I Want Moher.

Picture of Alyson Zawisza

When I was applying for this internship with Learn International, there was the option to also apply for a scholarship. If you received it, you were to create a blog post, hence our awesome weekly chit chats. In the process of applying for the scholarship, I was to write a mock post about my thoughts on studying abroad in Ireland. The following is what I wrote…pay attention because we are going to come back to it shortly!

“For me, it’s almost hard to put into words all the reasons I am excited for this study abroad opportunity. I have this idea in my head of what it will be like. I see a kind family with a farm. I’m helping them care for their animals and learning more about their livelihood.  I see fields full of livestock and greenery for as far as the eyes can see. There are breath-taking views of coast line. I am standing on a cliff at the edge of Ireland with arms stretched wide taking it all in. I want to walk the Cliffs of Moher and the Giant’s Causeway. I plan to experience as much as possible and take not one day for granted. From what I have heard, Ireland is rich with culture. I can’t wait to experience it and understand it. I enjoy learning about the history behind a country. I don’t want to be merely a tourist just to observe the culture, I want to be a part of it. I want help appreciate it and maintain it.

This past summer I traveled to Ecuador for a mission trip where we spayed/neutered 86 dogs and cats. It was my first time out of the country and it was life changing, as corny as it sounds. It was a whole new world to see and explore. Even before that experience, I knew the second I left my home country I wouldn’t want to ever stop. I want to see all this world has to offer. There is this lyric in the song “Back 2 U” by Steve Aoki, Boehm, and Walk The Moon, that captures this feeling. “So now I’m running like you set me free out in the wild, I know you want me to come home but it might take a while, I got my heart in my hands while my head’s up in the clouds, And only heaven knows if I will make it back to you, So I, I just keep running”. If I make it to those cliffs that I imagine, you can bet this song will be playing when I breathe in that ocean air. I will have made it. I won’t stop running.”

While I’ve been loving my host family and host sheep, I took a break from the farming life this past weekend. With the help of Learn International, I was able to go to Galway! I arrived to the hostel at about 11 pm on Friday, though tired, I went and found a pub just around the corner. Galway was far too kind and granted me one incredible night It was filled with beautiful music, excitement, shameless bad dancing, and a new, incredible group of friends. The next day I explored all of Galway in true Irish fashion, soaking wet. The rain came down all day but I decided it was fine after some spitting and sputtering. Galway was kind once again. I gained three more friends from my hostel. It was like we were all old friends, reconnecting after a few years. We spent the night out, making memories and enjoying each other’s company, relishing in the beautiful city’s night life. I was even able to meet up with a friend from my hometown, visiting Galway for spring break from her study abroad trip in Florence.

On my last day in Galway, I went on a tour with my “Room 206” family, where we saw the Dunguarie Castle, Aillwee Caves, the “miny” cliffs, and the Cliffs of Moher. The Cliffs of Moher were shocking. They were far more breathe taking than I expected. It was here that I separated from the group, I needed this time for myself. Those of you who know me, know I’ve gone through quite a bit. But you also know I’ve never let it stop me. It was an emotional moment for me to stand on the edge of such a monumental site, taking in the crisp air, the cold rain touching my cheeks. I finally made it. A dream made into reality. In my mock blog, I mentioned a lyric. I said that “…if I make it to those cliffs that I imagine, you can bet this song will be playing when I breathe in that ocean air”… and I did. (Check out the video!)

So here is my two cents. Don’t stop running. Run through your fears. Run through your sadness. Run towards whatever you want and don’t stop. Don’t let anything stop you. Life can get really crappy really fast but you can’t control it. It’s up to you to pull yourself together, recognize the problem, and come to terms with it. Don’t give up on something that IS attainable. You can do it, just like I did and will continue to do. I have many more places to go, people to meet, and experiences to embrace. I want Moher.

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