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First semester

The last post was almost 3 months ago, that, I am ashamed of and I will save you the excuses, as busy and crazy as final year is I am really...

Monday, 15 December 2014

Horse Shoe Bend & Grand Canyon

22.11.14

I definitely consider myself to be someone that LOVES surprises, so when I heard that there were a few surprises along the way it just made the trip that little extra special. I didn't even want to spoil the surprise, so when we stepped out of the car, I kept my head down and tried not to read any of the signs; and was I thankful that I did. The view was so incredible and my first thought was, this belongs on a computer screensaver...
Which in fact it is.


"The Horse Shoe Bend"






23.11.14

I can honestly say that I haven't had a colder night sleep in my whole life that the night we camped at the Grand Canyon, the night previous where we camped at Monument Valley was also a very cold night but I was so tired I managed to sleep the entire night.

But! To wake up in Grand Canyon National Park quickly helped me to forget about the cold, you always have a preconceived idea of how everything should be, but I couldn't begin to explain how incredible it was to finally be standing at the rim of something of such a grand scale; it took my breath away. 






Hiking down into the Grand Canyon was absolutely amazing, I am so glad that we actually took the time to go, it was early in the morning and it was extremely cold at the beginning, but as we were warned by the people hiking back up to enjoy ourselves because walking back was going to be the "fun" part; and I can certainly say that it was interesting, I know that next time to go, I want to make it all the way to the bottom so this was a good sample of what was to come next.

To top the day off we got the bus out to a view point along the rim to watch the sunset, and what a sunset it was.




Sums up the bunch of crazy's I spent 10days with. Loves them

Monday, 1 December 2014

First Stop Monument Valley

21.11.14

We left Durango on friday evening and headed straight to our camp site, to make the most of the sights we decided to camp before reaching Monument Valley on the Friday night since it was already dark and we wanted to spent the entire day exploring. Lets just say it was possibly the coldest camping experience that I have ever had, in my life... Although this made the experience even more exciting and we were sure that we wouldn't forget our first stop in any hurry.




Monument Valley was definitely on the top of my list of places I was most looking forward to visiting on the trip; watching old western movies and one of my all time favourite Disney Movies 'Cars' is based on the landscape of Arizona, so just like the big child that I am this got me super excited.


                                   
                                   

First tick on the Bucket List

Thanks Giving Road Trip

For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to go on a road trip; especially in the States. Just the thought of heading out on the open road with endless places to visit, it's not like home where you drive for six hours and you've seen the top and bottom of the country. It has most likely been all those movies that I watched, of friends heading off on spring break or for a crazy weekend in Las Vegas but it has been on the bucket list for a long time now. 

So when the opportunity to head off and explore the wild western states of america with seven of my friends came up there was no chance of me missing out. After nearly two months of planning, a lot of research, debates and excitement; everything managed to fall into place. A ten day road trip over Thanks Giving, starting in Durango, heading to Monument Valley, Grand Canyon, LA, San Clemente, Las Vegas and finally back to Durango just in time for class. 

Colorado
Utah
Nevada
California
Arizona

Thanks to a friend that knows his way around, a few treat spots along the way thrown in for good measures. Excited was hardly the word I could use for how I was feeling.


Wednesday, 12 November 2014

'Fall' in love with Durango

In the past, my thoughts on fall/Autumn was always, so whens Winter here? I never liked it, as soon as October arrived we swapped the sun for wet and windy. I always remember battling with an umbrella on the way to school, my hair flying everywhere and when school was finally over, it was already getting dark on the journey home.

I swapped my dislike of fall as soon as I got to experience the true fall that Colorado has to offer. The sun shines, its dry (most of the time) and the colours of the trees are absolutely incredible, no wonder they call it 'Colourful Colorado' this place is beautiful and one way to make the most of it, is go on a hike.

So every american will be completely shocked at this but, I have never made or ate pumpkin pie... Yes I said it! And when I finally got to make it from scratch and eat it, I wondered to myself why was I deprived of this delicious desert for so long. Now that I mention it I would love a slice of pumpkin pie...

I think fall is my new favourite time of year!



Raiders Ridge Trail

Down Town Durango Railway



Sunday, 2 November 2014

Two Months Later

I genuinely can't believe it's already November, two months have never gone by so quickly, from New york to Denver and finally settling in Durango. 
It's always a little scary starting something new, going somewhere different and obviously meeting new people; then add in the fact that you are doing it completely by yourself thats when it all gets that little more difficult. 

I was told before I left home that it was going to be natural to feel home sick, to have your off days and then there will be those days that you want to drive straight to the closest airport and buy the first ticket back home... I arrived in Durango without any of these feelings, obviously because I was in the honeymoon stage and was exploring my new surroundings, meeting new people and enjoying this new adventure. As the weeks went by, I noticed a pattern that seemed to be occurring; not one evening was I sitting in my room by myself, my weekends were packing with fun and exciting things; visiting new places and an abundance of socialising. 

