Sunday, November 24, 2013

When the clan comes to town...

I think I blinked and suddenly we are nearing the 7th week of our trip, meaning we have a few short weeks left. I feel my mind begin to go into panic mode thinking about all that's left to do. And I'm not just talking papers, projects, my Independent study, postcards to send out, blogs to catch up on (oops). I feel as though my "To do" list is still so vast even though I've been blessed to have so many awesome opportunities and experiences! Take the last week alone...
I was in 3 different countries, ran my first ever 5k, and was able to check multiple things off my bucket list! Things that not everyone usually gets to do!

My parents came to visit the week before last (November 11th-17th) and let me just tell you, there is nothing more amazing than hearing your name on the streets of Dublin by a familiar voice from home! Just as it is in the movies, as soon as I heard my dad calling my name, I ran to give him and my mom a hug! What a great feeling! Didn't realized how much I truly missed them, and they me (Mom was practically tearing up although she doesn't like to admit it). We spent that first day catching up on news from home and chatting all while I was giving them their own personal tour of the city I had come to love. It was pretty neat being able to share all the facts and history I had been learning not just in the classroom, but outside of it too! This place has really become a home for me and it was great being able to share it with my family. It was also nice going out to eat and not paying for my meals and drinks for once (thanks, Mom and Dad! love, your budget-friendly college kid).

Tuesday we boarded a bus at 6:45am (yikes!) for a guided tour to the Rock of Cashel (old cathedral housing St. Patrick's cross), Blarney Castle (home of the infamous kissing stone), and Cork city! We were lucky enough to have the same tour guide as when Meg, Molly, and I ventured to the Cliffs of Moher one weekend! "Bud" (as in Budweiser like he likes to say to his tour groups) is funny and friendly and very passionate about his work. He says he loves his country and has a great passion for showing it off to people. And what a beautiful country it is! We were fortunate enough to have another sunny day (Thanks, God for holding the rain once again!) as we climbed the steps of Blarney castle and puckered up our lips to kiss the stone! Legend has it that whoever kisses the stone will have the "gift of gab." Personally, (and those of you who know me well enough know) I've never had the problem of not having anything to say so I don't think that applies to me. It was still pretty cool to be able to cross that one off the bucket list!
After a long day of bus rides and touring, we hit up a pub in the City Centre for some traditional Irish food and drinks. Great end to a great day!

Wednesday I met up with my parents and we took a tour of Christ Church Cathedral and its underground crypt before heading to the Jameson Distillery. Mom and Dad were asked to be apart of a Whiskey tasting that had them sample and compare Scotch (from Scotland), Jack Daniels (America), and Ireland's very own Jameson. I would've volunteered but had to go to class after and thought it would be a little on the unclassy side to show up tipsy. So I just stuck with my complimentary Jameson and Ginger ale that was a part of the tour. One of my new favorite drinks.

Business deals and treaties were often exchanged over the tomb of Strongbow, the Norman military leader, so naturally we decided to do our own as well.

That night I ran my first ever 5k (Run in the Dark, Dublin, supporting research for Spinal Cord Injuries). I know this may not seem like a big deal to a lot of you. Perhaps you have finished countless 5k's and have even moved onto half marathons and Tough Mudders and the like! But to me it was a pretty big accomplishment. I had always played sports in High school but was never the biggest runner. In fact, I hated running. My brother Matt used to drag me outside everyday after school to run with him. Although I hated it (and hated him for making me do it), I'm glad I did. He taught me a lot about perseverance and endurance. Regardless of how many times I said, "I can't," he'd come back with a "you can and you will."

 I am proud to say that over the years I have gone from barely huffing out a mile to finishing my first 5k with a time of 32:15. And as they often say, I think I caught the running bug. I loved the atmosphere at the race. The strangers on the sidelines cheering us on, the people running around you motivating you, Bremen and I sticking together through it all to push each other, seeing our Irish professors who had also participated in the run, my parents waiting at the finish line! It was all so awesome and I am definitely looking forward to my next one! (though not in Dublin, it will be with you, Sean!!) We hit up a pub after to celebrate with a Snake Bite (Bulmers cider mixed with a Smithwick's beer) then headed home to pack for Paris, as our flight was the next morning!

What a weekend! Thanks to my parents who decided to spend a week in Ireland for me! (or for their 25th Wedding Anniversary, however you wanna look at it!). You both are so amazing and show me what it means to truly and selflessly love another person and have that permeate not only your marriage to each other but to our whole family! I can only hope that one day I can have a marriage as beautiful as yours! Love to you and thanks again! (Especially for all the food and stuff they brought me! Good work!)


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