Episode 10: Cup Weekend BABY!!!

Throughout the season the big talk of Irish Basketball has been the National Cup. To many people this tournament is bigger than the entire season. My team is 3-7 , therefore winning the cup would reflect into a successful season despite our record.

Leading up to the cup semis I was a little nervous. I really haven’t played to my potential all season despite a few games but this was the time that I needed to show my talents especially if my team was going to win.

Many scholars came up to visit for the week and it was nice seeing Gareth and Deirdre the CEO’s of Sport Changes Life especially since I wasn’t able to make it to Belfast for thanksgiving.

My friend Mckayla came to visit from the states which was awesome, she brought a little bit of home to Ireland.

The cup game was thrilling and exciting as I battled against two of my favorites, Ashley and Meredith. It was a great game down to each loose ball and bad foul call lol.

One of my teammates went down with an ankle injury in the first half and I knew from then I had to step up despite my poor shooting of starting the game of 0-7 (all mid range jump shots by the way) ..I know terrible.

But, preserved through that and found my groove offensively by playing intense defense. Throughout the game I kept thinking “Don’t Stop” . If I’m tired don’t stop, if I turn the ball over don’t stop passing, if I miss a shot, don’t stop shooting. I knew that if I kept going through these adverse moments then we would win.

The last 2 minutes of the game my body flat out said “Sis you need to chill” , I know that because I caught a severe cramp at the end of the game. Where I clearly went over the back for a rebound and played on the court for about 20 mins until the trainer came over.

Mind you I was in excruciating pain and I felt a knot roll from my calf down to my Achilles and back up again. As I’m laying on the ground the trainer is trying to aggressively relax the muscles as my body was not responding to that. I was then carried off the court with my fingers crossed and high faith that my team will carry on without me and squeeze out the W!

And they did! This is the second semi final win in the last 2 years and hopefully we can get the W against killister next weekend in Dublin and become National Cup CHAMPIONS!!!!!

Episode 11: Kinsale, the town by the Water!

I knew Ireland was a country surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. I also, heard that there are beautiful places by the coast to visit so I decided to drive 40 mins from the city and explore a little town called Kinsale.

Boy, am I glad I did!

The drive was nothing more than short with the view of the country side and steep roads. But, the view was worth it. I visited Charles Fort, which was 3 euros with a student discount!

The Fort was approx. 80 acres of historical content. There were barracks, hidden places, and displays.

The fort oversaw the town of Kinsale and the beautiful Atlantic Ocean.

Coming from NYC our beaches and water isn’t the cleanest. But, the Kindle water was the freshest and most beautiful clear royal blue water I’ve ever seen. The way the water bashed against the costal rocks was like in a movie.

After the Fort, I went to Bullman’s restaurant which was less than 3 minutes down the road. I heard that Kinsale had the best seafood. So, I tried the Irish Prawn sandwich which was marvelous, it had prawn in a mayonnaise and avocado spread on wheat bread.

I then went shopping into town and the shops and people were amazing. There was a sounvienr shop that explained the history of surnames. I looked up mine in the system and it said that my surname was derived from Scotland and parts of England, which I found interesting.

But, overall I had an amazing experience and will definelty make another trip to Kinsale!


The First Half…

With the submission of my paper last night, I’m one full semester done here. Wow!! It is truly unbelievable how fast this first 4 months has gone. It literally seems like yesterday that we were starting orientation in August. The first semester has been an amazing experience, and honestly everything that I hoped this program was going to be. Throughout the first semester, I’ve been able to interact with a wide range of people through the various programs that Sport Changes Life runs. There have been plenty of Honour rolls at different primary schools, ehoops programs at Jordanstown, Nursing home boccia’s, and over 50’s groups at Valley Leisure. Interacting with the different individuals in all of these settings is amazing and gives a greater appreciation for the culture here. Additionally, helping put on the different programs has been even more fulfilling than what I had previously expected. There is nothing like seeing an ehoops participant have joy brought to their life because of a discussion or game we are playing. The same as seeing the smile on somebody’s face at a nursing home because Mac cracks a joke or they make a good shot in boccia.

Besides interacting with the community here, It has been great getting to know the Scholars more and more. Through different events such as thanksgiving or basketball overnights, it has been great being able to spend more time with the Scholars who are spread out across the island, and see how their journeys are going thus far. Some places I’ve been able to travel to because of these interactions have been Sligo, Kilkenney, and Galway. All of which were great trips. Nothing against Sligo or Kilkenny, but I especially loved Galway and everything it had to offer. Definitely looking forward to more of these trips as we head into the second semester.

On the basketball side of things, it has been great being able to have the opportunity to play on after college, and at a different level. It was something that I had always dreamed of doing, but didn’t know if I would ever get the chance to do so. I am definitely trying to cherish every moment of basketball I have left. In regards to our team, we had a less than perfect first half of the season, but had a big win to end the year. I’m hoping that we can figure some things out and put the pieces together for a strong finish to the season. Additionally, It has been great to interact with the team. It’s a great group of guys who couldn’t have been more accepting and/or kind to Kadeem and I. I am definitely looking forward to getting to know them better, and enjoying their company the rest of the way.

To wrap things up, I honestly can’t wait to see what the second half of this journey is like, and has in store. I will definitely be looking forward to more Sport Changes Life programs, basketball activities, and traveling around Ireland and Europe. If this second semester is anything like the first, it’ll be great craic! (Even have picked up some of the local slang and lingo)

The Amazing Sport of Hurling

In my 6 months of living in Ireland, I’ve learned that sun is rare, craic and crack have the same pronunciation but different meanings, and that GAA is at the heart of Irish culture. GAA stands for the Gaelic Athletic Association and is Ireland’s largest sporting organization. It is celebrated as one of the great amateur sporting associations in the world. GAA promotes Gaelic games such as Hurling, Football, Handball and works with sister organizations to promote Ladies Football and Camogie. GAA has over 2,000 clubs in all of Ireland’s 32 counties.

