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My Never Ending Series of Unfortunate Events – A Collection of ‘Jessisms’.

So the other day while casually pondering life (ya know, as ya do), it occurred to me that I’ve had some pretty weird and unfortunate shit happen to me over the years. Now I know we all have our wacky experiences and encounters, but I’m starting to think that I have a significant amount more than others. After 23 years, and countless inputs from friends and family, I’ve come to the conclusion that ‘it’s just something about me.’  Apparently ‘I just have that ‘look’ (whatever that look is I’ll never know).

I’m just a recipe for disaster. A walking calamity. A magnet for mishaps. Quite a while back, I decided it might be a fun idea to compile a list of what I like to call my ‘Jessisms’, or in other words my own personal never ending series of unfortunate events. I’ve had this blog saved as a draft for some time now, and I’ve been slowly adding to it as my propensity for misfortune continues.

(Before I begin I must point out that most of these instances weren’t actually my fault, and therefore the circumstances surrounding them should not solely be put down to, clumsiness, stupidity, intoxication, or the colour of my hair).

Without further ado…

Being bitten in Coppers:

This is probably the most bizarre of them all. So there I am on my 19th birthday, minding my own business, enjoying my suddy and red to the gentle sway of Nicki Minaj in the basement of coppers. Utterly Sophisticated. When then, out of no where some middle aged bald guy runs up to me, bites me on the shoulder, and runs away. Next thing I know I’m being fussed over, your man is ‘goin to get the absolute shit kicked out of him,’  and there’s talks of tetanus and A&E in case the creature drew blood. Luckily he didn’t. Probably not surprising for coppers, but still unfortunate nonetheless.

Getting caught in the clothes line: 

It was a grand summers evening, and being the model child that I am I decided to hang out the washing for the fam. It was back in the too-young-for-a-job-days, so doing the housework would get you your 20 euro for the week. Which looking back is kind of bordering on the lines of child labour, but anyway. I had set out with great intentions, only the next thing I know I find myself literally stuck to the line. My long hair had betrayed me by getting deeply entangled in one of the pegs. The only thing I could do was stand there helplessly and hope someone would rescue me. A good forty minutes later my sister arrives back from my nan’s and sets me free. I have had a strange aversion to clothes lines ever since.

Being put in a strangers car by my father:

(Here’s looking at you Tom Keogh).

I regret to say that this one actually happened. It was around about 5 years ago, before my driving days. My dad was giving me a lift to the bus station, as I was heading back to college. All was going well, it was a seemingly inconspicuous Monday morning. That is until the car broke down less than half way through the journey. It wouldn’t have been so much of a big deal, if it wasn’t for the fact that I had a test that day that I couldn’t miss. If I missed the bus I missed the test. The car wasn’t budging and there was no one around to come to our rescue. So what does my dad do? Stands out in the middle of the road and attempts to flag down oncoming traffic. He then starts pleading with random strangers to take me and my mortified self to the bus station. Next thing I know I’m flung into a car, case in tow, with a woman called Ann and her two kids. Ann kindly threw me out at Waterford bus station some twenty minutes later, after the longest and most uncomfortable silence of my life. On the re-telling of this story my  Dad always says, “well didn’t ya make the bus?”. Yes Dad, I may have made the bus, but I can assure you my pride did not. (Also, she could’ve been a psycho killer, but whatever, “sure I made the bus”).

Accidentally using ‘Intimate feminine wipes’ on my face

Okay now this was just deceptively cruel. Who even knew such things existed? Again, not my fault. The culprits in question were bought for me under the illusion that they were, in fact, normal facial cleansing wipes. A similar incident happened shortly thereafter, when I used my nephews  “nappy rash” cream on my face. A serious dupe for sudocream let me tell you. I’ve now come to the conclusion that I need to just give up on facial products in general.

Drinking my own contact lense:

Some of you may remember this one from Facebook.

Yes I indeed happened to drink my own contact lense. I’m not proud of it, in fact it still haunts me to this day, almost exactly two years after it first occurred. It wasn’t a sick dare or anything, it was just something horribly and disgustingly unfortunate. You see, anyone with contact lenses will understand the hardship of taking them out after a night out. Sometimes you surprise yourself and manage to store them perfectly in their little containers of solution. More often times than not they can end up glued to your eyelids, left to shrivel on two plates, or in this instance floating in glasses of water. Now you can see what happened next. I’m drunk, I wake up in the middle of the night, I’m thirsty. I innocently reach for one of the glasses of water beside my bed, and well you get the rest.

