take me to wanderland
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.
"The world is your oyster, hon. Go out and give it your April Dawn all," my mother wrote in my graduation card.
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 Consequently, several unpublished posts have been in my drafts for months, but I couldn't decide on that one thing that would get me back in the blogging spirit - that is, until the Manchester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.
"To tell you the truth, more things of importance happened to me in Marceline than have happened since, or are likely to in the future."
- Walt Disney
In 1905, a small town in Missouri welcomed a man who would one day influence generations of children.
Marceline, Mo., the childhood home of the man who envisioned Mickey Mouse, welcomes visitors from all over the world, including Japan and China.