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Craftsmanship & Communication

This Wednesday was filled with two incredible field studies spent with my Danish Design class and my Strategic Communications class. 

First, my Danish design class boarded a bus and drove to a surprise location. As we entered the building, the smell of oak and sounds of machinery hinted to us that we were in some sort of wood workshop. We walked inside and were surrounded by stacks of freshly cut wood waiting to be transformed into pieces of hand-crafted quality furniture. 
We were at the workshop of PP Møbler, a famous family owned workshop that creates furniture, including the designs of Hans J. Wegner, that will last through generations. 

We got to explore the entire workshop, from seeing the freshly cut wood to carpenters carefully manipulating the material into distinct parts and assembling them into the famous Danish designed chairs that our class has been learning about. The wood felt as smooth as silk and you could see the determined look in the carpenter's faces as they ensured that every component of the chair was perfect. We then got to meet the upholsters and see them carefully finishing chairs by inserting the springs and padding, and then covering the pieces with leather or fabric. 
The workshop gave us a firsthand look into how the Danes have mastered the art of balancing craftsmanship with production. I used to just see a chair as a chair. After my Danish Design class and seeing the entire process throughout the workshop, I now appreciate a chair and all of the steps that were accomplished in order to create something that combines functionality with quality and aesthetics. 
My Strategic Communications class venture to a digital communications agency called In2Media. We met with the CEO and got the inside scoop on one of In2Media's most successful projects. 

Danske Bank is one of the most used banks in the Nordic region, and they turned to In2Media to develop an innovate mobile banking app that focused on ensuring a quality user experience. We got to hear about the entire process, from brainstorming different mobile-pay ideas to designing the app pages to reduce complicatedness and ensure a quick and easy transaction. The project won numerous awards for its success in the e-commerce business. 

I couldn't believe that the CEO took us step by step through one of their most successful digital communications plans. As he took us through the entire process, it was incredible to connect their steps to what I've be learning in my strategic communications class. It's amazing what can become a product of the collaboration between strategic planners, designers, and digital gurus.  
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Wicklow and Glendalough

On Monday there was no class since Ireland had a Bank Holiday! Over the past few weeks I have been attending a small group at a Vineyard’s church in Dublin led by a couple named Ken and Jody. Ken and Jody recently moved here from America where they had been on Young Life staff previously! They offered to help me utilize my day off by joining in with them and their two kids on their trip to Wicklow and Glendalough just south of Dublin. So on Monday morning we all piled into the car and set out for Powerscourt. The best part of the trip was the amazing view from the car window as we drove through the countryside. Powerscourt is a beautiful mason located in Wicklow that is full of history. We got lunch here after walking around the interior and grounds for a bit. I got amazing seafood chowder that came with brown bread. We then went up into the hills and saw some beautiful mountains with a river running right through the center. We hiked up for a little and explored an old monastery that had once stood there. We then headed over to Glendalough which has two lakes located near each other. We walked through another old monastery that had a cone tower along side of it. The tower looked just like Rapunzel’s castle, which I was really excited about! We walked through the woods a bit and then came across both lakes. The view was once again spectacular! A mist was rolling off the mountains as the sun set in the distance over the lake. We ended the night by grabbing some ice cream and heading back to Dublin. I was so thankful for Jody and Ken taking me along with them on this spectacular adventure to such a gorgeous part of Ireland.

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Posted in Spring 2014 | Comments Off

London England

Over the weekend I headed back to England for a second time to revisit London! The first time I traveled to London was when I was part of a French Exchange trip almost 6 years ago now and we took a day trip to the city. I wasn’t able to see a whole lot of the city so being able to go back again was really exciting!