Capsizing in the waters of Slovenia

Now this one was a genuine near death experience. Not being dramatic. So I’m on an inter-rail with a group of friends, and we decide to do something other than destroy our livers. That something turned out to be white-water rafting. Very adventurous of us altogether. Let me set the scene. So we’re looking sexy in our wet suits as we embark our vessel. (Which was basically a blow up floating boat, and not a raft made of sticks like I had originally imagined/secretly hoped). Our instructor ‘Yuri’ was quite the man, and ensured us we were completely safe as we navigated our way through Slovenian waters. All was going well, until all of a sudden the boat capsized. Before long we were all being flung rapidly downstream. At first we found it amusing, but after Yuri’s frantic screams of ‘this is fucking serious,’ we were in full titanic mode. The water was fairly shallow, so me being me, think ‘ah sher it’s grand I can just stand up and sort of walk back’. Disaster. Of course I’m flung back straight onto my arse and dragged across rocks, dodging trees, and screaming for my life along the way. What made me think I could walk against a rapid current, I’ll never know.  In the end I somehow managed to swim back to the raft, oar in hand, exhausted. All I could do was lay there like a wet seal and wait for the others to be rescued. Tragic stuff.

Being asked on a date to Mcdonalds by a Dublin Bus driver:

Now I know some of you might not view this as unfortunate per se, some might find it flattering. But picture the scene. It’s 11:34pm. I’m en route home from a late shift and I have to be up and back in work at 7am. All I want to do is peacefully disembark the bus and fall in to bed. I press the buzzer and I approach my stop. The bus driver seemingly innocent, turns to me and asks in the thickest Dublin accent “Dya wanna go ta Mcdonalds?”  Still genuinely not sure if he was asking me on a date, or if I looked like the type of person who frequents McDonalds. Either way I stared blankly at him, shook my head politely, disembarked the bus and ran for my life.

Wearing my leggings inside out to work:

Now I must stress that for 6 months straight I had to endure the pain of 7am starts, something my former college student self wasn’t accustomed to at the time. (My present self is now peeling herself up at 6.30am). Anywho, after my early rise I then had a bit of a bitch of a commute, so naturally these types of mishaps were bound to occur…weren’t they? Nonetheless, after my usual ritual of crying into my cereal at the foot of the stairs, I set out for work. I got on the bus, put in my earphones and tried to avoid the oncoming plague of other passengers. Only then did I happen to look down and realise that my leggings were in fact inside out. Facing an hour long commute and a further 10 minute walk to work before I could rectify the situation, there was nothing I could do. Fortunately I wasn’t the strangest creature on the bus that day.

 Being abandoned by my ‘friends’ in a dyke:

 When I was in primary school we had a dyke (which is basically a washed out ditch/trench like thing), that ran along the back of the school. Of course we were forbidden from going near it, but that never stopped us. I remember coming to school after spraining my ankle in a separate unrelated trampoline incident. I was on crutches, but my friends convinced me to come out to the dyke anyway. Not wanting to miss out on any of the fun, I agreed. Next thing I know I’m being lowered into the dyke crutches and all. It was all fun and games until  someone got wind of one of the teachers coming. Everyone fled, leaving 10 year old me alone in the dyke to navigate my way out with my crutches.

Being run over by a bike in Sweden:

I think I’ll let the below speak for itself on this one. I did legitimately have a stalker in Sweden btw, but that’s a post entirely of it’s own.

Chipping my tooth on a pole in Barcelona:

Not intoxicated, just blind and laughing too much. I probably reacted a little too dramatically when this one happened, but in fairness it was one of my worst fears realised. I thought my whole tooth was gone. Plus, I hadn’t long shed my braces, so it was pretty upsetting. I did however, get to rock the ‘London Look’ for a few days.

At this stage, I think I should probably start wrapping this up! I am aware this post is probably quite long, but it has only just scratched the surface. I mean I could probably write an entire book filled with my misadventures, perhaps one day I will. For now I will leave you with these short anecdotes, in the hopes that you enjoyed reading them just as much as I enjoyed re-telling them!

