What a summer!

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So the summer has come to an end and what an amazing summer it was. When I decided to come to Canada to work in a summer camp I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I did all the research on camp but its is not really something that you can explain until you are there. There is a magic surrounding camp that makes friendships grow faster and memories become heightened like no where else. I learnt so many new skills this summer and discovered new loves such as rock climbing, canoeing, kayaking and paddle boarding which who knows if I would ever have if not for camp.  It is amazing what you can learn when you are just thrown in and people have confidence in you. I also learned how to make a proper fire that can be used to cook on for 12 hungry kids. I learnt how to connect with my campers on an individual level and form bonds with them all as individuals no matter how hard it was at the start I got there eventually.

It was not all roses, there were some days where tears would come to my eyes and I just wanted to crawl up and hibernate for a few days but I learnt to find things to keep me going and the team around me helped.  You are on the go for the whole day so it can hard to  find time to yourself at all but it is amazing what the odd five minutes lying on your bed or a smile from someone passing by can do. The summer was filled with so many happy and wonderful moments that the hard days were few and far between.

On thing that camp has given me that I will cherish forever is the friendships that I made. There is something about living and working together in a confined environment that just makes friendship form so much quicker and makes the bonds last longer. If we can survive summer camp we can survive anything. These girls have seen the highs and lows of my summer and have been an integral part of getting me through those rough times. I know that no matter the distance we will be friends for life and that there is a bond between us that will be hard to break.

I took a risk heading to Canada, a country I had never been to before to a summer camp, Camp Ouareau where I knew nobody to spent my whole summer. It could have been a disaster but thanks to the people and environment of camp it was one of the most amazing summers that I will never forget.

It is hard to explain but all I can say is ‘It’s a camp thing, you had to be there’.

Emma

xx

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The trip comes to an end

As the saying goes all good things come to an end and that was what happened to our road-trip.We spent Thursday (day 7) in the car driving back up to my house and relaxing.I had tag that night which Charley came to watch but then we relaxed , sad but happy that all the travelling was over. With just Friday before Charley headed home on Saturday we decided to head into Dublin to have a look around. The last time Charley was over we went into Dublin but the weather was not the best and we didn’t really stay very long. I also really wanted to head to the Magnum experience and thought this would be the perfect opportunity.

Friday was nice and sunny so we headed in on the bus. After wandering around for a little bit we made our way to the Magnum experience in Arnotts. I have wanted to do this for ages and couldn’t wait. You get to design your own magnum . They coat it in chocolate before your eyes and then you can have three toppings sprinkled over the top.  I went for milk chocolate coating and then topped it with cookie crisp, toffee crunch and sprinkles. Then it was drizzled with some white chocolate. As the ice cream comes straight out of the freezer the chocolate begins to harden straight away and makes for the most amazing indulgent ice cream. I have to say it does get a little messy when it comes to eating it and I certainly got half of it around my face but that’s just all part of the fun and it was just too good to think about the mess. That’s what tissues and wipes are for. When we finished our Magnums we headed for Aungier Danger Doughnut shop. I started following them on Instagram when they first opened and have been lusting over their doughnuts every time I scroll through my feed so I knew I had to give them a visit. We were on a little bit of a sugar rush after the magnum so we decided to get one each and bring them home with us. I got a Oreo marshmallow and Charley got a simple jam.

With our blood sugar levels successfully heightened we strolled around the city in the sun before heading to the bus to head home. After a great day we settled on the couch and started a Harry Potter marathon because why not, what better way to spend our last night. Saturday brought our trip to an end as I dropped Charley to the airport and we said our goodbyes.We are already planning our next trips and meet ups for the three of us to be together again as Courtney was not able to come on the road trip.It really is hard when your best friends live in another country but that just means when we are together we make the most of it and keep in constant contact when we aren’t.

Emma

xx

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Roadtrip Day 5

Sorry about the large gap between this post and the last but I have just been caught up with life and also procrastinating  by watching the Olympics, which I am loving by the way, but here is Day 5 of the road-trip.

With the bulk of the driving for the road-trip done we took the next few days really handy and just relaxed. For the first time on the trip we didn’t have to leave at any time or do anything so we had a lie-in and just took it handy. We decided to head into Wexford town for a look around and to have some lunch. The weather was gorgeous and one of the hottest days of the year so it was nice to just stroll around the town and take it all in. I spent most of my summers in Rosslare and so heading into Wexford town was always something that we loved to do and a treat for us as kids. It had been a while since I had been there so it was nice to see how it had changed and bring back memories from my childhood.

