It is now only four more days until I get on a plane and start my trip to the Philadelphia airport, from there to Dublin for study abroad orientation and then finally to Limerick, which will be home for the next four months. It’s difficult to say I’m ready, and I don’t think you ever can be completely ready for a brand new country. No matter how well adjusted you are, there will be culture shock in some measure. I’ve been out of the United States before, but I don’t think a couple of weeks in Ecuador with a mission trip group qualifies as instruction in Living in Ireland. The last time I was in Europe, I was in Germany, but that occasion hardly counts. Then I was so young that I not only needed help with communicating to German people, but also with tying my shoes and reaching light switches. The young and vertically challenged are not often concerned with international experience.
Most of my time over Christmas break has been spent visiting with friends and trying to get everything in order for the trip. For my time in Ireland, I’ve had to make sure all my trip deposits are made; keep transcript, passport, student validation document etc. together, get European plug converters for my laptop, try to learn at least something about Irish culture and work out the best packing strategy possible. For the things I’m leaving behind, I’m finishing my scholarship community service sheet, writing my film reviews for my editor job with the Hett, making sure someone will take over my kids’ Tae Kwon Do class at Song’s and making sure the horses at the farm are in good shape. Friends and family contribute to this process by thinking that I will either come back with an Irish accent or come back speaking entirely in limerick poem format. Here’s to loved ones and their infinite cleverness. 😉 They’ve also been saying goodbye for the past two weeks, so I now feel like I’m going to be gone for about two years rather than four months.
This is likely to be the shortest long trip I’ll ever take. I’m looking forward to seeing Ireland and vaguely dreading airport security, but it will be okay. I have come to find that it’s amazing what you can do when you have to and that most situations can be managed just fine if you stay calm and don’t back down.
See you on the other side.