As Mr Lemony Snicket himself once said:

 What might seem to be a series of unfortunate events may, in fact, be the first steps of a journey.

~Jessie

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The end of an era

Earlier today I sat the last exam of my undergraduate life and presumably my academic education. The only way to describe how i’m feeling right now is bitter sweet. I sit in my bare college room with three packed suitcases and a heavy heart full of four years of memories.

I never expected to feel this emotional. I knew this day was fast approaching, and I couldn’t wait. Finally an escape from exams, deadlines, essays. But with that comes an overwhelming sense of sadness for all the late night DMCs, drunken shenanigans and top pizzas that must too be left behind. My university life started and finished in the blink of an eye. Sitting in this bare room reminds me of the day post leaving cert me moved all of her stuff into her first shared accommodation in UL.I’ll never forget the absolute excitement of it. Living with five other strangers about to embark on the same adventure.The first few weeks are a blur, finding my feet, settling in, making friends, nursing hangovers. And now here I am. Almost 23  (still nursing hangovers) and just three months shy of getting my coveted piece of paper (hopefully!).

My four years have honestly been a jam packed adventure, and I’m not going to hide the fact that I’m an emotional wreck over them ending. I got to do so much over the course of my degree. I’ve lived in two foreign countries, I’ve worked in the capital, I’ve met and made friends all over the world. Of course I’ve made some pretty questionable decisions along the way, but sure isn’t it all part of the process? I am so grateful for every single experience good and bad that I’ve had, and I’m lucky that I get to look back on them all with such fond memories. From being a bag of nerves over a little presentation, to now being able to stand up in a room full of people with absolute confidence and ease. From the A’s to the C’s and the FYPs, the stress, the tears and the LOls – I won’t ever forget any of it.

For anyone who may be reading this who is just starting their college journey; firstly have a pint in the stables for me, go out as much as you can (the work always gets done) and embrace every single moment of it, because it really goes by far too quickly.

For any employers who also may be reading this: Hi I’m a nice, well rounded girl who is the ultimate ideal candidate. I’ll never be late and I give good hugs. Please hire me. 🙂

UL- it’s been real, but now it’s time to go adult.

~Jessie 

UL

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Leaving cert memories we would prefer to forget

Once again that time of year is upon us. And while I’m glad I never have to go through those tedious two weeks again, I can’t help feeling a little nostalgic and slightly sympathetic for all the little duckies sitting state exams at the moment. It’s true while most of you are praying Sylvia Plath or some other elusive poet comes up on English Paper 2, the rest of us are praying for the glorious exam weather that we all had to suffer through. But don’t worry, you’ll have your time to be smug. That’s not to say elements of the leaving cert won’t haunt you forever. Seeing as the good weather hasn’t surfaced yet, I’ve decided to compile a list of things most of us would rather forget about the old LC..

1. Poetry

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Oh the agony over those pesky poets. Do you take a chance and just learn the women? Sure you’d be grand then they always put a woman on it. Or should you just learn the recommended five? But that’s like a million poems…maybe you should just place all your bets on the predictions? Yeah Heaney hasn’t come up in five years.. Heaney it is so.

2. An Trial.

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A story about a young girl banished by her family for having become impregnated by the local primary school teacher. The girl then pulls a Sylvia on it and sticks her head in the oven killing herself and her child. Oh and the best part? It’s all as gaeilge.

 3. Maths and all of the horror that came with it

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I can’t be the only one who just drew what I thought the graph should look like sans actual figures…. still having Venn diagram statistical nightmares.

4. The Infamous Irish tape test

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Léigh anois go cúramach ar do scrúdpháipeir  na treoireacha agus na ceisteanna a ghabhann le cuid Á.

How could we forget that musical beeeeeeeeeep and the soothing sounds of Áine agus Sinead telling us about their trip to see U2 An Seachtain Seo Caite.

5. Seeing the “do gooders” ask for more paper

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What could they possibly be writing?! You’re struggling to fill up your little answer booklet as it is. Are they just purposely trying to freak everyone out? Maybe they’ve just ruined all of their previous paper with tears…

6. The dilemma over going to the toilet

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Do you sacrifice the whole two minutes of writing time it’s going to take you? Or do you suffer on and risk wetting yourself out of panic? Then there’s the whole ordeal about the adjudicator having to write on your paper that you’re going to the toilet and  feeling like a hardened criminal by having someone escort you there and back.

