Spring Break

April 6th-16th:

My spring break this year was filled with 4 different countries in 10 days. It was filled with adventure, new cultures, and ended with complete exhaustion (in the best way possible). I went to Budapest in Hungary, Krakow in Poland, Prague in Czech Republic, and Berlin in Germany. I did and saw so much in these last ten days that if I tried to write it all down here you would be reading this blog for days. So instead I will just summarize the main things I did in each city or the activities I most enjoyed.

Budapest

-Spent an evening in the Széchenyi thermal baths.

-Finished a 1984 themed escape room with 11 minutes left (Budapest is known for escape rooms. An escape room is where you are in one room and you have 60 minutes to figure out how to escape with the clues given to you.)

-Went caving in the Elisabeth lookout. Caved 160 feet underground. I am not one who is claustrophobic, but there were some crazy small places I had to get through that by the end of the 3 hours of caving I was very happy to be outside and to be fully standing up! This was probably one of my favorite activities we did during the course of the trip because it was something I never thought of doing, but I am so glad I had the opportunity to do it. 

We drove through Slovakia and past the 2nd highest mountain range in Europe on our way to our second stop in Poland.

Krakow

-Took a day trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps. This was an emotional day as we walked through bunks and gas chambers. It is one thing to read about this part of history, but it is a completely different experience to be in the concentration camps and see the personal artifacts of the victims.

-Had a traditional Polish dinner which included beet soup with boiled eggs. Not my favorite soup I’ve tasted, but also not the worst.

-Saw the Jewish Bohemian Quarter.

-Because it was the week before Easter, there were little markets in each main square throughout Europe so I was able to see local shops set up with Easter treats and souvenirs.

A bus ride that was suppose to be 6 hours long turned into a 9 hour bus ride that dropped us off at our hostel at 3am once we were in our next destination in the Czech Republic.

Prague

-I had a 6 foot 8 inch tall tour guide for this city so practically Hagrid was showing me around the Czech Republic.

-Climbed the main clocktower in the city center for a panoramic view of the whole city.

-Tagged the Lennon Wall by saying ‘Choose Joy’. The wall was named after John Lennon. 

-Saw the Prague Castle and the changing of the guards ceremony.

-I loved all the cities on this trip, but if I had to choose just one that was my favorite I think it would be Prague. I loved the feel of the city and all the buildings were just so beautiful.

We took a five hour bus ride to reach Berlin, our fourth and final stop.

Berlin

-Saw the Berlin Wall. It was strange to see such an iconic monument next to streets and old buildings.

-Saw where Hitler’s bunker was and where his ashes lay.

-Saw Checkpoint Charlie.

-Climbed to the top of Germany’s Parliament Building for a view of the city. 

-Had dinner at a brewery where people were in costumes and there was live music to dance to.

-For Easter I went to the Mauer Park Flea Market and the Soviet War Memorial before going to the airport to fly back to Ireland.

Ten days for four countries was a crazy idea, but I made new friends, tried new foods, experienced new cultures, and had my worldview expand even more. I got to see parts of Europe that I wasn’t planning on visiting, but am so glad that I did.

I took my first exam this week for my Irish Folklore class. In Ireland finals are set up where you write 2-3 essays in two hours and that counts anywhere from 50-100% of your grade. No pressure! I have a week break where I should be studying before the rest of my 4 finals, but instead I am going to Paris and Athens for a week. I am still living the dream, but now I have to actually do school work:) As my time here is slowly coming to an end I can’t even believe how fast time has gone. I feel like I have been gone for a few weeks, not months! I had a meeting this week about reverse culture shock, which makes me realize just how soon it will be before I am back home. I know I am so blessed to have traveled so many places and to have met the most amazing people, but as sad as I am for this experience to end, I do miss my mom’s cooking so home is starting to sound pretty nice! I know it is going to feel just like days until I am home again so I am going to soak up every last minute of my time abroad before I need to go back to reality.

