My most memorable experience-I would be lying if I were to say I just had one memorable moment because every moment I have spent in Ireland, in Ennis, in my host family’s home, and with Kellie has been memorable. I honestly can’t name one moment that I loved the most but I can tell you some of my most favorite memories I have made while being here. The first day when we arrived and walking through the automatic doors and seeing all of our counterparts waiting to meet us with big sign and open arms! Then later that evening being able to meet Kellie’s friends and being able to make a friendship with them that will also last. Also the first day I got to have a toasty which is just a toasted sandwich but I think the name makes it 10 times better. Day 2 in the evening when Kellie’s friend Alice came over and we took their neighbors fire pit to make s’mores, visited the horse down the road, and watching Geordie Shore while being able to taste my first Dairy Milk chocolate bar! Day 3 when I got to see Kellie’s sister play camogie and win the championship for the primary schools and for celebrating we went hooting in Bally yea (which is the neighborhood were Kellie and her family live and where the primary school is located). Also that day when we went over to Aine and Kyle’s house we played articulate(our fav board game now), spoons, BS, and 52 bonkers! After leaving Aine and Kyle’s house that day Kellie’s friends came over and her friend Rhona did my make up!! Friday the 17th the day I jumped into the freezing cold lake but I wanted “NO RAGRATS” so it was a cool experience being able to see that a lot of Kellie, Kate, and Fiona’s friends come down here for fun when it is a nice day. Also that night Kellie did her makeup and then she did mine and we had a little photo shoot. Next would have to be going to Galway on the train which I thought was cool because you wouldn’t travel by train to go to a city to go shopping like your parents would take you, so I felt pretty independent being able to do that with everyone. Sunday morning or Father’s Day my host parents made the big Irish Fry Up which is my all time fav meal from this trip along with biscuit cake! We also got see Donald Trumps hotel and later got to meet up with Kellie’s friend, Rhona and go shopping in Limmerick. Monday the 20th we got to eat at the famous Bagel Factory which was quite delicious and later that day we all got to go back to Kellie’s house and make s’mores, play 52 bonkers, the egg game where you can’t drop the egg cause it will crack, and have a big water balloon fight! Surfing at Lahinch is next! We got to take the Bus down to Lahinch and have hot chocolate, go shred some waves and then have a late lunch on a cliff that had an UNREAL view! The Cliffs of Moher was such a FAB view! And being able to walk with little effort because of how windy it was. Then driving back down to Lahinch to have some hot chocolate and do a little shopping. My Dublin weekend with my host family – my host brother Charlie 😦 And then Monday and Tuesday with Kellie’s grandad to go down to his holiday home in Kerry and being able to kiss the Blarney Stone! Dromoland Castle where we got to dress all POSH and drink tea and pretend we had enough money to be able to stay there at least one night…And then later that evening we all headed back to Kate and Abby’s house for big party and sleepover for Kate’s birthday which most of her friends are missing and we will be missing 😦 At the party though Kate had me perform for all of her friends some of my cheers and then I taught Kate and Jennifer some cheers and it was a great CRAIC! Next the Bunratty banquet and being able to experience what a dinner party would be like back in the Medival times and also that night we had a big sleepover at Aine and Kyle’s house which we got play BS and Spoons and braid each other’s hair except for Kyle. The next day was a free day so we decided to go horseback riding but Kellie had to work so she met back up with us later in the evening for a big sleepover at Fiona and Jennifer’s house! That night/morning Kellie, Kate, Fiona, Jennifer, Fiona’s friend Deirbhile and I all stayed up til 5:00 in the morning just talking about life in America and life in Ireland, boys, prom/grad, shopping, and how much we are going to miss each other when the program is over…The next evening after coming home from Inis Oirr we got to see a Clare Hurling match against another County (I can’t remember the others county name) but when we to Fiona’s house on Friday her boyfriend and his friend taught me and Jennifer how to play hurling and it was so much fun like I have become obsessed with the game cause I like how it is such a big sport in Ireland and also all the cool names for hitting, blocking, and picking up the ball (slither) with the hurly! So needless to say Jennifer and I enjoyed the Hurling match on Saturday and we even got two pictures with two of the players on the Clare team!! OH AND COUNTY CLARE WON!!! That evening we all headed back to Kellie’s house except Fiona because she had training early in the morning 😦 We still had great CRAIC that evening and in the morning Kellie’s parents made us a big Irish Fry Up and it was so delicious!! Later that day My host family and I played Articulate which was another great CRAIC! I was partnered with my host sister Anna and her and I were RAGIN when her dad/my host dad would try to cheat by adding an extra card to his pile to be able to win so Anna would grab the card with her foot and add it to our pile 😉 Later in the day Kellie’s friends came over to say goodbye to me and we all had toasties and Dairy Milk Chocolate! That evening we went over to Kate and Abby’s house for one more get together with the whole group and we played Hurlying, Gaelic Football, Soccer, and Volleyball then we walked down to the lake and took some photos and enjoyed each other’s company! Whew that is basically three weeks summed up of my favorite memories for you in one giant paragraph.
Now for my worst which would probably have to be today Monday, July 4 leaving Ennis…Today I was a wreck right as we started walking towards security. It had finally had hit me that we are leaving and that half of our summer adventure is over. Leaving Kellie and her family was for some reason harder leaving my family (sorry Belter Crew) I think it is the fact that this program is the opportunity of a lifetime to be able to make friendships for a lifetime but also be given the opportunity to live with a family that just makes you feel though as if you were at home. Saying goodbye to my host mom was very hard because she has been so kind to me always making sure I am comfortable and happy and having a great experience with everything I partake in. She was exactly the mom I needed for these past three weeks to keep me going with out my support system. So thank you Fiona Whelan for taking me into your home and treating me so well. Saying goodbye to Kellie was the hardest about today and something that still hasn’t settled with while writing this on the flight to Chicago. I feel though as Kellie and I have bonded over these short three weeks with the little things such as making a weird noise when we itch our throat or when we laugh to hard we pee our pants. But Kellie has not only been such an amazing friend to me but the sister that I have always wanted and I am so happy to be have chosen to live with her and I can’t wait for to me my family and hopefully have such an amazing time with new and my family. Thank you so so so much to the Whelan family for giving me the privilege to live in your house with you and experience life as a Whelan.
Over these past three weeks I do feel as though I have grown as an individual and I have learned to appreciate every moment in life because who knows if you will ever be given the opportunity to do some thing this amazing! This trip to Ireland has definitely made me catch the travel bug because Jennifer, Abby, Kyle, Fiona, Kate, Aine, Kellie and I are planning on visiting each other next summer and go on holidays together! Every person who I have met and got spend time with has touched me greatly and I feel though as my appreciation for others has grown immensely because of all of the friendships I have created within three weeks.