The world is a strangely huge and small place all at once. I had to pay hundreds of dollars and plan for months to visit somewhere on the other side of the world, yet the people I met there were strangely similar to me in both looks and mannerisms.
To be clear, these are not perfect strangers, but my family from far, far away. I have now stayed with three different families in various locations around Ireland and never in my life have I met people more warm and unconditionally hospitable.
My first stop was up in county Donegal, which is quite literally the most beautiful place I have ever seen.
While traveling along the Atlantic Ocean, I casually asked my cousin’s husband John if the water ever got warm enough to go swimming. The next thing I know, I’m in a wet suit and chest deep in the freezing cold, body surfing on crystal clear water.
After the breathtaking scenery of Donegal, I travelled back towards the outskirts of Dublin to meet two more families of relatives. I was quite surprised at how beautiful the landscape was, even so close to the city.
More importantly than the scenery was the people I got to know and love along the way. Every single relative I have met is 100% genuine in welcoming me and making me feel at home no matter what. Whether it’s been driving me from place to place, cooking delicious meals, or even just a taking a true interest in my life, everyone has gone above and beyond my expectations. It’s crazy that there are people across the ocean willing to do anything for me and they’ve been there all along, I just didn’t know it.
I got to see Dublin nightlife and watch a Gaelic football game with the commentary in Irish (for reference, it sounds like elvish.) It still takes me about an hour to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit, but it’s all worth it and I can’t wait to return to this beautiful country next week.
Up next: Amsterdam and Barcelona and hopefully sangria.
*Footnote: I’m not on crack.