With love,

Alyssa

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Futball and Islands

With the time I have left in Ireland my days and weekends are constantly filled with activities. This last Friday I went to a European soccer game (futball). I think I enjoyed it more than the rugby match I went to because the fan section on Friday was so loud and fun. They cheer most of the game and at a few points each side lit flares and were throwing them around (strange, but it does draw the attention they were looking for). On Saturday I got up early for a bus trip to a ferry that took me to the smallest of the three Aran Islands, Inis Oirr. I went a few weeks ago to the largest Island, Inis Mór, with a few of my roommates, but I took this last trip with my entire study abroad program. The ferry ride was extra cold because I was sitting on the top of the boat. Once we got to the Island the sun was shinning on the Atlantic Ocean and a sense of peace washed over the group. There was one restaurant open on the Island so choosing where to go for lunch was easy. I got sausage and chips (french fries) as my healthy meal before we went adventuring around the Island. We passed cows, horses, and tons of open fields during our walk. We climbed a small fence (I was reluctant, but it ended up being the best part of the trip) that led us out to rows of rocks that looked out at the setting sun on the Atlantic Ocean. We climbed around on the rocks and did a photo shoot with the breathtaking view. We climbed for awhile trying to reach the lighthouse we saw in the distance. Once we were done having another photoshoot there we hurried back to the main part of the town because the only restaurant was going to stop serving food soon. After another plate of sausage and chips (you have accept whatever they give you that is gluten and dairy free here) we sat and talked and laughed for a few hours before live Irish music started playing. I had a warm cup of tea and as I was drinking it and looking around the small pub I felt so much joy and peace. It feels like I am on a 4 month vacation and I am loving every moment of it. As we left the pub and looked up at the sky I have never seen so many stars looking back at me. I got back to our B&B and sat by the fire and talked more with my friends. It was the best way to end an already peaceful day.

On Sunday we got up and explored the other part of the Island we hadn’t seen yet. We saw a rusty ship that crashed on the island and has been there for probably a long time judging by the rust. We took the sunny ferry ride back to the mainland and took a short bus trip from there to the Cliffs of Moher. They are very famous in Ireland and for the Harry Potter fans the rock that Harry and Dumbledore stand on in the Half Blood Prince when they go to get the locket is at the Cliffs of Moher. It was a little scary walking along the edge of the cliff, but the views were worth it and the sunny day made it feel a little safer. I got some pictures of me looking like I was falling just to send to my parents. I took a sleepy bus ride back to Limerick where I was greeted with the biggest hello from my roommates. Limerick is truly starting to feel like home and God blessed me with some amazing relationships this semester.

School wise…what is school? Just kidding! I go to class and do the little homework I get each week, but the hard part is coming up in May when I have all of my exams. I leave this Thursday for my spring break trip. It is 10 days long and I am visiting Budapest in Hungary, Krakow in Poland, Prague in Czechia, and Berlin in Germany. It is my largest trip so far and I am filled with excitement and a few nerves for the big trip. After I get back from my spring break adventure I have less than a week before I fly off to Paris and Athens for a week long trip. My fun slowly ends as the weeks after that are filled with exams. My time here is going by so fast and I can’t believe I am seeing so many places and in a little over a month I will be back in Minnesota.

Thank you all for still following my journey!

With love,

Alyssa

Austria and Slovakia

Another weekend means another adventure!

This last weekend I had the privilege of seeing Bratislava, Slovakia and Vienna, Austria. I flew into Bratislava on Friday March 24th and stayed there for the day to explore the town. Once we got off the plane in Bratislava and took a bus into the city center we went to a small, local restaurant to have pizza and salad. Both Slovakia and Austria speak German and so the language barrier was something I struggled with for the majority of the trip. At the local restaurant we just pointed to the menu hoping we chose something delicious because the waiter didn’t speak a lot of English and we spoke maybe 3 words of German (thanks to my little sister who took German in middle school I knew how to ask for the bathroom and say good morning). We walked to a palace that overlooked the city as the sun was setting. We walked around the grounds and found a beautiful garden on the back of the property. As we were admiring the the garden the gates were closing so we ran out before we were trapped inside the palace walls for the night. I have been proud that I am able to pack for a weekend in just my backpack because I inherited the overpacking gene from my mother. The hard part about having shoes, clothes, toiletries, and food all shoved in my backpack is that I walk hours around the cities with it. We started to get tired from traveling all day and our backpacks were feeling like 100 pounds, so my three friends and I got on a bus to Vienna where our hostel was. Our bus did drop us in Vienna, just not in the city center, so we had to take an impromptu metro ride. Our hostel was so cute and had a vintage style to it. The rest of our night consisted of talking for hours over french fries.

