Ding. “We have arrived in beautiful Dublin Ireland, currently it’s partly cloudy and a cool 55 degrees. Your luggage will be at carasel 6. Have a wonderful time and thank you for flying Aer Lingus.” I stretch my muscles after 6 and a half hours of flying as our plane glades along the runway ready to connect us to the Dublin Airport. I look out the window at my home for the next several months. “What have I done?” I think to myself as doubts fill my head. I shake them away and remember how excited I had been several hours before. The realization of how far away I was hits me hard. But I remember why I was here, to challenge myself and to complete my dream of exploring the land of my heritage. I took a deep breathe overwhelmed with excitement and nervousness. I star out the bright green rolling hills, probably filled with thousands of 4 leaf clovers. I smile at the thought.
I check my phone and turn on my wifi. A few notifications popped up. The cheerful encouragements from my mom and dad jolt a bit more confidence within me. “C’mon Keelyn.” My friend gets up to grab a spot in the line streaming out of the plane. I smile and remember that I am not totally alone on this quest. My best friend is here. Thankfulness expand in my chest as I follow her lead out of the plane. There’s definitely a temperature difference as I step out into the tunnel that connects to the main airport. The cool air feels great against my skin that has turned warm and stale from the plane ride. “This is gonna be awesome.” My friend calls back at me, I rush to catch up with her.
“We’re actually here, we’re so far away.” I say.
“I know I can’t believe it! What carasel did they say?” She questions.
“I pretty sure 6.”
We walk in awe within the airport. We walk in silence taking in everything with our eyes, ears and nose. The Irish accents overwhelm our ears, a huge smile spreads on my face. Secretly I hope to gain some of that accent in these next couple of months. The airport in itself isn’t anything extraordinary but just the simple act of being in another country's airport astonishes us. The hustle and bustle surrounds us. This is possibly the coolest and most breath taking experience and we haven’t even left the airport. All of my nervousness is pushed back by my amazement and interest.
We finally make it to carasel 6, it’s painted green and orange, I smile. We stand waiting with anxiety, ready to start this new quest. I check and double check the directions to my new home University College Dublin. “I wonder what the dorm will be like.” My friend questions.
“I don’t know, I am just excited to see it.” The alarm on the carousel interrupts our conversation and we spend the next few minutes hunting for our only possessions in this place for the next few months. We finally find our bags and head out the airport sliding door. The air is cool and crisp. It smells sweet like dew and clover and fresh cut grass. I breathe in as much as fresh air as I can. It feels so good. It feels like I’m home yet I’ve never stepped foot in Ireland. I peer out and off in the distance I see the lush rolling green hills. The green of the grass is intensified against the contrast of the cloudy gray sky. It looks like a painting. The scenery calms any nervousness and instead excites me for the next semester.
My friend waves over a cab and we load our luggage into the trunk. “Hello ladies, where to?” The taxi driver drawls in a deep Irish brogue that makes my smile widen. “University College Dublin, admissions office please.” I say confidently. Ready for this quest to truly begin. “Ahh alrighty, where you ladies from.” He drawls as we settling ourselves in the back. “We’re from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, we’re doing a semester abroad.” My friend explains.
“Well, welcome to Ireland, in my opinion the best country in the world.”
“It’s amazing already.” I gasp as I watch the rolling green hills, stone houses and churches and herds of sheep and farm off in the distance.
“You two ladies will have the time of your life here. Especially in the pubs and drinkin’ guinness.” He winks.
We chuckle and take in the beautiful scenery, completely culture shocked. “We’re not in the US any more.” I mention to me friend.
“Hey I am not complaining.”
We drive through the dublin streets, alive with people, beautiful stone buildings with windows filled with gorgeous flowers. I stare in awe at the beauty and amazement, I am already in love with this culture, this city, this place. I am too mesmerized to realize we’ve entered the campus and pulled into the admissions office. “Alright ladies, it’s been an honor to introduce you to Ireland, have a fantastic time.”
“Thank you.” My friend and I chorus. I step out and peerat the University and Ireland sprawling out in front of me. Let this quest begin.