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! 

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Sometimes I Can’t Stand Humans, But They’re Awesome

I forget that the end of daylight savings time means everything is darker sooner, which makes me a little sad.

But on some bright notes! It was a fun Halloween weekend (“Halloweekend”, whatever), the weather has been beautiful, I’ve {nearly} cried of joy several times this weekend, and God is super good.

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clouds doing cool cloud things on Friday

I didn’t even do anything on Halloween, but I did dance my butt off at a Halloween party hosted by the Catholic Center on Friday! I danced pretty much non-stop all night. I had been craving a dance party since the wedding I attended this summer, and dance parties always remind me why I named this blog daily moves and grooves.

Plus, I dressed up as my favorite thing ever…

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peanut butter!

…along with my best friend, Jelly (aka Rachel). Rachel was the one who suggested this duo costume, and it seemed perfect for several reasons. I probably emit the smell of peanut butter on a daily basis already, so I was halfway there from the get-go.

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Several cookies fueled my dancing for the night, but I didn’t even have any candy this weekend! I wasn’t avoiding it by any means; I just never encountered any candy that I wanted. Cookies, cake, dining hall desserts sounded better. #snobby

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On Saturday morning some of my friends and I from the Boston University Students for Life club participated in the Out of the Darkness Suicide Awareness and Prevention Walk. Suicide awareness is something near and dear to many of us in one way or another, so it was a blessing to walk with so many other people (especially college students) in solidarity and support.

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I look really tall in this picture, but that’s an optical illusion

Also, they had free Stonyfield “Oh My Yog!” yogurt at the walk. We all ate it and agreed that it was some next level yogurt. This was the gingered pear flavor. Ooo la la!

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trilayer? whole milk? CREAM TOP!?!?

Saturday night was wild and crazy with lots of studying with Rachel (or at least, a lot of attempting to study on my part). I can let myself get very distracted with social media, and I very much dislike myself every time it happens. But it was Halloween, so I made myself think I was justified.

{As I just come back from 20 minutes on my Instagram feed. HELP.}

Anyway, the other nooks and crannies of this weekend were filled with Mass, choir, eating, some exercise, and best of all, truly awesome people.
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Let me tell you something. I have three types of days when it comes to interacting with people:

  1. Normal day: Happy to see my friends, interact with strangers politely.
  2. Especially negative day: Yo, people are the worst. I want Jesus to be my only friend ever.
  3. Especially positive day: PEOPLE ARE AMAZING. HELLOOOOO, BEAUTIFUL STRANGER, YOU’RE GREAT!

If my especially positive days occurred all the time, I’d probably end up losing friends because of my insanity.

In all seriousness though, more of the negative, mundane, or irking interactions with that I can have with some people (strangers or not) have lately been transformed into meaningful and fruitful interactions. For example, I can learn about virtue, reflect on my faith life, or be urged to evaluate my actions. In addition, regular interactions with friends have been deepened.

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What is the “secret” to this transforming and deepening? I think it’s something I learned yesterday: shared life. 

In other words: sharing your experiences with others and being genuinely interested and excited about others’ experiences, and then learning and growing with one another as a result!

Grab a meal with someone. Ask someone what his idea of a perfect day is. Ask your gal friend how her heart is doing (figuratively, not the actual organ…but you could ask that too). Tell him about your dream job. Describe to her what made you happy or sad this weekend.

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Some people may not care about what you have to say, but that doesn’t mean you can’t care for another person. Humans are awesome, and sometimes they’re just waiting for someone to be interested in them (personally, not romantically…but that could be true too).

By no means is it easy for me to “share life” with others. I think I will always have those especially negative days/moments when I feel like I need to be in a bubble, please and thank you. Nevertheless, in general, by sharing more about myself and by being more interested in other people, I have learned a lot about myself and about other amazing human beings. It’s really cool.

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my girl Fiona shared this with me last night

P.S. That’s what makes blogging really cool!!!

So tell me:

Did you dress up or do anything in particular for Halloween?

Did you eat any sweet treats this weekend?

What made you happy or sad or angry or anxious this weekend?

Instagram Accounts That Make Me Happy

Instagram is my kryptonite.

Apparently, I love it enough to write a speech about it. It’s my number one cause for procrastination, so I have to keep myself in check whenever I open up the app of beautiful doom. I tell myself, “Okay, only scroll for ten more pictures,” but my thumb doesn’t listen to me, and it just keeps scrolling for another twenty minutes.

GAHHH.

Part of the reason for my incessant scrolling is because I follow over 600 accounts on Instagram. Just a few weeks ago, I was following over 700 accounts, but I’ve been cleaning up the feed a little bit. Recently, the question I’ve been asking myself is: “does this Instagram account make me happy or does it cause me to reflect?” If the answer to either is no, I unfollow.

I don’t expect people to follow me when I follow them, but if they do follow me, I hope some of my photos can make them happy too!

And with that, here are some of my absolute favorite Instagram accounts that make me smile, think, pray, and chase my dreams/rainbows/butterflies.

People and Animals

@bevcooks // This wonder woman shares photos of her smushy-lovable twin babies with the most hilarious captions ever. Bev also produces amazing food and endless humor on her blog.

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@mimiikonn // Her fashion. Her hair. Her world. I found her a few years ago through her hair/style Youtube channel.

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@breelovesbeauty // Another Youtube star who brings out the girly girl in me. I love her inspirational photos and captions that come straight from Scripture.

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@humansofny // The famous photographer, Brandon, brings out the most inspirational, funny, and poignant stories from people he just meets in NYC.

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@3bulldogges // They speak for themselves.

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@speedyboyboy // His little tongue!

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Fitness

@kinoyoga // She’s just beautiful.

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@laurasykora // Rockstar yogi mama who can do any pose ever.

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@shauna_harrison // Underarmour Women creator and just an amazing, well-rounded athlete. Her #SweatADay videos are the best!

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@achieving_balance // A down-to-earth, gorgeous young woman who loves living a wholesome lifestyle (and who lives in Sydney aka paradise). Her mini workout videos are also awesome.

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@strength_and_focus // Another incredible yogi and all-things-fit mama. Just. Wow.

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@davedurante // INSANE strength and gymnastics skills.

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Food

@caitsplate // I’m sure a lot of you know her through her blog, but I can seriously stalk her simple yet beautiful {healthy} food pictures all the darn day. She’s also in grad school at Boston College (our rival, but still…Boston)!

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@tumblinbumblincrumblincookie // What a name, huh? Her pancakes match the fabulousness of her account name. And she’s only 15 years old!

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@passportsandpancakes // Elegant, natural, perfect.

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@realfoodbydad // Hooray for dads that cook and blog! He also puts everything in a waffle maker, which I really dig.

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Places

@youngadventuress // Confession: I just found her as I was typing up this blog post. But I can already tell I’m going to love this Instagram account.

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@nasa // The universe is cool. (<–Understatement of the EON.)

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 Is there an Instagram-aholics anonymous?

So tell me:

Instagram. Addicting or addicting?

What are some of your favorite accounts?