7. When you think you have “one down” but really it’s only “half of one”

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was there anything worse than coming out of an exam, feeling like you have one less to do, but then realising it was only the first part of ONE exam. The cruelty. You still have paper 2 before you can tick it off the list and be done with it forever.

8. The smell.

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Yes there is an actual smell. Fear mixed with tears, panic, sweat  and the old school gym. Someone should bottle it really..

Au de Leaving Cert.

9. When the supervisor was given tea and sandwiches right under your nose

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As if you weren’t going through enough during this grueling 3 hour exam. Your tummy is rumbling and then all of a sudden those smug TY Volunteers enter the exam hall with tea and sandwiches for the poor hard done by supervisor who’s getting 50 quid an hour. The audacity.

10. The panic before you turn over the paper

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Are your gambles going to pay off? what if there’s a question you haven’t learned? Why are they taking so long to give out the rest of the papers? you need to know!

11. The dreaded exam post-mortem

“What did you put for part 3 section C, Question 1?”

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If you learn anything from your leaving cert it’s that you should never ever partake in the post exam digest. Not only will you realise that Sally is a bitch because her answers were definitely better than yours, but you’ll drive yourself into a frenzy irrationally wondering if you answered all the short questions or if there was a section you forgot and so on. Just don’t do it kids. Ignorance is bliss. Until August at least.

12. The nightmares

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The night before the exam dreaming that you’ve slept in and missed the entire thing. Even still months after it’s all over and done with youl’ll still be dreaming that you’ve lost your biology folder. Christ, even 4 years down the line I’m still having nightmares about the whole thing.

Despite all the stress, tears and panic the leaving cert is actually one of the best years of your schooling life. You’re all in the same boat, about to head your separate ways so the craic and solidarity during the final year is mighty. Even though it will all be over in a couple of weeks you’ll still remember everything about it. Years down the line you’ll be ushering the usual reassurances to your predecessors:

“Ah it’s not the be all and end all”  “There’s ways around everything”  “Sure no one will ever ask you about your points when you get to college”. In all seriousness best of luck to everyone doing the exams, may the odds be ever in your favour.

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Grandad Joe

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Eight years have since passed,
But your memory in our hearts will forever last.

Pictures of you line the halls, the sitting room,
The kitchen and the walls.

Your smiling face, takes pride of place,
filling the absence left by your embrace.

The room in which you took your last breath,
Is now filled with the laughter of grandchildren you never met.

But don’t worry they know all about their grandad Joe,
Who in heaven loves them more than they will ever know.

Your presence throughout this house is always felt,
We no longer feel anger for the cards you were dealt.

We miss your laughter and your toothless grin,
We miss you backing horses that would almost always win!

We miss your signature sayings and all of your funny ways,
We still turn to you for comfort, in the darkest of days.

“An empty sack won’t stand and a full one won’t bend”
Among many of your quotes we will always transcend.

In knowing you there is nothing we regret,
A man full of courage, hope and strength is impossible to forget.

Our love for you will never cease,
We have faith in the knowledge that now you are at peace.
-JMRK
22-1-15