I flew out on Thursday night to the London- Gatwick airport and was met by one of my favorite people in the world, Kerry! Kerry was one of my summer staff coordinators while I worked a Young Life camp this past summer. She works on Young Life staff in England and lives with a woman named Brooke and her family who also serves on Young Life staff and worked at the same camp with me over the summer! Kerry picked me up from the airport and drove me to her home in Thorpe, England which is about a 45min drive from the city. We chatted the whole way to her home and caught up on each other’s lives. When we got to her house I was blown away by how adorable it was! It felt so wonderful to actually stay in a real home after staying in an impersonal dorm room for the past month or so. Also having my own room with an extremely soft bed was a little slice of heaven.

The next morning Kerry and I took the train into the city to start our day off. We first went to the London Tower, which I had never been to before. Kerry was pointing out different sites along the whole way there and giving me the history of each place. When we got to the tower we saw hundred of thousands ceramic poppies littering the ground surrounding the structure. Remembrance day (similar to Memorial day in USA) was approaching soon and the poppy is a symbol used to represent those who died in battle. There were over 800,000 poppies each one representing an English solider who died in WWI. Before we entered the tower we grabbed some fish and chips, the iconic English dish, to eat right outside the tower. We then entered the London Tower and started a tour being lead by a Beefeater, a tower guard, who was a humorous loud plump man. He imparted the stories of the dark history of the tower on us. After the tower concluded we went and saw the Crown Jewels, which were also located inside the tower. After we finished seeing everything in the tower we went to the Borough market and walked around. The Borough market was like a giant farmer’s market selling all sorts of sweets, meats, fish, cheese, vegetables, and much more. I ended up buying a slice of chocolate trifle, which is basically chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookie, and a brownie combined! Afterwards we headed back home for the night and I just relaxed for most of the evening.

The next day I went into the city by myself since Kerry had some errands to run. When I first got to the city I went straight to the London Eye to get in line to go up. After about an hour of waiting I was able to take my turn on the giant ferris wheel and get the best view of the city. The wait was total worth the view you got from the top. I was able to see Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and Westminster Abbey. After getting off the London Eye I headed towards King’s Cross. On my way there I stopped to get lunch at a small café that I got banana and caramel pancakes that were amazing! I then went to King’s Cross to get my picture in front of platform 9 ¾ based on the Harry Potter books and films. There was also a Harry Potter shop next door that I looked around in for a while. Then I traveled to Hyde’s Park. I was blown away by the beauty of this park and couldn’t stop snapping pictures. I loved strolling through the park and around the lake soaking in sunset and views. I then went to Notting Hill to meet up with my two friends, Avery and Mary Francis, who study abroad in London. We walked around the neighborhood and the Portobello Market stopping in different shops and stands. We ended the night by getting dinner in a French Restaurant before I headed back to Thorpe.

On Sunday I slept in a bit before heading downstairs to meet Kerry. Kerry made the most amazing pancakes before we headed to Windsor Castle. Windsor Castle is where the Queen often stays and hosts events. We took an audio tour through the castle and got to look at all the amazing rooms and grounds that covered the castle. After the castle tour we got lunch and then found a café that sold some amazing hot chocolate! We then head back to Kerry’s so I could pack my bag before I had to catch my plane ride back to Dublin. After I finished packing I just hung out with Brooke’s sons, Asher and Ruhl, who are 8 and 6 years old. We played Super Mario Brothers and watched Despicable Me. Kerry drove me to the airport then. While at the airport I ran into the Atlanta Falcons football team, which were playing the Detroit Lions that day in London. I even tried to snap a few sneaky pictures.

This past weekend in London was just wonderful. It was so great to stay in a real house and be able to relax. I definitely grew a deeper appreciation of this city and would love to come back again some day.

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Posted in Spring 2014 | Comments Off

London, England

Over the weekend I headed back to England for a second time to revisit London! The first time I traveled to London was when I was part of a French Exchange trip almost 6 years ago now and we took a day trip to the city. I wasn’t able to see a whole lot of the city so being able to go back again was really exciting!