Today, I got an opportunity to watch my school IT Carlow’s hurling match for the first time. People always told me that one has to be very skilled to play this game and I am convinced. The players made the game look effortless. I’m a wimp when it comes to cold weather and surely, I was cringing just sitting and watching the match. These players, in mid-thigh high shorts and short sleeved jerseys, were hitting this baseball-sized ball up and down the field as if it was warm, sunny day. The objective of the game is to hit the ball in either a goalie net or up in the goal post of the opponent’s side. Kinda similar to soccer but more like lacrosse with a dash of hockey and baseball combined. The beatings they took straight to the bone in the blistering cold were insane. It was a cool experience to sit within the crowd and hear the passion for the team they were cheering for.

Happy Holidays

There are a few things that feel as good as being home for the Holidays. I was lucky enough to spend 10 days at home in Massachusetts. I was so happy to go home and see all of my friends and family over the break.

I did so many things in those 10 days, it was a roller coaster. I went to Boston with my college roommates to get dinner in the North End and see the tree in Faneuil Hall. I got to see the majority of my cousins at Christmas, featuring the most intense game of Old Maid and an incredible Yankee Swap. I had a classic sleepover with my best friends since forever which involved a lot of dancing and card games.  I also drove to Connecticut to meet my 2 of my best friends to take a train into the city, where we went to Rockefeller Center to see the big Christmas tree and the light show.

I also had another Christmas party in Cape Cod, and was able to go to my favorite place down the Cape to watch the sun set (please enjoy the cute pictures of my dog). I even managed to make it down to my old college, where I got to spend the day with my old teammates, who I missed very much.

I also got to spend New Years with my friends for the first time in 4 years, but to be honest, I spent most of the night with the dog.

I was so excited to be able to go home because I missed everyone so much, but I can’t wait to get back to playing  basketball!

A Visit from Dad

Another year is over and another has begun! I had a chance to go home for Christmas and New Year’s holiday to see friends and family and it was a fantastic time. It has been a lil tough being in a whole new country for so long without seeing my family and I’m glad that I was able to spend time with them. And before I knew it, I was on the plane headed back to Ireland. As I head back, I’m reminded of all the memories I’ve had and people I’ve met and it’s still such a surreal feeling. I never would have imagined living in Ireland for 10 months or being a part of this awesome experience. Half of me missed being home with my family but the other half couldn’t wait to come back and see the new experiences 2020 has to offer.


We made it to the National Cup Semi-finals this year and my dad flew out to get his first experience in Ireland. He got a chance to see our team play and advance into the Finals round which takes place in 2 weeks. Later that night, the team got a chance to meet my dad and talk to him a bit. He had such a good time that he’s thinking about coming up again for Finals. We also stayed in Cork’s historic hotel that had some interesting pictures and facts inside. After that, we had a few more days before he headed back home so we ate breakfast at the Lazy River Café, one of my favorite spots in Carlow. The plan for the rest of the day was to take him around Kilkenny, which is a nearby town that has lots of tourist-like things to do. But little did we know that this day was gonna be the best day to get a feel for Ireland’s weather, as we were faced with strong winds and a fierce downpour. Instead, I gave him a little tour of IT Carlow and showed him around the town. I enjoyed my dad’s company and I’m grateful that he got a chance to come out and visit.

Moments like these are very special. Like I said before, I never suspected that I’d be here years ago and here I am. And to be able to share this experience with family makes these experiences even harder to forget.

Episode 9: PROMO, PROMO, and more Promos

Since, I’ve started to become the Social Media director for Brunell. The job has come with a lot of responsibility and last minute assignments lol. My head coached insisted that I shoot the promotional video for Basketball Ireland for the cup semis. I was honored that he chose me to do the video, but thought that it I should incorporate the team and also the faces of Brunell who have played for this organizations majority of their lives.

My vision for the video was to do a serious and intimidating video that consisted of interviews and bad ass graphics but that’s not my team haha. We practiced on a Wednesday night and it was raining so the b role I captured outside wasn’t so great but  made the most of it.

My team was goofy and cracking jokes so my vision was out the window. I was able to get two interviews in (shoutout to Aoife and Dannielle) because everyone else was camera shy. I took about 30 videos but only 10 were usable but I made the most of it and got the job done.

I edited the video for about 3 hours and then my editing system crashed! NOOOO! But, I persevered through a little adversity and started again the next morning and the video was due by noon and I finished around 2 hahaha. but, then the video did not send to my phone from my laptop and I submitted it around 9 and the representative for Basketball Ireland was very nice about the late submission.

The video didn’t upload with the best quality but It served its point and I’m happy to say that it’s one of my first official projects and will only get better from here. Stay tuned for more videos by @eyeoftheathlete!

Thank you!

It’s Good to be Back

Now that I have settled back down in Cork again after a great visit home, it’s back to business. Our team is currently in a really tough spot, having lost five regular-season games now to put us in the middle of the league. We have a big matchup this weekend for the Cup semi-finals against Tempelogue, a team we lost to earlier in the season. However, my teammates are expressing to me that the atmosphere will be incredible in Neptune, as it’s a big weekend gathering for the Irish basketball community. I am very excited to get back to it this weekend and our team has been working hard to change our current narrative.

