Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ireland was my first experience traveling overseas! It was quite an adventurous one considering that I flew standby thanks to my friend Bailey who put me on her flight benefits! (Thanks Bailey!) The fun thing about standby is that you only get a seat if there is an available seat on the plane. And by fun I mean terrifying because you never know when you are going to make it to your destination let only if you will make it there. The even better thing is whether or you will make it home (which would not have been a bad thing if I got stuck in Ireland!).

 I was also flying by myself to Ireland since Bailey and her mom, Christy, flew in the day before. I love to fly by myself, but flying to a different country for the first time was a little intimidating. I had no idea what customs was going to be like... There needs to be a manual on flying, or maybe a class. I never know what I can bring through the airport, what I need to take out of my bag when I go to security, or what the rules are in each airport. Sometimes I have to take out my camera, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I have to take of my jacket, sometimes I don’t… the list goes on!

Bailey, Christy and I didn't buy a plan for international phones. This meant we could not communicate unless we had wifi, and even then we could only message each other on facebook or email. Bailey had previously told me where the hotel was going to be at, so I grabbed a cab once I landed and headed that way.
I got to the hotel, and asked the guy to look up what room Bailey and Christy were in. I told him their last name… and he couldn’t find it… A wave of panic rushed over me. I didn’t know where they were, and I didn’t know how I was going to get in contact with them.

 I started to step aside from the front counter and I was contemplating how I was going to survive when the hotel receptionist offered to look up the first name. I said “Christy”, which was interesting because his name was also Christy, but with a K. Thankfully, he was able to find them. He actually printed out a room key for me. That never would have happened in America. You usually have to have the person who checked in with you in order to get a key. I headed up to the room, knocked, opened the door, and saw that they weren’t there….

So, I was sitting in the hotel room in Ireland hoping that Bailey and Christy went to get something quickly and then they would be back soon. I sent bailey a message on facebook then sat in the hotel room working on homework. I had decided that if they weren’t back in a couple of hours that I would go explore Dublin by myself. Then I remembered that I never told Bailey what time my plane was landing, I just told her that I was going to make it to Ireland.

After about two hours, Bailey messaged me back on facebook! They were going to Stephen’s green and wanted me to meet them there. I could have taken a taxi, but I didn’t want to spend all that money, I was almost out of the money that I had cashed! I decided to take the bus! Looking at the bus schedule online was next to impossible. I had no idea what it was saying to me, so I walked down to the front desk to ask Kristi if he could help me out!

Of course Kristi was more helpful than I expected. He told me where to catch the bus, what stop to get off at, and he printed off walking directions with a map!! So helpful!

I hopped on the bus and told the bus driver “I am going to Abbey and O’Connell Street.” The bus driver looked at me and said, “First comes O’Connell and then comes Abbey.” He wasn’t very nice about it. I dropped in my change, and sat down. Now, I was nervous because I wasn’t sure how I would know where O’Connell Street was. Bailey and I had this same problem in New York one time. We knew which stop we were getting off at, but the bus driver never announced which stops were which. I ended up getting my GPS out to see what street we were on. Well, now I didn’t have my GPS since I had no phone service.

Building at Trinity College
Luckily, I overheard the lady who got on after me say that she was going to O’Connell street! Awesome! And she just so ever happened to sit next to me on the bus. So, I got off the bus with her and tried to find my way around. I started heading towards Abbey street, but I was finding it difficult to tell what street was what since every street sign I would see would just list attractions instead of street names! Later I found out that in Ireland they put their street signs on the buildings. Would have been helpful to know!

I started walking and just had to guess which street was Abbey! I turned down a street that wasn’t the right one. I walked through temple bar, which Kristi mentioned when giving me directions. I still had no idea where I was, but I had a feeling I was close. I didn’t want to ask anyone for directions because I was told that the majority of people in Dublin were tourist. Alson, it always seems like if you ask someone for directions they purposely send you in the wrong direction. So, I started wandering.

After I wandered for quite awhile and had absolutely no idea where I was, I jumped in a cab. It had been about an hour by this time. My cab driver was again extremely nice, but I was mostly worried about whether or not Bailey and Christy would still be at Steven’s Green.

I got out, looked around. There were a lot of people walking around, but to my surprise there was Bailey and her mom sitting outside Steven’s Green! They saw me and nearly spirited across the road. They thought I had been kidnapped.

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