I flew out on Thursday night to the London- Gatwick airport and was met by one of my favorite people in the world, Kerry! Kerry was one of my summer staff coordinators while I worked a Young Life camp this past summer. She works on Young Life staff in England and lives with a woman named Brooke and her family who also serves on Young Life staff and worked at the same camp with me over the summer! Kerry picked me up from the airport and drove me to her home in Thorpe, England which is about a 45min drive from the city. We chatted the whole way to her home and caught up on each other’s lives. When we got to her house I was blown away by how adorable it was! It felt so wonderful to actually stay in a real home after staying in an impersonal dorm room for the past month or so. Also having my own room with an extremely soft bed was a little slice of heaven.

The next morning Kerry and I took the train into the city to start our day off. We first went to the London Tower, which I had never been to before. Kerry was pointing out different sites along the whole way there and giving me the history of each place. When we got to the tower we saw hundred of thousands ceramic poppies littering the ground surrounding the structure. Remembrance day (similar to Memorial day in USA) was approaching soon and the poppy is a symbol used to represent those who died in battle. There were over 800,000 poppies each one representing an English solider who died in WWI. Before we entered the tower we grabbed some fish and chips, the iconic English dish, to eat right outside the tower. We then entered the London Tower and started a tour being lead by a Beefeater, a tower guard, who was a humorous loud plump man. He imparted the stories of the dark history of the tower on us. After the tower concluded we went and saw the Crown Jewels, which were also located inside the tower. After we finished seeing everything in the tower we went to the Borough market and walked around. The Borough market was like a giant farmer’s market selling all sorts of sweets, meats, fish, cheese, vegetables, and much more. I ended up buying a slice of chocolate trifle, which is basically chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookie, and a brownie combined! Afterwards we headed back home for the night and I just relaxed for most of the evening.

The next day I went into the city by myself since Kerry had some errands to run. When I first got to the city I went straight to the London Eye to get in line to go up. After about an hour of waiting I was able to take my turn on the giant ferris wheel and get the best view of the city. The wait was total worth the view you got from the top. I was able to see Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and Westminster Abbey. After getting off the London Eye I headed towards King’s Cross. On my way there I stopped to get lunch at a small café that I got banana and caramel pancakes that were amazing! I then went to King’s Cross to get my picture in front of platform 9 ¾ based on the Harry Potter books and films. There was also a Harry Potter shop next door that I looked around in for a while. Then I traveled to Hyde’s Park. I was blown away by the beauty of this park and couldn’t stop snapping pictures. I loved strolling through the park and around the lake soaking in sunset and views. I then went to Notting Hill to meet up with my two friends, Avery and Mary Francis, who study abroad in London. We walked around the neighborhood and the Portobello Market stopping in different shops and stands. We ended the night by getting dinner in a French Restaurant before I headed back to Thorpe.

On Sunday I slept in a bit before heading downstairs to meet Kerry. Kerry made the most amazing pancakes before we headed to Windsor Castle. Windsor Castle is where the Queen often stays and hosts events. We took an audio tour through the castle and got to look at all the amazing rooms and grounds that covered the castle. After the castle tour we got lunch and then found a café that sold some amazing hot chocolate! We then head back to Kerry’s so I could pack my bag before I had to catch my plane ride back to Dublin. After I finished packing I just hung out with Brooke’s sons, Asher and Ruhl, who are 8 and 6 years old. We played Super Mario Brothers and watched Despicable Me. Kerry drove me to the airport then. While at the airport I ran into the Atlanta Falcons football team, which were playing the Detroit Lions that day in London. I even tried to snap a few sneaky pictures.

This past weekend in London was just wonderful. It was so great to stay in a real house and be able to relax. I definitely grew a deeper appreciation of this city and would love to come back again some day.

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Posted in Spring 2014 | Comments Off

Long Study Tour: The Troubles of Ireland (and a weekend in London!)