On Saturday we got up and walked to get breakfast and tea (because that’s how English I’m becoming). We then went to one of the largest flea markets in Austria called Naschmarkt. It was like 100 different areas set up with antiques and vintage items on one side of the market and food stands set up on the other half of the market. There were so many cultures at the market and so many languages being spoken. It was fun to try bargain prices for items and to see what little treasures I could find. I got an old photograph, some keys, and a dress. After spending most of the morning and afternoon there we started walking around the rest of Vienna to see what it had to offer. The city was very clean and had lots of buildings, but was overall pretty small. We were able to walk to everything which was really nice. We saw a park that was surrounded by gorgeous buildings and had a statue near the center to recognize Mozart. After walking all around the city and seeing the cute shops and all the horse and carriages around we went back to the hostel to get ready for our concert that night. We went to a beautiful churched called St. Anna’s in the city to listen to a quartet made up of one violin, two violas, and one cello. The cello player shared that he was playing on an instrument made in 1754. His cello was two years older than Mozart himself. I stayed awake the whole time (which for walking around all day and eating a large dinner right before was a big accomplishment) and was so excited to be able to be in a country and city where classical music runs through its veins. 

Austria is one hour ahead of Ireland to begin with and this particular weekend was also day lights savings so our alarm clocks were freaking out and unsure of what time we we set our alarms for. So long story short our alarms did not go off at all so we got up with like 30 minutes to pack before we had to checkout of our hostel on Sunday. We got breakfast and then went to rent city bikes to explore more of Austria. The city has lanes specifically for bikes so it was nice having our own lane to be in while biking. Once we got outside of Vienna our trail turned into an actual lane next to cars in the rode. I was leader for a little bit, but I didn’t realize that a red light for cars meant a red light for bikes too so after going through some red lights my friends sent me to the back of the pack. We stopped at a little graveyard in the middle of no where to see Mozart. All the graves were from the 18th and 19th century so it was amazing to see it so preserved and know so much history was underground. After thanking Mozart for all he has done we started biking to another graveyard. This other one was so large that the people selling flowers in the front recommend we keep our bikes because walking from one end to the other could take hours. We saw Beethoven, Schubert, and many other famous composers in what is called Central Cemetery. I feel weird visiting a gravesite, but it is so amazing to see the resting place of people you learn about for years in school. After biking (and some walking) back to Vienna we found a cute little restaurant for our last meal in Austria. The dinner was amazing and it helped pass the time we had to wait for our bus that would take us back to Bratislava. We got on all the right busses (which is a big deal) that brought us to the small airport in Slovakia, where we would wait about 6 hours before we needed to start going through airport security. I was so exhausted after this trip because I got some small naps here and there, but from Sunday morning to Monday night, I probably only slept 4 hours. Overall it was an amazing trip and I am so thankful for the wonderful group of people I have met and who go along on all these crazy adventures with me.

With love,

Alyssa

St.Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland was not like I expected it to be. I honestly pictured people drinking all day and passed out by noon. Since St.Patrick’s Day is a religious holiday people are actually not allowed to drink while being out in public for the whole day. It was a very pleasant surprise to see that the day was centered around family and religion. The largest celebration in Ireland is in Dublin, but I stayed in Limerick so I could not only see the parade, but be apart of it. 