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100 things I did in 2014

1. Survived living and working in Dublin
2. Moved to Sweden for 4 Months
3. Met some wonderful people from all over the world
4. Got closer to nan in Dublin
5. Accidentally drank my own contact lense
6. Broke into my own house after a night out
7. Stole multiple cans of coke from a Swedish chipper
8. Laughed a lot
9. Visited Lapland
10. Went out 13 weekends in a row
11. Purchased a bike in Sweden
12. Survived being single for the first time in 4 years
13. Fed reindeer
14. Used a pizza box as a pillow
15. Saw the northern lights
16. Went dog sledding and snow mobiling
17. Moved house twice
18. Only ‘vommed and dashed’ once.
19.Turned 21
20. Changed my first ever light bulb
21. Still in college
22. Braces off
23. Ellie Goulding and Beyoncé concert
24. International lovee😂
25. Did my first ever key note presentation
26. Accused of “plagiarism”
27. Survived plagiarism accusation
28. Built a snow person “Kim Snowdashian”
29. Got closer to some of my amazing cousins
30. Learned that ‘TP’ stands for toilet paper
31. Tried sweet potato fries for the first time (didn’t like sweet potato fries)
32. Visited an elk farm
33. Unknowingly ate elk stew
34. Spent more money than I probably earned
35. Lost my bank card
36. Peed in public (multiple times)
37. Got knocked off my bike by a random swede on her bike
38. Made a snow angel
39. Only got tonsillitis once
40. Witnessed a shooting star
41. Celebrated my friends turning 21
42. Did a ‘comedy improv’ course with work. Still not funny.
43. Locked up an entire office block on my own multiple times and nothing bad happened
44. Laughed so hard I cried
45. Listened to Ed Sheeran’s album on repeat
46. Acquired Script tickets
47. Mixed white wine and red wine
48. Drank copious amounts of cartoned wine called “prego”
49. Didn’t actually get prego.
50. Binge watched game of thrones, suits, and orange is the new black
51. Tried balyage
52. Fell off my bike multiple times
53. Drunk cycled
54. Drunk shifted
55. Got hurt
56. Took a 6 hour train, twice.
57. Visited Norway
58. Burnt pizza
59. Got given an iPad
60. Documented my own drunken antics far too many times
61. Stole some poor guys rickshaw in Dublin
62. Acquired multiple rickshaw rides for free on the same night (hooray for Julio)
63. Drunkenly fell
64. Soberly fell
65. Knocked over a table of drink
66. Made mistakes
67. Had no RAGRETS
68. Placed in the top 25 for blog awards Ireland
69. Took too many selfies
70. Got denied entrance into coppers
71. Got into coppers anyway
72. Acquired a stalker by the name of Ali Bibbi
73. Got asked on a date to Mcdonalds by Dublin bus driver
74. Survived multiple near knock downs
75. Went to life in colour
76. Tried a McChicken Sandwich instead of chicken nuggets in McDonalds
77. GOT 10 NUGGETS INSTEAD OF 9
78. Wrote a letter to my 13 year old self
79. Did ice bucket challenge and no make up selfie
80. Purchased a serious amount of mac lipstick
81. Had the fear too many times
82. Saw Des Bishop live
83. Nandos Nandos Nandos
84. Went for cocktails
85. Got egged by 12 year olds on Dame Street
86. Bet my nan at scrabble
87. Experienced ‘adult life’ and responsibility
88. Mastered the Swedish currency eventually
89. Got up every morning at 7am for 6months straight
90. Witnessed the sun set everyday at 2:30pm for 4 months
91. Had a BBQ at a lake
92. Got through a really difficult time
93. Wrote more
94. Went to my first ever hockey game
95. 12B night.
96. Made life long memories
97. Spent a night in the airport
98. Got a lift to work in an ambulance bus
99. Hugged harder and laughed louder
100. Wrote this list.

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A letter to my 13 year old self

Dear 13 year old Jessie,

I sit in another country writing this note. In which case you’ve probably figured out that you’re still alive. I would tell you to stop googling every illness that you think you might have, but it’s a quirky habit that will stay with you for the next 8 years. Your hypochondriac ways are still there, though not as irrational.

At this moment in time you’re pretty awkward. A new found teenager. Set to embark on a brand new chapter, new friends, new experiences. You’ll be happy to know in about two years time you’ll ditch the glasses. However, be warned. A friend you don’t have yet will bring back photos of said awkward time to embarrass you on social media.

You probably don’t even know what social media is right now, but it becomes a huge part of your life. Anyway I know that right now you’re worried about starting a new school, about making new friends, and losing old ones. What I can tell you is you’re about to make the best friends you will ever have in your life. You might not realise it now, but these people are going to be there for you in ways you cannot even imagine.

You see all that hair falling way past your shoulders? Yeah you’re going cut it up into a bob and dye it red. And you’re going to love it. Then you’re going to dye it brown, grow it out, and then eventually dye it blonde.

Right now you’re freaking out about the possibility of having braces and glasses at the same time, because what on earth could be worse than that? Don’t worry kid, you manage to avoid that particular image disaster. You eventually get braces in college though, but only for a couple of months. Now you have shiny straight teeth, and that annoying ‘snaggle’ is gonzo.

