It’s been a while since my last post, why? Well, I’ve said Goodbye Ireland (for a while!).  There’s been no real reason, but there have been lots of reasons at the same time.  If you’ve read any of my past posts, you’ll know I’ve been gearing up towards moving to the good ole US of A on the USIT J1 Graduate Visa. As I’ve mentioned before, the graduate visa has been on the cards for about a year.  I made this decision to do it and from then it was full steam ahead at doing whatever I could to make it work.  The day seemed so far away, the last few weeks counting down felt like forever.  This is going to very much be a diary-style blog post, just somewhere for me to get my thoughts down somewhere.

I’d love to say I was feeling all sorts of emotions, but I wasn’t.  I don’t think that’s down to not being excited, happy, sad or whatever emotion I probably should have been feeling, I think my emotionless state largely followed on from having such a tough few years where I had experienced every emotion all at once.  Then fast forward a year or two where I’m now being faced with something positive in my life – I think my mind, body, and spirit were just all out of emotions to feel, to put it simply!

Anyway, on to what actually happened.  I arrived at the airport (early, as usual!) and when it came time to check in, they charged me €500+ for baggage.  I’ll touch on that in more detail in a packing post that will be coming up soon, but that made me very emotional and needless to say, it wasn’t the best start to my trip.  I’m an anxious traveler, and by that I mean I’m only anxious waiting around.  When I’m boarded and up in the air I’m 100% fine, but waiting to check in, finding my gate and waiting to board makes me extremely anxious, so I having that extra anxiety on top of what was to come, made me freak out a little.

After that, I said my goodbyes.  That was hard and I definitely got emotional, but once I had gotten past that moment and went through security I was fine.  Luckily in Shannon airport, there’s a pre-clearance which means you go through customs on this side rather than waiting until you land.  In my experience, the customs team in Shannon were a lot less intimidating than when I went through customs in the US last year.  There weren’t any major questions and all I had to do was take a picture, give my fingerprints and I was pretty much on my way.  The customs officer I dealt with was very nice and wished me well, which surprised me a bit to be fair.  Not that they wouldn’t want to wish anybody well but usually they are all so stern and you end up feeling fairly intimidated.  I had a lot of paperwork and I was expecting that to be checked, but hardly any of it was, which was great at the time but if I’d have known that prior it would have saved me a lot of stress and anxiety!

My first flight was from Shannon-JFK. When I arrived in JFK I couldn’t quite believe I was in America.  Like, that was it – my American dream was coming through.  That just blew my mind! For as long as I can remember, I had this dream built up in my head.  Never thinking it would actually come through, never believing that 2016 would be the year.  It’s still just crazy to me. Even as I sit here writing, I’m looking out the window and there is so much change, so much unknown but so much I’m excited for and for a long time, that was missing from my life.  It was difficult to say Goodbye, Ireland and it was difficult to leave my life behind. It’s difficult to put into words how big of a challenge this was for me. but right now all I can say is…

I’m proud.

I’m so god-damn fricking proud of what I’ve achieved.

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