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Ireland’s Matchmaker Festival

Every year, in the months of September and October singles from across Ireland and even further travel to the town of Lisdoonvarna on the west coast of the Emerald Isle to find love. The town, which has a population in the hundreds, grows to the thousands during this famous singles festival. Read more

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Adrift and Airborne and Arrived!

As I write, well-fed and rested, I have finally experienced my first day at the University of Botswana. The journey was hectic to say the least!
I began my adventure on Friday morning, when my family drove the 7 hours to Chicago, in order to catch my first plane. We arrived in the middle of a massive storm, and by 4 the next morning (2 hours before my flight), there was flooding and high wind across the area. As we waited in line, I quickly tried to remove all liquids and sharp objects from what would have been my checked luggage, for we had come to the conclusion that because of the delays I would experience, and the short time I had to make my connection flight in New York, I should carry on all my luggage. Finally getting on the airplane, I sat in horror as the delay became 30 minutes, then an hour, then an hour and a half. When we finally did take off, I lapsed into an exhaustion-and-frustration-induced slumber. Read more

Settling into Africa and Starting Classes

It’s official: I’ve survived my first day as a full time UCT student. After two weeks of settling in, figuring out where to buy groceries, finding my way around classes, and (finally) discovering how to assemble a chain of electrical plug adapters in order to use ONE American appliance, it’s finally starting to sink in that Cape Town is not just a vacation, but rather my home for the next few months. Read more

Today’s Dream is Tomorrows Reality

“Tears are words the heart can’t express.” Mine aren’t from heartbreak. They’re from disbelief….. of my dream becoming a reality. I will never be able to express how strongly I feel about going to Ireland to all of you. But know this- I’ve never wanted anything so badly and nothing has made me so happy as even just the dreaming about it all. I can’t remember when I first laid eyes on the country of Ireland, but I’m sure that when I did, I fell in love. I remember having the opportunity to befriend a pen pal from Ireland in 6th grade and that was one of the most exciting things for me as a child. My parents used to take me to the Big E Fair which featured an Ireland vendor and I spent much of my time there. I left with a huge wall hanging featuring a map of Ireland, which now hangs in my room for me to admire. Beside it, an Irish flag, a shamrock decoration, and a collection of scenic photographs. Every time I hear anything about Ireland, whether it be on television or in public conversation, I squeal inside. All my friends are aware of my fascination, because now whenever they hear it mentioned, their attention shifts directly to my expression. I love Irish music, the Irish brogue, Irish Celtic symbols, Irish dance, and absolutely every aspect of Irish culture. It’s only obvious that I would dream of visiting Ireland. However, it was always just that- a dream of mine. Everyone joked “When we visit Ireland…” or “When you’re married living in Ireland….” But no-one, including myself, ever thought the time would come that I would leave for Ireland, especially at such a young age. But look at me now. In about two months, I’ll be on my first flight out of the country headed towards my dream. I guarantee you I will be shedding tears of joy, for I am certain that will be the happiest day of my life. September 13th will always be remembered as the day my dream came true. That, I will never forget. “It is difficult to say what is impossible for the dream of yesterday is the reality of tomorrow” (Dr. Robert H. Goddard) If my biggest dream can be achieved now, there’s no saying what my future holds.

This is Africa

I’ve been in Cape Town for a little over a week, but it’s felt like I’ve been here for months. The concept of time in Africa is completely different than anything I’ve experienced in America. In the States, I was used to constantly checking my phone for the time and scheduling out every minute of every day. In Africa, I barely know what day of the week it is. Everything moves at a slower pace, which the locals explain with the saying, “This is Africa.” If a friend asks you to meet them at a café at 10am, they mean any time between 10am and 11am. Read more

Flight Fiascos and First Lessons

A view of the city I finally made it to! Cape Town is worth waiting for!

Any great adventure can’t begin without a few speed bumps, and my South African excursion is no exception to this rule. Looking back on the long two days of airports, baggage claim, layovers, and turbulence, I (now) can’t help but laugh because my misfortune is so fitting- this would only happen to me. Read more