I didn’t anticipate how difficult it would be to keep up with blogging. I have a hard enough time posting pictures for friends and family to see on Facebook, so I honestly am not sure why I didn’t foresee this struggle. Almost four weeks ago, I went to Rome. It was everything and more for my nerdy, history-loving heart. Since it was close to a month ago, I’ll forgo telling stories about it, except that I cried when I saw the Pantheon, somehow was in a Pride rally, and ate my fill of a buffet breakfast for two mornings in a row. The Italians do not hold breakfast in the same regard as Americans (or Irish or British) do. Bacon, how I miss thee.
Back to Ireland: It was magical. From the kindness of the people to the beauty of the landscape, I am in love. The people are marvelous. Dublin and Galway were the two main cities I visited. Dublin was a hub and full of life. I enjoyed being able to speak English again. The accents were fabulous and the kindness of everyone was tangible. After a touring day in Dublin and a visit to the Guinness Storehouse, we went to Galway. Galway is latitudinally across the country on the west coast. We took a detour to see the Cliffs of Moher before venturing to the city though. They are absolutely gorgeous. Florence isn’t the greenest place on this earth, so to bear witness to such a marvelous site of nature was restorative to my soul. Once we explored and took pictures there, we went to Galway and ate lunch and walked around the city. Galway is traditional. People walked by speaking Irish as well as English. Although the language of Ireland is Irish, most people speak English due to the influence of England. It was amazing to walk by groups of people and hear the traditional language spoken. The group of girls I was with also ventured into jewelry stores after lunch to purchase Claddagh rings, as they were first created in Galway. Even though I’m not Irish, I bought one! That evening we returned to Dublin and had more pub experiences, complete with Guinness! Now here is where the fun truly begins: missed flight.
I left for the London airport from Dublin early in the morning at 3 am on Monday. (Sunday was a free day for me and I explored around the city and went shopping) My flight left about 30 minutes late though, so I rushed through security and all but sprinted to my gate. Of course, the gate closed right as I arrived around 8 am. Therefore, I trudged back from whence I came and rearranged my flight for the great price of 100 pounds! 100 pounds, unfortunately is roughly $140, and my flight wasn’t leaving for another 11 hours. I was miserable, stuck in a dingy airport (Stansted is not like Heathrow), and needed to study for midterms. Only one free hour of wifi was available though, so I had to budget my time wisely. I was tired, hungry, poor, and in sore need of a shower. To the best of my ability, I studied for two midterms the next day, budgeted when I could eat, and tried to drink lots of water. Time passed so slowly. Eventually I was able to get the plane and made it, but of course, this was also 30 minutes late. My Pisa arrival was pushed back even further, and I still had to take a bus to get back to Florence from the Pisa airport. When all was said and done, I made it to my apartment at 1:30 am, promptly took a shower, ate leftover pasta, and fell asleep for a few meager hours before I needed to take two midterms the next morning.
It was a mistake to travel right before midterms. Of course, I realize that now, but I didn’t know I would be back so late. My original intentions were to get back to Florence early in the afternoon, take a nap, and study into the evening. Life doesn’t quite work out just the way we want, and I spent my day in the airport studying poorly. Although I wouldn’t change my Ireland experience, I regret leaving a day later than most people. At least my midterms are over, I improved with each one, and my professor knew my story. She actually asked me what was wrong with my eyes during the first exam. Apparently I looked terrible and she wasn’t afraid to comment on it.
Life lesson: Don’t travel before midterms, give yourself plenty of time for layovers, and bring a piece of technology, because you never know if you’ll be stranded for 11 hours and need some way to entertain yourself.