The End...

Hello All,

This will most likely be my last update to you from the land of the Leprechauns. I have one final left to complete tomorrow and than I will be all finished. Today will technically be my last day in Galway because after my final tomorrow I'm taking a bus to Dublin and staying with a friend until I fly out on Saturday. Originally I was going to go to Wicklow during those few days(where they filmed 'P.S. I love you'), but my roomate, who I was going to meet up with, doesn't have enough money. She just went to Belgium and probably spent a little too much on chocolate :) I might still go by myself, but we'll see. It'll just be nice to be done with school.

Last weekend I went to Limerick to visit someone else I met here and let me tell you, I'm glad I decided not to study there. They call it 'Stab City' :/ It wasn't as pretty as Galway and kinda seemed dirty. Overall though I'm glad I checked it out. Its nice to see different areas of Ireland. On the bus ride to Limerick, I was slightly saddened by leaving Galway. It got me thinking about the random fun times I've had here and the people I've met. Its going to be harder than I thought to say goodbye to this place, but I'm ready to make new memories and adventures back home. Lots to look forward too!

I've been really thankful for this opportunity and proud of myself for being able to do it. Even if the only thing I got out of this experience was being able to get out of my comfort zone and live in another country where I didn't know anyone(don't worry it wasn't the only thing i got out of it), that would be enough for me. Nothing is ever wasted, and everything happens for a reason. I'm more of a believer in that now than I have ever been.

Love you all, and thanks for being a part of my journey. See you soon!!!!
Cheers
Em

Homestretch

Hello there!

So, I'm coming down to the end so this will be one of my last emails to you. I don't have too much to report back to you since all i've been doing is studying for my finals. I have my first final tomorrow, but truth is I haven't started studying for it yet :/. I've spent the last 4-5 days studying for physics which has a little higher level of importance than my one tomorrow. It shouldn't be too difficult, I'll spend most of today studying for it.

Besides that the only other thing to tell you is that my roomate left to stay with her boyfriends family. Now I'm all alone :( Her boyfriend lives right around the Dublin area so she's really not that far away. We have one more trip planned together next week. We are going to go hiking in County Wicklow(where they filmed P.s I love you). As soon as I get back from that I'll be flying home. Its weird to even write that because it's hard to imagine me leaving this little life I've made here. After saying goodbye to my roomie(which isn't even permanently since I'll see her next week) I realized that saying goodbye to all my friends I've made here is going to be a lot harder than I thought. Luckily I have you wonderful people to come home to. Its an exhange I'm willing to make.

Cheers for now,
Em

Thanksgiving

I think its safe to say that my thanksgiving probably wasn't as plump with food as yours, but it still was wonderful. My program took us up to Northern Ireland for the weekend where we spent time roaming around Belfast, the Giant's Causeway, and along the coast. They took us on a black taxi tour that explained all the religious struggles Northern Ireland has been having between the protestants and the Catholics. The thing i found most interesting was that the whole battle started out as a dispute between William of orange and James the second, and the only reason it turned into a religious debate is because James the second happened to be catholic and people started saying thats why they were enemies. Had nothing to do with religion!

Another interesting fact for ya is that the Titanic was built in Belfast. Yup, another thing I learned.

Besides this past weekend I'm just finishing up some xmas shopping and trying to enjoy my time here as much as possible. Before you know it i'll be back in Minnesota. I'm actually not looking forward to this weekend because my roomate will be leaving to stay in Dublin with her boyfriend's parents for awhile so i'll be left alone :(. Maybe it'll help me study more, less distractions.

Anywho, i hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and know that i'm missing you.
Em

Weekend with Benny

My weekend started off rocky with a bit of a stomach flu....had me questioning my plans for the weekend. I decided about a couple hours before I was supposed to leave if I was going to go or not, and even when I got to the aiport I was still questioning it. I figured that I'd regret not going even if I wasn't completely healthy so I went. Took about an hour to fly to the lovely LONDON. Let me tell you, London is not a small city. It took me awhile to figure out the whole underground/train/train system. I got there on Thursday morning and spent the day getting settled into the city and also going to the British Museum. The place is HUGE. My favorite part were the mummies, I was fascinated about what they could tell about the person by studying there bones and what not. Also did you know that they used to mummify cats and famous bulls??? Neither did I haha. That night I ended up doing a bit of 'couch-surfing'....basically its sleeping on a stranger's couch, but don't worry! Its completely safe, and there's this whole website dedicated to it. Its a system of surfers and hosts that are out there to 'pay it forward' and meet lots of new people. I already got grilled about it by my sis and mom, so you don't have to tell me that its not a good idea. I'm safe, healthy, and happy so I guess that means it went very smoothly. :) My host took me out to an Indonesian restaurant(first time trying it) and I got to eat with my hands! No better way to eat food.

