The Great and Small Things I Learned This Semester {Study Abroad}

It’s hard to put into words how I feel about my experiences in Ireland, but I will do what I’ve done every semester before this — write up a list of…

the great and small

[freshman 1 ~ freshman 2 ~ sophomore 1 ~ sophomore 2]

…study abroad edition 🙂

  1. Ireland is underrated for its beauty.img_3103
  2. The grass really is greener in Ireland and there really are sheep everywhere.img_5538
  3. Aer Lingus has delicious food.img_2858
  4. How to use the Dublin Bus, aka one of the least user-friendly public transportation systems in the world.
  5. A little bit more about booze and how to drink it. I despise Rosé and red wine; I can tolerate light beers, hard liquors, and white wine; I can only tolerate Guinness at the Guinness Storehouse; I like “baby Guinness” shots; I am not willing to pay for the amount of alcohol it takes to make me even tipsy. (#BoozeAndGrooves)
  6. “Slagging” is when Irish people tease you and give you a hard time, but it’s supposedly a way to break the ice when you first meet someone.
  7. How to share a kitchen with over ten people.
  8. No matter how many times you might politely ask people to wash their own dishes, there will always be those who just. don’t. get it.
  9. How to take charge with travel plans, directions, and public transportation.img_4695
  10. How to not panic when I get lost in a foreign country
  11. It is indeed cloudy and rainy most of the time in Ireland (although we had mild weather this year!).img_5556
  12. Tea breaks are a real thing in the Irish workplace.
  13. I love the said tea, scone, and biscuit culture.14462810_1188492134507275_7641167688898127242_n
  14. But Megan and I also make some great scones that we like even more than the ones at the bakery…img_5595
  15. What dry needling entails and what it feels like.
  16. How to give bomb massages.
  17. I LOVE HARRY POTTER. I am a Hufflepuff with Slytherin undertones.img_6308
  18. I don’t get that homesick, but FaceTiming friends every week also helps.
  19. What black pudding and haggis are and how they taste (not bad!).img_6196
  20. How Airbnb works.img_3493
  21. I can just make it through Italy with my minimal high school Italian language “skills”.
  22. Assisi is the best place on earth.
  23. Heck, all of Italy is the best place on earth.
  24. How to better identify when my funky mood is due to lack of sleep.
  25. I can get fitter in four months without a gym.img_4291
  26. People feel most loved when you listen to them. Truly listen. This is something that I need to work on.
  27. What retrocalcaneal bursitis is and how it forces you to just RELAX and stop walking so much.img_5634
  28. 100% recovery is possible.
  29. Dublin is a fantastic brunch city.
  30. Megan loves brunch, loves dessert, and questions the purpose of coffee and alcohol as much as I do. And she’s an awesome travel buddy 🙂img_4765
  31. Irish dairy and beef are superb.
  32. Potatoes really are served with everything in Ireland.img_4214
  33. How to ask more questions.
  34. Irish sociology, culture, healthcare ethics, and insurance.
  35. How to play Gaelic sports (and that I royally suck at 2/3 of them).
  36. Names like Colm, Caolon, and Niamh exist, and they are not phonetical whatsoever.
  37. I don’t get sick of overnight oats.img_5698
  38. I don’t know how to do bars and pubs.
  39. Brown bread/soda bread is one of those “this-is-like-cardboard-but-somehow-delicious” foods. It’s all in the generous spread of butter.img_5533
  40. How to challenge my faith and to not be afraid of doubt.
  41. How to live with, get along with, and love a vastly diverse group of peers.
  42. How to have good craic (pronounced “crack”; means “fun”).
  43. I can’t believe I ever disliked the idea of studying abroad.
  44. How to fall in love with God (whomp whomp, so Christian-girl-mushy, sue me).
  45. God will truly lead you to where He wills you to go. Just ask Him.img_4935

I want to thank my parents, brother, friends/family at home and abroad, and all the staff and faculty at Boston University and Dublin City University who made my study abroad one of the best experiences ever. It is you who make my experiences full.

So tell me:

If you are college student, three things you learned this semester!

If you are not in college, three things you learned this fall! 

I Don’t Know How to Exist in a Pub, But I Do Know How to Pour a Guinness

This is the most beer that has ever surrounded me in my life.

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You can tell I’m cut out for the Irish lifestyle.

