This Isn’t Really Good-bye.. Is It?

Picture of Alyson Zawisza

Unfortunately it is time to say good-bye. My 12 weeks on this internship have just flown by and I find myself wanting just a bit more time. I remember leaving Connecticut like it was just yesterday. I had my bags all packed (somehow I fit everything) and I was double checking for all the important stuff. I cried just about the whole way to the airport because once I finally realized I was actually leaving, I was like Cinderella’s carriage and turned into a pumpkin. I wasn’t really scared, more-so just worried about leaving my loved ones for so long. But when I got to the gate, I wiped my tears, pulled myself together, and got on the plane, looking forward to a new and exciting journey. As you all may remember I didn’t get off to a good start, ya know, the whole motion sickness and getting sick and missing my stop and not knowing where I was. Good times, good times. I was so thankful and glad to see my homestay family after such a horrendous day. From that moment on I was a part of the family.

This trip has been such a journey. I didn’t know much about sheep when I came here. I was eager to learn and was hoping to get as much hands-on experience as I could and I did. I learned how to give boluses, practiced giving injections, practiced my hoof trimming, and most importantly, learned everything I needed to know about lambing. When lambing started, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect and I didn’t know what it entailed well I can tell you that I learned very quickly. By the end of lambing I was pulling lambs left and right. I can push a lamb back into the uterus through the pelvis and reposition it so that they are positioned correctly to come out straight feet first followed by the head. It’s an amazing thing to be able to do.

While I am excited to go home, there is so much here in Ireland that I am going to miss. My homestay family has been incredible and I could not thank them enough for their care and support. I am truly going to miss each one of them. They have each taught me so much. I will really miss the farm and the animals as well. It will be hard going from work like this back to my other job. No matter how tired I was, I loved walking up the hill to the sheep sheds every morning. I’d make a few bottles of milk and head up to the shed to feed some lambs in the communal pens. Then I would head up to the sheep shed. I’d open the door and Dorothy, Pippy, Oreo, and Tater would come running for the bottle. Then we’d go around to each of the fields checking on the ewes and lambs and counting to make sure they were all there. Riding the quad over a beautiful green field in the sunshine was something I’ll never forget. I couldn’t count the times I just leaned back, closed my eyes, and took a deep breath of the fresh air.

In all, we lambed about 460 lambs in the course of a month. It was work that never seemed to end. There was always something else to be done or something would come up. But this didn’t matter because I loved what I was doing. I wish I could stay and continue. I wouldn’t change anything about the experience I’ve had. It was everything that I had hoped for. If you are someone reading this blog and wondering if you should study abroad on an internship like this, do it. Don’t think about it. It is an experience of a life time to meet new people and learn new things about yourself and another place. I will never forget this place and the people I met. I will be forever grateful.

Good-bye beautiful Ireland, this won’t be the last time I see you…

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