The things you’re currently freaking out about are the things you’re going to look back on and split your sides laughing at. Like your first kiss. It happens at the infamous ‘ttown disco’ that you’re extremely excited about. It’s not going to be anything like you imagine. It’s going to be awkward, and you’re going to be surrounded by 50 others doing the exact same thing, under cheap blinking lights, to the sound of an awful Nelly Furtado song. But hey, you do it and you suddenly feel like a ‘normal’ person. But you never needed the peer pressure or the ‘approval’. You only think you do.

In the the next couple of years you’re going to do the usual rebellious teenager things. You’re going to sneak out. You’re going to lie about where you are. You’re going to ‘knacker drink’. You’re going to go camping, cut your chin on barbed wire, and fall out of a trailer stuck onto the back of a quad. You’re going to have severe mortifying moments, but most of all you’re going to acquire epic stories. Stories that you’re still telling today.

Your leaving cert year is bitter sweet. The summer of the exams will be amazing. You go to oxegen and you have one of the best weekends of your life. You’re excited about your college adventure and the future is in your sight. You turn 18 you have a party with all of your friends and family. But something bad happens that night. Your drink gets spiked, and in the days leading up to your exam results you collapse and wake up in hospital. You’re going to trip out really bad, and it’s going to be really scary. You end up having to take a year out before going to college, but you do so well in your exams, despite things not going according to your initial plan. The next 6 months are going to be shit, but this experience will strengthen you for things to come.

All your friends move away and you’re left behind recovering from the effects of the spiking. You’ll have days where all you want to do is curl up in a ball and cry. You’re going to learn of the death of two childhood friends. Things are going to be gray and sad for a while, but hang on in there, it gets better, I promise.

You’re amazing little nephew arrives. (Yes you have a nephew! Who’d have thought it? Shelly is going to provide the cutest tiny human ever). Your friends come back from college and throw you an amazing surprise party. You go inter-railing and travel all over Europe. You start college a year later with the realisation that the year off was actually a blessing in disguise. You meet so many new and amazing people. You do college radio. You travel a bit more. You go to a lot of concerts. You move to Dublin for 6 months and work in this really great company, gaining so much experience.

You haven’t broken a bone since you were 8. You lose weight, gain weight, then lose it again. You make some horrific fashion choices. You’re still largely un-coordinated and clumsy. You have many blonde moments to come. You still laugh too loudly, and you’re still brutally blunt at times. You’re still a bit of a push over in certain situations, but I’m working on that 😉 You still despise onions. You get better with food though, you’re not as picky in years to come. You learn to try things. You’re not afraid of the dark (as much) anymore.

I wish I could tell you the next 8 years are going to go perfectly, but life doesn’t work that way. You’re going to go through a lot of heavy stuff, and it’s going to seem like everything is trying to knock you down. At one stage you’ll even convince yourself someone is writing your life as an episode of EastEnders. But you’ll get through it. And those friends you’re about to make? They’ll be there for it every step of the way. They might not be the ones you think of as I write this, but the ones you think that matter right now really don’t.
You’re going to experience love, loss, and heartbreak. You’re going to cry. A lot. But you’re going to laugh even more.
You’ll question yourself, you’ll have doubts, but every choice you make has gotten you to where you are right now.

Which is sitting in a ‘dorm’ room in Sweden (yes, Sweden) on an erasmus exchange program, writing this blog at 2.30am instead of reading the 300 page novel you have to have read by Tuesday. (Yup, you’re still a procrastinator too). All in all the next 8 years aren’t the worst. It’s a roller coaster, but we both know anyone who can handle ‘The Speed’ in oakwood 13 times in a row can handle anything 😉

Keep smiling, Keep laughing, Keep living.
Love, Jessie- Your 21 year old self.
15/9/2014
jj

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meeeemam.

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jess an jess

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Growing up in the country

When you spend most of your life living in the country there are things you come to truly love about it. Six months ago unfortunatley I had to move away from a place I spent the best part of twenty years falling in love with.

