Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Well, I'm back

Sean Astin <3  (I had vowed never to use one of those heart emoticons, but I'll do it for him)
Hail, friends! I have returned! I returned about 3 am yesterday morning and after checking my email and some other stuff I went to bed. And then I slept until 3 pm. It felt amazing because traveling home took about 2 days on and off airplanes, since our flights were really messed up.

I feel really epic now because I woke up this morning at 3 am and couldn't get back to sleep, so now I'm perched in front of the mac playing Tim McGraw really quietly so that I won't wake up my parents, and trying to give you all a semi-coherent post. Right now I'm thankful for the wonder that is blogging, because even though it's 4:25 am right now I can still talk to people. If this counts.

Anyway, I'll get to what you (hopefully) have been waiting to hear about: World Youth Day!

First of all, it was not fun. Definitely not fun. There were 118 people in our group (made up of people from Alaska and Oregon), and traveling even with about half that group for the Ireland part was still difficult, so when we got to Poland and the whole group was together it was definitely a pilgrimage experience. Lots of people were late for things, so our group was always behind schedule, and whenever we walked somewhere we had to wait up for the slower people in the back so everything took us forever.

But that's not a bad thing: as our group leader pointed out, the trip was really easy compared to old-fashioned pilgrimages, in which people would have to ride camels through the desert for weeks. Also, the point of a pilgrimage isn't to have fun; it's to grow closer to God and to offer up the resulting suffering to Him. And as far as that part was concerned, I think the pilgrimage worked out for most people, including me.  *jazz hands*

Wow, I'm tired.

Anyway, let's get to the actual trip! I'm too lazy right now to talk about all the particular places we visited because there were a lot of them, but I feel like giving you some random facts about Ireland and Poland, so here you go:


  • Roundabouts are really confusing, since everyone drives on the left side of the road.
  • Also, the roads are, say, 24 feet wide and each lane is 12 feet wide. This is fun when you're in a 12 foot wide tour bus, and another tour bus comes along. Our bus driver, Fergal (don't you just love that name?), got a lot of cheers. ("Fer-gal, Fer-gal, Fer-gal," *cheers* *applause* etc. With about 40 teenagers on each bus there was a lot of enthusiasm.)
  • Live music! In the streets there accordion players, guitarists, Irish dancers accompanied by a bass and other tradition instruments, etc. Being a music freak, I loved this. Also because of the no-technology policy, I was happy to hear any music. 
  • Oh, speaking of music, the Irish seem to like American stuff a lot--one of our chaperones said that when he was in a bar the only live music they played was Simon and Garfunkel. We heard Adele quite a bit too, which I guess makes more sense because she's from the UK.
*trots off to get snacks*

*holds apple slice in right hand and uses pinky finger for the letters on the right side of the keyboard*
  • Their butter is to-die-for.
  • They have random ruined castles everywhere in the countryside. We started out our trip freaking out about every ruin that we saw, and by the end when we saw one on the side of the road we were more like:

There's way more to write about Ireland, but for now I'll move on.


  • This country does not believe in toilet paper, evidently, since there were a lot of shortages. Also, you had to pay to use a lot of the bathrooms. These are the main reasons I'm overjoyed to be back in good ole America.  ;P
  • Pirogies really aren't that good. Ok, that's more my personal preference than a fact, but I'm just throwing that out there.
  • There are so many gorgeous churches! This is true in Ireland too, but St. Mary's basilica, for example, (pictured in the…er…picture) is ridiculously amazing. Actually it's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. When I walked in, I realized a few minutes later that my mouth was hanging open. The ceiling is so high! It goes all the way up to the top of the building, and the gothic architecture on the inside is stunning. The pictures don't do it justice, but here's one that I found online (picture sharing from the trip hasn't happened yet, and I prefer not to take pictures in churches):
It's way cooler in real life, but this gives you a taste.

  • The Poles like their sparkling water.
  • There are so many awesome saints from Poland! Pope St. John Paul II, St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. Faustina…awesomeness. It was amazing to see the same places they must have seen, especially when we got to go to John Paul II's actual childhood home, and to the chapel at St. Faustina's convent. 
  • Accordions! They were a big thing. We saw three guys playing the William Tell Overture arranged for 3 accordions, and it was fantastic. They were playing Vivaldi later, too, about which I briefly fangirled.  :D
  • Stuff is really cheap there. I got a largish, hand-carved chess set for 65 zloty or so, which is about 16 bucks. (A picture of it is forthcoming.) Needless to say, souvenir shopping there was rather addicting!
*leaves to get candy bar*

Wow, this Snickers bar is really good. I don't know if it's the early morning or the fact that I haven't had American chocolate for two weeks.

All right, I should try to get some more sleep so here ends my first WYD post, with more to follow! 

One more Matt Smith gif. It is necessary.


  1. Welcome back!!

    Awww, Sean Astin. :) One of our house guests this summer once randomly sat behind him at a lecture of some sort, so she got to talk to him afterwards about the filming of Lord of the Rings. She said he was really friendly.

    Anyways. Wow, sounds like quite the trip! That'd be pretty cool to hear live musicians on the streets everywhere.

    So what makes their butter different?

    Hehe, that Jack Sparrow gif. xD

    Wow. Visiting St. Mary's basilica sounds so...epic, for lack of a better word.

    Well, enjoy your Snickers bar and catching up on sleep. :D

    1. Thank you! I'm very (very, very, very) glad to be back. :)

      That's awesome! If I saw Sean Astin somewhere I would probably start tearing up. My cousin told me that one time she and her mom and sister were visiting the Space Needle in Seattle and when they were walking away her mom said "Oh, by the way, I saw that Lord of the Rings guy in there…" and my cousin figured out that it was Sean Astin and couldn't believe that her mom didn't say something. XD

      Their butter is…hmm, it's hard to describe. You know that "real" taste that distinguishes butter from margarine? Irish butter has more of that "real" taste. And it's super yellow.

      Thanks! I didn't end up getting any more sleep this morning, but I did play around with a plotline while I was attempting to drift into slumber, so perhaps a short story will eventually emerge… ;)

      I hope everything's going well for you, and I can't wait to read your blog entries that I missed!


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