Monday, September 14, 2015


Sometime around May-ish my dad called me. He asked me if I had my passport and could leave the country on short notice. My initial reaction was to ask him if he was in trouble with the law and we needed to flee, but his reasons for the questions were much more innocuous than that: my mom was getting ready to graduate from BYU with her bachelors degree after many semesters of hard work. He wanted to treat her to a trip to England with her daughters--my sister and me--as a graduation gift.

As a young woman my mom lived in England and Scotland 54 years ago with her family while they served as church building missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For years it has been a dream of my mom's to return and to bring her family with her so this would be an extra special opportunity. Dad thought it would be a good idea to make her dream a reality as a graduation gift. He hit a grand slam with that one.

Life Saving Book. I'm a member of the Rick Steve's Fan Club for life now.
Since Mom was in her last semester and my sister was finishing up her school year as a second grade teacher I started to do the initial research into plane tickets and talking to a travel agent, etc. Once my sister Anne was done with school she stepped up and helped immensely. We decided that we could take on the trip without the agent and enlisted the help of Rick Steves instead. He has become a hero of mine; we mentioned on more than one occasion on our trip how we couldn't have had such an amazing adventure without him. Three cheers for my dad and Rick Steves. They made our trip possible.

View from our room at the Hampton Inn at the Toronto Airport.

After searching the Skyscanner app for a few weeks looking for the best airline prices we decided it would be most cost effective to fly out of Toronto (airport code YYZ) to Dublin (airport code DUB). My sister flew here to Syracuse and my husband drove the two of us to Canada and my mom flew from Salt Lake City to Toronto. We all rendezvoused on July 13th, stayed at an airport Hampton Inn overnight and flew out the next evening.
See the Gates of Mordor sculpture behind us? We were supposed to be making a terrified face,
but apparently I'm the only one in the family with natural acting ability. 
The aftermath of my terrified face. We are not the best selfie-takers.
The next morning we got up, had a great breakfast and then used the hotel's business center to buy and print our tickets to see The Book of Kells at Trinity College in Dublin.

When we arrived at the airport on the morning of the 14th and tried to check into our flight we ran into a few snags. Initially we were told that there was no flight to Dublin that day which struck a little bit of panic into our hearts, but we were soon able to figure out our situation and verify that there was indeed a flight and we were indeed scheduled to be on it. The other issue was that my carry on was just a little too large (though not too heavy). My mom had brought more liquids than allowable though so we just stuck them in my carry on and checked it. I am what my husband likes to call "a nervous Nelly". I didn't really want to check my bag but an African man that was waiting to check into his flight could see the consternation on my face and assured me in a kind baritone that "Eeet's oh kay." He was right--it was okay. I think we were all a little anxious about our international travel since it was the first time for my sister and me and the first time since she was sixteen for our mom so we just hung out at the airport all day.
My sister's Instagram photo of one of the art installations at the Toronto Airport.

Toronto is a nice airport--lots of art installations and pretty good food (falafel for lunch and a bagel with cream cheese, lox, capers and red onions and fresh berries for dinner) and we were happy to be together so it worked out well.
Hanging out at YYZ, waiting for our flight to DUB.
We were on an overnight flight leaving Toronto around 7pm and arriving in Dublin before 6am. The plan was to eat our airport food (the aforementioned bagel and berries and a Jamaican jerk chicken salad with mangoes) and then go to sleep immediately so we wouldn't be so jet lagged upon our arrival. Things don't always work out as planned. I think Anne only got around two or three hours of sleep and I only got around an hour more than she did. I think Mom did a little better than us, but not much. As soon as Anne fell asleep she said they turned on all the lights in the cabin and served dinner. It seemed like it was only about two hours later that they served breakfast. They wanted to make sure we weren't hungry I guess.

As we were beginning our descent into Dublin I just kept thinking "dreams DO come true." I know it's cheesy but that doesn't make it less true.

We had spent many hours--a ridiculous amount of time really--arranging the details of the trip beforehand. We figured we would make several mistakes along the way (remember this was our first time abroad) but we would just have to count them as part of the adventure. We really didn't know what we were doing, but we were optimistic that we could do it.

We touched down on the Emerald Isle exhausted but supremely excited to see the motherland.

To Be Continued. . .

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