I know it has been forever since I have last written, but life has been crazy with all of the traveling I have done this past week. I only wrote about Portugal in my last post, but the rest of my first travel break was equally amazing, I went to Barcelona and Paris where I was able to meet up with friends from Elon. Nothing else too exciting has happened until this past week:

My long study tour brought our class to Belfast in Northern Ireland, and then down to Dublin in the Republic of Ireland. I had never been to Ireland, so all I really knew was what I had seen in the movies or on television. I pictured green hills with cobblestone roads and lots of rain. When we finally arrived in Belfast, it’s safe to say that it was not what any of us expected. The reason we were going to Ireland was to learn about the conflict between the Catholics/Protestants – Nationalists/Unionists. The streets of Belfast were lined with murals and there was a memorial at what seemed like every corner. We took a walking tour of Shankhill and Falls Roads, two roads that play a very important role in the history of the city.

Shankhill Road

Shankhill Road

On the tour we were able to see a peace wall which keeps the Catholics and Protestants separated. I had never seen anything like it, a society that needs these walls to keep them at bay. And even with the walls, there is still violence within the community as people often throw bricks and glass over to the other side.

Peace Wall

Peace Wall

The trip was a good balance of both educational and  fun, cultural activities. We were able to go see the Giant’s Causeway in Londonderry – a city about an hour away from Belfast. The Giant’s Causeway was one of my favorite parts of the trip. We were there on the tail end of a hurricane so our bus had to be parked at the main lot, and we had to walk all the way down to the coast. The winds were so crazy that you could pretty much learn forward and not fall because they were pushing back against you!

Giant's Causeway

Giant’s Causeway

Other activities in Northern Ireland included a walking tour of Londonderry with the Bogside artists, a visit to Queen’s University with a lecture on the flags of Ireland, a night at a comedy club and a visit to BBC!

After a couple days in Belfast, it was off to Dublin! I have to admit, I liked Dublin a lot more than Belfast. We arrived on Wednesday afternoon and had the rest of the day to ourselves, so some went of to the Guinness Factory while the rest went to explore the city. My friends and I visited Trinity College and just walked around  and shopped. In Dublin we had the opportunity to take an Irish step dancing class, we visited the Irish Times, and went on a musical pub crawl. The musical pub crawl was one of the highlights of Dublin. At each pub the leaders would play music and teach us a bit of history about the musical instruments and music in Ireland in general. At the end they asked people from the crowd to sing a song that came from their home country, so of course our class sang Wagon Wheel.

The study tour ended on Friday evening, and we had the opportunity to either return to Copenhagen with class or travel on our own. I had plans to meet up with friends in London, so I traveled with class to the airport and then boarded a plane to Heathrow. Although I was only there for a short period of time, London is one of my favorite memories so far! My friends and I bought a 48-hour hop on hop off bus pass so we could see as much as possible. We were able to see Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the London Eye, Tower Bridge, and more!

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

Big Ben

Big Ben

London Eye

London Eye

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge

This week flew by, it is crazy to think we only have one travel break left. I am so thankful for all the amazing opportunities DIS has provided us thus far and for everything in the next few weeks. Up next: Halloweekend in Hamburg!

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Travel Break 2: Study Tour to London

Travel Break 2 introduced me to one of my new all time favorite cities: London! My Strategic Communications class spent our study tour here, and I am already looking forward to returning one day.

As soon as our plane landed, our class went on a walking tour of city and saw Big Ben, the Parliament building, Westminster Abbey and more. I couldn’t believe I was walking throughout a city I’ve admired so much filled with rich history. 
We ended the walking tour by riding the famous London Eye. We were blessed with perfect weather and got the best view of London. 
When I stepped off of the Eye, two of my best friends from Elon that are studying abroad in London greeted me at the bottom, and we were more than excited to be reunited. It felt amazing to be back together and to have them show me around the city that they have fully immersed themselves in!
We went to dinner at the best Mexican restaurant (had to get my Mexican fix before going back to Copenhagen!), and then we had frozen yogurt on top of a pink double decker bus! We then walked across the bridge to see Big Ben lit up at night.   
The next morning, our class went on an amazing tour of Wimbledon! My family has always loved watching Wimbledon in the summers, and I couldn’t believe I was actually in the stands of the courts that I’ve watched for so many years.