This past week was fun! Since my long day of work last Monday, work has involved massaging a couple butts (honestly though, I’m loving the massage experience) and Christmas dinner at a teppanyaki place! It was a lot of fun going out with the staff members after hours. They even made me take home the bottle of white wine, which is currently sitting on my desk, since we’re not allowed to keep alcohol in the dorm kitchens. *shrugs*

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my tiny eyebrows are still on my face

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‘Twas a super savory selection of meats and fried rice. It was just a lot of oil and soy sauce, but I still appreciated the Asian flavors. I hadn’t eaten Asian food since New York!

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The music was very international as well. They played “La Bamba” and “Brown Eyed Girl”, which were random but also two of my favorites, so I can’t complain!

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On Friday night, a few of my friends here invited me to join them for the Etihad Skyline tour at Croke Park, which was a tour of the Dublin skyline at dusk from the top of the biggest stadium in Ireland. It was such a unique experience!

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The tour guide took us to the top of the stadium, which has a walkway all along its border, and then she pointed out all the landmarks around Dublin from there as the sun was setting.

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We lucked out with relatively warm weather and no wind!

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She gave us harnesses for one point on the tour when we were standing on a slightly precarious balcony that looked straight down to the stadium.

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As long as you’re a competent walker, you don’t need the harness, but it adds an element of danger and fun 17 stories up, ya know?

The tour ended with a complimentary tea/coffee/hot chocolate, and we of course all chose the hot chocolate.

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I hadn’t had hot chocolate in forever, and this Cadbury one was the bomb. The marshmallows were the best part.

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Highly recommend the Etihad Skyline tour for something different in Dublin! We loved the view, the experience, our tour guide, and the hot chocolate 🙂

Saturday was pretty productive (WHOA!). I studied a bit, worked out, did some homework, did laundry, FaceTimed Madre, and went grocery shopping. In the evening, Megan and I did a mini mobile soup kitchen inspired by our friends back in Boston, who give out sandwiches, socks, blankets, and other goods to people who are homeless every. single. week. They are so full of love; we had to bring the love to Dublin too, even if on a smaller scale!

Then we headed to Mass at our favorite church and dinner. We had a pub called P.Mac’s in mind, but when we arrived, our plans slowly changed.

We got to P.Mac’s at around 7, and they were serving food until 7:45. Not a problem, except the atmosphere was definitely more bar than restaurant at that point. No one was eating food, and when we tried to find a table, people gave us weird looks. I asked a waitress if we could eat…then how we should go about eating…and where we should get a table. Basically, HELP US DO PUBS.

After probably only two minutes of walking around cluelessly, we decided that we weren’t cool enough for P.Mac’s after dark and left for a different restaurant. *sad trombone*

It’s okay though, we found American BBQ.

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Pitt Bro’s BBQ was bustling (and had good reviews on Yelp, to be honest), so we waited for a table and dug into some satisfying pulled pork!

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Megan got the pulled pork bun meal with mac and cheese, and I got the pulled pork meat meal with salad and mac and cheese.

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The pulled pork was awesome, but the sides were just meh. The mac and cheese wasn’t cheesy enough, but nothing some pulled pork can’t fix up.

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What a hero.

We ate prettttty quickly because we were hungry hippos by the time our food arrived, but we had room for the complimentary, swirl-your-own vanilla soft serve!!

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CLASSIC. It was so good. What a way to increase my itch for America.

We actually went back to church after dinner, because they had a prayer service with Adoration, confessions, and music going on. Better yet, it was hosted by young people our age! There have not been many people under the age of 60 at Mass in Ireland. It was a beautiful and unexpected night.

On Sunday, we brunched per usual 🙂

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My friend Cassandra invited a few of us to White Moose Cafe, which was so cute and HILARIOUS. They had a “breastfeeding corking fee” (because they allow breastfeeding there, and they are known for their satire).

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My food was delicious too! I had their spinoff of huevos rancheros, which was two baked eggs in a spicy sauce with chorizo, peppers, and kidney beans, served with homemade tortilla crisps.

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Megan and I also split an order of silver dollar pancakes with berry compote and mascarpone cream. They were denser pancakes, but I enjoyed them.

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Afterwards, Cassandra and I headed to the famous Guinness Storehouse! I don’t even like Guinness, but it’s an Ireland staple, so why not?

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The museum itself was amazing. It’s self-guided, but the layout is seamless as you ascend the museum’s seven stories.

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peep the bottom right quote: “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle” -graffiti

I didn’t see what that had to do with anything, but Guinness has a giant fish riding a bike.

Of course, the tour includes Guinness itself. We first learned HOW to taste Guinness. I had been doing it wrong (the two times I ever sipped Guinness).

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At the end, we learned how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness and left as certified pourers. BOOM. Someone sign me up to be a bartender.

