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  • Susan T. Evans

What I learned on my summer vacation.

By now, you might be sick and tired of my summer vacation since some of you have been inundated with 1,254 photos and blog post descriptions of it all. If so, you can click away now (that'll be +1 for my bounce rate ;).

Do teachers still ask kids to write essays about what they did on summer vacation?

I did a lot during my time away in Ireland. But this post is not about what I did, it's about what I learned, summarized into three categories. Go!

1. What you’d expect

  • Americans are spoiled with too much space, especially in our bathrooms and on our backyard decks. (Honestly, I missed both.)

  • The Irish talk to everyone (anyone?) and they enjoy it. They’re not just trying to be polite or friendly. They are genuinely nice and want to connect with you through stories about their land and culture. I admire that much pride in your home country.

2. Things that surprised me

  • You can’t truly relax when your husband is responsible for 22 undergraduates. This isn’t a poor me observation, I am grateful for the opportunity of a lifetime I had in Ireland. Still, I’m estimating that 25 of my 37 days away required significant time from me - on a bus, handling logistics, monitoring budgets, arranging events and doing general admin work. I volunteered to help Larry with all that needed to be done and we were good partners in the work. (Larry has his own story to tell - it ain’t easy.)

  • Irish food isn’t always Irish but it’s delicious. While nearly all of the food we ate was of Ireland (local beef, produce, fish! mussels!), it wasn’t always Irish stew or black pudding. The restaurant meals we enjoyed rival meals we had during our Paris and Prague vacations.

  • Ireland is more than green. The island is to the brim and to every corner with color, all colors. Shades of green and so much sparkling water, so many flowering plants, so many brilliant blue doors. In fact, did you know the national color of Ireland is not just green? St. Patrick's Blue - a dark, rich blue - is used for national symbols. This color mesmerized me. Something in my house is going to be this blue, soon.

3. What I realized during my time away

  • You can’t do as much in a day if you walk everywhere. I understand that I need to be less busy. When you are walking, you are more likely to “just be” letting the more important thoughts and ideas fill your head space. I’m talking to you, self. Lesson learned.

  • I can make a home wherever Larry is. Even in university housing, with it’s cinder block walls and built-in desks, you make it your own, and a home for the one you love. You use spaces in ways that make you comfortable and you put your own stamp on it. I was never unhappy while we were in Ireland. Thank you, Larry.

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