When I was a teenager, I had this dream to go to Ireland. Not just to go, but to live. In High School, I knew I didn’t want to go to college, and I loved God and the church, but I had never done a mission’s trip, so I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after high school. So I signed up to receive a bunch of missions opportunities from different organizations. I received something for a week long summer camp in Northern Ireland from Youth For Christ, and when I went to the website, I found a year long program. The program would train me and place me and 2 others in a church to serve with the Youth Program. So I applied, and short story short, I had a few phone calls and got accepted and raised all my money within 3 months and off I went in August of 2006 until January of 2008.
This time was so heart and life shaping. I have so many memories, good and bad, but all worth every emotion! Each of these places, I believe have been monumental in shaping parts of who I am. So I am excited to look back and remember!
Northern Ireland is such a beautiful country and the people are what make it even more beautiful! I quickly fell in love with the culture. The people are very sarcastic, as rumors have it, its true, but they are also some of the most hospitable and kind people I have ever met. They love to have tea and biscuits (cookies), every morning, afternoon and evening. Before church we would have a coffee/tea and biscuit time, and I am glad that us westerners have started to adopt that! It creates fellowship and satisfies your tummy! (Win, Win) They love to have fun, and never take themselves very seriously.
I lived in Bangor, which is a sea side town, and I loved everything about it. You could walk along the beach, or the coast and into town. I had never done public transportation so I pretty much walked everywhere because I was so nervous, apart from taking the train. I really enjoyed taking the train!
There is lots of exploring in Northern Ireland. They are a lot more laid back than we Americans are. Which is really nice and quite relaxing. So they take a lot of day trips, because there are so many things to see, places to walk around…and it just doesn’t seem right to just netflix and chill when there’s so many beautiful places so close to you calling your name!
I even got to spend a Christmas in Ireland with another American and an Irish family. It was difficult being away from home but I am really glad I did it, and very grateful to the Harper Family who took me in that Christmas of ’06!
Some of my favorite memories are from the crazy wee hours of the mornings, chatting about life and things that don’t matter in the kitchen, and enjoying Piccalo’s chicken kebabs and sausage suppers from about any chippie. Spending time with people’s families, that also involved food! And the day trips we would often take, because NI is just beautiful (and yes, food was involved in the day trips too!)
I have been lucky enough to have gone back numerous times since leaving in 2008. For 2 weddings and 2 leisurely visits! So all of these photos are a mix from all of these trips. Some go way back, and some are just a couple of years! So I hope you enjoy! It was difficult to pick photos, I have so many, but I tried my best! Not everyone made it in, but if any of you from my time in NI are reading this, you all mean so much to me, no matter how much or how little we said to each other or spent together, you will forever be in my heart!
(If you put your cursor over a photo, it will give you my captions!)
Feel free to leave comments! I would love to hear your thoughts on these photos, these people and MEMORIES and Northern Ireland!