The four-month mark is coming right around the corner, which means my time here on the Emerald Isle is almost over. This is a feeling that I am not quite sure how to explain. I am very excited to go back home and see all of my family and friends, but at the same time I’m just not sure I am ready to leave. Ireland may be full of rainy days and cool weather, but it has forced me to embrace these types of days and to experience everything the day has to offer for me. There have been countless times I’m waiting at a crosswalk and an older Irish man approaches me, with his flat cap on and thick accent, with a comment that finally after four months I am able to fully understand. I catch myself smiling as I walk away and the hope that I might have brightened his day as well. Walking back from class is an adventure in itself; passing people on the left side of the sidewalk, dogs walking around without a leash and sometimes without an owner, children in their adorable school uniforms, and a majority of people with umbrellas because you just never know when it is going to rain. One thing I am going to miss the most is public transportation and needing directions. Being lost in town trying to find a certain place, or trying to figure out which stop is yours has provided me with wonderful, caring Irish citizens who always seem to go out of their way to help. One time in particular a city bus driver helped a few of us with the correct bus stop to get off on for a castle. When we were heading back to catch the bus, we were a little confused on where to go, and out of nowhere we hear a man shouting. The same bus driver just happened to see us on the sidewalk and stopped the bus to make sure we got back on. He absolutely did not need to do that, but he did. Ireland is just like that. Everyone is always friendly. They may not smile at you first on the sidewalk, but if you do they will be sure to reciprocate it and maybe even give you a “how are you doing?”. I am truly going to miss each and every person that I have met on this trip, but I know that if someday I am given the opportunity to come back, Ireland will be here waiting to welcome me!
Jenny Cheke is studying abroad at University College Cork in Cork, Ireland.