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#unimpressed

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Lastly, we drank our perfectly-poured pints up at the Gravity Bar, which overlooks all of Dublin.

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Like I said, I don’t love Guinness, but this Guinness was a lot better than the previous ones I’ve tasted. Something to do with the freshness (and my pouring skills), I’m sure! I could still only drink 1/4 of my pint. It’s a lot.

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I’m glad I went though, because if there’s anything I learned in Ireland, it’s how to pour a Guinness. And that hops are plants.

Have a wonderful week, everyone! I have a more serious post coming for you on Wednesday… ooooooooooo.

So tell me:

Do you like Guinness? What is your favorite beer?

The best thing you ate this weekend!

Have you ever stepped into a place that felt too cool for you? 

Let Me Brag About My Friends Again

I’m currently sitting outside on this last day of spring break, and I’m feeling all kinds of emotions.

Sad that spring break is over, overjoyed that the weather has been beautiful, grateful for amazing friends, anxious for the second half of the semester, and excited for what’s to come.

But can I brag about these people in my life who I call my friends (I think they call me their friend too, but who really knows)? These last few days of spring break have been wonderful in every way, but mostly in how down-to-earth, fun, and faithful my friends are. I’ve said this so many times before, but they constantly inspire me to be better and grow closer to God.

Friday

Friday started with some homework, maybe? I don’t remember. Regardless, the important part of the day was Mass and lunch with my friend Katie!

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perfect weather

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We chatted about the very depths of our souls over some bomb salads from Sweetgreen. I forgot to take picture with her, so my type-A-blogger self is sad.

The rest of the day involved Kan-Jam, a trip to the gym (too many heavy squats ➔ sore for DAYS), homework, and early bedtime.

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Saturday

I worked from 10-3 before playing outside in the perfect weather (again). I also stopped by Whole Foods to buy a box of salad greens, Fage Greek yogurt (that was on sale!), fresh strawberries (also on sale) and Nature’s Path mixed berry buckwheat freezer waffles (also on sale #collegebudget). Those four things were my sustenance for the weekend.

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crumbs everywhere on my bed

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Yogurt, nut butter, waffles, berries, and leaves— nothing out of the ordinary for me anyway.

Saturday night brought some fun festivities! My friends and I went out for drinks…

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…and I was the only one in our group under 21, which explains my Shirley Temple pictured above.

*waitress taking orders*

Friend 1: Guinness, please.

Friend 2: I’ll also have a Guinness.

Friend 3: Guinness.

Friend 4: Guinness for me too.

Me: …Can I get a Shirley Temple?

Honestly, that’ll probably be me when I’m 21 anyway.

Nevertheless, ’twas a grand ol’ night, complete with live Irish music and dancing. I’m grateful for my older friends who let me have fun with them despite me being an infant.

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They went to another bar at 11, at which time I actually needed to go home. #NoFakeID

Sunday

That one hour loss, guys. IT GOT ME.

Nothing a good breakfast can’t fix though!

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Better yet— Mass with friends… and more perfect weather!

After Mass, I knew that I had to move and groove outside. It seemed like all of Boston was saying hello to the blue skies!

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I ran into more friends, who were willing to put up with my selfie shenanigans in the middle of their workout.

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We all burpee’d a lot.

Lunch was the rest of my salad greens, Snap Pea Crisps, and an almond butter Perfect Bar.

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I was planning on doing some more studying, but I didn’t need to do any work… So I went back outside 😀

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As soon as I whipped out my phone, this squirrel that was stuffing its face stared me down and looked like it was about to kill me.

More frisbee!

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It was also my friend Lauren’s birthday!!!

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four-eyed friends ♥︎ 

The dining halls opened last night (praaaaaise), so a few of us chowed down.

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Then I joined my saintly friends for Back Bay Mobile Soup Kitchen for a little while before coming back to do some work attempt to do work while waiting for RACHEL TO COME HOME!

She was on a mission trip in Guyana for spring break, so I had not talked to her/seen her/contacted her/known every detail of her life for what seemed like FOREVER. She shared her experiences from the mission trip, and I almost cried. God worked through her in such profound and incredible ways.

She also saw a lot of stars 🙂

Back to the grind today. Sophomore year will come to a close in just six weeks, help.

Hope you all have a kick-butt week! I’m going to need a couple kicks in the butt just to get out of bed.

So tell me:

Something you loved about this weekend.

Something you love about your friends.

Have you ever been “that” person under 21?

Have you ever been on a service or mission trip?