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Farewell to Galway


As my last week in Galway, I spent most of last week trying to do as much as possible. In the morning I woke up and went to Griffin’s, my favorite café in Galway, and I spent most of my afternoons wandering the streets, trying to soak in my favorite landmarks. During the evenings, I went to all of my favorite pubs to sit and listen to music and catch up with friends. All in all, it was an incredibly bittersweet week that made me realize how much I have loved Galway and how much I have learned during my travels.

There is one particular outing that is worth talking about. On Saturday, my friends and I took a walk down to the ocean to jump off the famous yellow pier, which is a favorite spot for most locals. Eager to prove our unflinching courage in the face of the frigid Irish waters, we donned our bathing suits and made our way down the promenade. On our way there, we were stopped by a group of activists who, for some reason, were trying to break a Guinness world record. Since we had nothing better to do, my friends and I joined them. We sat on the concrete with 1600 other Galwegians and danced along to the song “Rock the Boat”, which is apparently a great favorite at Irish weddings. After a lot of undignified arm flailing, we were free to once again continue our way to the pier, although we were all a little unsettled by the sight of so many Irish people dancing madly.

The tide was too low to jump off of the pier, but since we had come so far, we decided to go swimming anyways. We waded into the water and, after approximately 15 seconds, ran desperately back to shore, as the water was colder than a Siberian icebox. After our shamefully quick dip, we were content to hang out on the beach, trying to get some warmth back into our bodies while we watched the local swimming serenely through the water.

And that was it. The next day I caught an early flight back to the US, and before I knew it I was stepping off of a plane and being greeted by my friends from home. Perhaps one of the strangest parts of studying abroad is coming home again, because it is not until that point that you can realize how much you have grown and changed as a person. For my part, I know that I will be processing my travels for quite some time but, for now, I have a whole summer and a senior year to look forward to.    


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Ian Clark is a junior English and Philosophy major. He enjoys backpacking, snowshoeing and cycling, and he loves participating in UP's Outdoor Pursuits Program. In his free time (though he rarely ever has any), he enjoys writing, cooking, sampling pipe tobacco and drinking coffee on the academic quad on a brisk autumn morning. He is also currently studying in Galway, Ireland, and so he is trying to brush up on his knowledge of Irish life and culture. Finally, he really likes basset hound puppies and he thinks it's funny when they trip over their ears. 


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