To the homeland!

I’m really good at making things difficult for myself (June 26)

After a class excursion to Scottish Parliament and the Queen’s Scottish castle in Edinburgh, I started my long journey to Dublin. Johanna (a fellow KU journalism student), Chris (goes to UW-Green Bay) and I split a taxi to the Edinburgh Waverley train station. Johanna was headed to Amsterdam, Chris to meet up with some friends in Edinburgh and I to Ireland.

However, I wasn’t very smart in booking my flight. There’s a perfectly good, functioning, airport in Edinburgh that has flights to Dublin. I’d flown into Edinburgh twice and out of it once by then. But nooooo, I decided to select a flight out of Glasgow, an airport two hours by train and bus away from the city centre of Edinburgh.

At 2:00, I boarded the soonest train to the area I needed to go to. That was Helensburgh. There was a train headed for Glasgow Cental about five minutes later. I was just ready to embrace the long train rides as a punishment for making things unnecessarily difficult for myself, so being impatient, I boarded the train for Helensburgh. Once the doors shut and we got to rolling, I was completely ready for my weekend to begin.

However, three stops later (I had like 17 left at that point), the conductor comes on with bad news.

“Everyone needs to disembark the train at Bathgate. There has been a gas leak reported up ahead.”

Cool. That meant I had to take a different train from Bathgate back to Edinburgh Waverley and hop on the train bound for Glasgow Central. (The Helensburgh and Glasgow Central trains take different routes.)

While I was sitting and waiting for my new train to go back to Edinburgh Waverley, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and saw that one of my classmates, colleagues, and friends who is a congressional intern in D.C. this summer posted a photograph of the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling. Bathgate, Scotland. That’s where I was when same-sex marriage became legal in the United States..

It was 3:30 by the time we stopped back in Edinburgh. I quickly disembarked and hopped on the train bound for Glasgow Central. Luckily for me, it took off right as I walked on.

Thankfully, that train didn’t have any delays and arrived on time at Glasgow Central. Only Central wasn’t my final destination. I needed to get to the Paisley Gilmour Street exit, which was just one exit up on the Ayr train. So scramble around I did. It only took me 10 minutes to figure out where I was going. Considering the size of Glasgow Central, I was pretty impressed with myself.

While I was waiting at the platform for the train, a woman came up to me and asked me if I was waiting for the Ayr train. I told her that I was. Five minutes later, the same thing, with a different woman. I have no idea if they asked me just to reassure themselves or if I actually looked like I knew what I was doing. I’m hoping for the latter, but I’ll never know.

Sooner than later, the train I needed showed up, and I was set for that leg of my journey. That train ride was just a short jaunt, just one stop up. Once I arrived, I waited outside for the bus that was to take me to the airport. That bus was one hell of a bumpy ride, but it got me from point A to B.

After I got through security, I found a pub near my expected gate, ordered some dinner. As I was nearing closer to the bottom of my cider, I noticed some fine print on top of my boarding pass.

“All non-EU passengers must get their boarding pass stamped BEFORE going through security for passport/visa check. If not completed, travel will be denied.”

Well shit. I hadn’t ever needed to do that before and I’ve been to 25 countries. So, I downed the rest of my cider, packed up my things and headed back to security. I explained my situation to a nice security worker and I was on my way downstairs to get my ever-so-necessary stamp.

Thankfully, it was only a couple minutes walk away and the line to get my stamp was non-existent.

“You’re the only passenger on the Dublin flight from the States,” the lady told me as she was glancing over my passport. Within seconds, my boarding pass was stamped and I made my way back upstairs.

So, I went through security for the second time. Thankfully that line wasn’t long either. It took me maybe 10 minutes to get back through. By that time, my gate had been announced (long story short, they announce the gates an hour before departure), so I booked it to where I needed to be.

While waiting in line to board the plane, the lady in front of me turned around and started making small talk.

“Going home?” she asked.

I chuckled and said, “Nope. Just going to the land of my people.”

“Oh, I saw your claddaugh ring and with your red hair and freckles, I just assumed,” she said.

“Not to worry,” I said, ending our conversation with a smile.

The flight from Glasgow to Dublin was full. There wasn’t a seat left on the plane. Fortunately, the flight was only 45 minutes, so we weren’t packed like sardines for too long.

Upon landing, going through customs was easy, considering I was one of like five people who didn’t have an EU passport. The customs officer grilled me with a bunch of questions, but that was to be expected.

After five minutes or so of grilling, I proceeded to find the bus that would take me to my hostel. I was sitting next to Australian guys who were interning in London and were spending the weekend in Dublin. We got to chatting so much that we all missed our stop and had to walk even further to our respective hostels.

The Irish love their alcohol (June 27) 

I couldn’t sleep. I was going to be seeing my two of my best friends in just a few hours and I could hardly contain my excitement.

We're cute. Our friendship is great.
We’re cute. Our friendship is great.

Tyler got to my hostel at 11:30 and we went out to grab some lunch. Only problem was, it was 11:30 and most Irish on Saturday mornings aren’t up that early because they drank a lot the night before. So what did we do? We ran across a local pub and ordered a drink and just chatted until noon or so.

Cailey was supposed to arrive around noon, so we went back to the hostel, got on our wifi and saw that she was going to be getting in a little later. So, we went out for lunch. I had a burger, half a sandwich, some chips, a cider and Jameson. I could already tell that this was going to be a long day.

When Cailey got in, she managed to find where we were eating and we were all finally together. After we walked for several minutes, we headed to O’Connell Street to find some of the people Tyler lives with so we could watch the Pride Parade.

[On May 22, 2015, same-sex marriage became approved following a referendum that was passed. Marriages are expected to be performed starting this fall after the referendum is ratified. Dublin pride week was from June 19-28. The week consisted of different events, with the pride parade on June 28. The pride parade was the first pride parade since the referendum was passed.

The parade fell less than 24 hours after the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, and the support on social media was overwhelming, and at least one person was wearing the American flag draped over their shoulders during the parade.]

We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening walking around Dublin, seeing some of the sights (Dublin Castle and St. Patrick’s Cathedral), as well as hitting up more pubs and just chatting.

Chatting with two of my best friends, just catching up and reminiscing? Sometimes that’s exactly what you need.

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