Looking back, since the start of 2018, nothing was ever really planned out on what I wanted for my future. I have been so blessed by what has come my way this year but, it was terrifying to think of making this big milestone into adulthood. Basketball always being a part of my life and when it did abruptly end for me, it changed my perspective on life…and I’m so glad it got me here today.
It was tough leaving my family for so long and not having them take a short drive to for game days or to bring me home cooked meals! Meeting the 32 other scholars has created a family based off of the same love of basketball as you do as well as made being away from home a bit earlier. It was not that hard to truly care for these people that are on this journey with you, which made it even harder when we all went our separate ways to start school. It just makes it that much more exciting whenever we do play against each other and visit every now and then.
Letterkenny: My New Start
Since being here in Ireland it has pushed me out of my comfort zone and challenged me to handle some more things on my own in a brand new environment. For starters, I am living with 6 other international students and from France, Belgium and the Victory Scholar Program. From the start of being here, the timing of everything here is SO much slower than the fast pace lifestyle in New York. It is so easy to get caught up in trying to get as much done as possible. When practice is at 7:30 that usually means that everyone shows up at 7:30. In the beginning, it was hard for me to understand some of the accents out here…they are drastically different based off the area you are from; it is a struggle sometimes when speaking with my basketball coach Niall because even Irish people have a hard time understanding what he says. One of the hardest part to get accustomed to is the roads! They are windy, bumpy, narrow two-way streets they keep me constantly car sick and anxious.
What I love most about this place is the culture and history that so proudly represent their country. There is so much to explore with shores, castles, and endless acres of untouched land. Even though English is mostly spoken here, Gaelic is still spoken in some schools to keep the dying language alive. Also, I have been interested in the idea of seeing a game of Gaelic it is the most popular sport in this area aside from Football. In Letterkenny, it is completely secluded from everywhere else but the views and beaches that they have here are breathtaking. It takes some getting used to not having as much public transportation and having just the main street. Beyond that, we traveled to Portsalon which is one of the most gorgeous beaches I have ever been to. It went from amazingly sunny weather to complete downpour. I think it was totally worth getting sick over this amazing view:
The Letterkenny Family
I hope that being here for the next 9 months I will be able to learn as much on my own as well as others and gain experience here as a Victory Scholar. I’m beyond excited to begin the season soon and start to travel more within and beyond Donegal!