We’re sad to say it, but the days of vicariously experiencing our trip have come to an end. It’s been a drawn out process, which we chalk up to our new lives as busy bees with real jobs in the real world, but I also think it might be a way for us to feel like our international adventures are not few and far between. I’m sure Abi feels similarly at times, but I have almost daily freakouts about being “stuck” in my new life where things are much more routine than they ever were in college. It’s both uplifting and heartbreaking to look back at all of the amazing things we’ve done but think that there’s no way we could pull something off like that ever again.
Knowing that our lives as young professionals were closing in fast, paired with an overnight layover in Dublin, our last hours in Europe did not make for the happiest of endings.
We flew from Edinburgh to Dublin without any issues besides one of my gifts getting taken away. What’s wrong with a glass bottle full of chocolate? You think I’d really use that bottle as a weapon when it was FULL of CHOCOLATE? That stuff is gold to me. Ugh, moving on.
We got into the Dublin airport, found the 24-hour McDonald’s, and settled in for the night along with the rest of the layover hostages.
It was amazing how many people were roughing it for the night sleeping in McDonald’s booth seats, but I guess if we were down for it, there were bound to be other people who were too cheap to pay for a hostel for a few hours. After on-and-off napping/reading magazines/eating McFlurries, it was a semi-acceptable time for us to check-in and go through security (twice – the regular airport security and “U.S. Preclearance”). We were split up on the plane, and I got lucky enough to be sitting next to a kid from rural Ireland who had never flown before but was leaving home at 19 and hoping to find permanent work in the U.S. And we thought we were adventurous! Jake, if you’re out there, I hope Long Island gave you real summer weather and that you get paid loads of tips for your awesome Irish accent in a pub somewhere in NYC.
We flew into JFK, where we chatted with some girls who were on their way back home after studying abroad in Morocco and warned them of the dangers of reverse culture shock. Our plane to Pittsburgh was a little tube, Abi was getting progressively sicker, we were way tired, but the upside was that a tiny British child kept talking about how awesome his daddy was, and we got to see this after a bit…
I knew it was probably the last time I would see the ‘burgh that way for a while, so I tried to take in every detail that my overtired brain could manage.
Once on the ground, the excitement of the private showers and cozy beds and closets full of our stuff that awaited us was too much, and we started jumping around like children trying to find Abi’s brother to take us to all of those joyous treasures ASAP. We stopped at Steak ‘n Shake on the way. WELCOME BACK TO AMERICA.
Epilogue (I’m going to partially quote the one in my journal because, yes, I wrote an epilogue.)
“Despite being super ridiculously excited to have a big bed, quiet room, more than 5 shirts, outlets that fit my electronics, and no baggage requirements, I appreciate this trip more and more every day. Abi and I are lucky ladies for being able to experience all of this, but I’m mostly glad that we made it a priority to do so before life ‘got in the way’. I hope we never let that be too true and manage to travel together and OFTEN – for a long time to come!”