Sunday, March 23, 2014


7 month exchange-a-versary to me aujourd'hui! Can you believe that people because I know I'm sure having a hard time wrapping my head around it.  The time that has passed and all that has happened since leaving Canada is RIDICULOUS.  What is life outside exchange... I can't even remember it as well as I used to anymore which is incredible.  The part of my brain with all my Canada memories and routines is getting foggier and foggier as each new day, week, and month of exchange passes and tries to trick me into thinking this has always been my life.  I mean I could never truly forget anything about life in Canada (DUH), it's just such a distant thing from everything about me at this moment in my life.  WOOAAHAWOWOWWHWOOAHHOOOO. Brain. Explosion.

Bottom line: I am ABSOLUTELY LOVING life and exchange at the moment, probably the most that I have since it began way back when.  Although I can't deny the excitement I feel about the fast approaching date that marks my return home, it's safe to say there's an almost equal amount of dread in regards to all the things that will have to end in 3 months when I leave my exchange behind.  It was hard enough leaving my life in Canada and I get to return to it... but when I say goodbye to exchange, it's goodbye. Period.  I know that's kind of throwing a big blanket of "depressing" on this blog post but that subject keeps kind of creeping into conversations here and there these days and it's on my mind!! But it's not over!!! And I will not hold back in making these last 3 months the best yet.

Just had a cool weekend.  Us exchange kiddies got to miss school on Saturday for a Rotary day.  We had offical/kind of boring things to take care of all morning, but in the afternoon we got to go to Tourcoing to play this ancient old French sport I forget the name of (that was like an old fashioned way of bowling..? kinda..?).  Anyway it was cool because there were also a few French Outbounds for next year's exchange (yet another thing that caused me to be nostalgic) who we got to meet and talk with.  They were astounded by my French, one girl did a double take when she heard me saying I was Canadian.  I guess she saw me talking earlier in the day and figured I was another French Outbound, the look of surprise on her face upon hearing that I wasn't actually French made my whole day.  I had a really fun night last night hanging out with some of my best friends in Lille, and then a lazy day spent wandering the deserted Sunday streets with them and David's guitar.


just in case it isn't obvious I had NO IDEA what I was doing

I lost.... 

So yeah life is pretty swell as per the usual.  Oh yeah, and probably the best thing about the following 24 hours is that MY MOM AND SISTER ARRIVE IN LILLE WOOOOOOHHHH!!!!!! They're on the plane headed my way right now, and Valentine and I will go pick them up from the train station in Lille tomorrow at noon.  I'm sooooo excited. :)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Aaaaand we're back!

The world keeps spinning, shenanigans are still happening, and after 2 weeks of speaking non-stop English I still managed to get back on the French speaking horse with no problem when I arrived back. It was an awesome return!!!

Mathieu, my host dad, picked me up from the Brussels airport when I arrived in last Saturday.  I almost didn't recognize him with his OUTRAGEOUSLY dark skin, tanned after his 10 days spent with the family in Bali.  I also almost didn't recognize France! The sun was shining, the weather was warm, and I had to shed at least 3 layers after the walk from airport to car.  Spring has arrived here people and man am I loving it.  Sunshine, warm weather, and long days do a lot to improve a person's mental well being.  I was excited to see my host family after the 2 weeks away, I had missed them!! I might also mention that they were all sporting beautiful, flawless tans, making me feel not only pasty as can be but questioning if I am of the same race... I forgot that spring/summer bring with them constant jibes at my inability to ever be darker than white drywall, as well as the game of "let's compare our arm colour to that of Siobhan's to make us feel better about our tans".  Thank you Irish genes for giving me chronic pastiness.

Anyway, I had lunch with Valentine, Mathieu, and Edouard at the house, then took advantage of the time of day and weather to head in to Lille and try to find some exchange friends.  Lille.. was.. INSANE! It was buzzing with crowds of people out enjoying the hot weather and sun on the weekend.  I guess I had just figured Lille was never really busy because in the cold winter months there'd be less than half that amount of people in the city, but apparently they'd all just been hiding indoors for the past 4 months.  Part of me felt like it was August again, and I was at the beginning of my exchange walking around Lille and exploring La Braderie, it was some weeeeird nostalgia.  I met up with Ty, Vero, Tee, Tae-hee, and Rodrigo at the Opera, and then ran into my friend Embla from Sweden! I met Embla when I joined the soccer team, she's my age but working as a jeune fille au pair this year in Lille as opposed to being on exchange.  Embla introduced us to another Canadian girl named Nicole who's also an au pair in Lille.  So that was awesome.  Then we all kind of just spent the afternoon chilling out and about in Lille and soaking in the beauuuutiful warm weather.  I think it's the first time in 4 to 5 months that I left the house without a proper jacket or winter coat.  HALLELUJAH!

