Thanks to an adventurous spirit handed down from my mother and grandmother, as well as various adulthood obligations, I am often away from home during Christmas.
But, as I recently reflected on past holiday experiences, I realized that I am never without some form of family on this particular day.
This time four years ago, I was all too familiar with waking up at unreasonable hours.
My usual shift began between 7:15 and 7:30am, with the route for Coronado starting at 6:18. My alarm was always set for 5, though weeks of being physically drained had taken its toll and I now woke up at 4am after falling asleep around 7 or 8pm.
For the first part of last year, I’d often be awake at 6 to catch the bus to catch the train to make my shift at 8:30am. There was one day where I worked a 13.5 hour shift, standing.
Still, none of my shifts ever started before 7am - until yesterday, when I worked the earliest and longest shift of my life. (Thankfully, I sat for this one.)
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.
Bonjour! Ça va?
Over the past three years, I have become quite accustomed to hostels. I enjoy the way they are set up, allowing travellers to easily interact with other travellers.
This time, however, I decided to try something new. Rather than pay for a hostel, I looked at both Couchsurfing and Airbnb. The former didn’t pan out, so I chose the latter.
I am happy to say that I made the right decision.
Melanie Martin was so cool, 10-year-old me thought as I dove into another Martin adventure. Carol Weston’s adventurous Mel and her brother, Matt the Bratt, had already been to Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and of course New York by the time she was 11. I could only dream of such things.
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.
As a young girl, one of my most prized possessions was a little novel entitled Grain of Sand, by the virtually unknown Marie DeVenezia, my great-grandmother. She wrote the memoir primarily for her family, detailing her journey from an orphaned teenager in Avellino, Italy to a married woman of 10 kids in the tenements of New Jersey.
Some people grow up and decide that Disney is only for children. Others have annual season passes and visit the parks anytime they get the chance. Me, I buy all the Disney paraphernalia I can get from Hot Topic and Penneys/Primark, enroll in a class about Walt Disney, visit his childhood home in Marceline, receive the title from my campus Editor-in-Chief as "the one who knows all the Disney references that have been made, ever" and get a job in the parks.
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?
A p r i l D a w n
Writer and video editor with a passion for history, culture, food. Often seen creating pictorial etchings. Music blogger for Dreaming Human. Past writings can be found in the Cork Independent and on the website magazine Forever Twenty Somethings.