When I first stepped off the plane the first thing I thought was "holy crap! it's freezing". When we left New Jersey it was at least 80 degrees (F) and here it is 49 degrees in Dublin. But I must say, that was the coldest it's been here. Since then it's been low 60s and tolerable. I will say the biggest adjustment is that they drive on the opposite side of the road. I have to remind myself to be extra cautious when crossing the street and to stay to the left instead of the right now. Belfast reminded me a lot of New York City or Philadelphia. It was very high paced and filled with tall buildings and plenty of places to shop. Everyone was so nice and welcoming and that really helped me to adjust faster.
The week I spent in Belfast was unforgettable. We did have a booked schedule with plenty of training but I was just surrounded by the best group of people so it went by fast. Literally every scholar was awesome. I never clicked with so many people and so fast. It felt like we'd known each other for years or something. Whether we went out or just stayed in and talked all night it was just always good vibes. Obviously, because I'm a emotional mess I cried like a baby saying goodbye to everyone. We're all spread out between Northern and Southern Ireland so some people I won't see again until Thanksgiving. However, I will be playing against some of the scholars for basketball so I look forward to that.
Also, we got to do a couple camps and meet some young people while out in Belfast which was really cool. My favorite time was during EHoops when we paired up and exchanged stories and shared family photos with the kids. (I was especially excited because I got some good tips on how to do my eyebrows.) But it was just so weird to hear how much people idolize America and believe it's this perfect place. One girl actually asked me "do you have any troubles in America" and I was taken back. Especially since there is so much going on in America right now and so much racial tension I would've thought those issues would have traveled faster. I think she felt she could relate to me more because my life wasn't as perfect as what she'd seen on television.