Well, I’m still here. In Belfast, that is. While many people finish up their study abroad and are ready to start up school again in the winter, I’m on a different track. I keep getting emails from C of I people welcoming me home, and have to answer them with a deferral, explaining that I actually won’t be back until Spring term. Not that I mind, I like getting C of I emails. It reminds me that I have a spot waiting for me.
Home is looking good, too. Over winter break, I’ll move into a Village apartment, shared with the VP who’s already promised to make me this delicious brie, pecan, and pesto dip. I’m also looking forward to seeing my best friend, who will be newly returned from the Winter term Florida trip. We’ve got some french fry time planned.
Other exciting things are on the C of I horizon too. This year the Scholarship Gala is featuring the English department, and I’ve been asked to give the short student speech. I’ll also rejoin the Judicial Board, get caught up on the 10th anniversary plans for the Student Research Conference, meet all of the new additions to my sorority, start a new set of classes and my senior seminar (!), and hopefully get back into the archives.
But I’m not done here, not quite yet. I am done with all of my essays, luckily, because I think the library became the single most densely populated place in Belfast. I just finished up a trip to Dublin and the west coast of Ireland, and I’m about to leave for a trip to Barcelona by way of Dublin. Then I’ll come back to home base for a few days, pack up, bid my farewells, and trot over to London for a week. The C of I London group landed in the city just a day or two ago. I’m glad to have some yotes in my time zone, and am having fun seeing their pictures. We all leave London on the same day, and then I’ll make a stop in Salt Lake City for a few days before coming back to Boise.
I spent the day on two things—planning out my Barcelona trip, and watching a documentary on the National Gallery in London. It’s a lot of work to plan a trip, even a short one. To maximize my time, I try to pre-book all of my tickets, and organize my day in a geographically sensible way. That means I need to decide what to do, when to do it, and where it’s located, all before I go. I think it makes for a smoother overall experience, but it definitely makes me flex my organizational muscles. I’m not finished planning, but so far I’ve booked: a Dublin hotel, the Barcelona hotel, tickets to the Sagrada Familia, transport to Dublin, transport from Dublin to the Dublin airport, a bus from the Dublin airport to Belfast, airfare, a food tour, and round trip airport transfer from the Barcelona airport. I’ve also had to get out Euros, and just remembered that I need to add Barcelona to my credit card travel plan. I don’t know how any one traveled before the Internet.
As I said before, I’m headed out by way of Dublin. It’s way cheaper to fly out of the Dublin airport, which is about two hours away from Belfast. However, I booked a flight out that leaves at 6:15. That means boarding closes at 5:45, which also means that I need to be at the airport at about 4:45. I decided to spend the night in Dublin so that I wouldn’t have to take the 1 a.m. bus out of Belfast, but I’ll still be getting up at about 4 a.m. on Wednesday and catching another bus from city center to the airport.
Tomorrow I’ll print off all of my documents and pack for Barcelona. I am, if I do say so myself, really good at packing light. I can live for a week out of one weekender bag. I think the secret to my success is accepting that I can wear the same pair of shoes every day. It’s so much easier to have a small bag, because if I arrive anywhere before I can check into a hotel, I can either carry my bag or deposit it at a museum coat check. It’s a lot less stressful to search out a hotel when your bag isn’t 50 pounds. When I go to London, it will be a different story because I’ll have five months worth of luggage, so I’ll be savoring this last minimal-baggage excursion.
The photo above is from the Long Room of the Old Library at Trinity, which I visited a few days ago.