It has been an incredibly busy and eventful few weeks, and I have done a great deal. This blog is long overdue, but will be broken into four sections; Work, my weekend in Dublin, Amsterdam, and Longitude/ my adventures today.
- Work has been absolutely fantastic. I really feel like I am part of the team, and feel that I have been able to help out within the company. So far, I have done a great deal of communications work. Some of it has been quite tedious, but that is what an internship is and the witty banter between my boss Kevin and my coworker Helen is quite entertaining- especially when Gaelic football is involved. (This is a major sport in Ireland). I have also progressed in my work as I researched less expensive technology options. This did hurt my eyes as I was working in Excel, but I really enjoyed the experience and believe my research can save the Asthma Society a significant amount of money.
- Three weekends ago, I spent the weekend in Dublin. The time I spent was quite lovely. On Friday, I was a typical tourist and went to tour the Guinness storehouse at St. James’ Gate Brewery. This was very interesting as a business related student because the Guinness brewery employed many people in Dublin and the family has contributed a good bit towards the restoration of the city. The next day we visited Causey Farm where we learned the arts of bread making and Irish dancing. There was the opportunity to jump in a bog- a freezing swamp, and I politely declined, but feel that I got the full experience from the “plop” sound coming from the people that did jump.
- The following weekend, I visited the city of Amsterdam with Audrey. This made the 13th country I have visited during my time abroad. While the city was a bit rough and it was difficult to navigate due to the many bikes, cars, buses, people, and trams. I did enjoy my time there. Two of the highlights of my trip were biking in Vondelpark and getting to see the Anne Frank House. I do not have depth perception and I have vision in only one corner of one eye. This makes balance difficult and therefore makes it nearly impossible to ride a normal bike. Thankfully I have a brave friend in Audrey and we rented a tandem bike and rode around the park for several hours. At first the experience was terrifying and we got off to a rocky start, but thanks to her determination and bravery- and my decision to play some Mumford & Sons, we eventually got going and were able to ride around the park. That afternoon, we decided to stand in line for two hours to enter the Anne Frank house. I had read the diary as a kid and always found it interesting, but when I saw how dark and scary the room was where Anne spent nearly two years, I was truly shocked and inspired by her. There were times where she felt hopeless, and even though she was killed, she kept searching for her dream to be a famous writer- which did come true after the end of her life. The rest of the weekend was spent enjoying the sunshine, flowers, and canals.
- This past weekend was fairly calm until Sunday. On Friday I was finally able to sleep in, and then went to the movies. Saturday was quite sunny and I spent the day walking around the city, going to brunch, and getting appetizers at a cute little bistro with garden seating. Sunday, some friends and I went to the music festival Longitude and saw the band Mumford & Sons. I really enjoyed this because I was close enough to be able to see the screen, but seeing wasn’t the goal. The music was just so incredible and I absolutely loved singing at the top of my lungs.
- Yesterday, the weather was just glorious. As I have a kind boss I was “send home” early to enjoy the weather. I took the time to visit Christchurch cathedral- as I have a great deal to be thankful for. After getting off the bus one stop too late, I ended up at St. Patrick’s cathedral-, which turned out to only be a seven-minute walk from Christchurch. My afternoon by myself was spent reflecting, sitting in the park, and thinking about what a lovely summer it has been. I was amazed and proud of myself that I was able to find a new place and navigate through the tourists on my own. After treating myself to an iced coffee, I headed home and enjoyed the rest of what very well could be my last sunny day here.
This next weekend will be my last in Ireland, and I will be hiking the Pilgrimage site of Croagh Patrick in the west coast of Ireland, I have been spending a good deal of time in the city, and I am so incredibly excited to spend my last weekend in the beautiful rolling hills of Ireland. I am so incredibly grateful to be a part of this summer program and as always appreciate the Gilman Scholarship for allowing this opportunity that I will remember for the rest of my life. While I am sad my time is ending, I will look back with nothing but fond memories and hope that my blog and story inspires other people to study abroad.