My arrival to Ireland was one longer than most. Unlike the European students, I had to make my journey over the Atlantic ocean in a seven hour flight departing from the International side of Toronto's Pearson airport. My coming consisted of a sleepless plane ride, a five hour time difference, as well as the fact that I would not be seeing any of my family or friends in person for a minimum of 5 months.
I finally got out of the plane at 7 a.m. and was later greeted by a representative from the European program. We soon met up with two other North Americans, one being from Canada as well and the other from the States. The rest of our morning consisted of the arrival at Dublin City University where we would be staying for our orientation, The remaining students arrived some time after one in the afternoon and once they were settled, we set out to the city for Irish dancing lessons. By the time Ella, the other Canadian, and I had gotten to bed, we had each been up for over thirty hours.
Day two was better seeing as I wasn't falling asleep every time I sat down somewhere. All forty+ of us students packed ourselves onto a city bus and set off towards Trinity College where we were given time to see the campus and get a look at the Book of Kells. Over an hour was given for lunch, Ella and I found ourselves sharing fish and chips as well as a salad at a restaurant. We wandered for quite a while before making our way to the rendez-vous point near the Post Office. Croke Park Stadium came next. All I could think of while I was there was how much my younger brother would have loved to have seen it.
I felt like I was adjusting even more so on day three. I spoke more so with other students in the program as we made our way to the Dublinia Museum. It was very interesting and spoke of how Dublin came to be. I had finally met Kajsa when she and her friend joined Ella and I for lunch. From what I could tell, she was very nice and I was starting to look forwards to staying with her for the next few months. Our next stop turned out to be none other than the Guinness Storehouse. It was just an elaborate exhibition spread out over several floors on the history of the company. There were specific floors on manufacturing, marketing, and upon arriving at the top floor, I was rewarded with a free non-alcoholic beverage. I ended the evening by packing up y luggage and playing cards with Ella and a boy named Niklas from Germany.
I didn't know what to feel waking up knowing that I would finally be meeting my host family and I would have to say goodbye to my DCU roommate. The kids heading South all boarded the same bus, I sat with Ella of course. There were four stops and I had bad enough luck to be the last one. That meant that I and anyone else headed to Dungarvan had to wait four hours and watch everyone meet their host families before we got to meet our new families. I bade farewell to Ella at the third stop then moved closer to Kajsa as we awaited for the bus to stop for the last time. Una, our area coordinator, reassured us that we would be staying with an amazing family and we would be in good hands.
Our host mum was the only one there to greet us, she was so nice! She helped us get out luggage into the back of the car and we met our host dad later. Ramon and Jenny showed us to our rooms at the house which was a fair drive out of Dungarvan. I was given their daughter's room because she isn't even at home during the week because she is studying languages at the University of Cork. Jenny brought us into town so that Kajsa and I could get our school uniforms. We spent the rest of the evening settling in before dinner and then met the rest of the family. Davina was to be at home for another week or so until University started and Tim was a little more quiet and reserved, he hardly spoke.
It's all a new environment to me, but I know that I'll adjust. It's just a matter of how long it takes. I know that I'm ready to dive in but I'm still anxious, I certainly hope that I made a good first impression on the family. I have a certain advantage as I do speak the language, yet the culture still has many differences from Canada. Despite some of these dissimilarities, I can already tell that these upcoming months will be some of the bests in my life.