As I arrived home 5 days ago back to the states, I couldn’t help but have mixed feelings. I was actually sad to leave. I was homesick for Europe, the place that I was flying away from. Obviously it was so, so refreshing to see an American flag and hear everyone speak English but I got over that pretty early in my trip. In fact, I was intrigued hearing new languages everywhere.We are only taught (and offered) romance languages in high school — French, Italian and Spanish. But there are SO many others!!! According to infoplease.com, (bet your bottom dollar I just googled this), there are 6,500 languages spoken in the world today. While English may be one of the most spoken, that is still so minuscule to be 1 upon 6,500!
I walked off the airplane Friday afternoon and there was my lovely father waiting for me at the baggage claim with a huge smile on his face. We went to Portillo’s (because you can’t drive by it and resist the temptation), and I headed home to see my momma for the first time in 7 weeks. I genuinely missed my parents. They made the trip possible for me and they are the most loving, selfless people I have ever met, but god I couldn’t help but feel guilty that my heart was still back in Dublin.
Our school study abroad trip that was organized through Mizzou ended July 10, and I stayed until July 17. I flew from Berlin to London and stayed with a friend that I had met in Prague. The place is absolutely incredible — the people are hilarious, they speak English and they have a beautiful city (that reminded me a hell of a lot like Chicago). Keep an eye out for my next adventure – I want to give living in London a go, for at least a few months.
Check this out — Roger Federer for Switzerland matches up against Chris Murray for UK to play in the Wimbledon Tennis Semi Finals. This shot was taken at 4:00 on a Friday afternoon in London in a man-made amphitheater, right next to Tower’s Bridge. The community was absolutely staggering, and I thought it was quite impressive that they pulled this off in the middle of a workday. We all gathered around drinking beer and cheering on Murray (which he lost) but the atmosphere was one like I have never experienced. Nicest, coolest people.
Ireland was next, where I met up with three of my cousins that had also just arrived there. One was there for an Irish dancing camp called River Dance (she kicks ASS, second in the world), one was there for a wedding, and the other was beginning her 3 month backpacking trip through Europe. Our roots are Irish, so this was insane and surreal for us to be able to take on the city of Dublin together. I fell in love the second I got off my ferry. I’ve said it since I was 14 years old: I want to marry an Irish man. Can you imagine what this place was like for me?! The nicest people EVER! Faces full of freckles everywhere, orange beards, Irish caps, and a “happy-go-lucky” attitude no matter where you look.
They have real breakfast in Ireland, which I longed for my entire time abroad. Man oh man, it was SO refreshing to have fresh eggs and vegetables. My stomach was thanking me. I wouldn’t consider it a breakfast I would get at home — it consisted of baked beans, blood sausage (SO GOOD), black & white pudding, scrambled eggs, bacon, mushrooms and tomatoes. This delectable piece came from a little restaurant in Galway.
The whole country is just magical. In 5 days, I managed to see three different cities. Dublin, Belfast and Galway. All equally amazing, and so different in their own ways. The country was relatively small, which made it easier to acquire a homey-feeling fast.
Dublin was always our home base, though. We would leave for a night to see a different city then come back to Dublin and get settled and explore the city that we knew as our own. My favorite bar was Gogarty’s, located in Temple Bar area.
Not only do they have live bands playing every night, but it is encouraged to bring your own instrument to the bar and jump in to begin playing with the band. Just unreal! They played my favorite songs ever: Galway girl, Belle of Belfast City, Wagon Wheel, You Are My Sunshine, etc. All the Irish feel good sing-a-longs.
Thursday was our last night, and I began to get teary-eyed every time I thought about leaving. This place became so familiar to me, and I truly admired the people for their easy-going way of life. A piece of my heart will always remain in Ireland. It will be in the rocks of Giants Causeway, in the slippery soil on the Cliffs of Moher, and more importantly, imbedded in the souls of the people that I met there, especially Dublin.
As I walked through the streets in my last night in Dublin, pictured on the left, I realized I wasn’t done here. I have family roots here and I am obligated to make my own mark on the city. I’m a Callahan, for gods sake.
It’s amazing what going abroad can do to you. I read articles prior about reverse culture shock, getting used to being back in the states, etc. I never read an article that could even slightly prepare me for my urging pain to go back to Dublin and wander around the city. I miss the faces, the music, the culture.
Dublin, you haven’t seen the last of me.