The Louvre is closed. Broadway is dark. Harvard shut its doors for the first time since its opening in 1636. The NBA season is over. NCAA isn’t playing March Madness. Canadians can’t go to hockey games. Paddy’s celebrations are cancelled everywhere (or postponed, in Peoria, Il.) The governors of Illinois and Ohio today ordered the temporary closing of all restaurants. Countries have shut their borders. Africa has turned the tables and forbidden European visitors. Certain states are in lock-down mode. Italians are in the strictest movement since World War II, when they were bombed under a Fascist regime. Residents of China have been filmed walking the streets in hazmat suits and heavy masks. News alerts bombard our mobile devices on the hour. Every single organization you’ve ever permitted your email address is now sending you their response to the world pandemic.
It sounds, simultaneously, like a futuristic sci-fi novel and a history lesson. It’s stepping into Doctor Who’s “Turn Left” or General Hospital’s 2012 water crisis. It’s the setting of George Orwell’s 1984.
Yet, it’s real. It’s happening. As of three hours ago, 80,000 citizens of China are dead from the Coronavirus. It’s everywhere – can’t even pop onto imgur without seeing a Corona-related meme. It’s keeping huggers away. It’s what the introverted have prepared for all along. You may be sick of it by now. But it’s important to not turn a blind eye.
October 18, 2017.
Somehow, a year has come and gone since the day I watched the Emerald Isle disappear into the clouds.
It was difficult to say goodbye. I’d made friends there. I’d created a family. I attended a church I loved. I’d worked three jobs, one of which finally put me in my field, however temporarily. My life was there, in that county known as Cork.
Originally published March 17, 2017.
In Ireland, the coldest and wettest day of the year is St. Patrick's.
At least, according to the locals.
Three years ago, I moved to Florida for five months as a member of the Walt Disney World College Program. While there, I never once experienced a hurricane. The most inclement weather we had was a tornado warning that kept us in the shop for the day and highly annoyed the guests.
As a child in California, I was in one small earthquake. As an adolescent in Missouri, there were so many tornadoes that I got to the point of sleeping through one of them. There, I also survived the Great Ice Storm of 2007. As a college student in Colorado, there were a number of blizzards. But through all of that, I was never in a hurricane.
So of course on the day I'm meant to leave Ireland for a trip to Scotland, Hurricane Ophelia decides to show up.
I was sitting on my top bunk bed in my Manchester hostel the other day, trying to figure out how to return to blogging after a six-month absence. Blogging requires consistency, I was told recently by a well-known writer and blogger, but it's hard to feel like blogging when you write all day, every day, five days a week. Consequently, several unpublished posts have been in my drafts for months, but I couldn't decide on that one thing that would get me back in the blogging spirit - that is, until the Manchester hostel.
With that in mind, let's talk about #hostellife - specifically, hostel roommates.
Americans love Ireland - probably because the majority of us can claim one of our ancestors came from the Emerald Isle. However, a lot of beliefs Americans have about Ireland are incorrect. Hollywood is always putting out movies like "P.S., I Love You" that perpetuate these common misconceptions about the place we might or might not have come from way back when. Here is a list of seven misconceptions Americans have about Ireland that are about to be squashed.
1. Ireland is a land of sunshine, rainbows and leprechauns.
Actually, it rains. A lot. Think about how often Minnesota snows, and that's probably equivalent to how much Ireland rains. How did you think its land got to be so vibrantly green?
After 24 years of spending Christmas in my home country, it was interesting to see how another country celebrates theirs. Upon further research, I've observed that an Irish Christmas is similar to a traditional American Christmas, but with some exceptions.
Below is a list of 10 things I learned about an Irish Christmas.
Standing in a locker room of naked women, it is a startling realization to learn that you are, in fact, a prudish, American tourist.
Iceland is known for its geothermal pools, an activity Icelanders particularly enjoy, so of course my visit to Iceland wasn't complete without partaking in the geothermal waters myself.