In the aftermath of St. Patrick’s Day, I’ve realized that I have integrated into Cork life more than I thought. Many of the Irish do not celebrate St. Patrick’s day like we do in the United States. Many spend the day with family, at church, or relax on their day off from work. The people who go out an celebrate on St. Patrick’s day here in Ireland, are all tourists. At first I was really shocked to see only tourists out on the town, but then after a while it made sense why the locals stay home. Cork was a mad house! People were everywhere! Every pub was filled to capacity, lines as long as a block just to get into restaurants! It was insane! I went to city center to watch the small parade the city of Cork puts on, but afterwards my friends and I went back to our apartment because it was so crowded. But throughout all of the madness, I realized that I have been come somewhat of a local. Many tourists mistook me for a local, and I was asked for directions too many times to count. What made the situation even better was that I knew all the directions! I felt pretty good about that, and it made me realize that Cork has become a home away from home. I can make my way around town, I know the best shortcuts, the best restaurants, all the places to get a good pint, and I even strike up conversations with the locals. The last part of that list was the most difficult to get around to though. Sometimes you can strike up a conversation, and then the person you talk to has such a strong accent that you can’t understand one word they say. Still, it is really nice to have conversations with locals. They are always interesting and uplifting people. I’ve also become so accustomed to the Irish accent that, unless someone has a very strong accent, I don’t recognize it anymore. It is amazing that in such a short amount of time, I have gotten used to life here in Cork. At first, I never thought I would find a groove, but now I have one and it is a really nice thing to have while living abroad. So, if you are worrying about studying abroad, just know, that it takes time to feel comfortable in your host country, but it will happen and when it does you’ll feel really accomplished. I know I do!