Soo...finally back in Lyon for just 5 more days until my return to California. Ridiculous.
Allow me to recap my last two weeks, the best and strangest two weeks since I moved to France: Meg and I went to Dublin and then Cork for a week, and were supposed to go to Amsterdam and Belgium before heading home. But since the volcanic ash cloud decided to linger indefinitely over European airspace (thank you, Eyjafjallajoekull), Meg and I were stuck in Ireland, so I decided to look up my distant relatives living on a farm near Skibbereen. Turned out to be the best phone call of my life. Meg and I ended up staying on their farm for a week; they gave us a house to ourselves and took off work to drive us around every day and see the most beautiful coastline I've ever seen (yes, even better than California).
My relatives live in the same farmhouse that's been in the family for five generations and probably longer. It's a dairy farm, and their cows produce some of the milk for Dubliner cheese (best cheese in the world). Across the field, you can see the quaint little stone church where my great-great-grandmother was baptized. From the top of the hill, you can see the westernmost point of Ireland (and nearest point of Europe to America), Fastnet, which is a lighthouse on a rock 8 miles from the mainland into the Atlantic. Alan, one of the sons, used his friendly connections to get us on a boat out to that rock, which is probably the coolest thing I've ever done in my life (though the choppy boat ride back was terrifying). The day before, his older brother Kevin took us on a 6-hour driving tour around the area, pointing out memorials and giving us history/Irish language lessons along the way, like. Good stuff.
Later, we ran with the cows in the field and took 800,000 pictures of them. Approximately.
1. Drinking fresh cow's milk out of a newly washed Irish whisky bottle.
2. Watching grown Irish men play indoor soccer "in town."
3. Eating delicious Irish stew, every day (and undelicious black pudding, once).
4. Watching Pat, the father, drink Budweiser out of a coffee mug. Later, learning Alan's name from the coffee mug he was holding, which had "Alan" painted on it.
5. Irish folk dancing with Pat and Mary, the parents.
6. Listening to an entire U2 album. Once. (Then switching to Coldplay on repeat).
7. Meeting people named Patrick, Mary, and Seamus.
Dublin was great, too. We tried to do a pub crawl but bailed and ended up going to 7 pubs on our own that night. It was fun, but nothing compared to our farm life. I felt like Paris Hilton on The Simple Life, only younger and slightly less blonde.
All in all, it was a brilliant vacation; by far the best accidental one I've ever had. From now on, I'm only going to travel places that lie in the direct path of active volcanos.