Monthly Archives: January 2015

A Return to Ireland

A few days ago, I got an email out of the blue. Eire again?! *

My freshman year of college, I took a year-long Irish literature course that culminated in a trip to Ireland over spring break. The class ended up having a profound impact on my life long after freshman year, as that is where I met many of the people who are to this day my closest friends.

A few days ago, I got a chance to go back.

The email was from my former professor, letting me and a few other alumnae of the course she’s still in touch with know that the chaperones for this year’s visit to Ireland had backed out at the last minute and “WE’D LOVE TO HAVE YOU ON THE TRIP!!!” The only catch was, we had to make a final decision within 24 hours so they could book the tickets.

After some quick calculations, I decided to go for it. Spontaneous adventure!

It has been 6 years since I went to Ireland with my own freshman class.

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(Can you even tell which one is me?)

We were required to keep a trip journal while we were there, and I’d like to share a few excerpts from mine with you.

From the first night:

“I got food poisoning from the cod…so I spent the whole night throwing up and consequently got no sleep.”

Nearly every entry after that first one begins “still sick…”, and details which chair I sat curled up in while the rest of the class was exploring museums or touring historic sites.

Fortunately my wonderful roommate took very good care of me.

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Despite all the sickness, I managed to have a great time, as evidenced by my “Things Amy loves about Ireland” list:

  1. hot water makers instead of coffee makers in hotels
  2. interesting crisp flavors (and the fact that they’re called crisps) → Prawn Cocktail, Cajun Squirrel, Crispy Duck & Hoisin
  3. tea EVERYWHERE (in pots, with saucers)
  4. the fact that it is green and beautiful. Obviously.
  5. brown sugar packets
  6. energy efficiency in hotels
  7. third-wheel beds
  8. the trouser press in our room in Galway
  9. the vegetable soup (and brown bread)
  10. drinking Bulmer’s out of pints in pubs instead of Natty out of cans in basements
  11. the oddly tacky framed fake sunflowers at the otherwise very classy Academy Plaza Hotel in Dublin

It’s quite a list. As you can see, some things haven’t changed (my love of tea!), but others most certainly have (drinking Natty in basements instead of craft beer in bars). I have no idea why I included a few of the items on there (the trouser press? the sunflowers?).

It will be very interesting to see how the experience is different this time around. I’m 6 years older, worlds more mature (at least I hope so!), and a much more experienced traveller. I also – *fingers crossed* – won’t have debilitating food poisoning this time around. No tartar sauce for me!

No matter what happens, I’m looking forward to sharing my brand new trip journal with all of you in just a few short weeks!



*Eire is the Irish Gaelic word for Ireland.

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Resolutions for 2015

I have never made a New Year’s resolution, other than jokingly resolving to learn to like whiskey last year.

To my surprise, setting the resolution (even in jest) actually worked.

Since I want this next year to be another year of growth and increased personal responsibility, I decided to make some resolutions in earnest.

Here are a few goals I would like to – and totally can – achieve in 2015:

Fruitful:

  1. Go on one at least outdoor adventure (i.e. hike, bike ride, camping trip) each month.
  2. Go to at least one cultural event (i.e. museum, symphony, theater) each month.
  3. Read all the books on this list (and more).

Financial:

  1. Pay off all my credit card debt, then up my monthly car payments by $50.
  2. Put aside at least $1,000 in savings.
  3. Track all of my spending (and actually stay within my monthly budget for each category).

Fashionable:

  1. Give my closet a serious overhaul and sell or donate all the items I’ve outgrown or don’t have a use for anymore.
  2. Focus on purchasing investment pieces that will last for years, rather than indulging in trendy fast fashion.
  3. Finish a knit piece, a cross-stitched piece, and a sewn piece just for me.

Frivolous:

  1. Host a dinner party where I cook multiple courses – and pair wines! – for at least 6 people.
  2. Go on a road trip.
  3. Finish my murder mystery.

Let’s see how this goes!

What are you resolving to do better in 2015?

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Forever Is Composed of Nows*

This bon mot from cartoonist Ashleigh Brilliant truly encapsulates my experience in 2014:

My life has a superb cast, but I cannot figure out the plot.

More than ever before, this past year taught me that the future is unknowable, even – especially – when you think you have it all figured out. (As my dad likes to remind me, “Life is what happens when you’re making other plans.”)

2014 was the year I finally admitted to myself that I was an adult, and that that fact wasn’t going to change anytime soon. Full of intense breakups and personal drama, 2014 was also full of immense love and personal growth.

2014 was the year I turned 24.

It was the year I tried yoga, and I stuck with it.

It was when I finally wore out the hiking boots I’ve had since I was 12.

It was the year I got a car and discovered a whole new kind of independence.

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I spent a month in Maine, and remembered again why I am so incredibly lucky to have the family that I have.

I came back to St. Louis, and remembered again why I am so incredibly lucky to have the friends that I have.

I moved into a new apartment, where I hung curtains and picture frames and actually bought a couch.

I tried Tinder, so I will never feel the need to again.

I cut off my hair and dyed it purple and blonde and blue.

I watched my city catapult into international attention as unrest and protests spread from Ferguson, Missouri, and I learned that what makes it into the media is never the whole picture.

I spent many mornings at the farmer’s market and rediscovered the joy of zucchini blossoms.

I stayed up all night and watched the sunrise over Forest Park.

I stumbled into the first paid modeling jobs I’ve had since that time I modeled for water bottle clip packaging in high school (true story).

I picnicked and explored rooftops and picnicked on rooftops.

I voted and voted and voted.

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I learned the importance of having an emergency fund (and discovered that you sometimes have to spend it and start over).

I travelled to New Mexico and San Francisco and Kansas City and all around LA.

I learned to like whiskey.

I put together 3 different Halloween costumes.

I hosted Thanksgiving for the first time.

I discovered the joys of having a wonderful doctor.

I went to the symphony three times, and the theater once, and museum openings and events more times than I can count.

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I embraced my library card and made progress on my long list of books to read.

I didn’t go hiking and camping enough, but thoroughly enjoyed the times I did.

2014 was the year I turned 24.

It was beautiful and difficult, and now….

it’s over.


*The title is borrowed from the first line of an Emily Dickinson poem

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