As the new year is in full swing, I am excited to tackle new challenges and new explore new places. Last semester, I did not have the opportunity to visit any other country as my schedule was busy. However, I hope to embark on a couple of adventures during the spring to places I have always wanted to visit. Additionally, I hope some of the other Victory Scholars can join me since I have not seen many of them since September. When I initially left Belfast, I thought that I would have the opportunity to see the other Scholars more often than what has occurred. It would be great to visit them in the various towns they reside in and continue to explore everything Ireland has to offer.

Overall, I am just as excited to be back in Cork as I was at the start of the year. I plan to keep building on what I have done so far and working with Sport Changes Life to make an impact!

New York, New York

As Christmas approached, I headed north to Dublin and boarded my flight home for the holidays. It felt great to be back in New York and reconnect with my family and friends. While Ireland has been an incredible experience so far, it was nice to unwind and have no obligations other than focus on recharging. I had the opportunity to see both sides of my family as well as friends from home and college. I spent plenty of time hiking, ice skating, and watching Knicks basketball (the time difference in Ireland has really killed my ability to watch the NBA). However, I was disappointed that there was no snow while I was home! The weather was similar to Ireland’s: relatively temperate with a few rainy days mixed in. The last day of 2019 did not end so well either, as I stepped on a nail and spent half of the day in urgent care to receive a tetanus vaccine. Fortunately, it was not a serious wound and I was able to play basketball right away. I spent the final couple days in the city before I departed for Cork. I am very thankful to have spent the holidays with my family and be back in New York. While I was considering traveling Europe during the break, I am happy I went home instead, as I feel rejuvenated to attack the new year. Let’s get it!

Not Going Home for the Holidays

With all of my commitments to school and basketball, my winter holiday has almost always been surprisingly short. While I was at Hopkins we would have exams scheduled as late as the 21st of December, and would have to return to campus for practice on the 26th. Often times my family would be taking trips during this time, and a central location for the extended family on my father’s side to meet up is usually some where in the Caribbean. After a few short days of laughing, dancing, drinking, and eating with my family on the beach some place warm, it goes without saying, that my flight home alone (often on Christmas Day) back to cold, dark, rainy school in Baltimore was never fun. A few of the guys on the team at Hopkins with me were from south Florida, and we would always joke that taking that flight from a sunny warm vacation with family, back to the grind of university and practice was always the hardest thing we did all year.

This year I didn’t get a chance to go home for the holiday. We didn’t take a trip to the warm beach some where. My family took the trip to come visit me. We spent Christmas in London, and then they all came back to Galway to see me play a game with Moycullen on the 28th. It was my parents first time in London and we got to see all the awful touristy stuff that London has to offer. It was cold and rainy the whole time, and we couldn’t even see Big Ben, because renovations had scaffolding covering every square inch of it besides the actual face of the clock. Coming back to Galway didn’t give us any relief from the weather; the only difference was that it is much windier here in Galway. We took a day trip out to the Cliffs of Moher and it was so foggy that you couldn’t even see the ocean at the base of the cliffs.

So this year I didn’t have a flight back to the cold world of university; I was basically cold and wet the whole time. But, let me tell you, that didn’t make seeing my family leave any easier. We might not have been on a beach in the Caribbean, but we laughed, danced, ate, and drank like we were the whole time. We were cold and wet, but we were together as a family and that was all that mattered to us. Even though our time together was incredibly short again this year, the time we had we made the most out of. It was so good to get a chance to see my family and celebrate the holiday (and a big Moycullen win in our game on the 28th!) with them. Even though it was their turn to get on a flight back to work and school this year, it wasn’t any easier for me to see them go.

I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday as much as we did!

Part 10 – Home Sweet Home

For Christmas Break 2019, I went home to my family and friends. This was the first time I saw everyone since August. I was home for 12 days and it was the fastest 12 days. I was so blessed to spend Christmas with my family. Everyday I was visiting family and friends, meeting my newborn niece, play with my nephew, hang out with my brothers/sister in law, and shopping! My family was so excited to see me, when I landed in Des Moines my parents were waiting on my in the airport.
Living in Iowa my whole life, you don’t realize how cold it gets because you are so used to the snow, ice, and negative temps. To put into perspective how cold it was when I was home, it was 10 degrees Fahrenheit with a windshield that made it feel like -5 degrees Fahrenheit. I know most people in Europe don’t know what that means but 10 degrees Fahrenheit is -12 celsius and the windshield self like -20 celsius. So yes, IT WAS VERY COLD! Luckily it only snowed three times (which is good for Iowa “Winters”)
What was the best part about going home, seeing my family, and Christmas day with my family is the fact I got to eat at my favorite Mexican restaurant (THREE TIMES)!!! I have been thinking about eating at the restaurant for 3 months and my parents knew where I wanted to eat when I got into town for dinner. The funniest part was when I sat down with my family for dinner, the waiter came to the table and the first thing she said to me was “Where have you been?”
One thing that is very special on Christmas Day for my family is the food and the games we play. My mom and aunts create teams within our family members of 40 plus people. The games we play are worth a certain number of points, everyone plays, and it gets really serious which team wins every year. This year my team won, so I have bragging right over 30 plus other family members for the next year. It our family tradition for everyone to get together, watch basketball on TV, listen to Christmas music, and spend time with each other.
Being home with my family was very special to me. The countdown is until I see them in May (Only 5 months left so no big deal)!!!!! Nothing is more important to me than being around my family during Christmas!

Home For the Holidays

I was fortunate enough to be able to travel home for Christmas break. I flew home on December 16, and came back to Ireland on December 27. It was amazing to be able to spend time with family and friends, and just enjoying together. The first half of my trip home I spent in Philadelphia, visiting loved ones, friends, and teammates. I went to Penn, so I was able to attend one of their practices and watch them win a game too! It was so different being in the stands rather than being on the court, but it was awesome seeing my best friends win their game!

