June, 27, 2018
I woke up at 5am and having mostly already packed the night before, I put my last few supplies in my suitcase, made sure my souvenirs were secured, and then zipped my bag. I stuck the Game of Thrones map into the side pocket of my backpack, and it stuck up obnoxiously. After putting my eye mask and headphones in the zipper of my neck pillow (a useful life hack, I might add) I clipped my neck pillow on to my backpack and went downstairs. I had my chocolate Rice Krispies and hash browns one last time and we all met up in the lobby.
My professor was wearing a “Do Good” shirt and after a whole trip of me asking for a picture (because I am a Delta Gamma and this is our motto) he finally gave me one… even though he refused to make the Delta Gamma hand symbol with me.
After putting our suitcases in the trunk, we loaded up onto the last bus of our trip, which was by far the loudest. Our bus driver was playing the local pop station really loud and maybe it was the lack of sleep and deliriousness, but everyone was jamming. We arrived at the Belfast City Airport and bittersweet feelings began to really kick in. Our friend Matt, boarded a plane straight away while the rest of us had to wait an hour before we could even check in.
After we checked out bags, we boarded the plane to Heathrow. My friend Sarah and I met this group of high school grads on the plane who were on their version of a senior trip to Greece. They didn’t have one chaperone with them and it blew my mind how easy it was for their parents to hop countries for fun so easily.
We arrived in Heathrow and had to go through another set of customs. This was when we had to start saying some goodbyes. Camden and Alex had to catch a flight within minutes, so I said goodbye and watched her leave my sight on the escalator.
With a few hours to kill and leftover study abroad money, my friend Sarah and I decided to spend wisely. After lunch, we decided to sample many drinks on the cocktails menu of some bar in the Heathrow Airport. Mind you, everyone was dressed pretty well and we were at a cocktail table in hiking boots, leggings and sweaters.
In all honestly, my plan was to drink and then pass out on the plane… but I was more restless than ever. I watched several movies and only slept for an hour on a nine-hour flight. Once again I had the middle seat, but I was happy to be on the same plane as some of my fellow students and two professors.
Finally, we landed in Dallas/Fort Worth around 5pm. Sarah and I were the last of our group and we went through yet another set of customs. After being questioned rather intensely, we had a kiosk photo taken and finally we were back. We got to baggage claim, picked up our bags, and said our goodbyes to our fellow classmates and professors.
I walked outside, then realizing I was dressed for the UK and not for Texas. I Immediately began sweating. After a few minutes, my boyfriend found me and picked me up. It was amazing seeing him again after such a long period of time. I had missed him so.
My study abroad experience was unlike any other. I got to meet and form new, amazing (and hilarious) friends and most of all, I fell in love with Scotland and Northern Ireland. I solidified my love for travel and had one trip under my belt of experience. I am so happy and thankful I had the opportunity to go and experience such a beautiful and historic place. Even though I attempted to capture it with my words and photos, nothing can capture Scotland & Northern Irelands’ beauty. You can see it in movies, read about it in books, but that is nothing compared to the wind that escapes you when you gaze upon the glens of the Isle of Skye, walk upon the cobblestone closes of Edinburgh and walk through the hermitages of Northern Ireland.
Readers: Go. Travel. See and experience that place you scroll past on your social media feed, because immersing yourself in a foreign place is nothing like what you read in books or see in movies.
It is beautiful. It is romantic. And you will fall in love with seeing the world.
I definitely did.
Planning my next adventure,