Day 2 started off with watching the changing of the guards at Buckingham palace and than the premiere of the Harry Potter movie in downtown London( I knew you already knew I was in London, but i figured saying it again put an emphasis on how cool it was that I was there for the premiere haha). The movie was awesome by the way, of course there were cheesy parts but every movies got that. I also like a bit of cheese in movies....anywho than the rest of the day I visited Big Ben, Westminister Abbey, London Eye, and London Bridge. Headed back to my host's place and we went out for a drink before crashing after the long day.

Last day started off with a walk by the river and than a tour of the tower of London. Got a tour from a Beefeater(the guys that still live in the castle) and than wondered around all the spots where Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth, and many others walked. I actually learned way more than I ever intended too haha. During the day I also stood in St. Paul's Cathedral(where Princess Diana was married), saw where Harry Potter ran through the wall at platform 9 3/4, and enjoyed walking around a bit more before flying back that night.

Cheers
Em

Life this week

Hola,

I'm afraid this week isn't filled with any adventure, just updates. I was planning on going to a juggling convention for the weekend, but I got sick and voted to stay home instead. Basically my weekend plans were cleaning and homework.

I finally found out my schedule for finals and looks like i'll be sticking around until the very end. I have 3 finals right off the bat in the first week, but than i have one more final that isn't until the end of the last week, so i have a little over a week break between them. Kind of dissapointing because i was hoping to do some traveling, but its probably for the best. By that time i'll most likely have very little money to travel with anywho.

On a more positive note, I only have 2 more weeks of classes, a study week, and finals! Time is winding down and soon i'll be home with all of you wonderful people.

I PROMISE that next week's email will be much more entertaining. I've got a fun weekend planned.

Cheers,

Em

Scotland

That's right, i went abroad...er this weekend. I went to Scotland!

Wednesday night I left with my roomate to spend the night in Dublin at her boyfriend's parent's house. It was really nice to be in such a home-y environment and to see a bit more of the Irish culture. We flew out Thursday morning and arrived in Glasgow and spent the day roaming around and taking in the scenery. My favorite part was a park we found near the campus that was full of vibrant colors. I think we spent the majority of our day cruising around in there.

Day 2- We took a bus to Edinburgh and met up with 4 other girls from our program. Edinburgh was so wonderful. We spent most of the day also walking around the city and taking in the sights. My roomie and i stopped at a little restaurant for lunch and tried Haggis. For those of you who don't know what that is its a Scottish delicacy, and prepare yourself for the description.....sheep's or calf's viscera minced with oatmeal and suet and onions and boiled in the animal's stomach. I'm sure glad i didn't know that before i tried it, i just googled it right now :) Allison loved it, but i would much prefer something else. After lunch we went and viewed Edinburgh castle which is a castle literally on the top of a hill and it overlooks the entire city. If you haven't already you should take a look at the pics i posted on facebook, you'll see what i mean. That night we went on one of the haunted tours of Edinburgh where they told us all about paranormal activity and took us underground where people used to live because they couldn't afford to live above ground. Quite disturbing, but no worries, they calmed our nerves at the end of the tour with a tasting of whiskey :) For supper Allison and i had to try another famous scottish food so we had Stick toffee pudding for dessert. Definetely recommend it. It reminded me a lot of 'Better than....life" cake.

Day 3-We spent our last day wondering around some more and than we had to head back to Glasgow. I also tried Indian food for the first time! REally good. We had to celebrate Diwali which is a holiday in India, the festival of lights i guess. I don't really know i just know i had some good grub.

Cheers

Emily

Ireland Festivitites

WEll hello there,

Alright i've got a bit to report back to you all

#1-Halloween part 1

---Decided to start it early on Thursday night in Galway. Didn't want to ruin my costume for Sunday night(which you'll find out very shortly...) so i went as an 80's workout queen. Bright colors, spandes galore, and the wonderful frizzy side pony. It was such a good time, but i think i saw way too many guys dressed as girls! I thought it was bad in the US :/

#2-Joint Colleges Retreat

---SO REFRESHED!! Such a great opportunity to meet new people, spend some time in secluded Ireland, and praise our Creator for all his wonderfullness. The entire county of ireland was reperesented with people from all over the world...including Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, Africa, UK, Europe, Australia, and of course the US. I even met someone from minnesota! how crazy

#3-Halloween part 2

---Are you ready for this?...DORA THE EXPLORER! Brilliant costume i know. It was quite fun also, but unfortunately i allowed someone who had had some beverages to cut my bangs of my wig because they were too long.....lets just say they looked like they were at an incline. Had a little fixing to do.

Today the weather was(excuse my french) shit. Wind blowing hard enough to stop you while you are walking, and rain to add to that.Gotta say its the only thing i really don't like about Ireland.