Nicole from Ontario

Elise, Veronica, Embla, Siobhan, Nicole

I actually had kind of a pain-in-the-butt week, but that started Wednesday.  I didn't have to write the Monday DS exam in school, and had an awesome few hours catching up with my French friends before getting to come home early to an open afternoon of relaxation.  I was worried for nothing, the first day (or few hours) back went so well! I went into Lille in the afternoon with Valentine which was really nice.  We got to hang out and do some shopping together and have some quality bonding time which we hadn't really done yet so it was lovely! Plus later that evening I got out running and it didn't suck, so things are looking up on that front too yippee.

Wednesday was awesome until approximately 6pm.  Before then, I had a super fun afternoon with all sorts of exchange friends, including some lovely Canadian girls who had taken the train into Lille from their far-off towns (something they wouldn't do very frequently because it's a hassle and costs moola!).  I biked to Lille after school all the way from Roubaix which was SO fun, it took me a good hour but it was so easy because of all the bike paths.  The weather was lovely, the scenery was cool, and I was getting some exercise so I was on a high.  After meeting up with friends in Lille I did a little shopping here, a little shopping there, we hung out on the Opera steps for a bit because it's a cool chill out place and you can people-watch like there's no tomorrow, we played a little soccer, got some ice cream, and ended up finding a nice grassy opening where we could sit down and have a mini picnic/soccer game/chat session.  What is not to like about that Wednesday afternoon.

elegant photo of an elegant Australian modelling the elegancy of French baking

A LOOOOVELY LOVELY Canadian named Allison.  This girl is awesome.


All was swell.  At around 5:30pm I started walking back to the centre of Lille with the girls who had to take a train.  I was leaving early because since I'd never biked home to Wasquehal from Lille before I had no idea how long it would take me and didn't want to find myself wobbling along alone at 8pm still not home.  So there I am casually walking along, looking forward to a breezy bike ride home, I go to the bike rack where I left my bike (the new, cool-looking bike my host parents bought in replacement of the stolen one) and it's not there.  *CUE MAJOR PANIC ATTACK* In the place where I'd left my bike, was some other stranger's bicycle.  The lock that held the bike to the stand was some other stranger's lock.  My bike lock was lying forlorn and cut in the middle on the ground, not attached to my bike in anyway.  Yep.  That's right.  MY BIKE WAS STOLEN A SECOND TIME.  It hadn't even been a month since the last theft.   I could not believe my terrible luck, out of the hundreds of bikes locked up around Lille, some stupid thief had picked mine.  I was pretty mad, at myself and the thief, but there was nothing to be done, so I took the tram back home feeling a bike shaped hole in my heart (really just milking the drama on this right now).  My host family was really really nice about it.  They recognized that it wasn't my fault and this stuff happens etc etc, but they did end up saying that they probably weren't going to get me a new one this time around.  Oh boy.  

So since I'm now bike-less for good, my new best friend is my skate cruiser.  I don't mind because since the weather is better it's actually pretty fun to get around everywhere using that, except for Thursday morning.  I was on my way to catch the bus and having way too much fun speeding along the road when one wheel caught a rock, my skate stopped dead, and my body kept moving forward at high speed.  Face to pavement.  (Replaying this in my head right now as I try to describe it in writing is actually causing me to giggle... how am I such a catastrophe).  I lay there without moving in shock for one moment as I had a quick feel with the tongue to make sure my teeth were all still intact, once I realized all was okay on that front I hopped up, grabbed my skate, and went on my way.  A couple construction workers working on the side of the street that saw me fall asked me if I was okay as I went by, to which I gave them a huge smile (with a slowly swelling fat lip and bloody mouth), a thumbs up, and an enthusiastic "Nickel!" as I rode by.  My friend Thomas was at the bus stop and helped me clean up a bit on the ride to school, so thankfully the catastrophe was taken care of before arriving, although my swollen lip and chin chose to hang around for the next few days so I wouldn't be able to forget about my spectacular fall.  

