Foodie, blogger, world traveler. Live, laugh, love. Not all who wander are lost.
I could not be more cliche in taking a European trip after my graduation from Ohio University. Case in point: the title I’m using is based on a band from California. But being cliche has been the absolute last thing on my mind as I have been preparing for this journey. While I was grieved to leave my home of Athens, Ohio, this is the first time in my life that I have been able to do absolutely anything I want. Not in a Super Sweet 16 kind of way, but in a deciding my career path kind of way.
While this scared me to death at first, I am looking forward to this upcoming year even more than I looked forward to my first year at OU. Growing up in a town where a 5th generation Asian American family from Columbus was considered “diverse,” I cannot wait to shatter every preconception I have of other cultures.
As I am about to embark on a journey of a lifetime, I thought a Facebook status of thanks is not nearly enough. My first thanks goes, as always, to my parents. When I officially decided to graduate a year early, I mentioned that one of the things I wanted to do was go to Ireland. Instead of harping on me to get a full time job immediately, my parents didn’t rest until they saw the trip come to reality.
Which brings me to the second person who made this come true: my brother. After graduation, I thought that I would definitely be ending up back scooping ice cream for the summer and fighting to get enough hours to save for my trip, or at least be in another food service position. But my brother came to my rescue and got me a job at his company, and they have graciously allowed me to work almost full time to save the money I need. None of my trip would be possible without my brother and the amazing generosity of my coworkers.
Last, but most certainly not least, to all my Irish family. These are people, with a few exceptions, whom I’ve never met and have offered to house me and show me around throughout my trip. When I contacted my family, I expected to get together with a few of them and maybe stay with a few others. But every single one has opened their home to me and I am touched beyond words. Their generosity and hospitality has moved me more than anything else about my trip. Not only have my cousins, aunts, and uncles offered to have me stay, but they’ve also put me in contact with other relatives at different points in my trip, each of them going out of their way to make me feel welcome. Since I am the last person in my immediate family to visit Ireland, I know that this generosity is not just talk, and they truly are as kind and loving as they have already been to me.
For the first time in my life, I am about to be completely on my own. Without the stability of my hometown, college friends, or even a stable mode of transportation, I am a little scared for what lies ahead. But much more than that, I am grateful beyond words. After a couple mentions of wanting to travel, everyone I know rose to the occasion and made it happen. From sight seeing suggestions, to lending travel gear, there are so so many people responsible for this incredible opportunity.
Some people can be bitter about college graduates traveling to Europe on their parents’ dime as a glorified vacation. But to that I say, not only have I been working every single day to pay for this, but I have no intention for this to become a vacation. I hope that I can stay humble throughout my trip as I not only meet my family for the first time, but see cultures I have only dreamt about. This is not about filling my scrapbook with the Wonders of the World, it’s about exploring and learning. I’m not sure what I’m going to learn, but I know there’s no other way for me to learn it. This is about scratching my itch of curiosity that I’ve had my entire life. Although I have a feeling that once I return, it will only itch again.
I know all my endearing fans will be eagerly awaiting the next installment of my blog but don’t worry, dear readers, I will be back. And with infinitely more knowledge of Guinness.