twenty-three – missed flights and other dorky moments

Otherwise known as Stories from Study Abroad: Dorks in London — the Extended Edition, or “Hanna and Connor adventure in London and then miss their flight back to Dublin.”

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Ah well, we had a good time. I’m always saying that the Extended Editions are the best ones… I suppose it’s time I took my own tastes into account for travel. In any case, moving on!

As it happens, Hanna and I are currently stranded in London. We missed our flight by one. freaking. min — nope, nope. I’m not going to go there yet; it’s making me wince just thinking about it.

On the bright side, this trip has been amazing and the friends we’re staying with are absolutely marvelous human beings of incredible understanding and are, to put it shortly, awesome. Also, we’ve succeeded in our mission to be as dorky as humanly possible. Now we’re just going to be able to take that a bit further!

Plus, as Basia always reminds me, It’s not an adventure if everything goes right.

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twenty-two – the return of quippy titles and self-deprecating jokes

Of course, while I thought I had a major problem to face in writing about my time in Berlin, I now found myself with a different difficulty: how do I even attempt to write something else now? The problem I have with writing lies in its addiction: as much as I hated it when I was younger, I have this rather driving need for it now.

… And, in case there was any doubt on the matter, my father responded to my last blog post with a lovely, heartfelt e-mail… that included the line that it was all “so different from the crying daughter in my Charlottesville office!” I may not remember that day, but I’m sure it happened more than once. I didn’t much care for writing when my lovely mother was homeschooling me (much, as she was an English teacher, to her chagrin!).

Leaving behind the fourteen-year transition from sobbing seven-year-old to sobbing twenty-one-year-old, I must admit that it feels quite strange to be writing about something that could, following on my last post’s coattails, feel rather flippant. Flippancy must be avoided, of course, but life cannot be all deep thought and gut-wrenching emotion. Even Tolkien, that master of heart-twisting writings (seriously, have y’all read those appendices? Tears. Everywhere. Not kidding.) — well, even his characters knew there must be more than sorrowful reflection. What is it Frodo told Sam in that letter?  In the book, it’s that he must be happy… and in the movie, they change it to that voiceover, remember?

My dear Sam. You cannot always be torn in two. You have to be one and whole for many years. You have so much to enjoy and to be and to do. Your part in the story will go on.

And so, whilst you hastily wipe your eyes after reading Frodo’s words (be honest: the end of Return of the King makes you cry, doesn’t it? No? … Well, that’s just me, then. As you were!), I move onward to yesterday’s adventures.

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… I know. You weren’t expecting me to pull the police in on this.

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twenty-one

Nope, no quippy titles or alliterative themes for this post. I just can’t quite think of one that’s appropriate for the subject matter.

When last I updated this blog of mine, Lis and I had just concluded three marvelous, marvelous days of adventuring through Edinburgh. They really were quite amazing. Since then, we have gone to the Cliffs of Moher — or, for you Princess Bride fans, the Cliffs of Insanity — and, with our “reading week” off from class, I flew off to the Netherlands and then met up with Lis in Berlin.

Highlights from the Netherlands include seeing the lovely Erika, eating delicious Dutch food, attempting to learn Dutch — really, I’m quite dreadful at it — and seeing the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, and the Anne Frank House.

Highlights from Berlin include my awe at their train system, a fun restaurant called Wok to Walk, a tour of Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, a bicycle tour of the city and, on a lighter note, eating Berliners with Lis because, you know, Ich bin ein Berliner. 

But before diving in with the deep-thinking and heart-aching accounts of my travels, here’s a glimpse of the Cliffs of Moher  –because they are extraordinary and, quite frankly, staggering — not least because of the incredible gusts of wind.

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Do be warned: this post, at least, focuses on some rather bleak experiences, and if you are looking for another happy-go-lucky, all-is-well, “I’m seeing the world and study abroad is the best thing ever!!1!!!!11!!!!” post… this is decidedly not that, so read with caution.

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seventeen – unexpected learning opportunities

This week, I:

  • woke up to find my country’s government had, quite literally, shut down over night
  • made friends with a lovely woman named Afolake, studying for her BSc in nursing, who needed help figuring out how to get a student bus pass
  • plotted out the first draft of an itinerary of sorts for when Becky gets here in less than a week (!!!!)
  • been reblogged by Kid President (…!!!!)
  • received my first mail since making it to this country over a month ago! I couldn’t stop smiling yesterday. Thank you, Shirley & Clint, for an amazing care package!
  • made an unexpected trip to the hospital (Ty broke his ankle; Lis and I brought him a change of clothes & a number of books to stave off boredom)
  • almost fainted while in said hospital
  • discovered The Head and the Heart’s new song, Another Story; proceeded to listen to it an embarrassing number of times
  • decided that rosemary salt is the perfect garnish for chips. No, seriously.

… in that order.

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also, Lis & I tried to make Irish friends at a breakfast the Hist held… only to meet more international students. We’re beginning to question the existence of these supposed “Irish” students at this supposedly “Irish” school…

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