Archive for ireland

Weekend Review: Ireland, England, and Belgium

After publishing my goals stating that I’d blog every Monday, I’ve already missed 2! However, it was for good reason – I was away in Ireland, England, and Belgium!

I was only gone for 11 days, but managed to travel to 3 different countries in that short time frame. Somewhere in the last few days, I did a rundown and I won’t lie to you – I was really exhausted.

Here’s pretty much my trip in a nutshell: 11 days, 8 planes, 4 buses, 3 countries, 2 trains, and an undetermined amount of drinks.

It’s crazy to think I fit all that into one trip, but it was absolutely worth it. It also helped me achieve my 2014 goal of traveling to 3 international destinations. Boom! So what exactly was I doing? Well, I’ll tell ya 🙂

Ireland: I was invited to long-time friends, Edel and John’s, wedding. I first met Edel and John in Australia when I went back after I graduated from college. It’s crazy to think we stayed friends all this time, but how could I not? They are, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful couples I’ve know from the start. I was even there when they first got together. I remember the days when Edel and I would gossip over coffee and she’d gush that she had a crush on John! Teehee.

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At the reception, Edel and John’s wedding.

I also got to catch up with long-time friend, Emer, who I also met during my Aussie days. We hadn’t seen each other in 7 years. We decided we won’t let it go that long again!

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Myself and Emer

England: I certainly couldn’t go all that way without hopping over to visit my sister and her munchkins. I realized this summer that they were just growing up too fast and I didn’t want to miss a single moment. A quick flight to Manchester and a train out to her and I was snuggled up with my 2 little English muffins, Lewis and Georgina.

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Georgina playing with my nose ring.

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Eskimo kisses with Lewis

And I couldn’t forget a selfie with my sis, Izzy. I’d say we haven’t changed all that much since our days in the Netherlands.

Me & Izzy

Me & Izzy

Belgium: And as promised to myself, anytime I went to see my sister, I’d stop in to see the Manchester girls. It was a promise I made when Allison passed away – a reminder that the days are long, but the years are short. The Manchester girls and I always try to do something a little bit different. Even if we can’t afford much, we like adventure. If you can believe it, Brussels is actually pretty cheap – to both get to and to get around. We went for fun. You can read that as lots of drinking, little bit of sightseeing. Definitely a great holiday!

Shelley, Lindsey, and Me in Grand Place, Brussels

Shelley, Lindsey, and Me in Grand Place, Brussels

A little blurry, but the trio in a pub (shock!)

A little blurry, but the trio in a pub (shock!)

Grabbing lunch at Le Cirio, Brussels

Grabbing lunch at Le Cirio, Brussels

The only thing I wish I’d had more of (other than sleep!) would have been time. I would have loved to be able to make it Glasgow to see my old work friends and down to London to catch up with a few more travel buddies. It’s just been too long. Maybe next year 🙂

Irish ice

This year, I’ll be turning 28 and when the big day rolls around I will have visited 4 out 7 continents. Admirable, I think.

I remember the days when I had never even been outside of North Carolina and when I did finally travel to Europe at the ripe old age of 14, I was amazed by everything. And when I say amazed, I mean educated.

I couldn’t even begin to count how many times I responded to comments with…

Really?
Wow!
No way!

Yeah, I was an American teenager through and through.

These days, there isn’t that much culturally that really surprises me anymore. If anything, I find myself rolling my eyes in surprise when I overhear another Yank asking a silly question. Like that one time in Australia, when a friend asked if there were white sheep in Australia. Or like that one time in Thailand, when a friend asked if Thai people ate spaghetti.

So when I do find myself surprised, I usually relish it. Whatever it is, no matter how small.

This past summer, BF and I went to Ireland, back to his home county. Of course I learned little bits and bobs about County Wexford while I was there, but I was pretty accustomed to the culture already having spent a lot of time in the UK and a lot of time with the Irish while in Oz. Here’s us in County Waterford after visiting one of his friends. While Ireland was beautiful, it doesn’t all look like this.

I digress.

We had a great time and while I asked questions about some of their family traditions, I didn’t find myself asking ‘What’s that?’ until his Mam (Irish for Mom…isn’t it cute?) pulled ice out of the freezer. It was stored in these little plastic baggies that had individual compartments. His sis explained that since most freezers are small, they don’t have room for ice trays, they just fit it in wherever possible.

I must have ooh’d and ahh’d a little too much because before we went home, his Mam took out the ice bags from the kitchen and stuffed them in my suitcase. She even sent me a new box when BF was home for Christmas.

I don’t know why Irish ice fascinates me so much. It must be that you can fill a bag with water (that has a hole, but no real closure), and the water won’t come back out. In fact, you’re supposed to turn the bag upside down after you’ve filled it. Whatever it is, I still smile when I serve up Irish ice. In fact, I just made some last night. Ever the top chef, I am.

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