I signed two of my roommates up with me to be in the parade in Limerick. I signed us up as trees, because I figured when I was 80 years old it would sound super cool to say “when I was your age I was a tree in the St.Patrick’s Day parade in Ireland”! We had to wear all black and got a black eye mask with leaves attached to it for our costume. We took a short bus ride into the city at 10:30am. I sat by the professor who organized the University’s group to be in the parade. She said that this was the University’s first year being in the parade. I was happy because that meant that there weren’t any tree performances before me that I had to live up to. We got to the city which was blocked off to most traffic as there were swarms of people walking up and down the streets. My tree prop ended up being a tree branch versus a full tree costume. They actually chopped branches off of trees to give to us and mine looked like the Charlie Brown Christmas tree. It was heavier than it looked too. We filed into line with all of the other groups of the parade as show time was getting closer. We were group 72 out of 73, which meant that we had to wait about two hours in the wind and rain before we walked down the streets of Limerick. I was so excited about this opportunity that I wasn’t too bothered by the cold rain until I lost feeling of my fingers from holding part of a fabric to symbolize water and my hand holding my branch. Once we started walking in the parade I forgot about how cold I was and was waving my branch at the 20,000 people that turned out for the parade. The best part of the parade was seeing two of my roommates in the crowd cheering and yelling our names. It was so much fun to see some familiar faces and they looked like proud parents seeing us three wave our tree branches at them. We walked in the parade for about one hour total. It was strange walking in the middle of the city which is usually filled with cars and buses 24/7. We didn’t spend a lot of time in the city after the parade, but we got a free lunch at a pub on campus for being in the parade. Warm chicken and chips (french fries) had never tasted so good. I think everyone assumes that St.Patrick’s Day in Ireland is crazy, but my day was crazy for a different reason. One of my roommates who walked in the parade with me had been feeling sick for a few days, but after lunch she couldn’t breath and lost feeling of her limbs. Translation: St.Patrick’s Day was spent in the hospital. My roommate is totally fine now and just needed some doctors looking over her. I got back home around 7 o’clock at night and she came back around 11 that same night. Not feeling like going out, we all ate a lot of food and went to bed.

I did not know what to expect from this holiday in Ireland, but I had an amazing time experiencing the parade and spending the rest of my day with my fabulous roommates.

This Friday, March. 24th, I am flying into Bratislava, Slovakia and then staying overnight in Vienna, Austria for the weekend. Another blog post will soon follow!

With love,

Alyssa

Better Late Than Never

Hello!

I have been so busy (which isn’t a bad thing), but I’m so sorry that this post is going to be extra long in order to cover many of the things I have been up to in the last few weeks!

Irish people eat, sleep, and breath rugby so it was an amazing experience when I got the chance to go to an actual rugby game. After seeing these grown men beat each other up for a ball, I don’t think I’ll be able to watch American football with as much enthusiasm. It was fun sitting in the stands with my friends and cheering and shouting at whatever the people around us were shouting at.

What do you do on a Thursday night? Go to the local circus of course! Limerick was hosting a circus for a week down the street from the university so I walked there with some friends and experienced an Irish circus. The tent was so small and picture perfect that it felt like I was watching a circus from the movie Dumbo. There weren’t any elephants, but lots of horses and dogs. All the acts were really well done and it was a great break from the week and an amazing place for laughs with my friends.

Belfast (March 3-5th)

