Excited for the Emerald Isle: Europe Awaits!

I can’t believe it. Graduation.

That’s right. I’m graduating high school, but instead of reveling in my youth at graduation parties and the heat of the Midwest, I am starting my adventure in Europe, kicking it off with a family trip to Ireland the day after the official closing ceremony at my school. This will be the first family vacation in a very long time (at least that I can remember).

After a week on the island nation, my family and I are breaking up, geographically, as I head toward France and stay with my friend Adèle, a Parisian girl I met in Peru last summer. Who would think that we would still be chatting or even seeing each other again? Our relationship (platonic, of course) started just from bumping into each other in a South American marketplace and getting introduced by a now mutual friend; Those friendships you think are fleeting never really are, not if you put in a little effort.

Now that I think of it, that is some good advice for everyone, not just recent graduates or aspiring backpackers.

So, what is the take away from all of this?

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I have my passport and sufficient funds; all I need to do is pack. (crappy iPhone photo by PintsizedPioneer)

Get excited! Expat-terns is going to Europe!

I will be visiting iconic, cosmopolitan and rustic Irish destinations like Dublin, Galway, and the Dingle Peninsula as well as the quant places in between. I foresee some local alcohol tastings/pub crawling, sea kayaking, and maybe even falconry? I am indulging my (not so) inner tourist. However, this is just the beginning of my Occidental adventure; I am expected to be a bit of a novice on this continent, but just you wait for when I arrive in Dubrovnik with a little experience under my belt. The Balkans are going to be thoroughly explored by a weathered PintsizedPioneer but maybe after relaxing on the beach though

Ireland is a country I always thought I knew about, but I have begun to reconsider this assertion. Besides my appreciation for the Book of Kells, awareness of the Potato Famine, minimal historical knowledge regarding the Irish Civil War, and the average American’s vocabulary on this nation’s assortment of beverages, I am pretty ignorant of this British Isle. So, I have been educating myself recently. Since I have started to look more into Ireland and its cultural heritage, the fun Gaelic language, savory national gastronomy, and the country’s outdoorsy traditions, the more intrigued I have become. Don’t even get me started about the recent popular passing vote for gay marriage that took place just a few days ago! Simply, I have been hooked and am ready to experience the culture and landscape firsthand.

In order for you all to get as excited about Ireland, I am posting a video of an Irish Gaelic, Gaeilge, cover of “Cups (When I’m Gone)” popularized by Pitch Perfect’s Anna Kendrick. The group that made this video as well as all the other projects on this channel is for the promotion of Gaelic education through pop songs. What is cooler than that? Language revitalization and education is just beautiful! There is something about Gaelic that just seems friendly and warm and trustworthy. It’s the kind of language that would pat you on the back if you were to do something well. Of course, that is an entirely subjective statement. Do you not believe me? See for yourself; be sure to check out their other songs too!

Irish Covers for all! (Photo credits by PintsizedPioneer)

This is where summer 2015 begins for me, a taste of what is ahead of us. Let’s nibble on street foods, dance in festivals, sweat on a farm, and swim in the lakes, rivers, and streams along the way.

It doesn’t matter if we get lost, run into trouble, or don’t understand the language – we’re on an adventure. It wouldn’t be one without a little difficulty. Stay tuned … Ireland, here I come.

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