Aside from missing the bus, then getting on the wrong bus yesterday, the rest of my weekend has passed without hiccups.  Yesterday I picnicked in Lille with some exchange friends, and went to Louise's cousin's 18th birthday party in the evening.  This morning I got out for a run in the beauty weather and have had a lovely relaxing afternoon filled with catching up on my odds and ends.  

MY MOM AND SISTER ARRIVE IN LILLE SO SOON.  They'll be leaving Calgary one week from today and they arrive at noon on Monday the 24th.  I cannot wait, and also can't seem to register/imagine them being here after almost 7 months of kicking it solo.  I'm having a hard time thinking about much else at this point.  Fingers crossed I can manage to not have any other bad luck catastrophes this week so I can be in perfect shape for when they arrive! 


Friday, March 7, 2014

Bya Dublin

It's terribly sad.  The holidays have come to an end.  Tomorrow I'm up at 5:30am to get to the airport and catch my 8am flight back to Brussels, which means France, which means exchange life, friends, awesome host family, speaking French, and the one I'm especially trying to avoid thinking about: school.  But I'm fairly excited about all the other stuff!

I had a relaxed and awesome last day in Ireland.  Paul and I drove down yesterday from Culdaff and are just staying with Nuala these couple nights in Dubby Dub (code for D-U-B-L-I-N).  I slept in this morning, had a chill breakfast, and even tried a run FINALLY after 2 weeks of coughing up my lungs and being restricted from exercise.  Sadly... it didn't go so well, I think I frightened a few poor Irish folk that I ran by with my barking (aka.. deep chest cough of death), but I'm stayin' positive and trusting the power of the good vibes to magically make my lungs happy and healthy once more.

Paul and I took the Luas (equivalent of Ctrain for Calgarians, and the Tram for ze Frenchies, basically that moving transport vehicle that goes along on tracks you know what I'm sayin' here) into the city centre and got off right next to this gorgeous canal for a good 40 minute stroll.

A couple of punks on the side of a canal.  
Paul showed me this cool poem written by the Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh that's engraved into a bench on the side of the canal.  Didn't get a photo but here's what's written (THANK YOU internet) :

'Erected to the memory of Mrs. Dermot O'Brien'

O commemorate me where there is water, 
Canal water, preferably, so stilly
Greeny at the heart of summer. Brother
Commemorate me thus beautifully
Where by a lock niagarously roars
The falls for those who sit in the tremendous silence
Of mid-July.  No one will speak in prose
Who finds his way to these Parnassian islands. 
A swan goes by head low with many apologies, 
Fantastic light looks through the eyes of bridges - 
And look! a barge comes bringing from Athy
And other far-flung towns mythologies.
O commemorate me with no hero-courageous 
Tomb - just a canal-bank seat for the passer-by.

Kinda lovely if I do say so myself.
Then, better yet, I met Mr. Kavanagh myself.  We shared a moment.

****NOTE: Not a real human.  Merely statue.  I would hope that was fairly obvious.***

Patrick Kavanagh and me sharing a moment.  I really like the guy!
At the end of our canal walk we came into a large area where the street and water opened up: the Grand Canal Dock.  The sun was shining, the weather was fresh, there were cool Dubliners hangin' around on lunch breaks and Friday walks, and things felt fairly awesome.  One of Paul's friends owns this restaurant called Herb Street (on Herb Street. ha.) that's right across the road from the edge of the water.  We went in for a late lunch and I got to meet Paul's really cool friend, Vinny (could possibly be messing up spelling and/or the entire name altogether? Irish accents can be hard to understand...) who was super chill, he came over and chatted for a few minutes after Paul and I got seated.  He's a really cool guy with a really cool and trendy restaurant that he runs with his wife, if you are ever spending time in Dublin, GO THERE! To top it all off the food was AH-MAY-ZING:

Paul's chicken and chickpea salad with beetroot, mmm

Paul pumped because there is good food.  (I forgot to take a photo of my delicious salad which was DUMB)

post-lunch cappuccino & random strangers & the dock

We left feeling awesome because Herb Street and good food and Vinny can probably make anyone feel awesome.  Then we spent the rest of the afternoon walking around exploring Dublin!! Passed Trinity College, Grafton Street, Temple Bar, and some cool modern-y type bridges and old buildings I should probably know the names of but I don't. hehe. 