I got to Skype home and see some familiar faces which helped make the transition just that little smoother. I found as the weeks went by that these feelings that everyone was warning me of, didn't seem to be appearing and they certainly weren't in the near future.

I count myself lucky that I choose a place to study like Fort Lewis college, I can only thank the endless amount of friends I have made both International and America; to be so far away from home yet have that feeling that I never left.





Just the beginning xo

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Manhattan










Best day ever taking a tour through Manhattan, such an incredible day.
Wednesday 27th August <3


Saturday, 6 September 2014

Living the Dream

Have you ever got to experience that feeling, of having one of your biggest dreams come true? Not everyone gets to; but thankfully I can say I got to have a taste of my biggest dream that I have had for many years.

I have had a love for big cities ever since I was little; the hussle and bussle of these beautiful cities, with so much to explore and see, it has endless possibilities. So when I got the chance to take on Manhattan for the day all by myself, the excitement was overwhelming and the opportunity had to be grasped with both hands.

I took the express bus to 34th and 6th and was free. I was meeting my cousin later that evening with her friend for a beautiful sail boat ride around lower Manhattan (this was going to be an incredible day). 3.2miles to cover, so I had an 2 options; go shopping and do the typical things that you do when you visit a place like Manhattan, then get a taxi to Battery park or walk the whole way and take in the sites and sounds of the city, I think we all how what I choose! 

*

The temperature was in around 92Fahrenheit it was a busy Wednesday, around 3 O'Clock and I was walking through Soho, sun doing a fantastic job of keeping me perfectly warm, sunglasses on, frozen yogurt in one hand and camera in my other. This right here was the moment...... that I realised I was finally getting to sample the big city life. I was getting 3hours to take in everything that I dreamed of, watching all the beautifully dressed business men and woman stroll by, friends meeting in the street, having lunch in the sun and there was me, an over excited red head plucked straight from the country with the biggest grin on my face!! EEeeeekkkkKK!





Wednesday, 3 September 2014

It's not a leaving party!!!...

I never wanted to have a leaving party, since leaving parties are always considered to be really sad; everyone is really confused as to whether or not to enjoy themselves or try and look sad that the person is leaving... We don't want makeup rubbing off.



I got all my friends together and heading to our favourite bar, to celebrate that I was going away; Nothing too fancy, it's only 9months so it's practically a holiday!! 
Thank you everyone who sent me cards in the post, dropped me a text message wishing me luck and all the lovely presents. It's times like these that you come to terms with how amazing your friends really are (which I already knew) but it's emphasised at these moments. Surprisingly I wasn't as sad as I should have been, normally I am an emotional wreck when it comes to these times, not because I was glad to be leaving my friends and family, but because I had planned for months and was so excited to take this journey by myself.


When it came to leaving the house for the airport on the sunday, the excitement went to a whole new level, it was a mixture of nerves, whether or not I had all my documents with me and 'Move out of my way, I'm going to america'. Thanks to my brother, he organised that I took part in a little tradition; he wrote my name and where I was going on a rock (one that we found at the beach) and when I was leaving the house I jumped out of the car and placed it at the top of the driveway to remind everyone where I was; I felt that it was very sweet and thoughtful. 


The reason for the rock is that back when people were leaving Ireland, to immigrate away they used to leave a rock on top of Carn Togher, which was their last sight of home (South Derry) before they made there way to the boat in Derry. If or when they returned they would pick up a stone on there way back home. As the stones piled up they created a small Carn (pile of rocks) this was named the immigrants Carn.


It wasn't until I was sitting in my chair on the aeroplane about to take off for my flight to New York that it suddenly hit me, I was heading to america for 9 months by MYSELF!!!..... Obviously the person beside me didn't have much luck having a conversation with me, I cuddled up in my fluffy jacket, blanket and pillow and watched the Disney movie Frozen, which helped to ease the pain. Thank Goodness for Disney.


"See you on the flip side"

(Spread your wings and enjoy the adventure)



Finally touch down in NEW YORK CITY!! And was warmly greeted by my cousin at the airport; staggering my journey to stay with family, helped so much, all their lovely familiar faces.



Next stop, My MANHATTAN adventure. 


Sunday, 31 August 2014

Catch up time

So most regular blogs tend to be posts based on events that have just happened, most likely from that week. Well I have taken the whole blogging things to a new level. From my last post on 10th August, soo much has happened, so much so that I couldn't possible skip writing about; but due to the lake of wifi and free time I have quite a bit to do, but sure a whirlwind adventure has got to be full of surprises, if it wasn't it couldn't be called a whirlwind adventure...


I will get to the point...

Ever since I finished work, I had a lot more time on my hands; well thats what I thought! I had to get myself sorted for going way (forms and documents), work on a little wedding present that I had promised my Ant and Uncle, finished painting my cousins gym and obviously squeeze in a couple of nights out with my friends.


