Ireland Day #1

Almost 3 months later and I'm finally getting around to recapping my study abroad trip! Go me! I actually just made a photo book of this trip and I absolutely cannot wait for it to get here. Looking through the photos made me reminisce so much on it and realize that I want a recap of everything that happened here on my blog, so y'all can know a little more about what I did and so I can have a reason to daydream about Ireland again (-:

So, before I begin, here's a little bit about my trip and what our purpose was. There was a group of about 16 of us, all girls, mostly all Animal Science students, all from NC State, and we went to study the equine industry in Ireland. Europe does a lot different things with their horses, so we toured lots of different equine-theme facilities and businesses. We also, of course, got to spend a lot of time exploring the BEAUTIFUL country.

We departed the US on May 10. The majority of us flew out from RDU on the connection to Philadelphia, but a few of us went directly to Philly. One girl met us in Dublin. I had flown once (?) before when I was really little, but it was pre-9/11 and I don't even count it. I count this trip as my first time flying! All of my friends and family will tell you that I was an absolute wreck about flying. I can't count how many times I said that I wished I could just teleport to Ireland so I could avoid the plane ride. I researched planes, how planes work, what causes plane crashes, and so forth. Yes, I'm a little crazy. I packed most of my stuff on the 9th, oh and I found a Target receipt where I bought a bunch of stuff for the trip on the 8th. Did I mention I didn't finish my spring semester until the 7th? That gave me a good 2 days to pack and prepare myself for international travel.

I got to the airport on the 10th super early like the good flyer I am. Mom bought me a frappucino from Starbucks against my dad's wishes because he said it would make me have to pee. It did. Good think I sat at the gate for about an hour before we boarded- plenty of pee time. Saying goodbye to my family wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be (sorry, Mom). Of course I'd miss them, but I was about to go to Ireland for goodness sakes!

My suitcase was well underweight and my carry-on and personal item were the right size, so I was golden. I sat beside my friend Paige on the flight to Philly, and I can't tell you how many times I apologized to her for being so anxious! Sitting on the tarmac waiting for our plane to be given the green light for take-off was nervewracking! Once we accelerated down the runway, though, and we took off, I was completely amazed! It was a weird feeling, but I actually felt really safe!

Sitting at the gate at RDU!

Raleigh from really high up

NC from even higher up

Definitely one of my favorite pictures. God is an unbelievable artist!

I loved seeing the patchwork of the farmland from high up. 

W flew over the Chesapeake Bay and could see cargo ships on the water which was really cool. Here we saw a rainstorm over the Bay as we flew away from it.

The suburbs of Philly!

Landing at PHL. The rainbow was a beautiful touch!
Sidenote to show you how panicky I am: when we were landing in Philly, we approached over that river you can see above. I was honestly very concerned about why we were getting so close down over the river. An emergency landing a la Hudson River 2009 crossed my mind for a moment.

The flight was roughly 50 minutes (which still blows my mind) and we laid over for a couple hours. We got dinner (pizza!) and finally were allowed to board around 9:00 pm. I'm so glad I ate at the airport because the dinner on the plane wasn't that great! When we boarded, we sat for a little while, then the pilot announced they catered the plane wrong, so they had to replace all the food. By the time they were done, we lost our push back crew, so we had to wait for another one. We sat there for 30 minutes or so and I took a dramamine in the mean time. By the time we took off I was already sleepy! They finally came around with the dinner and drink carts. I heard one of my friends ask if she could have wine, but she wasn't 21 so she wasn't allowed. The steward got around to me and served me wine. Wine + dramamine = very sleepy Taylor. I got a window seat for the overnight flight in hopes that I could lean against it to sleep. That didn't happen because the seat was a strangely far distance away from the window. I slept uncomfortably for maybe an hour and woke up to my neighbor's feet all in my foot space. I wasn't happy. Plus, he was just sleeping away. Some of the girls on the trip had aisle seats with no one in the row, so they got 4 seats to themselves to stretch out on. That must have been nice! I had to pee for a while but I didn't want to wake up the man beside me. He finally woke up and I went to the bathroom (it took me a while to figure out how to flush the toilet) and when I sat back down I made a grave mistake. It was 12:30 am EST. I haven't a clue where we were over the ocean, but it was much later than 12:30 am our time. I opened the blind and this is what I saw:

A strangely disorienting sunrise from 40,000 feet in the air. Yeah, I felt like I was in outer space. After that I was wide awake and kept lifting the blind ever so slightly to watch the sunrise.

We landed in Dublin at 8:00 am or 3:00 am at home. We crossed over the entire country and turned around over the Irish sea to come into Dublin. There must have been strong winds over the Irish Sea because the landing was bumpy. The plane would do this weird dropping thing where it felt like my stomach was floating and my mind thought we were falling out of the sky. I stayed calm and the pilot did a fantastic job. For all the turbulence, we landed so smoothly! Catching glimpses of Dublin as we descended was fantastic.

I'm just into May 11th, so I'll stop there!

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