Missing the Old & Loving the New

Rachel Marini
March 15, 2016
sunset from my apartment's rooftop

With all this traveling going on, I’ve barely had any time to think of home and what I miss about it. Unfortunately, I think it finally caught up to me. What’s bad about the crash of homesickness after all this running around is that I’ve gotten a little sad and sleepy. But what’s great is that I’ve realized pretty much everyone else is in the same boat as me. All my friends here aren’t afraid to talk about how much they miss Dunkin Donuts iced coffee, driving a car, or sitting around the TV with their families. I feel a lot better just putting it out there and knowing I’m not being unappreciative of my situation or a big baby for needing to be home while I’m in such an amazing country, because other people are feeling it too.

After a day or two of moping around my classes, I decided to stay busy during my weekend in Dublin to cure my homesickness. A few of us first took a random trip to a little town outside Limerick, called Bunratty, where I met some pretty great people and saw a really cool medieval castle. The best part of the weekend for me was a trip to two little beach towns outside Dublin. The DART took us right to Bray, a cute town that reminded me a lot of places I visit at the Jersey Shore. There were tons of ice cream shops and restaurants, and the ocean was the most perfect shade of blue. Then we followed a trail over a small mountain and arrived in Greystones just under two hours later. The homesickness was definitely feeling less overwhelming when I stepped into this picture perfect town. The small shops, busy main street, and homemade ice cream shops reminded me so much of home that I almost felt like I was back in my town at the Jersey Shore for a little. It’s trips like these that make me realize how right I was to study abroad in Ireland. Beautiful sights are everywhere I go. Who knew that a spur of the moment hike, only a short DART ride outside Dublin, would be so beautiful and relaxing?

If anything else could help me beat homesickness, I was sure it would be some good country music. Well turns out Dublin has some huge country fans- who knew?! A three day country music festival was coming through, so my friend and I made the last minute decision to go check it out. The arena was huge, but our nosebleed tickets didn't seem far away at all. I had the best time watching artists sing the songs I hear all the time in my car back home, but don't get too much of here. I got to sing along with Maddie & Tae, Sam Hunt, Little Big Town, and Carrie Underwood. All in all, I think that was just what I needed. Sometimes a little slice of home is just enough to get you back on your feet! 

I'd say the last day I had before classes started again was definitely the icing on the cake. I started my day by going grocery shopping at my friendly neighborhood Lidl, and of course food is a great way to cheer anyone up. The weather was so beautiful this weekend, so I took advantage of it by going for a run. I had no idea where I wanted to go, but I eventually ended up in the best place I could have gone- Pheonix Park. Tons of people were out walking, running, biking, or having picnics. The sun and the huge, green park made me feel a lot better. I’ve learned how important it is to take some time on your own every once in a while. Even though I definitely would not consider myself a runner, a run was the perfect thing to do at the moment. After the run, I made some pasta (because I earned it, right?) and met some friends to go shop around Grafton Street. The theme of the day was to spend as much of it outside as I could, so we stayed out until pretty late in the afternoon. Kelly, that little genius, had the amazing idea to watch the sunset over Dublin from the rooftop terrace of our apartment. I can’t even describe to you how magical it looked, not even the pictures make it look as good as it did then.

Considering how the weekend started out, with all of the homesickness kicking in, I think it ended up being just what I needed. I never could have imagined how quickly I could get close to the people I’ve met here, but it happened. All of them are so special in different ways. I really couldn’t picture a better group to travel, laugh, explore, study, and just chat with. This weekend showed me how grateful I should be to have them, and how much I am going to miss each one. Last week all I could think about was how nice it would feel to be surrounded by my family, and now I’m thinking about how sad I will be when I have to leave Ireland and all the supportive friends I’ve made here! I may still be a little homesick, and I know I will always miss my family, but I am happier than ever to be where I am. If you haven’t realized it by now, I think Dublin is a pretty amazing place.  

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Rachel Marini

<p>Hi! My name is Rachel Marini and I am a Junior at Penn State University. I&#39;m majoring in Elementary Education (with an English focus) and plan to minor in special ed. I am a huge book nerd, but when I&#39;m not reading I like to hang out with my family and friends, go to the beach, and just spend time outdoors. Traveling has always been a big part of my life, because I love exploring new places. Going to Dublin is something that I know I won&#39;t regret, and I can&#39;t wait to share my experience with all of you!</p>

2016 Spring
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