The second half of my trip (Dec 22-27) I spent at home in Braintree, Massachusetts. It was so nice sleeping in my own bed, spending time with my family, and getting to see my dog. I got to have all of my favorites while I was home!! Including my beloved Dunkin Donuts iced coffee, lobster mac and cheese made by my mom, and sushi from Gourmet Garden. Christmas Day was filled with family parties and so much love. I am so grateful that I have so many amazing people to see when I go home, which makes me even more excited to see everyone again. It was definitely bitter sweet leaving everyone, but I’ll be back before I know it! The first semester went by so fast, so I presume this semester will be the same. I am excited for all of the amazing opportunities this semester will bring! 

As for now, I have some studying to do before finals start next week, wish me luck!!

Part II: Prague, Czech Republic

Day 1:

Carson, Maria and I arrived in Prague around 1:30pm on Friday (Dec. 20th). Unfortunately, we didn’t have the luxury of having our own local tour guide, so it was definitely more challenging to get around and figure out what to do without a translator or host, but it was a great experience! We took an Uber from the airport to our Airbnb, which was super helpful since our driver spoke great English and gave us a lot of tips on our drive! We eventually arrived at the apartment we were staying in and it was AWESOME! It was so clean and fancy – I felt like I was living in high society! (even though the price was extremely reasonable).

Once we were settled, we ventured out to find a place to eat. Now, I was definitely worried about the food selection in Prague, but there was actually a lot of variety and plenty of cafés around. We ended up deciding to try traditional “Czech food” since we were embracing the culture, and I was actually pleasantly surprised. I really can’t remember how to spell or say what I ordered (I just pointed to it on the menu), but it was pretty tasty!

After we ate, we decided to head to Old Town Square, where there was a huge Christmas market, beautiful buildings and lights, and TONS of people. Everything was so beautiful – I felt like I had to keep taking pictures every time I took a few steps! We continued to walk around and explore a little more, but we ended up getting really tired and decided to head back for the night so we could be fresh for our next two days in Prague.

Day 2:

Our first full day in Prague happened to be my 23rd birthday! Maria was so thoughtful to get me a little happy birthday banner and a beautiful ring from Pandora for my gift – I absolutely loved it! Then we began the day by taking the tram down to the city center. The trams in Prague have been in service since 1875 and literally run on the same roads that cars drive on! There isn’t much guidance in terms of traffic lights, stop signs, etc. for cars/trams here in Prague – it seems like people just do whatever they have to do to get where they need to be. (I definitely wouldn’t want to drive a car around here!) So I was pretty impressed with ourselves and how easily we were able to figure out the tramway. We took it to town and back a bunch of times! We had no idea how to buy tickets and no one checked for any when we got on and off, so we basically rode for free the entire weekend…not complaining!

We were also pretty good at finding restaurants – each day we found a different one and had a nice sit-down meal and tried something new. We were always happy with our decisions! Food/drink is also extremely cheap here, which was a nice change coming from Copenhagen where things were definitely more expensive!

After we ate, we booked a one-hour boat tour that sailed down the Vltava river, which is the longest river in Prague that flows through the center of the city. The views (once again) were great and it was a nice relaxing ride. After the boat tour, we played some fun games together and had a few drinks at our Airbnb before heading back out to get something to eat. It was really nice to get to know my fellow scholars even more and talk about different things! Eventually, we went back down to the city center and bought some grilled sausages on baguettes from one of the Christmas markets for dinner and they were SO yummy! Then we just strolled around taking in the beautiful sights until we came upon an Irish pub called Caffrey’s – I guess we subconsciously missed Ireland because we ended up sitting there and talking for hours! It was a really nice day/night and an unforgettable way to spend my birthday.


Day 3:

We checked off the rest of our Prague “sights-to-see” today and saw some amazing views. The buildings and architecture in this city are breath-taking. Every time I look around I want to take a picture of some building that just looks so cool! Some of them are so colorful and intricately designed – they really made me appreciate the art class I took at SFC! First, we took the tram over the bridge to a town called Malá Strana, which was a really neat town that had an “old-timey” feel to it. This is where the Prague castle was, which we climbed 309 steps to see! (Carson counted).

After the castle, we took a break at a cool pub that was selling pints for just $1.26! Unfortunately, I still don’t like beer so Maria and I had some glasses of red wine, but Carson definitely took advantage of the cheap pints! We sat here and talked for a bit before we ventured on to the Church of Our Lady Victorious, where the Infant Baby Jesus of Prague resides. This church was absolutely stunning, and the Infant Baby Jesus shrine was so beautiful! It is so difficult to capture the things we see and moments we experience in a photo – there is nothing like seeing these sights with your own eyes.

After we left the church, we walked along the cobblestone streets and found the Lennon Wall. This wall had been there since 1158 and surrounds the seat of the Maltese Order. In the 1960s, people started writing messages against the regime on it and in 1980, the face of John Lennon (which was seen as a symbol of freedom) was drawn. Ever since then, people have written messages and drawn pictures on this wall that has transformed over the years. So, as a big Beatles and John Lennon fan, this wall was really cool to see!

We left the Lennon wall and walked across the famous Charles Bridge to get back to Old Town Square for a bite to eat. The bridge was full of people taking pictures, selling artwork, and taking in the views of the river. It reminded me a little bit like the Brooklyn Bridge, just with no scary bikes and a much wider space to walk! This was the perfect little ending to our trip – I’d say we definitely did Prague right!


Prague was absolutely beautiful and so picturesque. It was really fun to learn as we went along and embrace the Czech culture. And I’d say turning 23 here was pretty cool too!