Two weeks ago I went with my whole study abroad program to Belfast in Northern Ireland. Belfast is a town with lots of history. I saw walls that are still standing from when the city was divided and at war for political and religious reasons. The tour guide even shared personal stories of how the walls built affected him growing up and what it was like in Ireland during a time of great divide. On Saturday we had a full tour around Northern Ireland. I didn’t know that about 70% of the show Game of Thrones is filmed in Northern Ireland and I also didn’t know that most of the tour would be about this show I have never seen. The scenery, as usual, was breathtaking. I hope I never stop being in awe of God’s creation that I see around the world. We made many pit stops on the trip to see places where the Game of Thrones was filmed along with historical sights. At one stop we had to walk down a very steep staircase attached to a side of a hill to get to Giant’s Causeway. Giant’s Causeway is known for its hexagonal shaped rocks that formed after a volcanic eruption. It was beautiful to see the dark black rock next to the dark Atlantic Ocean. My last day in Belfast included spending the day at the Titanic Museum. The museum took about 2 hours to get through. It started off talking about Belfast and how it turned into the ship making capital of the world. There was even a little ride in the middle of the museum that brought you through the different stations involved in building the Titanic. They had replicas of all the different types of rooms that were available for each social class onboard the Titanic, which was crazy to see the obvious differences. The most emotional part of the museum was at the end when it talked about the sinking of the Titanic. The room was dark and overhead you hear survivors sharing their testimonies of the event. On the walls were the different SOS messages sent out by the Titanic to other ships as it was sinking. Stories of those who did and did not survive were on every wall you passed during this part. Everyone in this room was silent to show respect for those who passed away. It was amazing to see people from all over the world in this room and all paying respect to the Titanic. It was a very humbling experience walking through the museum and being in the exact spot where the Titanic was built. 

Galway March 11th, Aran Island March 12th

On Friday night two of my roommates and I decided to take a weekend trip to Galway and the Aran Islands in Ireland. On Saturday we took the bus from campus into the city center to catch the train. We ended up missing our transfer train and waited over an hour to catch the next one before transferring to another train in order to finally get to Galway. Galway was a fun and vibrant city. There was music playing on every street corner with crowds all around town. We walked around and saw the sun setting on the buildings and soaked in the upbeat environment. We went to an Irish pub to finish off the evening. We got up early the next day to catch another bus that brought us to a ferry. We rode the ferry over the Atlantic Ocean that brought us to the Aran Islands. It was a sunny day out so we rented some bikes and biked around the island to see the natural environment of the island. I thought after all my walking around campus and on trips that I was in decent shape, but I was huffing and puffing up some of those hills! We will just blame that on the fact that I was biking with my heavy backpack on. We climbed up a steep hill that overlooked the small town on the island and the Atlantic Ocean, with some cows at the top to keep us company. We also stopped at a lookout and saw a few seals floating in the water. It was a trip planned last minute, but it was filled with so many beautiful sights and some great laughs with my roommates!

As you may know St. Patrick’s Day is kind of a big deal in Ireland and the holiday is this Friday. Instead of watching the parade I will be in it. I am tree #4 and will be representing the University of Limerick in front of about 80,000 parade watchers. I can’t believe I have stories like this and that when I look at my camera roll I have pictures from so many remote and amazing places.

Sorry this post was so late, but many more new stories in the weeks to come!

with love,

Alyssa

Scotland

If Scotland wasn’t on your bucket list before, you need to add it! This past weekend I went with 6 of my friends and we spent 4 days there total. I flew into Glasgow and explored the town all day before taking a bus into Edinburgh where the rest of our stay was spent. The country has history at every turn. In Glasgow we saw the Glasgow Cathedral which was built in 1560. We also went to a military cemetery that was on a hilltop that overlooked most of the city. Our hostel was in Edinburgh where we did most of our sightseeing. I was worried about what my first experience was going to be like in a hostel, but I stayed in the Marriott of hostels I think. It was mostly clean, had free tea (which I have started drinking almost daily since being in Ireland), a kind staff, and a lobby with a knight in it.

Our second day in Scotland was filled with a 12 hour bus tour around several parts of the country. This was probably one of my favorite things I did during the trip because the views were breathtaking and the guide shared so many facts about the land and its history. I passed grounds where Braveheart was shot, Monte Python, the castle where Queen Mary “bloody Mary” was born, a bridge that was in Harry Potter, and the Highland Mountains. It was pretty cold and windy so the sights were literally breathtaking, but I stood in awe of all the views. I can fall asleep in any vehicle and this bus ride was no exception. We drove around all 23 miles of beautiful Loch Ness and Alyssa probably saw 5 of those miles, but I did enjoy the views I was awake to see! We stopped at Loch Ness to see what was left of the castle and to take a boat tour on the lake to look for the Loch Ness monster. There is a 1 million pound cash prize if someone gets a picture of it, but I unfortunately didn’t spot it. Looks like I’ll have to find another way to pay off my loans. That night I went to a restaurant that had live music and some dancing with a few of my friends. It was nice to mingle with some of the locals and to not be in a moving vehicle.

