Just a head’s up, I know this blog is long but after the weekend of traveling I had, I felt like I’ve been out of Dublin for a whole week — best weekend during this whole experience BY FAR! And, I can’t help but add a bunch of random details and ramble when telling stories. My mom always says I just like to hear myself talk. But now it even happens when I write. Oh well.
For weeks my bosses have been encouraging me to try out the Dublin Bike system… it’s just a bike. So simple. So pointless. I’ve known how to ride a bike since I was four. BUT, in my defense of being scared to actually ride one, Dublin is a city of small roads and lots of cars. Call me crazy but in Jersey we drive- everywhere. I would never hop on a bike and ride on the road to someone’s house. BUT..when in Rome, right? So last week I faced my dinky fear and rode my first Dublin Bike. The reason why this turned into being such a big event is because my one boss video taped me riding down the Dublin streets like a pro and had me make a fake movie trailer the next day about a young American girl (me) who has a “truly Global Experience” riding a Dublin Bike.
It was so fun to real quick throw together and play around with. I even chose my bosses favorite Backstreet Boys song, “The Call” as the background music. So funny. CHECK OUT LESLIE’S DUBLIN BIKE VIDEO HERE!!!
But traveling through the streets of Dublin was nothing to the traveling I did Thursday-Sunday. 865 pictures later, this weekend was full of creating memories to last a lifetime. My two roommates and I headed off to Edinburgh, Scotland last Thursday night. The flight was only 45 minutes and I had a window seat, can’t beat that. When we arrived at our hostel we were definitely a little skeptical but it reminded me of a mix between a summer camp and the college TV set on Boy Meets World. The room had like 15 bunk beds and it was unisex. My roommates had a bunk bed together and of course the girl with the psychotic fear that a man could come and kidnap her gets put all the way across the room, right next to the door. Fabulous. But, to be honest, I didn’t spend much time sleeping in Scotland at all. We only had one night so, like a said when I first came to Dublin, I’ll sleep when I’m dead.
Our hostel had a pub crawl that we all went to that included free covers and discounted drinks. A Scottish signature drink called Iron and Brew is cheap and tastes like cream soda. For better or worse (mostly better) I had A LOT of these little delicious masterpieces. We went to a typical Scottish pub, a Karaoke bar where they played SO many American classics and then to a night club. By the end of the night we made so many random friends from ALL over the world.
But the night didn’t end there.
At 3:30 AM my one roommate and I thought it’d be best to go find a piece of pizza because we were hungry. Not knowing where to go we just… went. We walked for a while then found some local Scottish folk who happened to be looking for food, too. All starving with all places closed, getting food began to seem impossible, but we all just kept walking around Edinburgh in the rain listening to their funny little accents. They really do say “a wee bit!”
Around 5:00 AM with the sun poking its way through Edinburgh’s buildings we finally decided to walk back to our hostel, or in other words, we decided to walk back and get lost for what felt like another hour. So, we flagged down a taxi and THEN got back to our hostel — which was another feat in itself. We realized all 20 people or so were fast asleep so we attempted to be as quiet as possible but I swear I have never heard a door open and close as loud as this one did that night. It seemed like the quieter we attempted to be, the louder every move we made was. At one point my roommate and I were on the floor cracking up trying so hard to hold in our laughter but everyone knows that feeling when the harder you try to stop laughing the more you laugh and you can’t stop. Good thing for everyone, we were only staying that night.
We all had to wake up around 8:30 AM to get ready for the day so I should have been exhausted but I was actually wide awake. I had a nice little breakfast and then we were off to explore Scotland. Luckily we found a 3 hour FREE walking tour to go on. Free! Hallelujah! And the tour was seriously unlike any other tour or history lesson I ever had. I actually learned, a lot. I may know more now about Scotland’s long, bloody history than I do America’s. The stories behind every city corner and the character that overflowed from the buildings and streets was so overwhelming in the best way. I fell in love with Scotland. I sorta felt like I was cheating on Ireland but hey, it was one night and one day. But I made sure I spit on the stone heart in the street which supposedly means I’ll be back in Scotland again one day.
Just walking around the city was so entertaining. We saw artists, a magician, lots of Harry Potter sites of inspiration (whoo.), and so much plaid! I saw more men’s hairy, pale legs than I do on the beach at home. Whether they were just tourists or the real deal, people like to wear kilts. It was obvious when it came time to board our train to London we did NOT want to leave. But the 5 hour train ride was a trip alone! The views were unbelievable. There were mountains, farms, cows, sheep, a trillion goats, cliffs, beaches, neighborhoods, bridges, more goats and a rainbow! So, even though I was very sleep deprived I, again, could not seem to close my eyes and actually fall asleep.
I went to Scotland with absolutely no expectations. London, on the other hand, I couldn’t help but already have a big idea of what this city had in store for us and to be totally honest, it did not live up to what I was expecting. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so happy I can say I’ve seen the major sites like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the London Bridge (which is so ugly, boring and ordinary), the Tower Bridge (which was beautiful and colorful!), and of course, I had a photo shoot in one of those red telephone booths, but overall, it was not nearly as enjoyable walking around.
For one, there are tourists everywhere. I bet there were more people from Asia alone than there are citizens in London. The streets were so busy and I was surprised at how few trash cans were on the streets. People littered everywhere. We took an underground train to the different parts of the city which was a pretty fun and easy way to travel and lucky for us, we had our own little tour guide; another Global Experience intern who’s working in London. My roommate and him are friends at home so we stayed at their place Friday night. Their living accommodations were to us what a mansion would be to shack. London interns are lucky! But, even though the place they stay at is so nice, I slept (or attempted to sleep) on their bedroom hard-wood floor which was not as pleasant.