I am very pleased with how the gym turned out (if I do say so myself) and Yes it was all done free hand and No there wasn't any projectors or tracing used to create it.



(Finished Piece)


Sunday, 10 August 2014

Heart of the Glens

So thats me finished Work. The time for me to jet off is not far away now. With two weeks until I leave I decided to take some time to myself; visit family, have fun with my friends especially after working all summer.

So obviously my first saturday free I was going to make the most of it.  Shane was heading to the beautiful North East coast, to Cushendall's 'Heart of the Glens' Festival for their yearly Lurig Run; so mum and I tagged along. We where extremely fortunate to have such a dry day for such a tricky and challenging Mountain run; Shane done incredibly well in achieving 10th position with a time of 32:40. Well Done!




NEXT STOP >>>>> FOOD!!
Back on the road and in search of some where nice to eat, so we took to the coastal road heading north towards Cushendun and Ballycastle. Spur of the moment we stopped off in the Giants causeway since I actually can't ever remember being there woohooops!! Terrible thing to admit to but I was 2 and in a pram at the time. Clearly had to do something about this. So glad we did.




(Giants Causeway. Antrim Coast)

All round brilliant day and would recommend a stop at the giants causeway to anyone.


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

My life through Instagram




Ive had the wonderful opportunity to do some pretty amazing things, and visit some incredible cities and countries. One way of capturing these is through Instagram, yes I am a confessed Instagram junky; It's true! Sure aren't we all!

My Inspiration:

New Purchases
Me and Friends
Scenic views
Achievements
Meals
Places I've visited


Sunday, 27 July 2014

Strandhill Sligo

(Strandhill campsite - from beside our tent) 

As the days creep by and we start to see the last week of July I'm starting to get closer and closer to leaving, I stressed to the girls how we HAVE to make the most of the last few weeks we have together. Not only because I'm leaving but my friends are in the waiting process as they too count down the days till they head away on their own big adventures.

Therefore this was unfortunately the last weekend that I have to spend with my little Keke just before she takes on Europe for 3 weeks to inter-rail; due to bad luck I leave the day before she arrives back. 


We discussed heading off to Donegal, then it became camping and then Sligo was mentioned. My cousin takes 2weeks in the year and sets off in the caravan with his wife and travels the coast of Ireland, so he mentioned coming down to the campsite in Strandhill and pitching our tent, where they happened to be that weekend. It was completely random and a little crazy because as we were leaving the house the clouds opened and the rain came pouring down. So thankfully we got a reassuring text to say that it was lovely and sunny in Sligo and to come on ahead.

I am so glad we made the most of it and headed even though it was completely crazy to consider camping with the rain that was forecasted; we ended up having the best 2 days ever! Got called twins, had a fair go at 2 bottles of wine, ate cheese and bread like the french in our tent as the rain came beating down, went to sleep with the sound of the the ocean waves crashing just a hundred yards away, got adopted by a cute couple, got pee'd on by a dog, became best friends with a local band, bought their album and even got my phone charged by them! 

And that was only the first day! A clear sign of a great weekend.




 (Shells Sea Side Bakery and cafe for Breakfast)


(I love the illustration of their menu, I must have sat and flicked through it for ages, absolutely Beautiful)

Went for much needed breakfast on our second and last day (Sunday). Found the most beautiful, homely and idyllic cafe, completely adorable with so much thought put into the look and style of the place never mind the friendly and kind staff who worked their. From a little girl I can remember wanting to open up my own little coffee shop or cafe with both my grannies, (because obviously they made the best scones and buns) we talked about the style of the room and what way we would serve everything; where I would bake all my favourite sweet bites (no wonder my 21st Birthday Party was a tea party theme).

Unfortunately I didn't bring my big camera and didn't want to shoving my phone in everyones face to take photos of the art and decor; therefore my photos are very limited. The cafe was packed and people were waiting for tables to become free to grab some late sunday morning breakfast; before we had even left I said to Caoileann that I couldn't wait to come back and bring my mum and grannies.


Check them out if you get the chance.


We were happily surprised to see that there was a local market/crafts fair opening up and knew we couldn't miss out on having a little nosy, glad we did. Bought some lovely home made bread to take back home and came across a woman who was selling jewellery that her artistic husband that handmade; within each of the unique pieces was set a marvel of colour, yellows, blues, greens etc made using watercolours, they had a mind of their own creating works of art without an control. I think you know what happened next, I became the proud owner of one. 


(I don't know the woman or her husbands name but 
if I find it out I will link their Facebook here)


We wrapped up our tent between the showers and set sail for home, putting the parents out of their worry. I am so delighted we went ahead with our plan, we got some sun and plenty of rain but more importantly we had the best time ever, I'm going to miss my little funkybutt next year no doubt about it. x