Tuesday, June 25, 2013

"Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"

Hello all! :)

So, I kind of failed last week with updating the blog...sorry! I flew to NC last Thursday and I've been going pretty much non-stop visiting friends and family. North Carolina has stayed true to form and given me hot, humid and sun drenched days. Its been wonderful seeing my family and friends here. Last Friday the girls and I went for Mexican food and drinks. It was a wonderful evening of catching up and lots of laughter!

Elevator fun

Good times and margaritas

These past few days have me feeling very thankful for these beautiful ladies and for my family. I'm so happy to spend the summer with them! 


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

"I Wanna Say Thank You"

I'm going to visit Raleigh for the summer on Thursday and it has me reflecting on this past year in Dublin. I've met so many wonderful people in Ireland who have changed my life for the better in so many ways. So thanks, and I'll see most of y'all in August! :)

Sarah, who I met in line for the bathroom at a coffee shop

Kate, who I met watching a GAA match and bonded with over Karaoke(or more like the fact that I haven't done Karaoke yet!) 

Becca, partner in crime 

Bex, a kindred spirit whom I met at college

Iris, mi chica española :)

Kaylen(outside of the fence) and I...American writers living in Dublin

I have obviously met a million more fabulous people than have been listed here, but these ladies have shaped my life in ways I could never have hoped for. I love you all. Some of you I will be sharing a home and a city with again in August. Others of you, we will always be friends, even if that means living in different countries. From what I've learned in my first year in Dublin, it doesn't matter where you come from or where you live, its the bond that counts. My bonds with these ladies are forever. I love you!! 


Thursday, June 13, 2013

"Brush up on your español, we're Barcelona bound"

I went on a lovely trip to Barcelona a couple of weeks ago, and I thought I'd share a few of my favorite moments and spots in the city. I was visiting 2 friends who live there, one Spanish and one American, both of whom I met in Dublin. It was so good to have a girly and relaxing weekend!

Parc Guell

A hidden courtyard behind Barcelona Cathedral

The Magic Fountain Light Show

La Champagneria

The champagneria is a magical place where Cava, the Spanish version of champagne, is served for only 2 euro a glass and tapas are no more than 3 euro each. I HIGHLY recommend stopping by this gem of a place!

I was also lucky enough to go to my Spanish friend Iris' hometown, Blanes, to meet her family and do some sight seeing. It was absolutely STUNNING!


Barcelona is an absolutely beautiful city, and it would be a shame for anyone who is visiting Europe to miss it. The winding lanes and pretty plazas transported me to the fairytale lands I used to create in my mind as a child. It was so surreal getting to see a place that I've always dreamed of going to. 

The only negative experience I had while there was being robbed. One night after going dancing the girls and I went on the beach to enjoy the pretty views. I set my hand bag down beside my feet on top of my shoes and looked away for a minute. The next thing I knew, it was gone. Luckily I had only taken out a clutch so I didn't loose my passport or my whole wallet. My advice to you? Don't put your handbag/personal belongings down for anything. That goes for everywhere you're traveling, but just be especially careful in Barcelona! Happy Travels :)


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My Top 5 Tips for Moving Abroad

Moving abroad is one of the best things I've ever done. Its exhilarating and beautiful and the greatest way to introduce yourself to yourself. Having a few little tips in your pocket before you go will make it all that much easier, so without further ado here are my top 5 tips for moving abroad!

1. Have all of your paperwork in order before you move.

The last thing you want to have to deal with is arriving in your new home and getting stopped in immigration because you're missing a crucial piece of paperwork. Just make sure you're all set before you jet off into this beautiful planet we live on! 

2. Have some of the local currency with you before you arrive at your destination

Be sure to convert some of the currency from wherever you were coming from to the currency of your new home. It seems pretty obvious, but with all of the other things you'll be busy with, this is an easy one to slip through the cracks. Having a bit of cash on hand makes things much easier, and depending on where you're moving certain businesses may not accept credit or debit cards. 

3. Know at least a few key phrases in the local language

Again, this sounds obvious but its not something you'll be thinking of. I had it easy as Ireland is an English speaking country. I can't imagine moving to a country without having at least a little bit of the local language in my vocabulary before I arrive. It will make things much, much easier and less stressful for you!