No matter how exciting city life may seem, it will still never compare. Sure the city is ‘alive’ it’s busy, it’s convenient, but it doesn’t have the charm or warmth you come to associate with the countryside. There are certain things that only people who live, or have lived in the country will understand and relate to. So I said I’d compile a list, as ya do 🙂

We’ll start with:

‘The Country Nod’

Ah the aul courtesy ‘country nod’ you’re taking a stroll down the lane and you pass a car, tractor, van whatever. You may or may not know one another, regardless you will both engage in the country nod. One of you will usually begin the exchange by nodding your head and smiling slightly in mutual acknowledgement. If you’re wearing some sort of cap it is also customary to casually salute it. If you’re not a farmer/old man an imaginary cap will also suffice.

Everyone knows everyone and everyone’s business

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Had tea and toast for breakfast? Mary knows about it. Fell in the back door at an ungodly hour in an absolute drunken mess last night? Mary knows about it. Forgot to feed your dog? Mary knows about it. The country is made up of a cluster of small towns and villages, and basically you can’t do anything without the nosey neighbours knowing. It can be annoying having everyone know, or think they know about your business, but it’s just an accepted trait. Everyone is guilty of being a small town gossip. Sure we’re only concerned after all. On a serious note though, you just don’t get that real sense of community and togetherness in the city . People take a genuine interest in you. Your dog dies out in bally-go-backwards and Mary and all the neighbours have the kettle on straight away. In the city? You’re lucky if people even know your name let alone if your dog died.

The scenery and views
Green grass, leafy trees, blue skies. It’s just perfect. Everything is out in the open and it’s impossible not to appreciate it. Actually getting to see a starry night. I have friends who grew up in the city and have never seen a sky full of stars, that just seems crazy to me. Growing up right near a golf course and these views? How could you not love it.

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The smell

Granted it’s probably silage, but it’s a unique country smell. Outsiders turn their nose up at it, but we basque in the smell of clean air, freshly cut grass and nature.

Bales

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Was there anything more delightful than running into a field and hopping the bales as a kid? Needless to say you were the thorn in every farmers backside, but nothing could stop the inticing lure of a well wrapped bail. Our parents couldn’t get us out of the fields during bale season and we loved it.

Exploring

There is so much land, forrest and cool places just waiting to be discovered out in the country. I remember setting off on long walks for the day with my sisters and cousins just looking for devilment. Timeless. If it didn’t end in us getting a few lashes of the wooden spoon for going off the radar for a few hours, It ended in us finding some pretty deadly hiding places for the next epic round of hide & seek.

Being Identified by your relations/ mistaken for your siblings

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“Which one are you now? Oh you’re Mary’s young one! Christ look at ya now, getting big ya are”

Spending endless evenings hanging around the same place

Everyone who lives in a small country town has their own distinct creepage spots. This is where the youth of the town/village will just meet to waste away together. Centra car park anyone? Mill in kells.. Mullinavat waterfall.. I could go on.

Similarly knowing all the shifting spots

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All I have to say on this one is primary school oil tank. You stay classy ballyhale.

Camping

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The best camping spots are in the country, no question. Staying up all night around a badly lit fire and a poorly picthed tent, drinking like the little scumbag you were. Ah the memories.

The sense of Freedom
For some reason there is just a sense of freedom that comes with living in the country. For me it was speeding down the hill on my bike, feeling like nothing or no one could stop me. The feeling of clean air in your lungs and wind through your hair is something else.

Having family living close by

It might not be this way for everyone, but for me I was surrounded by family. I grew up living right beside my grandparents, my aunts and uncles literally lived up (or down) the road and everyone was only a stones throw away. There’s something so lovely about knowing the people you care about are literally on your doorstep. These days that’s something which is becoming less and less frequent, and it’s sad to see.

The quietness

When you move to the city you really come to appreciate life without sirens, noisy cars and the general sounds of hustle and bustle. There is nothing like the quiet dead of night you get out in the country, I think that’s something I miss the most.

No matter where I end up in life, no place will ever compare to the place I spent twenty years in, the place I grew up in, and the place I called home. It’s not only home to family and close friends, it’s home to some of my fondest memories. It’s the place where I took my first steps. It’s the place where I countlessly scraped my knees. It’s the place where I learned to ride my first bike. It’s the place where I broke my wrist. It’s the place where I played hide and seek. It’s the place that I explored from top to bottom.

It’s my place, and I will never stop missing it.

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You know what they say, you can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl. 😉