Em

Boo

Hello everyone,

It was another quiet week for me, but i have no problem with that. I've been enjoying relaxing this weekend and spending some much needed time in Galway. This may be my last weekend in Galway until December! I have a few trips planned for November, but I won't tell you about them now, because it'll be much more fun telling you about them once I've gone on them.

The most exciting news i've got for you this week is that I got my nose pierced. I'm sure many of you will have mixed feelings about this one, but I let my spontaneous side win out. ;) When in Ireland right?

I spent most of today walking around Galway and going in and out of shops looking for xmas presents. I figured I should probably do it now since i'll be gone most weekends. OOOH i also got my halloween costume all figured out today. I'm sure none of you would be able to guess it, but i'll tell you one thing, its impossible to get orange shorts in this town!

Tonight my roomie and I are going out to dinner with another one of our friends and her family who are here for the week visiting. Afterwards we are going to a comedy show that I got free tickets for from a drunk new zealand guy last weekend. Haha. He wasn't planning on still being around this weekend.

I promise to have many new updates for you next weekend because I'll be doing some traveling and it'll be halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone!

Em

Half way there

Hey guys,

I'm afraid i don't have as many updates for you this time, except that my time here seems to be winding down. I'm already half way through! I just had my first midterm(which went well fyi), and my weekends are pretty much filled up until i leave. I have a few trips planned in november, but the details aren't set yet. When i know more i'll let you know.

A little update on my societies....I've cut it down to 14, but in all reality i'm only actively involved in 2 clubs, Christian Union and Juggling. OOO! I do have news, i bought my first set of juggling balls and can now juggle 3 balls. By the time i get home i'll be a pro.

I'm taking this weekend easy since i've been going nonstop since the beginning. I was going to go to the Dingle peninsula, but i got sick. Instead my roomate and I had a few people over last night for movie night. We watched 'p.s I love you'....cliche i know, but it was wonderful.

Alright that's about it for now, I'm off to go explore Galway city a bit, its beautiful today! No rain.....yet :/

Love you all,

Em

Killary Adventure Center

I've got some exciting new developments for ya this week! I just got back from a wonderful weekend at the Killary Adventure Center. We left Friday to the lodge and started our adventures Saturday morning. We got to pick all of our activities so i decided to go kayaking and gorge walking first. Its a bit cold on the west of Ireland so they made us wear wet suits which keep you suprisingly warm. It was a bit too windy so we didn't get a lot of time in the water. But to my suprise....they had another activity for us inbetween the kayaking and gorge walking. CLIFF JUMPING!!!! Um yes! I had to be the first one to go. So nerve racking and fun at the same time. It really wasn't a super tall one, but i think thats a good one to start on than. I loved it so much i went twice :) And for those of you who don't know what gorge walking is(i didn't), its basically walking up a stream/waterfall. I think i only fell once, so that was a successful day for me.

The second activity that afternoon we were supposed to do this 40 foot freefall swing thing, but it was too windy so they canceled it. Instead we did rock climbing and a high ropes course.(which i think turned out to be way more fun anyway) The first activity was a 25 foot pole that 4 people stand on. Of course i was the first to volunteer for this one too. Let me tell you, my ambission is much bigger than my ability, but i feel like thats a family trait. I was the second one to go up, and honestly the worst part was standing up there waiting for the other 2 to come up while the pole is swaying in the wind. We finally got all 4 of us up there, which felt like a miraclt, and than the real challenge came. All four of us had to start leaning back until we formed a circle. We didn't get very far before we all fell. Its amazing how that little experience bonded my friends and i about 50 times more than we already had bonded. The second activity which i volunteered to do again was a different pole about 30 feet tall that 2 people had to stand on and than jump off onto a trapeze. Again the worst part was standing on there waiting for the other person to come up. They all counted us down 3-2-1-jump! We missed by about an inch and did a little free fall until the ropes caught us. Loved it! Don't worry, even though i didn't get it the first time i tried it again and suceeded.

Last day i signed up for the zip wire and the killary challenge. The zip wire is basically a wire that you glide down. It was pretty fun, but i wanted it to go faster. The other challenges we did were sorts of team building activities and more height stuff. Seemed to be very popular among this adventure center. The very last activity of the day was 100% optional, meaning that it wasn't even a choice for me. Unfortuanately i was the only one in my group that wanted to do it. I jumped into a bog, a big pond of mud. My first jump i went in straight to my knees and it took me about 3 minutes to get my legs out. once i was on top of the mud i literally rolled over to the ' water' part of it and jumped in. I was expecting a pond, but much to my suprise it was a watery version of the mud i had just jumped in. I was covered head to toe in mud. I will never regret doing that. I felt like a kid! The worst part about it is that i took 3 showers today and finally got all the stuff out of my hair. Oh good times.

Cheers!

Emily

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