Friday, September 7, 2012

Prep Work For Ireland!

Hello, all! Welcome to my blog about my adventures during my study abroad program focusing on Animal Science and Agriculture in Ireland and the European Union!

However, before I could embark on my incredible trip, I had some work to do and not a lot of time to do it in.   I had my last final for the Spring 2012 semester on May 9th and my flight to Ireland was booked for the evening of May 13th!   So, I had four days to move out of my apartment at Rutgers, unpack my belongings at home, pack for Ireland, while simultaneously packing for my new apartment in New Brunswick since Summer classes began the day after I got back from Ireland (yikes!).  It was all totally worth it, of course!  But as I was cramming for my finals, I had to read "The Great Hunger" by Cecil Woodham-Smith and write a 2,000 word paper on it for my course.   This course, by the way, was offered by North Carolina State University and lead by Dr. Morrow, a wonderful professor and person!   "The Great Hunger" was an incredibly informative and depressing novel about the potato famine and if you have any Irish roots at all, you'll be mortified at how the people in power essentially let so much of the Irish population starve to death.   As difficult as that book was to read, you can't help but feel so much empathy for the Irishfolk, so I got on this plane knowing that the Irish people are fighters and survivors and even more, that my ancestors survived the harshest conditions in the mid-1800's!   It was an incredible novel, but a difficult read, emotionally, because of the intensity of the situation that happened in Ireland with the famine.

So, with the educational prep-work finally complete, I could focus on packing up as many sweaters as I possibly could, while still keeping some room for souvenirs! I would be leaving out an important part of my story if I did not mention that I am raising a puppy to be a Seeing Eye dog through the Rutgers University Seeing Eye Puppy Raising Club ( Several people inquired whether or not I would be bringing my puppy abroad with me.   Unfortunately, I could not as we would be taking day-long trips, staying in hostels that did not allow dogs (since our puppies in training are in-training, they are not covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act), and the flight was simply far too long for a 5 month old pup!   With that said, I would like give a HUGE "thank you!!" to Rachel Jeronimus and Lauren Wheeler for watching Nita while I was away!!   I would not have been able to enjoy my trip as much as I did if I was not 100% positive that Nita was in good hands. With this part of my story included, that added to another thing to take care of: packing up my puppy's necessities for her own little vacation!   As with any trip abroad, you always feel like you're forgetting something or that your suitcase simply is not large enough.   I am happy to say that I remembered everything, however in the last few days, I threw out a few of my belongings to make room for my new, Irish possessions, mainly my wool sweater from Dingle.   But, more about that later.

As stressed as I was in the days before my flight, I would not have had it any other way.   Also, when you have a future with Ireland in it, you work really, really hard to finish all that you have to do so you can finally get your sweet, emerald reward.   When I finally had a moment to catch my breath, I was on a plane to my homeland! Well, one of them, at least.   As some of you may remember, May 13th was Mother's Day and oddly enough, my mother is who I have to thank for my Irish ancestry.  So, here is a special shout out to my lovely mother!   The non-educational parts of this trip were when I was scoping out the territory for my mom to finally make her first trip over to Ireland in the hopefully near future.

With this background information on my life, I hope all of you readers are more prepared as I take you on an adventure through Ireland!

P.S. Here is a VERY special thanks to Leigh Newman-Bell for helping me take advantage of this incredible opportunity to study abroad and fulfill my dreams :)

- Anne

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