Prague ✔️

Up next: ROME

Traveler Tip #21:

Beer is actually cheaper than water in Prague, so you should really learn to acquire a taste for it before you visit!


Episode 8- New Years Eve Flight

After the holidays, of course, I had to come back to Ireland to finish what I had started. It just so happened that my flight was booked for Christmas Eve and I would be in the air when the clock struck 12am. Now, you would think that on a flight, going into New Year’s Day that they would supply a little champagne and even have a little part on the flight. However, this was not the case and the way that they announced the arrival of the New Year on the PA system was rather sad. In fact, it was so sad, I would’ve rather them not announce it and kept us in limbo on whether or not it was 2020 or not (and that’s saying a lot because 2019 was full of a lot of obstacles).

Instead, we were giving the same meal that we always get on the flight and not provided any sort of alcoholic beverage to bring in the new year. Now I am not complaining but I do feel as if they should look over their New Year’s plans when on flights for next year and try and put together some sort of high-level part while in the air, to make it a little bit more memorable for passengers who fly during New Year’s Eve.

This was just a reminder to myself to not book any flights from here on out on any sort of holiday because no matter how it may look on the big screen in movies, it will never live up to such hype.

Episode 7- In NEW YOOOORK!


Over the Christmas break, I had the opportunity to go to Queens, New York and spend the holidays with my extended family and also my immediate family who met up with me on Christmas Eve. This was long overdue because we’ve all, always talked about having a lot more family gatherings and due to the fact that I was always at school for basketball I was unable to attend the majority of the ones that they have had over the years. So when the opportunity presented itself to me of being in NY for Christmas instead of being back home in Canada, I had to jump at it with no hesitation; and it has to admit it was one of the best Christmases that our family has had in a while.

Now do not get me wrong, every time my extended and immediate family get together it is always a fun time because we all like to sing, dance, crack jokes and most importantly eat all the food we possibly can in one sitting. However, this time was more special just because it was the first time that it was done in New York because usually it is done in Virginia at my other aunt’s house or in Canada at my family’s place.

We were all able to catch up on stories, help each other with problems and of course bother my sister about how she should have started her singing career already because she has the voice of an angel. That’s the best part of the family get-togethers though, having them hold you accountable for things you can do and always have belief and faith in you. To be honest, if it wasn’t for them I would not have had the courage to come over to Ireland to further my education. My family is special because they always push for everyone (regardless of location) to do better in what they have pride or interest in. We have each other’s backs at all times and are always just a call away to help.

So this holiday was more than just a Christmas party to us; it is more of a reminder that we are always here for each other and no matter the circumstances we can always get on each other and be there for each other no matter the situation.

Episode 7 : Saint Nick.. yeah that’s me!

Sooo… long story short. My team tricked me into being Santa or I tricked my self ?!?!

I’m usually a shy but outgoing person. I know a weird mix lol. But, traveling and living in a new country I had to be a little bit more sociable in order to make new friends. So out of the 3 of us professionals I would say I’m the goofiest. In the sense of I talk the most LOL.

Therefore, my team holds a “Secret Santa” where we pick a name in a hat without others knowing who we have and the day of exchange gifts while the others guess who had each other.  The event was held at one of our sponsors venue, The Joshua Tree. I had to dress up as Santa and distribute the gifts.

I have one word to describe how I felt, HOT. The Santa suit was thick and the beard caused my upper lip to sweat so much haha. But, It was all fun and I thoroughly enjoyed my time as Santa!

Here’s a video of me Milly Rocking in a Santa suit hahaha! The video is powered by Eye of the Athlete!

Episode 6: Finals, Finals, and more Finals

During my undergrad I thought finals were an unnecessary assessment that professors distributed to students to asses students knowledge of material over a semester.  I thought this concept was the most inefficient way to test students ability to understand the course. To me,  tests are simply pieces of paper where people jot how much they studied or remembered which doesn’t acute to understanding the overall concept of the course or module.

Fast forward a couple years later and I still believe this. As you can see from my rant above I’m not a fan of tests.

Throughout, this semester in my masters course,  majority of the class assignments were group projects and zero tests. I learned more in my group projects than I ever did with taking tests in my undergrad. But, then three of my professors decided to have a final. As a result, my nerves during exam week were at a all time high. I had 2 projects and a final in one day. Then the following week I had 2 finals and a 20 page project due before I got on a plane back to New York.

Once the finals were over I realized in the moment you’re stressed with absolutely zero hours of sleep, 2 meals within the day, basketball practice, coaching, and most importantly last minute assignments that you realize that whatever you submit is good enough in that moment haha!!

Below are a few pictures that describe me during finals week…enjoy!!!


Episode 5: Add it to the resume

Add Social media operations to the resume!

So, I have been blessed with the opportunity to play for a Super league team with so much history that I thought I would help contribute to the club in a different way than just on the court.

I knew my club has been seeking opportunities to acquire funding and I thought that the missing component is the social media aspect.

Social media can be defined as a hard concept to understand especially if you’re not familiar with it. But, I understand the basics and I have researched the different tactics to increase engagement and followers for the club to reach more people for donations.

The instagram is @brunellladies, yes there are three L’s in the username. Give it a follow as it gives information on not only the Brunell Ladies Superleague team but all of the teams of the Brunell Ladies!!

Eposide 4: Far from Home but still around Family

This blog is dedicated to the family I found in Cork.

Being thousands of miles away from home can be isolating and depressing at times especially during the holidays. Thanksgiving is particularlly an American holiday that represents family, blessings, and thankfulness. The holiday is centered around family and close ones so being away from home was a little difficult.

I wondered how I was going to spend the holiday since I had a game, super league practice, and coaching on Thanksgiving day. I had many obligations to tend to on therefore I was unable to join the other scholars in Belfast to celebrate.