I basically spent the entire 2 hours of walking falling more and more in love with Dublin.  DEFINITELY on the list of places to visit again (with a group of friends perhaps? any takers? gimme a call?) and I think I would honestly consider even living there for a bit.  There just seems like so much cool exploring and discovery to be done, and Paul was totally selling it to me with his cool adventure stories of all the exciting things he did while living there for 20 or so years.  Also... there's GREAT shopping.  And music.  And culture.  And pubs (Guuuuiiiinnnneeeessss).

I was sad to leave when we eventually caught the Luas to head back to Nuala's.  I'll be back to Ireland in about 2.5 weeks with my Mum and sister, and I'm secretely hoping we might have an afternoon free to go back and explore more. 

And that's the end of Siobhan's Solo Irish Adventure 2014 ft. Awesome Irish Aunts and Uncles and Cousins.  It was great craic.  

PS: There were a few instances today where I heard French being spoken by some tourists, so I kind of eavesdropped to see if I could follow conversations and understand what was being said and HIDEE HO I COULD!!!! It felt pretty wicked, especially considering it's been 2 weeks since I was living and speaking French, I hope this means I haven't totally lost my groove...! We shall find out tomorrow heheuehahaaahhh. 

That is all folks.  Thanks for reading.  Come again!

PPS: more photos from the trip! yippee!

waterfall filmin'

more waterfall filmin'


Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Two words to describe my past almost-two-weeks in Ireland: GREAT CRAIC!! (as they say)

I feel so fortunate to have had two whole weeks hanging with my incredible relatives in this incredibly beauuuuuutiful (I can't say that enough times) country.  It was so great to see familiar faces and be able to hang out with family.  I felt like some kind of guest of honour with the way they all looked out for me and showed me around the beautiful sights of Ireland, I couldn't have asked for a better holiday really (excluding the part about my chest infection/cough which I will get into a bit later).
^that whole paragraph may seem like the cheesy cliché sort of stuff you're "supposed" to say, but I really and truly mean all of it.

SO! I arrived Friday the 21st late-ish into Dublin and my aunt Nuala and uncle Paul (my mom's siblings) were waiting at the gate to welcome me.  It was so great to see them, it's been 3 years approximately since I saw Nuala and almost a year since Paul visited my fam back home in Canada.  It's always a happy reunion.  Not to mention that I was on a high after the customs officer gave me back my passport and said "Thank you Siobhan" with a P-E-R-F-E-C-T execution of the pronunciation and to top it all off in an Irish accent.  I swear to god I got a physical jolt in that moment.  I wouldn't even get addressed by my name in that kind of a situation back home in Canada, let alone France where my name is a completely foreign specimen altogether.  Things started off wonderfully!

Saturday I got up and braved the cold-ish weather and tried a run despite my cough, then came home to a full on Irish fry for breakfast.. thank god I went running.  Afterwards Paul took me for a walk on the pier and we headed into downtown Dublin for some exploring.  


Casual lunch stop....

It was a super fun afternoon of exploring in which I found a soulmate of a leather jacket in one of the cool vintage stores in Temple Bar, Dublin.  About 10 minutes after voicing my interest in trying to find myself one Paul and I discovered the alpha and omega of cool leather items (in my opinion).  It was fate.  Saturday ended with a mini reunion family dinner at my aunt Maire's house and I finished the day full of food and happy as a clam.  

On Sunday I met with my dad's brother, my uncle David, so that I could go stay with him and his family a few days in the south in county Clare.  Paul and I went for a quickie of a walk and then Paul dropped me at the Camogie game David was coaching near Dublin.  Camogie is an Irish sport that's the female version of Hurling.  It involves a wooden stick with a kind of wide, spade like bottom, and a heavy ball, with the only padding/protection being helmets.  You can carry the ball and hit it with the stick and push and shove as much as you want (from what I could see).  It was rough.  They didn't just hit the ball, they WHACKED it, and they sometimes paid little attention to whether or not there was a hand holding the ball or not.  Can't say I felt the urge to get into Camogie after watching the game, but I certainly held a lot of respect for the girls who were playing! When the game was over I hitched a ride with the team bus back to Shannon, and from there David drove me back to his house in Quin.  The following two days were spent driving around Clare with David as he showed me the sights and we visited my dad's cousins (my second cousins..?).  I loved meeting all the Barrys and also found it kind of hilarious as I heard the odd funny story about my old man and was able to pick up on traits here and there in the cousins that I know have been passed down into my family.  In the words of my dad I found out "where the crazy comes from" Hilarous. Not to mention that I had enough delicious homemade scones, brown bread, and soup to last me the rest of the year.  And let's not forget all the tea!!