4. Pack smart

As a 20-something college student, I didn't have the financial luxury of shipping over all of my belongings when I moved. Thus, I had to pack smart and relatively light considering I was making a long term move. I packed three suitcases. Don't worry about your furniture--its always easy to get inexpensive pieces to furnish your new home with. Plus-if you're moving to Europe a lot of rentals come furnished. Bonus!

5. Don't be afraid to try new things and meet new people

This has to be my most important tip, and that's exactly why I saved it for last. You will feel like a total fish out of water when you move abroad, but the only way to get over that feeling is to dive in the deep end! Join clubs, organizations, whatever your'e interested in. Talk to everyone! I met one of my closest friends here waiting in line to use the bathroom at a coffee shop. Because of my friendship with her, I met a large majority of my friends here in Dublin. People are much more kind and open to new friendships than I ever gave them credit for. Whatever you do--don't just sit at home. Get out there and do some things! 

One of my favorite pins from Pinterest


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Hiking at Howth Head

Hello blog buddies!

About two weeks ago I went on an amazing and beautiful hike at Howth Head with a few friends. It feels like you've gone hours away from the city center, when in reality you're no more than a 25-30 minute journey on one of the local commuter trains.

We decided to take one of the easier trails so we could really enjoy the sites and the gorgeous weather. Howth Head is full of beautiful greenery and flowers. But the most stunning sights are the cliffs. One minute you're climbing up a hill, and the next you're standing on the edge of a terrifyingly stunning cliff. It was the perfect, warm evening for a hike and I can't wait to go back again. After the hike we had some delicious fish and chips from Beshoff's and sat on the harbor watching the sail boats. I couldn't have asked for a better evening.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Night at the Theater

Hello everyone!

Today was one of the most gorgeous so far this Spring. I took full advantage of it all and went for a gorgeous long walk along the Dodder River behind my house. Tonight, I went for dinner and to see a play with my roommate and it was a lovely evening out!

pics courtesy of Jo'Burger and Project Arts Centre
We went to Joe Burger, which is a city centre restaurant that specializes in, you guessed it, burgers! I had a delish beef burger with peach curry and edam cheese. We also split an order of the sweet potato fries, served up with a side of garlic mayonnaise. As we both left empty plates behind, I'd say we both thoroughly enjoyed our meals! Take a peek at the menu and definitely stop in for a burger the next time the craving strikes!

After dinner, we strolled on over to the Temple Bar area to watch a play that my roommate's friend was in. It was called, "Kiss Me and You'll See How Important I Am." I really enjoyed it. It was shorter than I anticipated, but it dealt with really modern and relevant issues, and the acting truly was superb. The show was put on in a small, intimate theater which added even more to the content of the play. I had never been to the Project Arts Centre which is where the play was put on. I really enjoyed the venue, and would like to return to see a performance on the main stage of the facility. Check out the link here for upcoming shows and performances!

All in all, it was a lovely evening. I haven't been to the theater in what feels like forever and I forgot how much I enjoy it. I'll definitely be making it a more regular occurrence in the future! 


Monday, June 3, 2013

A Beautiful Dublin Year, and a thank you

Last week I went to Barcelona for 3 days. Although my iPhone and about 60 euro did get stolen, I had the most beautiful and amazing time taking in the sites and spending some time with my amazing friends Iris and Sarah. Its all got me thinking about how absolutely wonderful this past year has been.

12 months ago, on June 3, 2012, I was probably at work or sitting in my apartment in the States being a nervous wreck about my upcoming move to Dublin, Ireland. Looking back, I wish I could tell myself to GET PUMPED! This past year has probably been the best one of my entire life. I realized my dream of living in another country, and it has been beautiful, scary, thrilling and most of all a learning experience in who I am as a person. I came here scared, well actually terrified, and unsure of myself. Now, a full year of college and 10 months later, I've never been more sure of who I am and where I'm at in my life. I've travelled to five countries, made amazing friends and completed a year of college in subjects I absolutely LOVE. Sitting here writing this, there's tears in my eyes from how happy I am. After the past few years I'd had, I didn't think I would ever get to be this happy. It feels like a dream. I just want to put it out there to the internet, the world, the universe, and whoever is out there listening, that I am beyond thankful for my life and all of my experiences. Even the tough experiences, especially those. Without tough times, years like my last one wouldn't taste so sweet.