But, the day before I attended a Friendsgiving hosted by Grainne Dwyer, which is ironic because she plays on an opposing super league team, but opened up her home and friendship with open arms. She cooked an amazing ham, which I have to say might have been the best Thanksgiving ham I have ever tasted (sorry Grandma). My grandmother prides herself on her southern style cooking and is known to make a delicious potato salad and honey ham. The Friendsgiving was filled with love, laughs, and gratefulness. We were all blessed with the opportunity to meet and also spend the holidays in Ireland.

The next day after Thanksgiving my assistant coach Cheryl invited me over to her house to celebrate the holiday with her and her family. Cheryl has played an instrumental part during my adjustment in Cork, she has become more than just an assistant but more of an older sister and friend! She has always been so thoughtful and supportive with everything that I do and I couldn’t thank her enough!

Needless to say, my Thanksgiving was a blessed one full of love, food, and most importantly family!


“Savage Beauty” – W.B Yeats

“Savage beauty” is the way that William Butler Yeats, one of the most famous poets in history described his hometown of Sligo, Ireland.  Lucky for me, I get to experience and see firsthand what he meant by this term.  We had the chance to explore more of County Sligo that we would be unable to walk to and Carson and I could not pass up the opportunity to see some of the natural sights in the area.  We started by having lunch by the Strandhill beach at the Mammy Johnston’s, an ice cream and coffee shop that is famous around the country.  If you’re ever in the area, I would recommend the club crepe with a coffee or tea on the side.  Afterwards, we took a short walk that lead up to the Glencar waterfall.  The waterfall is about 50 feet tall and was a sight to see.  The surrounding forest area perfectly complimented the waterfall and made for a beautiful walk.  Before heading off to the next sight,  we drove around the country side of Sligo.  This was fascinating for me.  I am from the suburbs of Virginia and live about 25 minutes outside of Washington D.C.  Our environments couldn’t be more opposite, however, I enjoyed looking at the never ending sheep population and how they move up the Benbulben mountain.  Our last stop for the day was the Lissadell Beach and House where W.B spent a lot of time.  We were able to see the beaches, walk along the path as well as look out across the water to the other side of Rosses Point and Strandhill Beaches.

There’s still much more to explore and sights to see.  However, Sligo County is a sight to be seen if you are ever fortunate enough to have the opportunity.  I can’t wait to go out again in the near future and continue to explore.  I’ll end this blog with a quote about Sligo from Yeats himself about the peacefulness of Sligo County and the nature that you can find:

“I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:

Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,

And live alone in a bee-loud glade.” 

Svalbard, Norway

All roads lead to Svalbard, Norway. Recently, Kyle, Reece, and myself made a trip to Svalbard, Norway in the hopes of seeing the northern lights. We had a good idea of what Svalbard was going to be like based on the pictures and the research that we had done on it, but in reality we had no clue what to expect. The moment we got off the plane the cold air and winds hit me like a freight train. I was unbelievably cold and it was completely dark at 3 in the afternoon. The temperature was below negative 20 degrees Fahrenheit and with wind speeds it was almost 30 below. It was a certain level of coldness that sent a shiver down my body. This was definitely not something I was used to.

The three of us continued on throughout our journey for the rest of the day. We got some food in town. Kyle tried some whale burger and seemed to like it. I on the other hand was not a big supporter of the whale burger. We then proceeded to go to our Airbnb following that and then we went on a tour around the town of Longyearbyen. Which is the town that is located in Svalbard.

The following day the three of us went dog sledding and the views were amazing. However, right before the dog sledding we were waiting for our ride to pick us up. We were waiting for over 30 minutes outside and as we were standing there in the freezing cold something unexpected happened. We saw the northern lights! They started appearing out of the sky in a few shapes and sizes. It felt similar to seeing a rainbow appear out of the sky. It was a bright greenish color and in the navy blue/dark sky it was mesmerizing. They came out in bunches but each of these northern lights clouds were not connected to one another. The three of us could not take our eyes away from it. However, as we tried to take photos of the northern lights our hands were freezing, my feet felt numb, and my nose felt as if it were on the edge of getting first degree frost bite. Needless to say, it was difficult to capture photos of this natural beauty, but we were still able to do so. Luckily, the van came and picked the three of us up and brought us to the dogsledding area shortly after that. We then went dog sledding and that was incredible as well too, but for me nothing was as incredible as seeing the northern lights.

National Cup Semi Finals

This weekend I went down to Cork to watch the semi finals of the Hula Hoops National Cup.  There was so much energy in the arenas, it was a very exciting weekend of basketball. It was also very cool because I got to see a ton of the Victory Scholars who I missed very much! I got there Friday night and got dinner with VS Aryn and Becca. On Saturday, I joined my teammate Jo and we watched our other teammates Berta, Lynn, Lauren, and Hannah play the Ulster University Elks in the U20 semi finals, who were coached by VS Kollyns. Unfortunately, Kollyns is a great coach so her team one. That night, I met up with VS Aryn, Becca, Ashely, Meredith, Caitlyn, Micheal, Peter, and Dan. Honestly, might be forgetting someone because there were so many of us! It was so nice to see everyone and I missed them so much!!!  That Sunday I wanted the Templeogue U20 boys play, and although they didn’t get the win, they played very well. It was such an incredible weekend full of friends, fun, and of course, basketball.

Episode 8 – Adventures in Austria

Hello again everyone, welcome to another blog post. If you’re a regular reader of these, my apologies for the hiatus. Life got super busy between finals and some traveling that I did. But now I’m back and ready to share about my recent adventures.