The tour was perfect. We got to go into Center Court and the surrounding courts, got to see the leader boards from the matches from this past summer, went on the hill with the Wimbledon logo, entered into the players’ facilities, and then got to see the media center and interview room! I loved getting to hear how Wimbledon markets itself as a traditional sporting and cultural event, as well as a place for true fans of the game.  
I then got to experience the most overwhelmingly beautiful atmosphere of Harrods. I have heard about this iconic department store for years and finally got to explore myself. The handbag and evening gown departments particularly sucked me into spending a little bit more time in there than planned! 
Olivia and Katie then took me to Buckingham Palace as the sun was setting, and then we finished off the night with famous Ben’s Cookies and a little piece of home with Whole Foods- my most missed food spot! 
The next morning our class went to the Churchill War Rooms, and it was incredible. This is now one of my favorite museums! It was amazing to walk through the actual rooms with the real furniture, maps, and supplies that were in the underground rooms where Winston Churchill singlehandedly kept the morale up for all of the people in England while leading the nation throughout WWII. The museum featured his Siren Suite, letters of correspondence between him and his wife Clementine, and many more special components of his life. 
Afterwards I met up with Olivia and Katie at Kinsington Palace where we went to tea at The Orangery. I’m moving here. There’s nothing better than spending time with sweet friends having tea with scones and clotted cream. 
Our class ventured out to Blenheim Palace and Oxford University the next day. Blenheim Palace was gorgeous. It’s Churchill’s birthplace, as well as the home to the 12th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough. The gardens were beautiful, and we even got to go in the butterfly garden. 
And I’ve decided I’m transferring to Oxford…it was that amazing. First, I had lunch in my favorite author’s pub of choice during his time at Oxford. C.S. Lewis and his Inkling group would meet weekly at The Eagle and Child to discuss their books and outlooks on life. I got to see the exact booth where C.S. Lewis sat and talked to Tolkien about his novels and where Tolkien was encouraged to stick with The Lord of the Rings. I wish I could have brought along my favorites, Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters, and curled up and stayed there all day. 
Next we toured Oxford and I was in awe. The architecture and history was amazing. We learned about the “One Word Exam” that was the test do determine whether or not you were a Fellow of the All Souls College at Oxford. You would enter the room and were given only one word, which could be anything, and had to write as much as you could about it in 3 hours. Oxford was mysterious and I loved getting hear about all of the deep-rooted traditions.     
After getting stuck in some serious traffic on the way back to London, my friend Lizzie and I raced to the West End to see Matilda, one of my favorite childhood books and movies. I had heard that seeing the musical was a “must do” in London, and I’m so glad that I did. It was extremely well done and had everyone in the theatre laughing and cheering. 
The next day, the class divided up into small group and went on various site visits the companies involving communications. My group went to Shakespeare’s Globe and had the opportunity to speak with the one of the marketing managers. He shared with us the different marketing strategies that the Globe uses to market the theatre as a site seeing attraction as well as a theatre to come and enjoy high quality Shakespeare performances. 
After our site visit, we went to the famous Borough Market and got to sample our way through some of the most delicious organic and local foods. I couldn’t resist a sweet potato chickpea burger. 
We then crossed back over the river and saw the Tower of London. There is currently a monument called Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red in order to remember World War I. 888,246 red poppies (representing each fatality from the war) were made by ceramist Paul Cummings, and as each poppy is sold, it is “planted” outside of the tower. All of the money raised from the poppies will be split among six different charities. It was an incredible experience to see the sea of red.  
And I couldn’t have gone to London without stopping by the Liberty store. Our family has a love for Liberty floral fabrics as my mom used to order Liberty from London and distribute it to stores across the US. I wandered around the store as long as I could and pointed out fabrics that I had dresses made from when I was younger. 
To top off our last night, Shannon and I couldn't resist hopping off the tube at King's Cross to go see Platform 9 3/4. Somehow Harry Potter never really made it into my childhood, so why not start now when I was in London at the famous platform to Hogwarts? I bought my first ever Harry Potter book and now don't have the fact, "I've never read a Harry Potter book," to win a game of "Never have I ever." 
I spent our last morning in London exploring the National Gallery where I got to admire some of my favorites paintings, including Monet’s water lilies and Van Gogh’s sunflowers. 
As our final stop in London, I was in heaven as our class had high tea together at Fortnum & Mason. The Tiffany blue china was beautiful, and we were each served our own pot of delicious tea. We were brought trays and trays of finger sandwiches, scones, pastries and cakes with more trays of various jams and clotted cream. I would move to London just for the high tea experience. I felt like a princess.
 What a perfect way to say, “See you soon,” to London. 
Posted in Denmark (DIS) | Comments Off

