So a week after sitting our Holocaust and Genocide exam, it was time to receive the results on Wednesday morning! It was such a hot day, and we decided we needed a treat after the exam results so we went to DownTown for the best pancake stack I have had in a while! Another new favourite cafe!
As it was so hot (31 degrees), Erin and Rachel decided they would head off to the beach, while I packed to make a surprise visit home!! It was my Nanny Boyd’s 80th birthday on Friday night, which I couldn’t miss for the world, so even before I left for Nijmegen, I had decided I would come home in May as a surprise for her! To add to the surprises, I told dad I was coming home Friday-Saturday instead of Wednesday-Saturday. The surprise was also being kept from my friend Alison who came home from a year long stay in Australia last month – we have really missed each other so I couldn’t come home and not see her!
ANYWAY, I set off on Wednesday afternoon at around 2, got the bus into Central Station and headed towards my train, whose platform (of course) had been changed last minute, so just as I had checked for the new platform and made my way over, the train took off … Fabulous! So the only option was to get the next train, which was fine because it still got me into the airport over 2 hours before my flight. So, I hopped on the train and got myself comfortable to finally catch up on some blog posts. Until we got to the first train stop and everybody started running off and I saw on the screen in Dutch – “This is the end point of the train”. So I rushed off the train to find out what was going on, everybody was running around like someone had been shot, and a train operator told me there was a power cut on the lines and all of the trains had been cancelled. Meanwhile I was panicking about how I would get to the airport for my flight which was now in 3 hours time! They finally announced a train going back to Nijmegen so I got on and started troubling a poor Dutch train conductor with my issues. He was very nice and showed me how I needed to take 5 more trains to get to the airport…. Nightmare! By this stage I knew I was going to miss my flight because the estimated time of arrival was 6pm and my flight was leaving at 6.35pm so I got on the phone to my sister to let her know that I wouldn’t be getting into Dublin at the original time expected and would hopefully be able to get a flight home and not have to find a bench to sleep on in Schiphol.
Bearing in mind that it was 31 degrees heat that day, by the time I finally got to the airport and saw that my flight was now boarding, I just headed straight for the Ryanair desk and said “I need a seat on your flight to Dublin at 5 past 10 tonight please”. The lady proceeded to tell the nervous wreck that was myself that there was one seat left on the flight and she needed to check it hadn’t been bought online, thank the Lord it hadn’t so over the counter the MasterCard went and I was assured I wouldn’t be flying Amsterdam-London-Belfast the next morning!
After that whole palava I was just glad to get through security to a McDonald’s and Starbucks, making friends with a Dutch girl heading to Nice to surprise her boyfriend, an elderly man from London who was over planespotting for the day and two lovely Northern Irish businessmen who actually run a business in Dromore!! It was so nice to hear normal accents again, before I even got on the plane! While sitting on the aiport I noticed this sign – it says ‘Grandma, here I come’ which gave me some much needed encouragement and excitement for going home!
Long story short, I finally got the plane home and landed in Dublin at about 11.30pm to be greeted by Rachel, who had been hanging about all afternoon because she couldn’t go home as dad didn’t know I was coming home! So we horsed up the road, with Mark at my house distracting dad and keeping him up late so I could surprise him – we didn’t arrive home until almost 1am – hence my appearance in the video of me surprising him!
The next day I managed to get a doctor’s appointment for this chest infection – jammy or what! I spent some time with Dad and then went to the Downshire in Banbridge to surprise Alison for some lunch. Big shoutout to her sister Clare for helping me organise it – she really was gobsmacked. On Thursday night I also got to visit Mark’s family who really are like family to me so it was lovely to see them too. Mark also made sure I got my takeaway fix, getting me a collection of food from all our favourite takeaways in Banbridge, including a tub of Mauds!! Yum! Later that night our good friend Cherry came up with her wee girl Eva, who is like a niece to Mark and I, Mark is her favourite person at the minute so I didn’t get much of a look in!
On Friday, Mark, dad and I headed for Belfast to Makro, as we have a few candy cart bookings while I’m away so we needed to get organised for that. And finally on Friday evening, I got to surprise my nanny Boyd for her 80th birthday party at the Halfway House in Dromore! If you don’t know her, my nanny Boyd is a great wee role model, so kindhearted and generous, she has done so much for me through the years that I wouldn’t have missed her birthday for the world!! I can’t put into words how great it was to see the rest of my family too, being away has given me a real appreciation for all of my aunts, uncles and cousins and the craic we have altogether!
The next morning, we went up to nanny and granda’s for a few hours and then it was time to get to Dublin Airport! Thankfully, the flight home was a lot easier than the flight there, but nevertheless I was glad to get back to Erin and my Nijmegen bed!
I had such a fabulous weekend home, and I loved seeing everybody’s reaction to the surprise – the videos are on my Facebook page if you haven’t already seen them!
We are now on the countdown to home – only 6 weeks left, which we aren’t happy about – Erasmus life is just too much fun!
Have a fantastic week!