After lunch we decided to head out to Hook Head Lighthouse to have a look as again it was somewhere that I used to love to go to when I was younger and it really is beautiful. There is just something about lighthouses that are just amazing. The weather was spectacular , with the blue sky as a back drop to the lighthouse it was breathtaking. While we were in town we bought some brownies and so while I took a little time lapse of the lighthoue we sat in the sun and ate them. I don’t think the day could have gotten any better, just relaxing  in the sun with  wonderful view. We headed back and stopped in to visit my aunt and cousins who were also down for a summer holiday and then we headed back to the house.

A simple dinner of pasta was just what we needed and then we settled in for the night to relax on the couch. We still had some brownies left and so enjoyed them with some ice-cream while watching Legally Blond 2. It was great to rest up after the long miles we had done over the last few days.

Emma

xx

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Roadtrip Day 2

Day 2 started in with a light breakfast in our hostel before we headed to the beach in Bundoran to have a little look see before we started our travels. First stop on day 2 was Glencar Waterfall which was a suggestion from Charley’s friend and was also on the suggestion board in the hostel. Driving through the mountains with the sun shinning and blue skies for miles couldn’t have been a better start to the day. Walking up to the waterfall you could hear the rushing water as it crashed into the river below. It was such a loud sound but at the same time there was something very calming about it. We took a moment to take in the sheer greatness of the waterfall because lets be honest they are pretty amazing. We sat and basked in the sunshine and took in the amazing view while having a 99 ice-cream, what a great way to spend a day.

After the waterfall we went on a mission to find some petrol as we were getting to the stage where it was getting a little too low for my liking. After circling Sligo about 3 times we finally found a station and filled up the tank so that we could continue on the adventures. Next we headed to Westport to get some lunch , there was a cycle race on in Westport town and there was no parking to be found so we headed for Westport Harbour. With a lovely toasted sandwich as fuel we began the journey to our next destination for the night Ballyvaughan. We decided to stop in Clifden on the way so the I could get a break from driving. I have to say the road between Westport and Clifden was one of the most amazing I have ever driven on. Although it was quite twisty and passing buses caused my blood pressure to spike the views were just amazing. You could have been anywhere in the world, I would suggest for anyone just to drive the road and see great wonder of nature.

A short break in Clifden to do some stretches and have a snack and it was on to Ballvaughan to our hotel for the night. A little 3 star hotel called the Hylands Burren Hotel was our home for the night and we felt very fancy in our hotel. We had a nice light dinner in the bar and then headed up to our room to watch some TV and relax after a long day of sightseeing and  to prepare for day 3 which was going to be just as action packed.

Emma

xx

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Austin Adventures

So I know I have been a little bit A-wall on the blog for the past few weeks but I just didn’t have anything that I was inspired to write about and then I have been away for the past 10 days in Austin and just wanted to enjoy my holiday but I am back and rearing to go. I headed over to Austin to visit my brother and his girlfriend who moved over in October to work.I hadn’t seen them since September as I headed off to France so I was looking forward to seeing them and catching up and also seeing this new place they were living in. I had never been to America before or been on a long haul flight so it was an experience as I got up and headed to the airport to start my journey. With my bag full of Irish chocolate I was dreading them weighing my suitcase but it all turned out fine and I survived my 10 hour flight with the help of some movies and music.

Stepping off the plane to a wall of heat was an amazing change from the cold weather I had left behind in Ireland. Driving along for the first time everything just looked so different and so big from the roads to the cars to everything but it was amazing. We headed to my brother’s apartment , dropped my bags and then it was off to my first meal Tacos, and this was only the start of my food tour of Austin but that’s another post entirely.  Then it was time to try stay up and not get jet lagged and wake up the next day feeling refreshed. I had the next day to myself to explore as the other two were working so I got my camera and headed down town to explore. Austin is a lovely city and to me it felt very intimate even though it also felt huge at the same time which was nice. I spent the day taking photos of the streets and the capitol building and then headed to the Texas State museum to get some culture and history in. That evening we went to see the famous bats on congress bridge but it was the one night they decided to hell with it lets just stay in so I’ll just have to take my brother’s word that they are amazing.

Day 2 again was spent wandering around Austin, I walked along the board-walk on Town Lake and headed to Whole Foods for some lunch to have in the sun. Of course more food was eaten and more photos were taken. I went to a foam rolling class the next day with Caroline and then explored some of South Congress which has some weird and wacky shops. That evening we went for a lovely Indian dinner (on the parents) which was on this really cool street Rainey Street where all the bars and restaurants are in converted bungalows. It’s has a really homely feeling to it which was cool. Friday again was spent just exploring before heading to Hooters for some grub before a night out on Dirty 6th which is the party street in Austin and it was packed as it was graduation weekend. It was an experience to see the whole street closed down filled with people and police alike but it was great fun.