After finishing up finals week in December, Ian and I headed out to Austria to do some traveling prior to heading home for Christmas. Our trip lasted only a couple of days, but the sights and experience we received made it totally worth it. During our time in Austria, we were able to visit the town of Hallstatt and the city of Salzburg.

Our trip began by visiting the small town of Hallstatt, which is surrounded by mountains and sits right next to a lake. Before reading anymore, do yourself a favor and google “Hallstatt Austria” and go to images. The ones on google do an even better job of displaying the true sights we were able to take in. The highlights of our time in this little town of 800 included hiking up a path on one of the mountains, as well as touring the world’s oldest salt mine. While Hallstatt is beautiful, it has become a tourist hotspot in recent years. According to locals, it’s nearly impossible to live in the town anymore, which hosts around 1,000 tourists daily in the winter months, and well over 4,000 a day in the spring and summer months.

After touring Hallstatt, we had one full day to spend in Salzburg, Austria. Salzburg has a population of around 150,000 and was a really neat city to experience. The highlights of our day around Salzburg included doing some sightseeing, walking around the Christmas market, as well as eating some delicious food at local restaurants. Also, Ian and I were able to take a tour of the birthplace of Mozart, which was right in the heart of Salzburg. I was amazed at how clean and well kept the city was, as it was fairly spread out considering its population.

Overall, I learned several things on this trip. For starters, Austria is an awesome place to visit, even if you don’t speak any German. Everyone knows enough English to be able to interact with others and even ask for directions. Secondly, there is quite a large Italian influence in Austria, which actually makes sense considering Italy borders Austria to the south. I truthfully just didn’t know this, and added it to my growing knowledge of European geography.

Thanks for reading! Tune in next time where I talk about a special visitor I had last week!

A Healthier Way of Life

Over the first five months of my time living in Waterford, my greatest takeaway has not been about basketball.  It has involved the Irish approach to family, work, and wellness.  On its surface, this statement sounds obvious, given that anyone who lives abroad for an extended period of time will identify differences in cultural norms and habits.  But there’s something unique about the Irish way of life that I’ve noticed since I arrived in Belfast on August 20th.

Irish citizens do not tend to worry about what many Americans lose sleep over.  From the families I’ve encountered to the teammates I play with, the people here have a unique approach towards life and happiness.  In general, Irish citizens do not worry or speak about their image, salary, or achievements.  They rarely compare themselves to their peers.  These people are most concerned with the bare essentials, including a stable job, time with family, and a healthy work-life balance.  This reality has become evident through my interaction with children, parents, and teammates.  The vast majority of people here are genuine, outgoing, and more than willing to help if I need anything.

This mindset is not nearly as alive in the United States.  From teenagers in public schools to adults in the workforce, many Americans tend to be enamored with their status in comparison to others.  We are privy to this reality each day through competitive work environments, sports teams, and the United States government.  The American mindset is conducive to competition, maximizing wealth, and elevating your status above contemporaries.  Many people I’ve grown up with, competed against, or attended college with are obsessed with their reputation and status.  This mindset manifests itself in the socioeconomic landscape. And over the last five months, I’ve realized for the first time in my life that this approach to wealth and prosperity does not create a healthy mindset, especially for young adults.

To conclude, my experience living in Ireland has opened my eyes to a more refreshing, healthy, and enjoyable lifestyle – one that revolves around family, friends, and stability.

~family visit part 1~

What an amazing few weeks!! My last blog post was short, but it summed up the stressful couple weeks I had. Dealing with end of the semester projects and papers, and then quickly jumping right into 5 finals, definitely was not a fun couple weeks!! But soon after I was able to fly home and spend an awesome 10 days with family and friends. I am extremely fortunate and blessed with the best family and some of the best friends!

Image may contain: 5 people, including Rachel Carmody, Abby Carmody, Colleen Siepiela-Carmody and Rebecca Carmody, people smiling, people sitting and indoor

After spending those 10 days at home in Pennsylvania, my entire family (Mom, Dad, and sisters) flew back to Ireland with me, which made the transition so much easier!!! We flew in early on Jan. 2nd and began our week-long venture together. Within that week we saw so many amazing things. We rented a car which made travel easier and we were able to do so much!!! One of my favorite things that we did together was going to the Kylemore abby mansion and the Victorian walled gardens. First the estate is breathtaking. It is the biggest house I have probably ever seen. I mean it was enormous!!! In the actual house itself, there is a self guided tour about the history of the mansion and the family that lived there many many years ago. Aside from the mansion, on the estate there is also a church that the family, workers, nuns, etc., would attend. Most of the buildings, including the mansion & church have been through renovations, so they aren’t exactly similar to what it was really like, but it was still awesome to see and physically be there!!

View of Kylemore Abbey from afar

Now the gardens were beautiful. Very well kept, and you can tell the amount of dedication and passion that are put into these gardens and the handwork so many people have put in. I felt when I walked into the gardens that I was apart of royalty!!! Just so alluring, pictures do not do it justice. Image result for kylemore abbey gardens

While we were leaving the estate we noticed that within the upcoming years, they are building a modern monastery for the nuns that currently live there. A little side history, the castle was built in 1868 for the family of Mitchell Henry, who was a doctor from London. The castle took 4 years to complete and it took a total of 100 men to do the job!!! It consists of 33 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 4 sitting rooms, a ballroom, billiard room, library, study, school room, smoking room, gun room and various offices and staff residences (it gives off the game Clue vibe). After the death of the family and the force sell from the Duke of Manchester, the Irish Benedictine nuns purchased the castle. Here they began to teach young catholic girls and continue to do so today.

All in all, the place is beautiful and I strongly recommend it to anyone that is traveling throughout Ireland!