Frederiksborg and Icelandic Horses 

This past week, my host family treated me to two incredible days of adventure and fun. First, Katja and Nuka took me to what I think is the most beautiful castle in Copenhagen: Frederiksborg Castle. Katja grew up in the town where this gorgeous castle stands, so I lucked out with the best tour guide I could possible have.
We explored room after room of the incredible structure. One of my favorite areas was the church with one of the most beautiful organs I have even seen. Katja grew up singing occasionally in this church with her choir. The windows and painting were amazing. 
Another one of my favorite rooms was the Great Hall where extravagant parties used to be held. You could imagine the parties as you walked across the huge room. The walls are lined with portraits of the royal family, and I loved to see how they have evolved over time. A mock dinner table was set up to give the room the feel of how it would be set up for hosting a party hundreds of years ago. 
We then walked through the gardens in the back that are modeled after the gardens at Versailles. I could have spent all day exploring the gardens and grounds. I was completely in awe of Fredericksborg Castle. 
Later in the week, Katja, Silja and Nuka took me horseback riding through the forest on Icelandic horses! I was given the sweetest little horse who carried me safe and sound through the forest. 

After riding in high school, it felt amazing to finally be back in a barn with horses. I couldn’t help but to miss riding so much as we got our horses in the field, groomed and tacked them, and then mounted to go for our ride together. 
Icelandic horses have a unique gate that resembles a smooth, fast trot called “tölting.” I had never experience anything like it. After bouncing around for a good while, I think that I finally got the hang of it!

The trails were beautiful and we all had an amazing time! Thank you so much Katja for so many great memories! 
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Kultur Natten

What better way to get to know the Danish culture than attending culture night?! Culture night has been a tradition in Copenhagen for years. Every fall, museums, companies, stores and other institutions stay open late into the night and offer a cultural activity, exhibition, or special event. You buy a Culture Night pass and then can enter the hundreds of fun events that are set up all across the city. 

Jess and I kicked off culture night by going to one of my favorite restaurants, Mother, for FREE pizza and drinks! 
We then made our way back toward city center and admired the beautifully rainbow lit Round Tower. 
DIS had an amazing event in the courtyard of Jess’s building where there was pumpkin carving, hot drinks, a haunted house, and s’mores stations. Nothing is better than a s’more in the fall.

Next up for the night was Rosembourg Castle where I finally got to see the crown jewels. It was such a unique experience to explore the castle grounds at night! 
We then went across the street to the gardens and walked along the lantern-lit paths as we admired the dancers near the lake. Lastly, we went to the National Museum (my second time was just as great as the first with my Danish class!).

Culture night was such a success. It was great to explore Copenhagen at night surrounded by all of the locals taking part in such an incredible tradition.
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End of October Update

So as October comes to a close so does my first official month in Dublin, Ireland. This month has been both wonderful and challenging. I have traveled quite a bit so far but don’t really plan on slowing down anytime soon. Looking ahead to the next month I already have trips planned to England, Northern Ireland, Germany, and my fall break where I will be traveling to Spain and maybe a few other countries as well.

