Over the years, I have travelled with my parents, with boyfriends, with my sister, with my friends, with coworkers, with follow students and with strangers. I have travelled on ferries, busses, planes, trains and cars. I have travelled to budget hostels, 5-star resorts, gites, pensiones, rental apartments, downtown hotels and I’ve even slept under the stars. My first international trip was to Spain when I was 18 months old and since then I’ve taken more flights than I can count. But at age 27 I had never travelled to a non-English speaking country alone.
This will be my last week as a resident of Northern Ireland. Come this Saturday, I am moving out of my rental house and on to my next adventure. After almost exactly six months here, I feel like it is definitely time to move on. But before I do so, I think it is worth reflecting on my time here, both the good and the bad, and all things I have learned.
Once upon a time a naive, brown-eyed, girl took job as a regional representative for a company with a head office located across a grey and blustery sea. Her position required her to visit this main office in the heart of a big, exciting city at least twice a month. To our innocent protagonist, this seemed like a brilliant idea that would be filled with exhilarating, exotic adventures. Who doesn’t want to live the glamorous life of travelling for business? She could see herself drinking hot lattes in plush airport lounges, dashing from cabs into hotels wearing long trench coats and cute heels, eating dinner in nice restaurants with interesting colleagues.
What: Magners Original Cider
Where: Boucher Road Fields, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Who: Two Belfast friends and a sea of locals.
I love board games, I really do. Ever since I was a kid desperately trying to convince my sister to play Children’s Monopoly I’ve love the camaraderie of time spent playing board games. Whether is it on Christmas Eve beside a roaring fire with the family or at a cottage with some drinks and a great group of friends, give me a board game night and I am a happy person.
Great Expectations. Charles Dickens. 1861.
We can control our actions. We can control our choices. But we cannot control our emotions. In Great Expectations, Pip knew to his detriment that he loved Estella against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be.
A car pulls off the highway and parks in an overcrowded lot. Four tourists stumble out of their rental car. They carry with them four overly large cupcakes in a pink, cardboard box. A 200m paved path leads to the base of a waterfall. They immediately pull out their cameras to ‘capture the moment’. A few generic photos later, they dive into their stale, excessively sugary, opulent desserts. The quality of the cupcake is poor, but they eat them anyways. Photos safely instagramed and carbs safely consumed, they head back down the path, stuff themselves back into the car and spend the rest of the day driving past beautiful vistas without even taking the time to pause.