The town of Ennis in County Clare.  This is where my Dad went to school!

David told me to hop on the town monuments to get a photo ha.


David told me him and my Dad would cross that bridge in the background more than a few times a day during a normal weekday.

I know I'm blurry but you get the idea.  I'm sitting on Steele's Rock: see 4 photos down

hehehehe danger 
Where my Dad went to school!

Steele's rock!

Standin' on tombs

Tomb I was standin' on

fancy a stroll?

The falls of Ennistymon!

hehehe more danger

up close and personal

a girl and her uncle! 
This was not a safe venture but made an alright photo

Tomb #2 

Standing on Tomb #2
 The photo just above is on the same day as the photo just below.  Ireland, where the weather is always a surprise and never boring.

CRAAAZY waves!

Facing those ocean winds head on
I had a brilliant Clare experience. I left feeling like I had a better idea of where my Dad comes from which is pretty cool.  On Wednesday David drove me to Galway where I was able to catch up a bit with his son, my cousin, (who's also called) David and is going to college there right now.  After a bit of exploring we grabbed a bite to eat and uncle David saw me off.  I was taking the bus from Galway to Sligo, then to Sligo to Derry to meet back up with Paul. In other words I was going south to north in one day, which ended up being about 5 and a half hours of bussing.  

Met some interesting characters on the bus: one old and worn down looking woman came and sat next to me for an hour or two and started conversation. It came out pretty quick that I was a student from Canada who was visiting Irish family to which she said "Oh so you must be about 21 then!" I told her my actual age and she asked me to guess hers.  Now... I thought she looked to be in her fifties at LEAST and in an effort to be overly polite and not embarrass myself or her I decided to guess lower than what I really thought.  So I said somewhere in her forties. Her face changed to a look of utter surprise laced with a hint of horror as she said "But I'm only 39!!!" Oh god.  *Siobhan mentally facepalms* Well I missed the boat on that friendly stranger guessing game.  I then spent an awkward 5 minutes trying to fix my blunt mistake and mend her wounded pride.  She said she'd always been told she had a young face and I politely nodded while managing an awkward and high pitched "yes! mmhmm, ohh...? yes? yes, wow!" All jokes aside she looked at least 51 I'm tellin' you.

The bus went from being full to bursting point when it left Galway to a lonely 4 or 5 of us remaining when we arrived in Derry Wednesday evening.  Paul was there to meet me and then we drove back to his house in Culdaff (in County Donegal).  

Throughout the whole trip I had kind of an annoying, pestering cough that was rooted deep in my chest, so unfortunately I hadn't been out running.  Thorough googling told me that was the best option in order to get better faster, so I sucked it up and stuck to walking, which wasn't all that bad! Paul is over 6 ft. and walking to keep up with him is like half-jogging anyway so I didn't mind.  His house is in Culdaff, like I mentioned, and it's the town/beach where my Mum's parents used to take her and her 6 siblings every summer for a week's vacation.  It's only about a 8-10 minute drive outside their hometown of Carndonagh.  I know Culdaff has a very special place in my mum's heart and she adores the beach there, so walking on it with Paul was very cool. And beautiful (DUH it's Ireland).

Culdaff as the sun is setting! That land there is Malin Head
My first few days weren't all that exciting because of a scholarship application I was kind of pre-occupied with for uni next year.  It took up a lot of my time Thursday and Friday and aside from a few family dinners and walks with Paul I didn't get up to much.  I actually stayed up until 7am Saturday MORNING in an effort to get it done by the deadline.  In some kind of miraculous stroke of fate I got it all done, and also got to watch the sun rise beckoning the following day AS I was going to bed.  That's what I like to call a healthy sleep schedule.  But then it was done and is now out of my life THANK HEAVENS.  On Sunday Paul took me to the Five Fingers (cool spot in Inishowen) for a lovely beach walk, and then we went to my uncle Jim's for a big lunch with Patrick, Eimear, Grainne, and Paul.  After all the celebratory meals we had I sort of hit a breaking point of explosiveness.  Great food EVERYWHERE! 

