How Did Fresh Off the Plane Become Fresh Into Finals? by Sara Jane Rodgers

sara

International Society TGIF Party at the Stables Club (Photo cred goes to the wonderful camera of Georgia Charalambous)

I can’t believe that my first semester is already almost over! I’ve had so many wonderful experiences here but one in particular stands out. It actually happened on the first day I was in Ireland.

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Not a painting!

I had a rough start when I first got here. My flight arrived at 6:40 am and I hadn’t really slept on the plane, so I was pretty tired. I was able to drop my suitcases off at my hotel (thank goodness!) but wasn’t allowed to check in until late that afternoon, so I decided to walk around the city for a while to kill some time. I was feeling homesick because though I had been away for college, it was setting in that if something were to happen to my family, I was an ocean and an expensive plane ticket away. I had said goodbye to my ex-boyfriend on my layover, which didn’t make things easier. It was cold and misty and this silly American was wandering around, shivering in a summer skirt and her winter coat. As I tried to figure out the exchange rate of US dollars to Euros so I could buy a snack, I kept wondering how my great-grandmother came from Ireland to America on her own at 13 years old. After a few hours, I ended up accidentally falling asleep in a park.

 king

King John’s Castle

I woke up to see an older woman standing by me, looking at me with a great deal of pity in her eyes. She started talking to me in a very thick Polish accent. She asked me if I was alright and if I needed a place to stay. The language barrier made communication very difficult as I tried to explain that I had a hotel room but I wasn’t allowed to check in yet. I am not normally the girl who follows strangers to their homes but maybe it was the lack of sleep or the very surreal feeling of being entirely on my own, but when she asked, I went with her back to her flat. She made sure that I had warm clothes on and then made me some latkes. I’ve been a vegetarian for 7 years, so I tried my best to eat them in a way that was polite but minimized the amount of meat I actually ate. This was surprisingly difficult; I hope I succeeded! Then she made me some butterscotch pudding, which was delicious. We spent the next 2 hours talking via Google Translate. She wanted to hear about my life and I told her about my plan to study at the University of Limerick. I don’t think she was entirely convinced that I wasn’t homeless as she kept offering part of me half of her bed. She spent a while telling about her son and her struggles with alcoholism. I remember quite distinctly one of the last things she typed before we parted ways. “I think you need me.” And I had needed her. I didn’t know a single person in the whole country and this wonderful stranger literally took me in, fed me, and made sure that I was okay.

bundoran

Bundoran

Now, if you’re thinking about coming to the University of Limerick, or anywhere new, in fact, I wouldn’t recommend going back home with every stranger you meet!  I was one of the lucky ones. However, you never know who you’re going to meet and how that person is going to make an impact on your life.

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Sailing Club trip in Bundoran 

I’m so excited to share my experiences of traveling around Ireland, my time being a part of fun clubs, and the overwhelming joy I felt when I realized that a “fully furnished house” means the house comes with egg cups. Feel free to ask me any and all questions!

xmas

Yet another fun International Society TGIF party. This one was Christmas-themed!

 

 

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