I’ve been wanting to write a blog for a minute now, but things have been happening so quickly I haven’t had a lot of time to sit back and reflect. Since my last blog post, I’ve celebrated my 23rd birthday, took part in the Varsities basketball tournament up in Dublin, played my last basketball game, and presented my last in class assignment for the year! All of these things happened in the span of two weeks…
As I look ahead for the next two weeks, I am currently sitting on a plane heading to Barcelona, Spain. I went on Easter break the moment my last presentation finished which was April 11th. This break lasts all the way up until April 28th. Before I left on break, I took the three days before April 14th to finish up some last minute work on an assignment that’s due online in May.
For these next two weeks I wanted to make sure I wasn’t in my room down in Limerick bored out my mind. I wanted to get out, do things, and explore! I booked two trips as well as two basketball camps. My first trip is Barcelona, Spain. I’m spending a couple days out there with the family that I met in Ireland (check blog – “Sometimes you don’t know the importance of moment until it becomes a memory”) Turns out that there is a huge U12 basketball tournament that goes on every Easter in Spain and the local club (Limerick Celtics) are taking part in it. Sarah invited me out so I took her up on her offer! I’m so excited, truthfully being from the Bronx I never dreamt of traveling abroad. Now because of the opportunity Sport Changes Life gave me, I not only got to experience Ireland, but I’m going to Spain for the first time. I’m looking to do the same things I’ve done in Ireland. Try new foods, do some touristy things, and even enjoy a night out in town.
Once this trip is done I’m heading back to Dublin Airport and spending two days with my friend and fellow Victory Scholar Jamie Sherburne. Jamie is an awesome person with such a fun personality and for some reason her and I just get on really well. She’s hosting her own Easter basketball camp in Maynooth and invited me to work alongside her. From our conversations, Jamie has mentioned nearly 80 kids between the two age groups are going to be in attendance for this two day camp! It’s going to be a lot of work, but I’m glad Jamie asked me to do this with her. I love working with kids, and the excitement I see from Irish kids out here is something that you have to see to believe. Also while I’m in Maynooth, Lent will be finishing up on Holy Thursday which means my 40 days of no social media is up! I’m kinda excited to go back on it, but I’m also not. I’ve reduced my screen time a lot by deleting the social media apps off my phone. Also I don’t get the urges to always check my phone and stay in contact with everyone. I kinda like being lowkey and under the radar. When lent is up I’m looking to continue keeping the apps off my phone and only log onto them on my iPad or computer. Throughout these 40 days I’ve noticed my in person conversations have been better, my ability to wind down and relax have been greatly improved, and even my sleep has felt better with each night. Without having a these constant urges to always check my phone has allowed me to focus on things that are meaningful to me. Things like my health, my relationship with God, my relationship with my family, my relationships with my friends, and most importantly my daily living. As lent comes to an end this week, I’m thankful I gave up social media once again because it gave me a true sense of what’s meaningful to me in MY life.
After two days in Maynooth, I’m heading on another trip for a couple days to Amsterdam, Netherlands. A couple of the fellow Victory Scholars and myself planned this trip extremely last minute with the motto of “we’ll just figure it out when we get there”. Which is a motto I’m okay with now, if you tried to ask the “old Andrew” from last year if he would do something like this, he would have respectively declined due to lack of order, scheduling, and detailed itinerary. But in the spirit of my initial motto when I came over to Ireland of just “winging it” when it comes to experiences I have had a lot of fun with those experiences then those I planned out for weeks! I’ve heard from friends who went to Amsterdam before that it is a beautiful city full of history and local gems. I’m looking forward to checking out a couple historic landmarks, visit some museums, take part in the Heineken Experience, and most importantly…. bike around the city. Those couple days should be fun 🙌🏽
After that trip, I planned another basketball camp in County Clare, Ireland. Sarah, who I’m visiting in Spain currently asked me to do a two day Easter Camp with her club the Clare Cascaders. This club is far from Limerick (about an hour drive) but the kids who are a part of this club are so funny and cool to be around. I’ve done camps with them a couple times and I always leave those camps with my stomach hurting from all the laughter. The promotion was well received as the camp drew the attention of nearly 70 campers between the two age groups. This will be my last camp in Ireland before returning to the states and I’m looking to give these kids the best two days I can. I’m looking to give them all the knowledge I’ve received in my 15 years of basketball and hopefully motivate and inspire them in the process!
Like I said earlier, the last two weeks were busy and I didn’t have any time to sit back and reflect. As I sit on this plane though I know the next two weeks are going to be even more eventful and memorable. I’ll be back on social media too so if you care enough you can follow me on IG to see it all unfold. ( @andrew.curiel_ )