Day three of Scotland was a day to explore Edinburgh. We started by going to see the Edinburgh castle. It has been around since the 12th century and was mostly intact. Inside the castle was a war museum where I learned more about Scottish history than I have about Irish history so far. It was a cold day, but I had so much fun looking and walking around the grounds. After walking around so much we worked up an appetite and went to lunch at a Frankenstein themed restaurant. With full stomaches we then prepared ourselves for a long walk to our next destination. We walked outside, crossed the street, and right there was the National Museum of Scotland-perfect! It was the largest museum I have ever seen. They had 8 floors filled with different artifacts and stories. I made it to the main 3 levels and felt like a little kid playing with all the interactive exhibits. That night we stayed in and sipped our tea, played cards, and planned our journey back home.

Day four in Scotland was a day of goodbyes. We walked around Edinburgh and got our last souvenirs, said goodbye to the city, and got on a bus that took us back to Glasgow where we would fly into Dublin. The 4 days I spent in Scotland were filled with nature, history, laughter, and friends. It was a great first trip and I am so excited to get out on another adventure.

Back on campus my classes are starting to get busier. I have to remind myself that I’m not on vacation and that school work is still important. As usual I may have over committed to some campus clubs, but I figured the more the merrier! I signed up for the International Society, Christian Union, Archery, Outdoor Pursuits (I go out and hike around Ireland on the weekends), and Skydiving. Yes I will be going skydiving while I’m here. I think my parents were hoping it was a joke, but I want to say yes to all the opportunities presented to me…and that means I’m jumping from a plane. I am finally feeling more comfortable with my new environment and wake up each day so excited to see what new things I will experience. Thank you everyone for still following my journey!

With love,

Alyssa 

I’m Really Here?!

Greetings!

I survived my first week of classes! The hardest part about courses here is that unlike the states they don’t have daily assignments and assessments, but instead my grade is made up of 1-2 papers and a final exam (that usually consists of writing 2 more essays). I have to remind myself that even though I don’t have daily work there is still school work I need to be working on. I am taking 5 courses and I am really excited for all of them. I had to change out of one class because I showed up and realized it was a second semester, junior english major course. I am a sophomore social work major so as soon as class ended I ran and started searching for what I could replace it with! I am interested in Irish writing, just not on that scale of difficulty.

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to go with the international society to go on a trip to southern Ireland. I got on a bus along with some of my friends and we started driving for two hours to a little town called Kenmare. On the ride there I was amazed by just how beautiful the grounds of Ireland are. We passed everything from flat farms to rolling hills and even some rocky mountains. Once we grabbed some lunch in Kenmare we started to head over to the Ring of Kerry, which is a drive around the southern edge of Ireland in Kerry. That drive stopped abruptly once we realized that the road we needed was shut down for construction. We instead went to Killarney National Park where again I was just amazed at God’s creation and how beautiful Ireland is. We all walked to the Torc Waterfall and then had time to explore the national park in smaller groups. I have met such great people during my time here so far that I went with my friends and we laughed and made memories in a place so green and magical. All around the national park there are mountains and rolling hills. As silly as this sounds, while walking through the park it finally hit me that I am in Ireland. All the plane rides didn’t do that for me? I guess not! But for the first time I saw the place where I will be living for the next four months and felt a new wave of awe and amazement. It is crazy to think that I am here and able to experience so much and I feel so blessed to be able to see and do all these things! Thank you again for all the prayers and words of support and encouragement while I am here!

With love,

Alyssa

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The village of Kenmare

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Killarney National Park

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Torc Waterfall

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My First Days

Hello Everyone!

