Sunday, July 7, 2013

Of Saints and Scholars

Next Sunday, I leave for Ireland, so I've decided that tomorrow is a pretty good day to start telling you about China. And this time when I leave the country, I'm actually going to tell you about it WHILE I'M THERE. China was a new experience, and I couldn't have ever predicted all the things that went down, so I'll excuse myself for being too preoccupied with that new world to write while it was happening. I was climbing the Great Wall of China. I was drinking with people who didn't speak a word of my language. I was losing my camera and crying about it while skyping my parents. I was living that experience, that dream, and I was at a complete loss for words.

After traveling to China and leaving the U.S. for the first time (let's be honest, Niagara Falls in fifth grade didn't count), I feel like I should be a little jaded or something. But I am SO UNBELIEVABLY EXCITED to see Ireland. Last summer, when my dad presented my brother and I with the finally realistic option of going to Europe in Summer 2013, he asked us to choose the top 3 places that we'd like to visit. Me and John both ranked Ireland #1.

((If we're being honest, Italy was a close second, and may have been first if it hadn't been for my neighbor's Ireland pictures making their way into my newsfeed on a regular basis for the past few years, consistently giving me fresh waves of jealousy and wanderlust every time. She's been spending time over there doing mission work and writing for the past few years, which is enough to make anyone envious (but especially me). The other reason is because of that one time (read: fifty times) that I saw P.S. I Love You, and since that moment, P.S. Ireland, every American female from the age of 15 to 65 has wanted to travel to you because you have the most gorgeous green landscape we've ever seen and you make men who look like Gerard Butler. And oh sweet Jaysus, those accents.))

                                    Finish this sentence: "Kiss me, I'm..."
                                          A. Irish
                                         B. Gerard Butler
                                        C. standing here in my boxers
                                       D. ALL OF THE ABOVE

Ahem. So Ireland was the clear winner. It's been a year, and now we're here: a week away from kissing the Blarney Stone, drinking Guinness in Dublin (hell yeah!), and definitely driving to Galway, where hopefully Gerard Butler is still sitting in a bar, just waiting to croon sweet Irish songs and give me ear butterflies. Besides Ireland, we will be spending time in Scotland (where my ancestors come from; Cameron means "crooked nose," a name I luckily don't rep) and England...this means seeing Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, London Eye, Stonehenge, and of course, the most prized possession, Kate Middleton. Obviously, she'll be impossible to locate because she's slightly busy having a baby right now, but one can dream.

                 To the tune of Fun.'s "Carry On," they mixed business with pleasure.

All in all, I still can't believe this is happening. I've been truly blessed this year to have already seen the Great Wall, and now to see the Blarney Stone and the home of the Rolling Stones all in the next few weeks is a breathtaking thought that will be an even more breathtaking experience. To be seeing so many different parts of the world and only 20 feels like magic....I can't wait to see what the next 20 years will bring.

For now, get ready for a week of China tales as I prepare for my unbelievable journey to the land of saints and scholars.

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