I have settled back in the United States and am enjoying my work in Washington D.C. as a Fellow at Emerson Collective, an organization that advocates for and invests in the public good.  Ireland seems at times a world away:  it’s hard to believe that I was so far away for so long.  And yet, when I reflect back on the experience, so much of my time there comes rushing back:  it was truly a special time in my life.  I made lifelong friends, enjoyed extraordinary experiences and grew an incredible amount.

Some of my closest friends from the past year were Irish.  They are phenomenal people:  incredibly hard workers who have endured a tumultuous decade on the island; despite the tough times, they have resiliently and optimistically pushed on to bigger and better things. Although we are enduring difficult times here at home, we still take for granted the incredible opportunity available to us in the United States.  On more than one occasion, my Irish friends would remind just how lucky I am to be an American and the benefits and blessings that come from my citizenship.  My Irish friends are great people and I’ve come to admire them a great deal (hello, Colm and Carlsen).

Obviously, my other close friends were the fellow Mitchells.  I’ve spoken about them in previous posts, but suffice to say they are extraordinarily committed and kind.  I will miss our times together in Ireland and pray that we have the opportunity to reunite soon.

The final weeks in Ireland were among the best.  We had the good fortune to dine with Eoin (of size2shoes fame) and his family in Limerick — and what talent!  It was the treat of a lifetime to bathe in their incredible music and kindness.  We also explored Limerick more substantively as a group,  and despite having lived there myself for close to a year, I learned new things about the city and am grateful to have had those experiences.  Sometimes it takes guests to remind you of what is beautiful and valuable about home.  I also enjoyed meeting Ruth, an American from Chicago, who runs a diner in Limerick — the best breakfast in town.

I grew a great deal intellectually because of the inherent independence in my university coursework.  I became a better writer and researcher, and in the process acquired a deeper appreciation of the law and its role in global society.  International law is murky and complex, but important:  I am glad to have wrestled with it.  No matter what I do in the future, I know that I am a better and more knowledgeable thinker because of my experiences in Ireland.

I am very sad that the year is over but am excited for the next class and am eager to hear of their adventures.  They are in for a transformative experience.  I am indebted to the US-Ireland Alliance for all that they’ve done to put together an incredible year for our cohort — thank you.

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