ADVENTURES ABROAD: My Trip to Ireland

For the past few years, my new year usually begins in a quiet way, wrapping up winter break and trying to get to all the books I can before heading back to school and ‘real life.’ However, my 2020 started in the most exciting way possible by going on a study abroad trip to Ireland!

I always knew that I wanted to do some sort of study abroad program while in school. Blame it on all the books I’ve read, but I’ve had this growing sense of wanderlust in me for the past few years. I admit that I was intimidated by going abroad, having never travelled outside of the United States before and how pricey study abroad and travelling can be. However, everything seemed to fall into place during the fall semester of my senior year and I decided to apply to my school’s winter break program in Ireland. I have a few countries on must travel-to list, but Ireland has always been in the #1 spot because of my own Irish heritage.

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In short, I am so, so glad that I went to Ireland because I had such an incredible experience. I have a ton of photos featured below, but even they do not fully capture how beautiful everything is there. I’m going to be breaking down my trip more for you below, but I quickly fell in love with the West Coast of the country and know I need to go back someday. It’s true what they say about going abroad or travelling: once you go somewhere, you want to get back on a plane and go somewhere else! I’m hoping my adventures abroad or at a travel feature will become a somewhat regular series here on Fangirl Fury.

And yes, I admit that I’m disappointed with my bookish self for not taking a long a copy of Jenna Evan Welch’s Love & Luck for ALL of the bookstagrams.

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IMG_E1434My day spent in Derry was one of the trip’s highlights. As a Derry Girls fan, going to Derrry was one of the things I was most excited about. During the first half of the day, we visited the Museum of Free Derry, hearing from a relative of a Bloody Sunday victim and walking through the museum’s exhibit on civil rights. After the museum, we toured the Bogside murals.

The second half of the day was spent in Derry City, where we had complete free range to explore the city. Since our bus IMG_1450dropped us off at The Guildhall, we walked through the Plantation of Ulster exhibit and later took some nice nightsky photos. After the exhibit, my friends and I walked across the Peace Bridge, which again prompted for the nice photo ops. We then went into the city, with our first stop at the Derry Craft Village. We popped into a few stores, where I picked up a belated Happy Christmas ornament for my family and a pair of claddaugh earrings for my sister. My must-see stop for the day was of course the Derry Girls mural! After, we walked along the 17th century wall near there and also stopped at St. Columb’s Cathedral. We also stopped at a print shop that sold a ton of Derry Girls merchandise, picking up a postcard for my equally obsessed Derry Girls friend and I, and at an ice cream shop called Joe Jackson’s. After falling in love with lemon meringue pie at dinner earlier in the week, I treated myself to lemon meringue and salted caramel ice cream.

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If We Were Having Coffee: The Fall Semester Edition

One of my goals with each blogging year is to incorporate more lifestyle posts and life updates. I usually talk about some of my life happenings outside of my bookish and fangirl life in my monthly wrap-up posts and some blog and book tags. In 2020, I’d love to dedicate more getting to-know-me posts. But while there are still 3 weeks left in 2019, I am going to be starting this a bit sooner! I’ve seen the If We Were Having Coffee post float around the blogosphere, but I first saw it written by Jamie of The Perpetual Page Turner.

Some of you may have been able to tell from my monthly wrap up posts that life has been super busy since school started again back in August. This semester was super-rewarding while also stressful in a number of ways. I think it’s about time that I’d fill you on a few things that have happened over these few months, what I have planned for winter break, and some of my plans for 2020!

If were having coffee together IRL, I’d probably be drinking caramel or vanilla-flavored coffee. I’ve only had one holiday Starbucks drink so far this season, which was a Caramel Brulèe Latte.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I am currently reading, The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black. I just started this one on Sunday before diving into my final papers again.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my senior year has been my favorite year of college. This fall semester is definitely my favorite semester of college—here’s hoping that the spring may beat it! I spent so much time hanging out with my best friends and I seriously wouldn’t trade this time and memories with them for anything. Some of the highlights include nights out in our college town, apple-picking, our many Halloween celebrations (college students can’t seem to decide when to celebrate when it lands in the middle of the week, so we celebrate two weekends in a  row), and visiting one of my best friends at her school for the weekend.

I don’t want to give away too many details away because I’d like to still keep where I attend school private for now, but this semester I attended class twice in a week in NYC. I was able to learn more current topics and career opportunities in one of my majors and get to visit companies in the industry. I commuted about four hours per week, which made for the perfect reading time (and yes, homework time during peak stress periods).

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If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about my English senior capstone paper on Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give. This was my first time studying a YA book in college, and I discussed the tension between THUG as a novel and as a commercial product. While I ultimately decided not to go down the thesis route given my other commitments this year, I’ll be again discussing THUG and diverse books in my media and communications senior capstone.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my senior year has been the most stressful year of college. I had the most amount of homework and research projects that I’ve ever had in college. My student life basically looked like this in the fall: 8 credit NYC semester, my English senior research class, my last literature seminar to complete my English major, and working two jobs on-campus. When it came to the coursework, I at least really enjoyed working on my senior research and NYC projects. I think it’s finally safe to say that I did not enjoy my seminar on British Romanticism in the least bit, but I unfortunately did not have at lot of options when it came to literature classes this year. I’ve also run into the more “typical” college senior stress, aka trying to figure out what I’ll be doing with my life in May, between applying to internships and entry level jobs and considering grad school.

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Forever thankful to my best friend for capturing part of my presentation on her Snapchat.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about my upcoming study abroad trip in January! My 2020 will be starting in the best way possible because I will be going to Ireland during the first two weeks of the year! Going abroad during college has been a dream of mine and I am so happy that I finally have the opportunity to do so over winter break! Ireland has always been on my travel bucket list because of my heritage. This trip will also mark my first time going abroad. I’m definitely going to be leaving some room in my suitcase to bring back a UK book edition or two… or maybe the entire Harry Potter series, who knows. I’m going to have pre-scheduled content still up on the blog while I’m away, but I likely won’t be able to respond to comments and other blog-related things until I’m back in the US. I also plan on doing a post or two on my trip later in January.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’m trying to read as much as I can in December. I put a bunch of books on hold during Thanksgiving Break from the library in preparation for my winter break reading.

Although I was able to read more this fall semester than I have in previous years at school thanks to my semi-commuting life, I wish I was able to read as much as I had been in the summer. It was a rough transitioning from reading 14-15 books per month to adjusting back to 4-6. It’s not even so much that I was worried about the numbers, like hitting my Goodreads challenge, but I genuinely missed having more reading (and blogging) time.

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If we were having coffee, what would you talk about? What would be your drink of choice? What are you reading in December? Share in the comments!