To all of you amazing, beautiful, talented and interesting people who grace my life, I love you! My family by blood and my family by experience-my life would be empty without all of you. Don't worry, I'm fully aware of how sappy this all sounds. But its true, and I have to say it. I love all of you in NC and I love all of you who I've met since I've moved to Dublin. How lucky am I?? Life really is beautiful.

I'm heading to NC to visit for the summer in less than a month. I can't wait to see all my friends and family there in person, and not just through a computer screen. I'm also going to get to see my sister(not by blood, but you all know that by now) Bridget get married. Then in August, I'll be packing up and heading back to Dublin. I can't wait to see what this next year holds :)


Thursday, March 28, 2013

"Live tonight because you can't take it with ya, raise your pint for the people who aren't with us"

I found this song by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis today. Not only is it awesome, but it totally reminded me of my Mom. She would have loved to hear this song! Raising my pint to you Mom!! 

Monday, March 11, 2013

“It’s a funny thing about comin' home. Looks the same, smells the same, feels the same. You’ll realize what's changed is you.” Benjamin Button

I literally cannot believe that its nearly mid-March. I've been living in Dublin since August 2012 and have loved every single minute of it--even the hard moments of adjusting to living somewhere far away from everything familiar. But, as I'm about to purchase my plane ticket to NC where I'll be for 2 months this summer before returning to Dublin, I'm wondering if I'll experience reverse culture shock. It will have been nearly a year since I'll have been back. I've completely re-adjusted to life in Dublin and I know I won't be staying in NC permanently so I won't be changing habits just for the summer. I'm SO excited to go back and see my family and friends and participate in my best friend's wedding, but there's a great deal of anxiety as well. I'll just cross that bridge when I get there I guess!

In the meantime, here are a few things I'm looking forward to about NC:

1. family!
2. friends I haven't seen in too long
makeup! clothes! groceries! all in one convenient location

4. The Pit- barbecue, sweet tea, bourbon, mac'n'cheese

5. Long, hot, sunny walks at Lake Johnson

6. Seeing Fayetteville St.--my favorite area in Downtown Raleigh

7. Yates Mill Pond--my favorite little hidden gem of Raleigh. I completely feel like I'm in another time when I'm there

Monday, February 18, 2013

Cork Weekend Getaway

This past Saturday I headed down to Cork with a few friends for the weekend. It was really nice to get out of the city and take a little break for awhile. We went to the English Market(Bobby Flay and Rick Steves visited it on their shows, so obviously I had to go too!) and it was VERY impressive. There were all kinds of beautiful meats and seafood. Oh, and a giant blanket sized piece of tripe(gross!). There were cute sandwich and bakery stalls as well. We had already eaten before we went so I didn't try anything, but I'm sure I'll be back and I'll be sure to sample some things then!

After that we went up to see University College Cork where one of my friends I was with went to college. The campus is GORGEOUS. There's a pretty little river that runs through it and the buildings are just stunning. It reminded me a bit of Duke University in Durham, NC. I think I read somewhere that part of its design was based on UCC, but I'll have to confirm that!

That evening we went and heard a friend of a friend's band play for their new album launch in town. It was a great weekend filled with lots of laughs, and I look forward to more in the future!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Get in Gear 2013!

Tomorrow after class I'm signing up for the Get in Gear program with UCD. Its essentially a 5 week fitness challenge. You take an initial fitness/health test and then for the next five weeks you can choose to sign up for as few or as many fitness classes at varying levels of intensity(low, medium, and high). At the end of the 5 weeks you take another fitness/health test and see how far you've come! They have Zumba, pole dancing (I mean come on, if something like that is offered I have no choice but to try it) and a class who's description sounds a lot like the Body Attack class I used to take at my gym back in NC plus tons more. I'm really excited to just jump right back into my old favorites and try out some new things like kettle bells. I've always preferred fitness classes to only doing the elliptical or the treadmill.

