I still cannot believe that I have been in Europe for the past four days. It is so surreal to me. I’ve always wanted to be the world traveller my parents never were. Being from the land locked state of Nebraska would you blame me? Summer is the only time that I could go abroad because of my plan of study. So I made a few arrangements with my university, had some financials taken care of, and with a passport in hand, I left my comfort zone and headed to Limerick, Ireland!
…let me take a detour
London, England! London was everything I could’ve imagined… sort of. Let me explain.
- Better weather. But, that’s only because originally the forecast was only partly cloudy, pretty warm.
- Separate tabs. You know how in America, we can ask the waiter for a separate check for each person if we’re all paying for our own meal in a group?
- The WiFi. I never realized how much I love being able to contact my friends and family.
- The people. Maybe I’m biased because the Brits I know are nice to Americans. But then again, they aren’t from London.
But here’s the reality:
- Rain. Expect the rain. Bring rain boots, an umbrella, and a coat that won’t get soaked if it’s raining (i.e. a raincoat, leather jacket, weatherproofed things). Even if the forecast said sunny, plan just in case. Weather changes, and it can change your mood instantly.
- Paying the bill. Expect to figure out your part of the bill with your group. No separate tabs. They don’t do it. I don’t know why. I don’t get it, but hey, that’s their thing. Sorry, we made it hard on all of the servers who helped us!
- Wifi. Wifi is there only if you either A.) pay for it, B.) have a UK phone number, C.) isn’t there. Yeah, I know we’re supposed to enjoy the experience, and I was, but I wanted to also let my parents know I was safe. But we found wifi in a few restaurants and Starbucks so we were able to contact our families. All’s well that ends well!
- Friendly people. While we did meet a few friendly Brits who excused our American nature, some of those who observed us in restaurants snickered or laughed at us. It was weird, but we didn’t mind it. We had sights to see and places to go. This trip was all about adventures, fun, and seeing the beautiful history & culture we were immersed in.
So, instead of getting down about these realities versus the expectations, I tried to enjoy the two days we had in London, a place I had never been. I bonded with the other students, we saw so many sights, and made the most of the days before we flew off to where our program really starts: Limerick, Ireland. I flew in yesterday morning, so I’ve now been here a couple days and everything has been amazing! The weather has been gorgeous- everyone is saying we brought the good weather from America. We’ve already met some Irish hurling players, and it’s only the second day.
But now- I’m in Ireland, it’s surreal, it’s amazing, and I’m so glad I get to document this journey. This is happening, and I want to soak in every minute of it before I have to return to Nebraska, USA.