We decided to go kayaking on Saturday as the weather was lovely and sunny but that didn’t last long. After about 5 minutes in the boats the heavens opened into a torrential thunderstorm which we tried to weather but ultimately had to abandon. We got absolutely soaked and then had to walk home in more rain. That evening saw everybody on flood and tornado alert which was a new one for me as we don’t get extreme weather like that in Ireland. We ended up being fine but many places got flooded badly. We spent Sunday quite relaxed as everyone was recovering from the activities of Friday and Saturday but I still got out to explore a bit. Monday was memorial day in America but unfortunately it was a wash out with more flood and tornado warnings so we spent it inside on the couch eating Dairymilk. We also decided to watch Twister which might not have been the best idea when we had tornado warnings but we were educating ourselves on what to do if a tornado hit :).

On Tuesday we headed to the Hope Outdoor gallery which is like a giant graffiti gallery outside . It is amazing and really cool. Then we headed to IHOP because of course no trip to America would be complete without a trip to IHOP. I got the double chocolate chip pancakes which were so good, I made a fair dent in them but couldn’t finish them all. After this we headed to CVS to do some make-up shopping and I also bought some Hershey’s Kisses which are amazing. On my final day we went to a shopping outlet about 30 minutes from Austin which was huge. I had strict orders from dad to get him some Levi jeans and then I wanted to do some damage in Bath & Bodyworks. I didn’t do too much shopping as I didn’t see too many things that screamed ‘buy me‘ and once I got my Bath & Bodyworks fix I was good.

Then it was time to fit everything in the suitcase which was considerably lighter without all of the chocolate that I had brought over. With one final grilled cheese sandwich and a cool dancing Uber driver I was off to the airport to head home. I had such an amazing time exploring Austin and seeing where my brother and his girlfriend have called home for the past 7 months. This trip has also just made me want to explore more of America and the word in the future and travel.

Now it’s time to try and not let the jet lag beat me as I try to adjust to Irish time.

Emma

xx

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End of Erasmus

Hey everyone , so I know I have been gone for a while but I was just really busy with studying for exams and the end of term but I am back now and more ready then ever to keep this blog up to date and make it the best I can. As the title suggests my Erasmus has come to an end and I have mixed emotions. I am happy to be home and in my own room and house, having a big kitchen and an oven is amazing and having my family and friends all around me. It’s great being able to get out of bed and actually have a distance to walk around and not have every thing within two steps of each other. I was also getting a bit fed up of the university towards the end of my year just with lack of information for Erasmus students and a lack of organisation so I was happy to leave them behind.

Even though these all made me happy to leave it was also mixed with the sad emotions of leaving my friends. We had such an amazing time together and they really helped to make my year, I know it certainly wouldn’t have been the same without them. Especially the two girls Courtney and Charley ,became like my family over the 8 months as we only had each and we did everything together even if it was just a walk to the shops to get out of our rooms. They really did make my year what it was and it has been weird not being able to just text them asking to meet up and seeing them like 5 minutes later. Although it is sad they only live in England so its not far and with modern technology and social media we are always connected whether it’s Facebook, Instagram,Twitter, Skype or Snapchat. So although I was sad to leave them as they were so close all the time , I am truly glad that I met them and had such an amazing year.

Looking back Erasmus was great , although I don’t know whether my language really improved but I’m sure it did subconsciously as I was immersed in it. It felt like a kind of holiday in a way  in which I got to meet new people from all over the world and make new friends. I would recommend Erasmus to anyone who wants to do it as I think it is a great year to just take a break from the hard work of college and see another country and meet other people. Don’t get me wrong you have to work as well but not being in your college just makes it feel like there is less pressure. You’ll get to learn about new cultures and more about a language you study possibly. It really is a year that will stay with you for the rest of your life because of the people you meet and the memories you make together.

Let me know if any of you have been on Erasmus and what you thought of it?

Emma

xx

Advice to my 15 year old self….

So as I turned 21 last week I have been thinking about what advice I would give my 15 year old self about life.I know 21 is not that old but I feel like it is such a milestone birthday from when you are younger and I really feel like now I am an adult. Along with this I feel like I have grown up a lot and matured since I went to college and especially since I have been on Erasmus. While here I have had to live by myself with shopping and bills and I have had to make new friends so I wouldn’t spend the year alone in my room. This has caused me to really come into my own and I feel like I have become ME if that makes sense. I am truly happy with the person I am right now and the people around me and looking back I thought I would jot down just 5 pieces of advice I would give my younger self about life now that I have more experience and feel I have accepted who I am and am happy with it. So here we go….