I have grown quite a bit closer to a lot of people on my trip which, has been lovely. I have started attending a bible study group at a local Vineyards church taught by a husband and wife who recently moved to Ireland from Texas. Before moving to Dublin they were Young Life area directors! Autumn weather has set in over in Ireland but the weather is still quite pleasant. It rains a bit more now but still not too often and here it rains very on and off as opposed to all day which is nice. The temperature is still in the upper 50’s and low 60’s which isn’t too cold yet. The city itself has started getting ready for halloween and the rest of the holiday season. I found out recently that Dublin has a Christmas Market which I am really excited about!

The tough part of study abroad mostly boil down to money. It can be quite overbearing to always be checking bank accounts and worrying about everything you buy and outweighing if you can afford it or not. I have recently been re-looking at some of the travel I wanted to do and debating if it was best to cut some countries out in order to save some money. Also getting prepared for my return next semester has been a bit overwhelming. I have course registration due in a couple of weeks, picking out my meal plan, and finalizing housing for my return. I received my placement for my practicum that I will be completing over winter term at Planned Parenthood while continuing to work on my summer internship application. Trying to remind myself to stay in the moment of this amazing adventure is difficult but I am so glad I am here.

This month has been wonderful and full with lots of trying new things and adventures. This past week I was able to attend my first Rugby game, Leinster vs. Wasps and Dublin’s team(Leinster) even won! Though I had no idea what I was watching half the time the game was very exciting and I really enjoyed the experience. Also this week my class went on the Hellfire Club tour. This was perfect for Halloween because our guide led us to some really interesting sites that were filled with creepy stories  based on historical events. Even though we were all a bit on edge we got to se the most gorgeous view of Dublin at night overlooking the city.

Well that is all I have for now but look for my next blog post in a few days about my trip to London I am taking this weekend!

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Posted in Spring 2014 | Comments Off

Ring of Kerry

Over the weekend I took a lovely weekend trip to my new favorite location in Ireland, The Ring of Kerry. My friend, Clare, and I took a train from Dublin on Friday evening to Killarney located in the west of Ireland. The train was nice and only took about 3hrs. Once we arrived in Killarney we walked a few minutes to the hostel we were staying and checked in. Clare and I then walked around the town for a while and found some dinner. The town of Killarney was adorable! Lots of local pubs, ice creams stores, and small shops. It reminded me of exactly what you imagine a small town in Ireland should look like.

The next morning we left for our Ring of Kerry tour. The tour was quite inexpensive and only had about 10 people on the tour itself. Our tour guide was extremely funny and entertaining during the entire tour. We left at 10am from Killarney and worked our way around the peninsula. We stopped every 10-30min to take pictures and see some of the most amazing views. The landscape reminded me of things you see in movies like The Chronicles of Narnia or The Lord of the Rings. With breathtaking mountains and valleys set beside waterfalls, enchanted forests, and beaches. The entire tour was extremely well done though I did wish I would have been able to rent a car and drive the peninsula myself to really spend a lot of time soaking in the sites. Unfortunately in Ireland you have to be 25 to rent a car and also the roads are quite narrow and twisting. The tour however was the best suitable alternative. After the tour we stopped at a local pub for some dinner and to watch the Rugby game. We wandered around the center of town for a while too stopping in shops and getting Murphy’s Ice Cream (also located in Dublin) which was incredible! We also stopped by a new bar opening up that our hostel told us about called The Shire and was supposed to be based of the location of The Hobbit. It was quite cute so we stayed for a little while and then headed back to bed. We left very early Sunday morning to catch the train back to Dublin.

Ring of Kerry was an amazing weekend trip and I would return in a heartbeat. This was easily on of the most beautiful locations I have ever seen! Hopefully next time I will be able to spend more time there as well!

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Posted in Spring 2014 | Comments Off