We arrived in Dublin on Monday around noon where Paul was waiting to pick us up. Hopping in his car, we headed to his house for one last time. His mom greeted us with warm hugs and a huge Christmas dinner. She wanted us to have an Irish Christmas dinner, so we had turkey, ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, roast potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and gravy. For dessert we had warm plum pudding with custard on top. It was the best welcome “home” to Dublin we could have had after our excursion through Italy and Greece. It was a delicious meal with my favorite people in Ireland. Paul’s mom has made their house a home away from home for us over the past few months and has definitely spoiled us with the best home cooked meals! After sitting around the table for a long while chatting and letting the food coma wear off, it was time to go.
After returning to Conner’s apartment, we started our tremendous amount of laundry that needed done and began the daunting task of packing. In the evening, we met up with Fiona, Niamh, Ayat (Fiona’s friend visiting from Purdue!), Ciara, Paul, Leeza, and Bradley for some last drinks and laughs at the Bleeding Horse. I had my last Guinness as we reminisced on all our memories and funny stories throughout the semester. I’m so glad to have had one last night out with the best people! And of course we ended our night by going to our favorite Chipper (take out place) right down the road from Conner’s. (The workers there will definitely miss us, seeing as we appeared there regularly!)
Woke up yesterday morning in denial that it was my last day. I pulled out my bags and came to the realization that yes, I am going home, but also the realization that it would be nearly impossible to fit all my crap in these bags! (It was a struggle that took literally all day!)
I took a break to go on one last run around the city. It had been a while since I went on a long run since I had been traveling. I ran five and a half miles making my way past the Guinness Storehouse, through Phoenix Park, and all down the Liffey River. It was perfect weather to boost my running spirits and great way to end my time here seeing the city that I’ve fallen so in love with.
We packed for the next several hours as the rain came in and swept over the city. I like to think that Ireland new we were leaving and that the rain was it being emotional. (I know I know.. it rains there all the time.) Paul and Bradley spent the whole day with us spending as much time as we could together before we would all go our separate ways. Saying our goodbyes to Bradley was rough of course, but at least we didn’t have to have two goodbyes since Paul stayed the night to take us to the airport this morning.
Somehow we got everything packed (an absurd amount of stuff!) and were on our way to the airport this morning. Paul is an absolute saint for all he has done for us throughout our time here. I’m so glad to have made him one of our best friends! Can’t wait to return the favor when he visits this spring! As we said goodbye outside of security I had to leave before I started to cry. I managed to keep the tears in until I got on the plane.
We went through security, went through customs, and waited at our gate. I watched as Ireland disappeared through the clouds out my window, and it was real that I was going home. The eight-hour flight flew by (yes, pun intended)! I watched three movies before landing here in Philadelphia.
I’m emotional in many ways being back in the US. I am happy and excited for my last semester at Purdue, I am looking forward to seeing my friends and family, I am sad to have been leaving Ireland and my friends I’ve left behind, joyful for having experienced so much in four months, and grateful for every opportunity that has been given to me.
I won’t ramble about all the great things about my study abroad, but will end with one of my favorite quotes because it embodies every aspect of the entire trip and my entire college experience.
“To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, to draw closer, to find each other and to feel. That is the purpose of life.” –Life Motto