We did go out for about an hour Friday night just to get a nice feel for the city. I had an English cider which was pretty good but does not compare to Bulmer’s. But since we were so, so tired at this point we went back around 1:30 AM. I was hoping to actually sleep that night but with the wood floor below me and nothing but a hoodie as a pillow and a jacket as a blanket — I did not sleep. Again. I know I said I’ll sleep when I’m dead but I don’t want the reason I die to be lack of sleep. Man, it was a rough night.
Of course, bright and early, everyone was ready to tour the city so off we went to take a tons of pictures like every other tourist there. And like every American there, we got Subway for lunch. Mmmmm. After just a few hours out in London, we felt like we saw enough and were ready to go back for a nap and prepare for our wild one night out in London! And what a night it was!
I saw close to naked fire dancers, a lady with a snake, lots of colorful lights and a lot of bottled beer. The drinks were not as yummy as the ones in Scotland but I didn’t mind — I was in LONDON! Another let down was the accents. The previous night I briefly talked to a true English guy but Saturday night it seemed like they were all tourists. Therefore, in the battle between best accent: English comes in third, Scottish second and my lovely Irish accent in first! It will always have my heart.
The bad part of the night was having a little too much fun. Why? Because we had to take a taxi to a train station to get on a train to get the airport to make our flight at 6:00 AM. Kill meeeeeee. It was hell. After not sleeping all weekend and after having maybe too much fun the night before I was not in the mood to travel at 4 in the morning. Luckily my roommates were and we all made our flight safe and sound.
And just when you think Leslie is back in Dublin and able to sleep… think again. Sunday was the Bray Air Show, you may remember my first edited promotional video was about the show last year. My boss lives in Bray (such a lucky duck) so we had plans for me to go there and see the show, have a nice dinner with his family and have an all-together great day. But this would be an understatement for the day I had in Bray.
First, there’s one tiny bad part. An estimated 80,000 people came to the air show and I had to take a 45 minute train ride to get there. At every stop, every two minutes, SO many more people crammed in. I couldn’t even move a pinky. Then the worst thing possible happened. I started feeling sick. I literally held my bag close to my face so that if I threw up it wouldn’t get on 100 people. Thankfully I made it off the train and ran to a bathroom where I stayed for 20 minutes. Then, the next worst thing happened. The toilet wouldn’t flush. Wonderful. Can I just say getting sick all alone in a place where you don’t know anyone or anything AND there’s thousands and thousands of people surrounding you is NOT fun. I felt like I was 5 again, crying for my mommy to come and take care of me. But, this is all part of the experience, being independent. After an hour of pain I felt better enough to meet up with my boss. I thought about not telling him how sick I was but he could tell I wasn’t looking too grand. And when I told him where I got sick it turns out the restaurant is owned by his wife’s family. Whoops. Sorry about your toilet!
Anyway, then the day was awesome! I felt so much better, the planes were cool, I saw parachuters jump out of a helicopter and the whole show was right off the beach. Bray is a vacation destination for sure. I rode a ferris wheel with his wife which gave me to the perfect opportunity to get pictures of the best views and they took me for a little hike up a mountain right along the cliffs overlooking the ocean. Too good to be true. And this is all right in their backyard. Then they took me to her family’s other owned restaurant which I’ve actually made promotional videos for and am in the process of making another this week, and the dinner was to die for! But the night didn’t end there…
His wife’s brother who — get this — is the guy in the Water Drop costume from the video just had a baby girl on Friday! Now, in Ireland there is a tradition called “Wetting the Baby’s Head” which I so want to incorporate in my family and friends’ lives back in the States. After a baby is born all family and friends get together the next night and take the father out for drinks to celebrate the birth. So Irish, I know. But so fun!
I met all my boss’s in-laws who were so funny and cute and I didn’t want to leave. So, I didn’t. It got too late to take the train back home so my boss let me stay at their house for the night which was like staying in a B&B! Their house is adorable, cozy, comfy, had FOUR stories and I got to sleep in a BIG BED! Ah, I was living the life that day.
So, yes, after four days I finally got to sleep and it was the best sleep I had in almost 2 months.
These last ten days are going to be so bittersweet. The extremely sweet part: we’re leaving for Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands right off the coast of Morocco and Africa this Thursday morning!! Finally after 2 months, this pale skin of mine is gonna get to tan! Sorry, Irish, but I can’t do the whole pale/pasty thing. It works for you but not so much for me. Till late Saturday night, I’ll be soaking up the sun, some drinks, more sun and hopefully throw in some jet skiing, too! I can NOT wait.
The bitter part: When I return it will be my very last week in Dublin. Why does time have to fly by when you’re having fun? Why can’t it fly by when you’re upset or mad or bored? One of the many mysteries of life, I suppose. It’s going to be sad leaving my two favorite bosses ever. In just 2 months I really feel like I’m a part of their little working family. I can only hope my next job will be in an environment that feels so welcoming, comfortable and fun but, if not, I’m more than happy I got to get a taste of how working should be — fun, not too stressful or exhausting, and surrounded by other employees who actually care about you.
Maybe instead of college kids interviewing and worrying and hoping that some job will accept them, the tables should be turned and we should have the opportunity to choose if those employers are good enough for us. Since we are selling ourselves and bringing our absolute very best to the table, they should as well and hope that we want them over other jobs. But of course the world doesn’t work that way… figures. I hate having the “I’ll take what I can get” attitude when it comes to starting my career in the “real world” but that’s the way it goes sometimes.
Oh well, good thing I don’t have to worry about that for a little longer. I’m going to Spain!