1.Don’t worry about school and tests.

Do work hard and do the best you can but don’t get hung up on results. I know there were many a time when I didn’t get a result I wanted that I was gutted but now looking back I can see that they were not the end of the world. Those tests may have seemed like the biggest thing in the world at the time but now looking back I can see that really they weren’t. By no means don’t do anything but if one tests goes bad it’s not the end of the world and even if every test goes bad even after you worked hard there is always another way to do things and you can still get to were you want to be in life. School is only such a short period of your life when you think about it , what’s 14 years in a lifetime of over 80 years (hopefully).

2.Don’t get hung up about the future.

I know towards the end of school with college applications and everything ,you are always being told to look at your future and figure out what you want to do. Well don’t worry because I am into my third year of college now and I still don’t really know what I want to do. Everything could change in the next year or 5 years who knows so don’t worry about the future and just live in the moment. Enjoy being young and free and don’t try to grow up to quickly believe me your school days will be some of your best memories even though it doesn’t feel like it now.

3.Do what you want and don’t care what people think.

Okay so I know this is easier said then done and believe me it was only when I went to college that I really started to think like this but it’s amazing. You feel so much better in yourself and just doing what you want without a care in the world is the most amazing feeling. It is your life after all so why not live it the way you want. Wear those crazy clothes or eat that whole pizza if you want or dance crazily by yourself and don’t worry about what other people think believe me your life will be so much easier and you’ll be a lot happier. Make mistakes and just live your life how you want to because no one is perfect but we are all unique in our own way.

4. Those who matter will stay in your life.

In school everyone wants to have the most friends and do everything together which is great but as time goes on you will find people will drift away from you. Your friends may go to different colleges or do things without you and you may be upset about the drifting but don’t be. The people in your life who matter will stay in it and they will be the most amazing friends you will have. You will also make many new amazing friends over the years who will be in your life for a long time to come. So don’t worry if all of a sudden all your old friends are going in different directions , there will always be those who will stay in your life and make amazing. Don’t get down and try to change yourself for people , just be who you are and those who like you for you will always be by your side.

5. Make memories.

These years are the best in your life when you are not tied down by jobs and major responsibilities so enjoy it. Whether big or small make as many memories as you can with the people you love. Go on road trips, cinema dates with your girls, stay up all night gossiping or dance your heart out to your favourite song. Live life with not a care in the world and make memories that will last you a life time. Take tonnes of pictures and keep the memories forever. Believe me when I say these will be some of the best years of your life so take full advantage of them. Enjoy!

There you go, these are just some of the things I would tell my 15 year old self now that I have grown into myself and am so content in my life right now.

What advice would you give yourself if you were to look back on years gone by?

Emma

xx

Scrapbooking

I am a very creative person and I really love making things and doing crafts. This got me thinking about a way to create something in which I could have all my memories from this year. I know I am documenting all my travels here on my blog but I wanted something that I could work on and make it my own. This is why I decided to make a scrapbook of my year so in years to come I can flick through the pages and relive all my adventures.

I bought this cheap little black  scrapbook before I came and my plan was to fill the pages with weird and wonderful things from my travels. I haven’t found anything weird yet but there is still time. I had no real plan when I started but I think that’s what makes it wonderful because it’s just like a visual representation of all your memories and well you can’t plan your memories because some of them haven’t happened yet. I have been putting anything and everything into it from metro tickets to restaurant cards to photos. This is what is so great about a scrapbook, its your own personal place to be creative and you can really put anything at all into it. There are no rules!

When I was younger I used to love going on holidays and sending post-cards home to all my friends and even to this day I love whenever I get a post-card in the post (usually from my nanny on her travels). I decided that whenever I go on a trip I am going to buy a post-card and put it in my scrapbook so by the end of the year I will have pages filled with post-cards of all the places I have visited. This serves two purposes as they look great in a scrapbook (instant creativity factor) and it will also help me remember what the place looked like in years to come when I look back.

To make the pages a little more colour I have been writing little notes on some coloured paper I got in a little stationary shop. Along with this I have been using ‘washi tape’ on some of the pages to stick things down. Washi tape is just like masking tape but it comes in a wide ranges of colours and patterns so it easily adds colour and ‘cuteness’ to any page in your scrapbook. Along with this because it is masking tape it means it wont damage your pictures if you want to remove them and I have also used it to stick some pictures to my walls as I know it won’t damage them.

So by the end of my year I will have a scrapbook filled with memories from all my adventures so in years to come I can look back and relive them all.

Emma

xx

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