaint city near the ocean (famous for being the birth place of golf I believe). However, Mathilde and I were just excited that there was a beach to walk on! After a run in with the infamous Donald Trump*, we continued to explore the city (with a stop for coffee and gelato of course).

Day Three-
We spent day three exploring more of Edinburgh. Mathilde and I have a peculiar and dare I say more fun way of exploring new places. Other than some basic information about the cities we were to visit, we embarked on our adventure armed only with ambition and money for coffee. This basically means that everything we saw was new to us because we had no idea what the highlights of each location were. The money for coffee part should be obvious and needs no explanation.

Nimmo at the Hidden Doors event
Days Four-Five
Day four was a sad day. It was sad because we had to pack up all our luggage and go up a large hill, down another, through a train station to get to our train. Then we had a five hour train ride to Birmingham, England where we had to do the same thing all over again. It was fun (in case you are bad with subtle sarcasm, I lie).
Birmingham was probably my least favorite location. It is not a terrible city, however it was extremely crowded and primarily a shopping destination. I like neither shopping nor crowds. Our hostel was fun, however it was 300 feet away from an outdoor club that played very very very loud music from 5PM to 3AM in the morning.  Mathilde and I were so slap happy, we accidentally kept our Canadian hostel mates awake because we kept laughing and snorting because our Facebook chat was just so hysterical. Okay, she was laughing...I was snorting like a pig in heat. A bad image. I know.

Day Six-
Bath! Bath, England! My all time favorite city on our trip was Bath, England. We hit the timing right because the tourism scene had yet to kick off and the city was practically empty after 7PM. Mathilde and I went to a spa to relax and regain some energy (and because duh! It is Bath! Home of the Roman bathhouses and Jane Austen scenes!). If I could go back to any city in England, it would be Bath.

Day Seven-
We spent half the day wandering around Bath, then we began the last leg of our journey to London. We had a hostel outside of the city, so we spent time in the playground next door getting extremely dizzy on the tire swing. Don't judge us when you know you want to be us.

Day Eight-
London was a dream. You see places in the movies and you form an idea of what it looks like. Traveling to the place is a whole different thing. Seeing the Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abby, Westminster Palace and the Big Ben is such an amazing experience! Mathilde and I got tickets to go on the London Eye- breathtaking views!

Rain, red bus, Big Ben, such a stereotypical photo of London
Day Nine-
Sadly Mathilde had to end her journey with me on the eighth day. After dropping her off at the bus station, I continued on to grab lunch in a public restroom. You heard me...a public restroom. London has several underground restrooms that have been restored and flipped into various new uses. The one I went to was a small coffee and sandwich shop. The coffee was amazing, and the sandwich was absolutely delicious!
This is the infamous bathroom...great food- trust me!
Um, Hello!
Day 10-
I mostly wandered around until I decided to go to the Natural History Museum of London because it was air-conditioned. Hey! It was hot out and I needed something to do!

Day Eleven-
My journey back to the US. *Sob*

So as you can see from this very long entry (congratulations if you made it down to the bottom), the trip was breathtaking, eye-opening, and down right exhausting with all that luggage. But! We made it! And I for one think it was entirely worth it.

Thank you George Mitchell Peace Scholarship and the Maine Community College System for allowing me to take such an amazing adventure. It has changed my life, and I would do it all again in a heart beat.

Annnnnnd now lemme show you some selfies!  Mathilde is so going to kill me but its okay! She is thousands of miles away and can't retaliate muhahaAAHAHAHAHA!

People can't bring me anywhere

Aw...we so adorbs

Rain=sad faces

Classic Duck Face

                                                       Until the next adventure my peeps!

*My lawyers advise me to clarify that by run in with Trump I really mean we found a newspaper clipping about how Trump thought the windmills near his golf course would diminish the views. Gosh, the American can't even escape the dude while in another country!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Until Next Time

It feels like yesterday that I was writing my first post for this blog. And packing. I hate packing. Such a boring occupation. My room is beginning to look bare and I dislike it. Why must I leave? Can I stay here?

It wasn't until writing this blog that I realized just how choppy my internal monologue is. I wonder if that says anything about my personality?
On another note, in addition to learning about my inner monologue, I have learned that I can successfully survive on my own in a foreign country, that making friends is easier than I thought, and that comparing names/expressions for things is utterly fascinating. For example, 'ouf' in France means the same as 'phew' in the US. Who knew?!

Anywhooo, my time in Ireland has come to a close. I leave for the UK in one week. As people begin to pack up and leave sunny Ireland (yes, the sun does shine here!), I have begun to realize just how much I have enjoyed myself here. So, without further ado...

Good bye Ireland! Until next time!

I love walking down little alleys as you never know what you will find
Almost Mansfield Park, but not quite
Photo cred: Mathilde
I made a friend! (photo credit: Mathilde)
It may not be the Caribbean, but at least it is the ocean!

The Irish are so student-friendly haha! 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

Hey everyone! These last few weeks have been crazy busy. As you can see from my previous post, I went to Killarney three weeks ago (three weeks already??!), however what you don't know is that I went to Northern Ireland the following weekend. In addition to these weekend trips, I have been busy finishing up presentations, group projects, and half-heartedly studying for exams. I probably shouldn't be studying half-heartedly, but I currently have a cold (again!) so that pretty much cuts down on all levels of productiveness.

Back to the trips though... Killarney was absolutely positively beautiful! If you want to see photos, check out my previous post. If I was to come back to Ireland, I may set up shop around the Ring of Kerry. The landscape is mesmerizing. The following weekend however I went on a three day trip with Cork Institute of Technology to various places in Northern Ireland; Derry/Londonderry, Giant's Causeway, and Belfast were the primary locations visited. In addition to looking at the natural landscapes, and some Game of Thrones filming locations, we also had political tours of areas that were heavily affected by the Troubles.

As a George Mitchell Scholar, I am in Ireland because Senator George Mitchell played a leading role in the peace talks in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. This scholarship was developed to promote global exchange, and encourage peace between all cultures and backgrounds. Now, I will admit that I didn't know too much about these Troubles prior to being in Ireland, nothing past some basic research before arriving here. Having the chance to see where it all occurred was honestly eye-opening. Now obviously I saw everything through the eyes of a tourist, so what I saw was barely a reflection of the actual events. However as a tourist in Ireland I do think it is important to go to Northern Ireland to see some of its history. I didn't get to spend much time in the cities, but there is so much to learn there that I hope I can go back one day to experience it more. If anyone of you get a chance to come to Ireland, please take my advice and go to Northern Ireland as well.

On another note, my time in Ireland is almost at an end. I have two (three?) more weeks left in Ireland, and then I am off to the UK for a 10 day adventure. After that, back to the US I go. I'll likely do one more post before leaving, and then one after I get back to the US. Many thanks to those who have read my posts, I hope I haven't bored you too much!

Many kind regards,


Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland

Only one small section of the Political Murals in Belfast

Natural rock formations at the Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland


For more information on this area

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Killarney, Ireland

I don't have much time (classes await), but here are some photos of my trip to Killarney!

This pub is the highest pub (in elevation) in Ireland

Future house right here:P

Killarney National Park!

I have never been to a more beautiful place in the world

King Puck: Every year the locals of this town capture a wild goat and crown it King (its later released).