Monday, July 10, 2017


Saturday, June 24, 2017


I am so excited for Emma to come to Phoenix in a few weeks. I am excited for her to see Arizona, and experience American-living. Emma should expect major heat. The other day it was about 70 degrees Farenheight, and Emma was outside sun-bathing and she got sun burned really bad. I am nervous and excited to see how tan/burned she gets in 125 degree heat haha!

Emma says she is most excited for the food, and getting to meet all the other youth ambassadors. She is really excited to participate in the activities as well. She is not scared to live with my family haha!

My time abroad completely exceeded my expectations! It was so much fun. I learned a lot of fun Irish sayings, I have a new-found love of Cadbury's dairy milk chocolate, and I learned that leprechauns only come out in the Winter.

Best Day!

Everyday I have spent abroad has been amazing. I have had a total blast, and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to travel to Ennis this summer. I think the best day I had over these three weeks was yesterday, my host family took me to County Kerry and Tralee where my ancestors are from. It was so cool being able to drive around the county and exploring where my roots are from. We went to the Killarney National Forest and saw a beautiful waterfall, we climbed some trees, and had dinner in the Rose Hotel where they host the Rose of Tralee festival every year. I love seeing a little bit more of Ireland everyday especially knowing that my family is from here is so cool.

What's here that is not there

There are not a lot of things missing from American and Irish life. 3 things that are not easily accessible in Phoenix, that you can get a lot of in Ennis are :

Some cultural customs I have encountered are that everyone is super friendly and they all want to know how you're getting on. When you are driving on the roads, people are constantly waving at you, even if you don't know them because odds are you know their cousin or their brother.

Another thing is that when the sun comes out (which is super rare), everyone goes outside, everyone is super happy, and no one wastes that day indoors. This is kind of like in Phoenix, when it is raining, everyone is out playing in it and their mood changes. Total opposites!

I have noticed as I have been around people greeting each other that whenever someone strikes up a conversation, it always relates back to the weather. Weather is the small-talk topic here.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


I think since I got to Ireland a week ago, all I have done is eat! I think everything just tastes better here. Haha!

The other day I tried the Irish classic, black pudding. It was good, but I don't think I would eat it everyday.

Last night my host family made us bacon and cabbage. It was 50 times better than corned beef and cabbage that I have had for St. Patrick's day every year. (sorry mom!!) The meal was bacon (ham) and mashed potatoes and steamed cabbage. Very tasty!

I have had my fair share of Dairy Milk Cadbury chocolate, as well as loads of Tayto's. I can't get enough of both!

Small World

Ireland is my place! Everything we have done, everything we have seen, and everyone I have met has been so amazing! I love the culture and I love all the people of County Clare.

My host family is great. The Pyne's. They remind me of my family, and how we interact with each other. The parents Toni and Gareth are so nice and funny. They have a daughter Alisha. She is 19, and is home for the summer from college. And then Emma. who is my counterpart and she is 16. She is so funny and super fun to explore Ireland with. And then they have a 10 year old daughter, Leah, who is a fireball of energy as any 10 year old would be haha!

Both of my host-parents grew up in Ennis, and all of their families still live around Clare. I have gotten the opportunity to meet all the cousins on Toni's side of the family when I went to Toni's dad's 70th birthday party this weekend. Being around their family reminded me of all of the family get-togethers on my dad's side of the family. Everyone together laughing and just genuinely enjoying each other's company.

Their home life is similar to any American family life. Both the mom and dad work, but on different days so that one can be home while the other is working. Alisha is working at a pharmacy in town with her mom this summer, and Leah is still in school for another week.

It's funny to think that you can be in a completely different country, on a whole different continent, with people of a totally different culture, whose history and past is so different from yours, and everyone is still the same. People's interests are the same, their favorite foods are the same, you share a favorite color, they listen to the same music as you, watch the same movies, and yet you are from two completely different places of the world. It is nice to gain perspective of just how small the world is, and see how similar we all are!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Welcome to Ennis

Monday morning we arrived in beautiful, green, Ireland. I spent the day getting to know my host family and a lot of fun Irish things. My host family lives in the countryside Kilmaley, which is right outside of Ennis. The land is very beautiful and green. It is nothing like back home in hot Phoenix.

The night of my arrival I got to go to my counterpart Emma's camogie match. It was very fun to watch a new sport. If I had to describe it, I would say it is a mixture between Lacrosse and baseball. I felt bad though, because halfway through the game it started downpouring on the girls playing, and the game continued. My host mom said that if in Ireland, they stopped things because of the weather, then nothing would happen because it rains so frequently. Haha! 

On the second day, we did a walking tour of Ennis. It is so cool to see all the old buildings like the old Friary and the Abbey. We don't have anything with such history like that in Phoenix so it is very cool to see the classic buildings built so long ago still up and running. 

Wednesday we went to lunch with the mayor of Ennis, Ann Norton. She was very nice to talk to. I found her interesting because she has a daughter who is handicapped and in Ireland there is not any programs for people with special needs. She and a few other parents of special needs kids all got together and created a program in Ennis for special needs students. Their program is called Clare Crusaders Children's Clinic. This is totally up my alley, so it was fun talking to her about her daughter and everything that they do in their program. 
Wednesday in Ireland was also a big day for lots of students. It is the start of the final exam testing country-wide called Leaving Certificate for the oldest students in secondary school. None of our counterparts are participating in it this year, but some of their siblings are. It is a very stressful three weeks of testing, because the scores you receive will determine what college you can get into and what you can study. I related this to America's ACT and SAT's but I don't think ours are half as stressful because we can retake them as many times as we want. 

Thursday was an absolute blast. We went Kayaking in the Atlantic Ocean, as well as caving. I have never touched the Atlantic so it was a big day! It was very cold while kayaking and near the end it started downpouring and huge wind gusts were blowing us all around. Only one person capsized though which is always good to hear! Haha! The caving was super cool as well! There was lots of cool stalagtites and stalagmites through the cave, ending in a very big rushing waterfall. Nothing like what we have in Phoenix. 

This week I also got to try the Irish delicacy: a Tayto Sandwich. It is just white bread, butter, and a the Irish potato chip called Tayto's. It was very tasty and I really liked it. 

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Gettin' Ready!!

I am one day away from traveling to Ennis, Ireland as a Youth Ambassador for the City of Phoenix. I will be living in Ennis for 3 weeks and submerging myself in the culture. I am so excited to get to experience a new country and meet new people as I travel. I am not nervous or scared but I am very anxious to get there and start exploring. I am most looking forward to seeing everything that Ennis and the rest of Ireland has to offer. I can not wait to get a complete change of scenery and to spend my summer in such a beautiful place. I am nervous about eating blood pudding and getting pinched because I did not pack enough green shirts. But I am excited to go leprechaun hunting!

Follow along as I will post many times a week about my whereabouts!