Ireland Bound

Posted By: DaLacy Anderson
Posted On: August 24th, 2016
Attending: Waterford Institute of Technology

I was so excited and filled with an overwhelming amount of emotions when it came time to finally head out for Belfast. During the ride to the JFK airport I was still in disbelief and a state of euphoria that I was actually headed to IRELAND! Luckily Gene and Kelsey were on the same flight as me, so we decided to all ride together to the airport. We discussed how excited we were, and our share of mutual emotions about the journey ahead. It really was a sigh of relief to be able to discuss our excitement and our nervousness about what was to come. Once we finally arrived to the airport, and checked our bags we anxiously walked to our gate, pondering how we were going to pass the time—we arrived 3 hours early, which felt like a lifetime seeing how anxious we were. To pass the time I called all my loved ones to say my final goodbyes… and to ease my nerves. I was constantly reminded and reassured that I would have the time of my life and if I ever needed anything, they were all only phone calls away.

By the time I finished my phone calls the gate attendant was making the announcement for passengers to start boarding (I couldn’t believe how fast those three hours passed by). Once I heard the sound off, that is when it hit me—I am really leaving! Upon boarding the plane I kept repeating to my self “I’m really doing this, I’m heading to Ireland!” as a sense of reassurance. Fast forward to me getting settled in my seat—I was overwhelmed with excitement. But to my surprise, I fell asleep before we even took off! I guess the excitement over the past couple of days really caught up to me.  To be honest, I was really happy about how sleepy I was, because I was able to sleep for majority of the flight—but somehow I always managed to wake up in time for the snacks and meals (which were quite delicious, might I add). After getting served breakfast I fell back asleep to being woken up a hour later with a message from the captain announcing we were 20 minutes away from landing. At that moment it hit me! I really did it! I am 20 minutes away from being in Dublin.

So we landed and I reconvened with Gene and Kelsey on our way to customs and baggage claim. To our surprise we ran into a few other scholars who landed at the same time as us. It was very refreshing to see familiar faces during a vulnerable state when first landing in a foreign country. Also to my surprise, I met Jasmine Boone, who was a Victory Scholar last year who also attended Waterford Institute of Technology, and was traveling back to finish up an exam. We had a chance to discuss how great the school and club team is, reiterating that I will have a great time in Waterford.

Once everyone made it past customs and collected their bags from bagged claim, we headed out to meet with Alan and head to Belfast. Upon walking outside the airport, the weather was much better than I was expecting. My imagination lead me to believe it would be really cold and raining as soon as I touched down; but it was a clear day with a slight breeze.  While we all walked to the bus for Belfast, we were surprised to find out we had missed the 8am bus by a couple minutes and had to wait for the 9am bus. In a matter of minuets the slight breeze became a little stronger and the temperature dropped, leaving me to rethink my initial thought of the weather not being “not too bad.” We finally made it on the bus, and all of us decided to take a nap for the two hour long ride, and next thing we knew, we were arriving at the Sport Changes Life headquarters. Finally making it to the headquarters affirmed I had made it, and symbolized the beginning of a new journey!

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