Due to my final week in Ireland and my past two weeks home being super hectic and packed, I am just now writing the End of Program blog. I can still clearly recall how I felt this time two weeks ago as I was getting ready to fly home.
For most of the trip, I was craving a heaping plate of nachos covered in guacamole, sour cream, cheese, beans, and chicken. The Argentinian/Spanish restaurant in Maynooth was great, but their nachos were served on a small plate. I needed more! I’ve yet to have nachos since I’ve been home, but I intend to soon. And as much as I loved the public transportation system in Ireland, I did miss driving.
When I returned to the U.S., I missed having sales tax included in the listed price. In Ireland, the price listed was the price you paid; you didn’t have to factor in sales tax before purchasing because it was already included in the price. This was quite nice. I’ve also missed listening to Irish accents.
I really didn’t think I’d have reverse culture shock coming home since Ireland and the Pacific Northwest are quite similar. In both places, the people are happy, the weather is dreary—although recently Washington has had some great weather—and outdoor activities are plentiful. I did, however, deeply miss being close to the sea. I was about an hour or hour and a half train ride away from the beaches outside of Dublin, which is the farthest I’ve ever lived from the sea. At home in Edmonds, we’re only a 7 minute drive from the ferry. At Western in Bellingham, the bay is a 5 minute downhill run from campus. I missed my running trail, Boulevard Park, which parallels the water. I missed hearing the waves crash onto the beach, and roll the pebbles back into the water as it receded. The few days that we were at beaches—Howth, Galway, Connemara, Bray—brought me such joy. Maynooth has a cute canal, The Royal Canal, that was home to a beautiful swan family, but I missed the tides! And mountains, I realized, as our plane home to Sea-Tac descended and I could see Washington’s gorgeous mountain ranges again.
Thanks to modern technology, staying in contact with my new friends was never a worry. We have our Facebook Messenger group that we still communicate through. I plan to stay internationally engaged by keeping up with current affairs and maintaining these contacts that I’ve made abroad.