My roommate Tracy told me about the program today, which also happened to be the day that I decided to get back on track with my health. I've been eating A LOT of takeaways and frozen pizzas since I moved into the house and it was making me feel so lethargic. Because I don't have a car and I walk everywhere I hadn't gained much weight, but I hate eating that way. Plus, I love to cook so it really wasn't making sense. I just got into some bad lazy habits. Anyway, today I was back to my healthy ways and even just after today I already feel so much better. I made an awesome taco-inspired salad for dinner and it was super tasty!

A couple tablespoons of salsa as dressing--yum!

Not to mention the fact that I'm the maid of honour in Bridget's upcoming August wedding so I need to be looking my best by then :) 

Here's to getting fit and eating clean in Dublin in 2013!


Sunday, January 27, 2013

"Rock Me Mama Like a Wagon Wheel" Old Crow Medicine Show comes to Dublin!

One of my favorite bands is coming to Dublin on Wednesday and I'm headed to the show with a couple of friends! Old Crow Medicine Show are kind of bluegrass-y, rock and country but not really any of those things at all. Apparently they've been influenced strongly by Bob Dylan, and you can definitely hear his influence in their songs.

Their song "Wagon Wheel" is kind of an ode to Raleigh, NC and whenever it comes on at the bars back home everyone stops what they're doing and sings every word. I'm SO excited to get to see them here!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Have a Little Faith, plus a Roman 24th Birthday :)

Life is good--This past week I got to spend 5 days in Rome with one of my friends from home, Carly, and my friend Sarah who I met in Dublin. I had been a few years ago, so it was pretty awesome to go a second time. I got to see the Coliseum, the Forum and the Vatican again. I really enjoyed getting to notice new and different things the second time around.

St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City

Lacoon--my favorite sculpture

Carly's cute ballerina bun, snapping a shot inside St. Peter's

Cannoli, gelato and a cappuccino--what more could a girl need?

Salmon and prawn risotto--can you tell half of Rome's charm is it's food? :)

But the best part of my trip to Rome was when Sarah and I found the Scala Santa just next to the San Giovanni in Laterno cathedral. The Scala Santa are holy stairs that were brought to Rome by the Emperor Constantine's mother, St. Helena, in 326 AD from Jerusalem. They were the steps that led to Pontius Pilot's offices and are reportedly the very steps that Jesus walked up when he went to speak with Pilot just before his crucifixion. There are still a few spots on the steps where drops of blood can be seen. After searching around for a couple of hours with no luck in finding the Scala Santa we finally found them in a completely undecorated and plain looking building. When we walked through the doors, however, there was a palpable sense of awe and I immediately knew our searching was well worth the effort. For a few minutes we just stood and watched as other pilgrims climbed the Scala Santa on their hands and knees-a requirement to ascend the stairs as a sign of respect. Watching people from every corner of the globe undertake this pilgrimage filled me with gratitude for the opportunity to climb them myself and awe of what I was looking at.

As Sarah and I walked up to the stairs and knelt down on the first step I tried to take in everything around me-the beautiful frescoes on the walls, the ancient marble beneath my knees, the visible drops of blood, the elderly woman undertaking the climb and fully prostrating herself on the stairs. I was overcome with feelings. To visually witness faith in action is staggeringly beautiful. The people climbing these steps may have been motivated by faith in a Christian God and Jesus Christ, but to just think that faith in whatever form or religion you choose is enough to send you half way around the world on a pilgrimage to pay respect and honour to something bigger than yourself is amazing. Faith pushes humanity forward and gives it something to hold onto when things are so dark that there seems to be no way out. Its what has convinced me that there is a beautiful place and Someone who loves all of humanity enough to let us have an entire lifetime of learning and growth. Faith is the reason I know my mom is resting and full of joy and was smiling down on Sarah and I as we reached the top step of the Scala Santa with bruised knees and souls overflowing with faith, love and gratitude. In short, it was one of the most unique, amazing and simple experiences of my life. I would never trade that half hour for anything.

Scala Santa
And on top of all of that, I turned 24 while we were in Roma! Carly and Sarah got me balloons and a princess crown and the day was just perfect. We stopped for cappuccini, strolled all over the city and had a dinner out. I couldn't have asked for anything better! I'm so lucky to have such thoughtful and amazing friends! 

My second semester at UCD starts tomorrow and I'm really looking forward to my classes this semester. I hope everyone's weeks are off to a fabulous start! 

Erin xoxo