Journals from National University of Ireland, Galway
2009-05-28 Back in McMinnville
My flight came in at 10 pm Monday night. Two close friends met me at the airport and I ran to them. We squealed and hugged and kissed and it felt overwhelmingly wonderful to be reunited with them. We drove home through the country roads (versus the city-lit interstate.) I wanted to stick my head out the window so badly. It felt so nice to be there. To be surrounded by trees, rolling hills, farms, orchards. I was in Oregon. I was home!
The next day I wrote to Dani, my friend in Galway: It's sunny and warm here: 25 degrees. It's lovely. This is springtime in Oregon. Blue skies with streaky white clouds and breezes. That was the weather I missed. And then the other evening it was a bit muggy, just warm and my body was sweaty, trying to adjust to the temperature increase and I was in the car with my friends and we had all the windows rolled down and dance music playing, again. I felt so happy. I was falling in love again.
Today is my third day on campus and Ive ventured away from Ansleys apartment to sit in the Fred Meyer Lounge to type out my last blogs. A few have passed me. A few have recognized that I havent been on campus for the past term. And a few, Im quite positive, just think that Ive been on campus but so busy they havent seen me. It is mildly overwhelming to be bogged down with the same question, How was Ireland? and I know its just a passing question. They want to know, did I enjoy it or not. And I thoroughly did, so I answer with a great smile of a Yes!
Its not simple to summarize all of my experiences there. Its especially not easy for me to communicate my experiences because Im an awful story-teller. People want to know what I did, what I saw. I didnt sight-see too much but I dont regret that decision.
Its a good idea to understand what your goals are as a study abroad student. Youre there as part of your education, but because youre in a different country, a new culture, you can focus on more than academics. (And do focus on your academics. My poetry class was great for expanding my understanding of Irish education and pride.) But beyond class lectures, you have all of Ireland, all of Europe right there.
I chose to root myself in Galway. I wasnt interested in touring Europe, in leaving the city every weekend for Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, Berlin, etc. I wanted to know Galway. And I did. I knew the city, the best places, the places where the locals go, the places where the tourists go. I knew the people. I knew its writing scene. Sure, I was close to Europe and close to monumental landscapes, but I like people. And I know that I was happiest when I was on casual friend-dates, just talking, sitting by the bay or sitting in their flats drinking cuppsa milky tea. I will remember Ireland for its welcoming pub life and kind people.
Galway is such a friendly city and is extremely welcoming to all students.
All my best to future Ireland students!
Loads of love,