Wednesday, August 7, 2013

-- The Summer Update --

Eventful weeks have passed since my last footprint in the Blogger platform, combined with an exceptionally warm summer in Ireland (the best one I've experienced in this rainy island so far) which saw an incredible raise in tourism numbers, enough to keep me completely buried in the work-swimming-eat-sleep routine for the time being.

The summer season in Dublin saw weeks of non-stop sunshine, conveniently enjoyed under the shadow of green trees, ice cream, barbecues, hiking trips and walks to the beach while making new friends and getting to know the colleagues outside the 9-to-5 gloomy routine of the winter.

My grand mother past away. In a day of blue skies and warm weather. The news came on the shape of a text message and the most dreaded fear of every expat living abroad became true. I cried sitting on the grass of the green cliffs of Howth, overlooking the Dublin Bay feeling so isolated. A reminder of the sometimes hard choices we make in life. For the hours that followed, I stood there witnessing all the events unfolding through my smartphone screen (Whatsapp and Skype) while my body and mind were divided in between both sides of the Atlantic.

Three days later I won a luxury holiday to Kenya in a event I only remember for the amount of alcohol running through my veins in a weak attempt of drowing the sadness of a family loss.
A way of God and destiny to tell me things were going to be fine and everything happens for the best.

Some days later I received the long-awaited e-mail stating my application for a Masters degree in Dublin had been accepted. A move that would shape my life for the next two years.
I will be doing a Masters degree in Media & International Conflict. A desire fed possibly by this blog and the passion developed for writing and describing places, passion that was shared with my fellow colleagues and readers who take their time to read these lines.

Got a tattoo on my left arm. An homage to my family and a permanent black ink reminder of what is the most important thing in life: Family & Home.

The traveling season has started for me with a cycling trip to the Dingle Peninsula with a good friend of mine (and other strangers who tagged along). A total of 150 kilometers in the green hills and cliffs of County Kerry. A special place regardless of how many times visited.

August will be a busy month with many work-related trips around Ireland while September, Benelux will be my first stop for the European Swimming Championships in Eindhoven. A thrill I have been preparing and training for for several months, followed by a visit to good old Amsterdam with its charming atmosphere, bicycles (and magic hashbrowns?) and Brussels, for a short snoop around before taking off Charleroi Airport, Dublin bound.

The following Friday, I will fly into the French capital for an evening of relaxation and breakfasts with omelettes and pain-au-chocolat before taking a TGV (high-speed train) to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport and onwards to catch my plane to Nairobi-Jomo Kenyatta Airport, courtesy of Kenya Airways where a 12-day luxury journey begins, in between the plains of Masai Mara, the crystal-clear Lake Naivasha, the buzzing Nairobi and the torquoise waters of Mombasa. Spoiled by high-end cuisine and top notch lodges.

Probably the only time in my life I will be traveling on such standard.
Arriving back into Amsterdam, the journey continues with a short Ryanair hop, backpack on shoulders to Budapest in Hungary, continuing to Prague and Krakow, with overnight trains from where I will be finally returning to Dublin , only hours away from my next working day.

Long reports from these spectacular places will follow for the next weeks. In the meantime, it is time for me to go back to work and organize tours for people coming to visit this island which I now call home.

Until then.