Ups and Downs

Wow, my last post was February 10th. As I said, I wasn’t going to be posting often, but I can’t believe how fast time is going by. So much has happened since then. So many positive, amazing things have happened, but some not so positive, very hard things have happened.

My fear came true, when my family’s dog passed away towards the end of February. I woke up early that morning because I had to go to immigration to pick up my registration card, and I got the news. My heart shattered, I immediately burst into tears. I’m not going to gloss over that day. It was awful, emotional, sad, and heartbreaking. To be so far away from home, and not know about it until after the fact was extremely difficult to bear. I wasn’t able to be there with my family and mourn with them. Our dog was very special to us, and while many can empathize with losing a dog or pet, nobody can empathize with losing Kip, like my parents and sisters can. He was our special treasure, and I will really miss him, and I know that when I get home, it will be hard. But that day would have been so much uglier, if it weren’t for the outpouring of love and support I received from friends and family back home. But most importantly the love I had here brought so much light to a cloudy day. Special shout-outs to Grace and Sarah, who I was going to the immigration office with, and embraced me with hugs after I got the news half an hour prior. Special shout outs to Eva and Nicole, who came to my door about an hour after I posted on Facebook to give me hugs and love. It is truly amazing that after being friends with them for only a month, they without hesitation were there for me, when I needed it the most. For me, it confirms that although putting yourself out there to meet new people can be challenging and scary, especially in a new environment, the outcomes are inspiring and wonderful.

I got to participate in my first Relay of Life here at the university I am studying at, and given what happened with my dog being so recent, it was even more meaningful. We relayed outside, and lit candles in paper bags that had names of people who have suffered from cancer. These bags then lined the track and in the middle spelt out HOPE. I relayed with new friends arm in arm to the beautiful music of the choir under the stars. Even though we all had our different reasons of being there and given the fact that cancer is an awful disease, it was really beautiful that we were there in solidarity with each other. It was like the coming together in that setting rid the ugly side of cancer, and made it into something so beautiful and human. I am so glad to have been a part of it.

The emotions are still very raw, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have very sad moments. I can be fine, or happy one moment, and then think about Kip and start crying still. I’ve accepted that this is going to happen for a while. It’s okay. It comes with the experience, feeling the ups and feeling the downs. But I should go on to say the ups have been quite overwhelming and incredible. Since my last post, I have traveled outside of Ireland. I have ventured to: Koln and Berlin in Germany, to Paris, France, Budapest, Hungary, and Prague, Czech Republic. These are all amazing and beautiful places and I would recommend them to anybody. I don’t want to go into full detail about all of these places because that could take up a whole book! But I will mention my favourite part in each place (this is even difficult to do).

Koln, Germany – Cologne Cathedral, a massive Gothic Basilica

Berlin, Germany – East Side Gallery, a 1.3 km long section of the Berlin Wall used as an international memorial for freedom with some of the most beautiful graffiti and artwork I have ever seen

Paris, France – the view from the Arc de Triomphe, just breathtaking views of the city

Budapest, Hungary – The Thermal Baths, the most relaxing pools I have ever been in

Prague, Czech Republic – The Easter Market, to our pleasant surprise started that weekend, it was just nice to walk around and see the vendors and enjoy all the yummy FOOD

All of these places have so much to offer them, and I feel nothing but lucky and blessed to be able to visit them. The people that I have travelled with to these places have only made these trips that much more fun and amazing. I already have fond memories of funny miscommunications, meeting locals, being crunched for time, seeing amazing views, having interesting conversations, learning about history and eating the most delicious food.

So I am experiencing the ups, the downs, and the in-betweens, but I am still enjoying every minute of it. Because slowly but surely, Ireland is becoming a home away from home.

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