Cup weekend

“It’s the best weekend for basketball!” That’s all I knew before making the trip to Cork for the Cup games this past weekend. Saturday morning, we headed down and bounced from gym to gym watching all of the games. Throughout the day there were some thrilling wins and some crazy upsets but that’s what tournaments are all about, right?

The last game of the day was the IT Carlow men’s game and it was so exciting watching them win and advance to the finals for the first time. Even though it was a great weekend of games, it was also a great weekend to reunite with many of the scholars I have not seen in forever. It was exciting hearing about everyone’s time whether at home or out traveling.

Now as I am back in Carlow, I understand why everyone looks forward to this weekend. Not only do you get to see some great games, but you also get to see so many familiar faces.

#8- Almost Home

These past two weeks have flown by because finals have come to an end (finally!) and the holidays are fast approaching.  With school over and our outreach programs being on break until after the new year, I have put my focus towards basketball.  We had an amazing one point win over the Celtics, which is the other Limerick team which means there is a big rivalry between our two teams.  We were down the whole game but managed to keep the score close and comeback in the end.  It was a gritty game that had a positive outcome for the Huskies and I am proud that we were able to get a win right before I go home for Christmas break!

I leave for Christmas break soon and I can not wait to be home with my friends and family.  I miss Boston so much and I can’t wait to see a bit of snow on the ground (words I never thought I would say)! My mom and two sisters are picking me up from the airport and our whole family is going to get dinner together which will be the first time we are all together since August when my little sister left for college in North Carolina.  I think the first thing that I will do when I get home is go to Dunkin Donuts and get a pumpkin iced coffee because that is my absolute favorite drink when it gets cold out and I have not been able to find it anywhere.  My family is also going to Florida for Christmas to visit my grandparents, so I am excited to spend some much needed time in the sun!

#7- Team Time

December has been a busy month for me, as it is for everyone.  The start of the month meant studying for finals and continuing to play for the UL Huskies.  Basketball has been a great escape from the stress of studying for me, and I have really enjoyed spending more time with my teammates.  On December 7th we played the NUIG Mystics and spent earlier in the day walking through Galway’s Christmas markets.  I have never been to a Christmas market before so I had a great time experiencing all of the different stand filled with clothes, food treats, and hand made crafts.  Some of my favorite stands sold custom made ornaments, bath bombs and beauty products, and of course a chocolate fountain with strawberries to dip.  I also went on a ferris wheel that offered a beautiful view which overlooked the beautiful city and the ocean.  It was my first time on a ferris wheel and I had such a fun time before the game with my team.


With finals approaching, I have been looking forward to heading home for Christmas.  However, I have also been reflecting on the amazing first semester that I had in Limerick.  I loved living so close to the city where I could experience the amazing food, activities, and views.  I also met so many wonderful people who I could not have made it this far without. My huskies family has made my international transition so easy and fun that I can not imagine spending the year anywhere else.  The outreach that I have done throughout the semester was also such a great opportunity to meat new people and learn about different experiences.  I have truly been so lucky to be able to spend time with such great kids.  It is beautiful to see how universal sports are, and the lessons that come out of participating in sport.  For the semester ahead my one wish is to do more traveling outside of Ireland.  My travel has been pretty minimal this semester and I would love to see what the rest of Europe is like!


Hallstatt, Austria

Reece and I made a trip to Hallstatt, Austria and it was unreal. Hallstatt was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to.
Anyway, getting to Hallstatt was a bit of a journey, but still memorable nonetheless. We flew into Salzburg airport which was a tiny airport. When we arrived Reece and I needed to get into the center of the city. We took a bus and once we got there, we only had 10 minutes before our bus was going to leave which meant that we were not going to be able to do both. So we decided that we were going to have a very late dinner and we took the bus instead.
Anyway, fast forward to when we got to Hallstatt or at least a town near Hallstatt, called Obertraun. We arrived around 9:30 in the town and the town that we got in to was very desolate. It was a ghost town. No lights were on and no places or restaurants were open so it was a bit of a strange moment for us. But luckily we stumbled upon a great pizza place and our Airbnb so Reece and I were all set for the evening.
The next day, we awoke to some stunning views which were of the mountains and the lake next to Obertraun and Hallstatt. Reece and I had some breakfast and then we walked over to Hallstatt and had ourselves a day. We went to the Salt mine, walked up a mountain, enjoyed the delicious food around Hallstatt and just took in the sights around us.
We stayed in Hallstatt for 2 nights and it was an unforgettable place. However a couple of negatives about the place is that after 7 clock there’s not a lot to do there. A ton of the food places are closed and the town becomes very quiet. Also the amount of tourists that go there is ridiculous. They have over 1000 tourists who go there daily and that’s in the winter time. In the summer time, they have 4000 tourists that come to Hallstatt daily. And Hallstatt is a town of 800 people overall. So it can be a very busy and popular town depending on the season.
Anyway those are my only two cons about Hallstatt, but other than that I highly recommend going to visit it! It’s an unforgettable place!

2019 Recap

Oh what a year it has been. As I am sitting on my flight heading back to Ireland to finish the second semester of school, coaching, and playing, I found myself going through pictures on my phone and looking back at everything that has happened in the past year. It is crazy just how much can happen in 365 days. As we are about to enter a new decade, here are a list of the top things that have happened in 2019:

-Winning the Patriot League Championship with my team and playing in the NCAA tournament

-Graduating with my undergraduate degree

-Getting my 2 golden doodle puppies

-Flying a plane

– Moving to another country and constantly being challenged with new experiences

Although I wish this flight would go( a lot) faster, I am thankful for everything I have been able to do this past year and I am so excited to bring in the new decade to see what all else is to come!


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