On Monday Paul and I got up early and drove to Patrick's for a day touring County Antrim and some lovely sights out there.  After about a one hour drive or so we passed through Portrush which is a lovely little town on the seaside.  Patrick and Paul told me that when they were kids, my grandparents used to take them up to Portrush one day a year for some fun.  There's a cool amusement park setup in Portrush but they didn't have it running when we passed through. 

SPOTTED: My name.  On a sign.  In Portrush. I love Ireland. 

First stop: Beauty viewpoint of Dunluce Castle!

Paul, Siobhan, Patrick
Second Stop: Dunluce Castle! (For real this time)

Third Stop: Giant's Causeway!!
This was pretty cool.  We got a tour by an Irish guy named Neville who liked talking lots, and also got to hear firsthand the legend of the giant Fionn McCool and his wife Oonagh.  I loved that because I remember having a kid's book back in my kiddie days that was all about Fionn, his giant adventures, and the Giant's Causeway.  As nerdy as it sounds it was like seein' one of my favourite childhood stories come to life.  


Casual Giant stance

There be GIANTS

Looooook at the SIIIIIZE 

Siobhan! Uncles! Tourists explorin'!
Fourth Stop: Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge (minus the rope bridge part)
This involved a seaside walk along some majestic Irish cliffs that would normally end with a daredevil walk across a rather rickety rope bridge.  Sadly (or perhaps we should say thankfully) the rope bridge was under some maintenance so I didn't get to cross it but the walk was super fun! Paul and I discovered the hilarious joy of skipping along paths and frightening fellow tourists.  

Fifth Stop: Bushmills Whiskey Distillery
Got to see how the Irish perfect the whiskey making art.  It was pretty cool actually I was pleasantly surprised, but sadly I wasn't allowed to take any photos, so the excitement ends there folks.

The next morning Paul and I got up fairly early to do some filming in the morning light.  Paul is in the process of making a documentary on a book about the life and times of a cool old Irish guy named Charles McGlinchey and I was lucky enough to be around to help him get some shots! He showed me this insanely pretty walk through possibly fairy-inhabited trees and greenery up to an enchanted waterfall.  I'm saying enchanted because you couldn't see it and not imagine it being the hidden gateway to like an elf dwelling or something.  


Then another beach!

Mr. Cool

This dog was chillaxin' alone on the beach. He was adorable and super friendly and didn't have an owner in sight.  You go doggy.
Yesterday I got to hang out with my uncle Jim, who's my Mum's oldest brother.  He's lived in Carndonagh almost his whole life and works as a vet on large animals.  So he'd know Inishowen very well since he's not only had lots of exploring time, but would have driven all over in his jeep to visit farmers and their sickly animals.  I got to see so much of the countryside yesterday, AND it was beautiful out.


Kinnagoe Bay!


I have had my camera glued like that to my face for 2 weeks



It has been a slice Inishowen.  Tomorrow Paul and I will be heading out early to go back to Dublin.  I'm France bound on Saturday and am sad that my holidays are coming to an end, but on the PLUS side.... in about 3 weeks I'll be back! And this time with my Mom and sister :)

Today was my last day up north, and unfortunately it wasn't the most exciting.  Like I mentioned I've had this persistent chest cough.  A week ago Paul took me to the local doc in Carndonagh who prescribed some antibiotics, but after no improvement we went back today.  We ended up getting sent to Letterkenny hospital for a chest x-ray and all that medical shenanigan-type jazz.  Bad news: I spent almost all of my last day in a hospital.  Good news: I'm healthy! (Well almost healthy.. getting there, with the help of more antibiotics), and I got to see my uncle Laurence and auntie Eilish in Letterkenny for lunch on a wee hospital break.  Also Paul and I were blasting great tunes on the drive to and from Letterkenny, and also shared some great laughs, so it was not bad at all.  

The best part about leaving is being able to say that I'll be back soon! In total I'll be spending almost a month of my year in Ireland which is more than I ever have in my life and THAT is cool.  

So that's my Irish adventure. To be continued...