I made it to Limerick! I made it through all the airports and custom checks successfully. I had one scare in the Minneapolis airport because my mom packed me a water purifier (because they use non filtered spring water in Ireland) and the purifier is a glass cylinder that TSA thought was a bomb. All my stuff was drug tested and tested for radioactive material. Once that interrogation was over everything else went smoothly. Thanks mom:)

I spent 3 days in London so I could get over jet leg faster and to meet some other people who are going through the program with me. I saw and did so much in London that it is crazy to think I haven’t even been gone from the states a full week yet. I saw everything from Big Ben, the London Eye, Buckingham Palace (unfortunately the Queen wasn’t home), Kensington Palace, St. Paul’s Cathedral (where Princess Diana was married), the Westminster Abbey (where William and Kate were married), walked across the London Bridge, and even found platform 9 3/4. The food was amazing because every restaurant and pub has its own menu items and specialties. I had to end all this fun by leaving the hotel at 7:30am on Tuesday to fly to Ireland. I have been going through orientation stuff all this week to prepare for classes that start on Monday the 23rd. I don’t technically register for classes until the second week of school, but the courses I’m planning on taking are mostly sociology, literature, and Irish studies courses.

Ireland is as green as they say and my campus feels like a magical little (actually not that little) castle in the middle of it all. I got a tour of Limerick when I took the wrong bus trying to get back to campus after shopping downtown, and after being on the bus for 2 hours I can honestly tell you the houses and lands are gorgeous here.

Some of the main differences I have noticed:

-They drive on the other side of the road

-I use a key fob instead of keys to get into my house and my room

-Craic (pronounced crack) means fun (so when someone says lets have craic, you actually want to join because it means you’ll have a fun time)

-They only go to the hospital if bones are sticking out from their body, not for infections or colds

-They don’t use microwaves (this is a new concept for a college student like myself)

-A fizzy is a soda

-Everyone knows about American politics and everyone has an opinion to share with you

-They have TK Maxx versus TJ Maxx

-Heat and hot water are only on for a few hours each morning (6am-9am) and a few hours at night (7pm-9pm) because it is so expensive in Ireland.

I have met a great group of people from all over the world and have enjoyed sharing stories and walking through all these new experiences with them. I get made fun of a little bit by the other American students for my Minnesotan accent, but I just laugh with them because they are right. I still can’t believe I am here and get to experience all these wonderful things. Thanks for going on this journey with me and more stories to come next week once classes start!

With love,

Alyssa

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This is in front of Buckingham Palace and to show that I made friends.

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The London Eye

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This is in front of the house where Sherlock Holmes would live according to the books. This picture was for Aunt Kitty.

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Forget University of Limerick, I’m coming Hogwarts!

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The Big Ben is actually the bell in the tower, but for all of us tourists it is the Big Ben.

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This is one of the buildings on campus. Art or a school building?

My Life in Limerick

Hello everyone!

I wanted to start a blog to document my adventures as I spend my spring semester studying in Limerick, Ireland at the University of Limerick. I started planning for this trip a year ago and even when life showed some unexpected bumps in the road I have still decided to go! I will leave in January and be gone until May.ul-logo

I am an even mixture of excitement and nerves. I have always had the motto that I need to try all things that scare me. Being gone from my friends and family for 5 months is something I would consider scary! As afraid as I may be I am even more excited for all the firsts I’ll get to experience and all the new stories I will gain. I have read every possible blog and website about Ireland and the University of Limerick that I feel I am as “prepaireland-limerick-mapred” as I could be. I know it rains all the time and that a rain jacket will become an outfit staple. I know that classes are about as opposite as you could imagine as the state’s (you rarely get daily homework there). I also know I won’t be able to have my mom drop off all the things I’ll forget at home or to bring me some sweet treats to encourage me to finish the school year strong. I will be going on this adventure by myself, but I want to use this blog to bring others along with me! I am so blessed to have this opportunity and I can’t wait to see how God will use these experiences to help me grow and see even more of His creation. Let’s strap in and get ready!

Blessings,

Alyssa