Back to School

Richardson, Apollo Junior High, Substitute

Back in the classroom!

I’ll tell you what – moving from your home in a foreign country back to America really throws your life into chaos and when you add wedding planning to that, there isn’t really time to think about much else. However, since the honeymoon ended and things have calmed down, we’ve thrown ourselves back into work.

While Matt and I prepare for another potential move (when will the madness end?!), I decided to head back to work as a substitute teacher in my alma mater school district – Richardson. It’s been three years since I stepped into a classroom, but I knew with the flexible schedule and my experience, it would be a great way to make some money while still taking freelance projects in between.

Substitute, Richardson, Apollo Junior High

Unbeknownst to me, Matt decided that he wanted to capture my “first day of school.”

Ironically, my first day was back at Apollo Junior High, and boy was that a trip! Many of the staff that I knew (including almost my entire Language Arts department) are no longer at the school, so there were many unfamiliar faces. However, among those faces there were also quite a few that remained, making it nice to catch up and hear how the last three years have been.

I will admit, though, I was a tiny bit nervous before my first class – three years is a long time! But when those kids starting streaming into the room, it was like riding a bicycle. I forgot how much I missed interacting with students and taking charge of the classroom. And after experiencing the “corporate culture” of working for a company, I am not ashamed to say that being in charge again doesn’t suck. 😉

So far, I’ve covered three classes and three different subjects. This week I’ll be at three other schools, one day substituting at Matt’s old junior high and another covering a high school French class, which should be interesting considering that I speak Spanish, not French…can I just show them pictures of my travels in France?!

So until we make our next move, I’ll continue pop in and out of classroom. It has certainly been a great way to start repatriating myself!

Categories: Musings, Travel | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

A Final Fling Before the Ring x 2

Spain, Estepona, PuroBeach, Laguna Village, Bachelorette, Marriage

A Spanish celebration before finally becoming a Mrs.!

Living in Europe and planning a wedding in America (and not even in my home city of Dallas!) was definitely a challenge, but with the challenges, there were also perks. With friends in both places, I was beyond lucky to get to celebrate my bachelorette party not once, but twice! My great friend Joannah planned my “European bachelorette” party during the summer in Spain and my maid-of-honor and sister, Melissa, planned a Dallas party following my move back to Dallas.

If you are ever wanting to plan a bachelorette party in Spain, on the beach, in the middle of the summer, talk to my friend Jo, because she did it up right! A bunch of my girlfriends from Gibraltar and my bridesmaid Lauren, who you’ve seen many times in my “visiting Dublin” posts, came out for a day of sunning and massages, followed by a fantastic dinner on the beach. Does it get any better than that?

Gibraltar, Spain, Dallas, Wedding, Marriage, Bachelorette, Estepona, PuroBeach

With my wonderful hostess, Jo!

We started the day at Laguna Village at the swanky PuroBeach Club. Jo reserved a cabana next to the pool that came complete with a bottle of rosé cava, mojitos, and a sushi lunch. Jo also booked us all either a facial or a massage – both were poolside, and I opted for the massage. We spent the day sipping cava and mojitos, dipping in and out of the pool, and soaking up the Spanish sun.

That evening we made our way back to PuroBeach for dinner next to the Mediterranean. The food was fantastic, the wine was never empty, and Jo prepared a fun questionnaire that kept us entertained throughout dinner. In true Spanish style, we enjoyed a long dinner and our festivities led us into the wee hours of the morning, at which time we wandered back down the beach to our hotel (the Kempinski Hotel Bahía) for some late night (early morning?) antics and room service (that €30 club sandwich was worth it!).

Dallas, Bachelorette, Wedding, Marriage, Spain, Estepona, Gibraltar

I wore this sweet gift while getting ready on my wedding day!

Now, the Dallas party could not have been more different, but was equally as fabulous! Melissa planned a girls night out complete with a hotel suite at The Nylo in Dallas, dinner at The Cedars Social and then dancing at Winstons Supperclub with a performance by the Far East Movement. I may or may not have gotten on the stage during their performance…

No detail was missed by Melissa for the Dallas bash! The Nylo is a really neat hotel and the suite was perfect for us group of girls. We had pre-dinner drinks, a lingerie shower, and my friends and family were able to get to know each other before venturing out. I highly recommend dinner at The Cedars Social (in fact, I’ll most likely go back and take pictures for a nightlife piece) – the food was American-style tapas which were so delicious; think tapas-style mac-n-cheese, pork belly tacos, Parmesan fries, etc. And of course, if I got myself on stage at Winstons, then I definitely had a great time there! The final detail? Melissa arranged a party bus to take us from one spot to the next!

I am really so blessed to have such wonderful friends that celebrated my last single night in both countries. There were friends and family that even traveled to be there, which made both weekends so special. Both my hostesses should be professional bachelorette party planners, because these will be memories that I will always cherish!

Wedding, Marriage, Bachelorette, Dallas, Spain, Estepona, PuroBeach

My bridesmaid Lauren flew in from Dublin to help me celebrate!

Wedding, Marriage, Dallas, Nylo Hotel, The Cedars Social, Winstons Supper Club

With all of the girls at the Dallas bachelorette party.

Spain, Estepona, Bachelorette, Laguna Village, PuroBeach, Wedding

This is the closest thing I have to a full group picture at the Spanish party.

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Emily En America

America, Spain, Gibraltar, Ireland, Travel, Moving

My arrival in Texas! Inside that black bag is our gato – General McFluffybutt.

It has been an extremely long time since I have written, and for that, I am sorry. To my followers here that do not know me personally, I’m sure that what I am about to tell you is going to blow your mind (I’m feeling hyperbolic this morning, so bear with me).

I am no longer “Emily En Europe.” I am officially Emily back in America, married and looking for my next adventure.

That’s right folks. During my hiatus, much has changed. I promise to take you through all of the exciting parts, because that’s what this space is for – to show my family and friends (my every day friends and my Internet peeps) what life is like when you uproot your life and move to a foreign country. Or in this case, back from a foreign country.

To make a long story a little shorter, my husband (more on that in later posts!), along with a few others, worked hard over the past year to sell the company they were working for. It was an arduous process with lots of traveling – London, New York, Israel – and the end result meant that Matt and I were faced with the decision to come home. And I’ll tell you…that was not an easy decision.

If you’ve followed me from the very beginning, you will know how much I loved my time in Ireland. Our quaint apartment overlooking the farm (sheep!), the American Women’s Club of Dublin (philanthropic events and friends), the new culture (I had never traveled abroad before), and the many trips we were able to take throughout that time (Bruges, St. Moritz, Paris, Majorca, Nice). Ireland was the absolutely perfect location to set me up for a love affair with Europe, and when we were given the opportunity to stay, we jumped on it.

Married, Gibraltar, Ireland, Spain, Travel, Moving

I got married! But like I said, more on that later…

Spain and Gibraltar brought us a whole different way of life. Living on the Mediterranean Sea, traveling, crossing the border to Gibraltar every day (I won’t necessarily miss that), again making life-long friends, and our very special addition to the family – I will never regret our decision to extend our time in Europe.

However, I also won’t regret our decision to move back. Since we’ve been home, it’s been amazing catching up with friends, spending loads of time with family and we’ve even had our first European visitors – our wedding was a good reason to bring friends from Ireland and Spain to America! Only time will tell what our future has in store for us and I am very excited for what that may be.

In the coming weeks, there will be changes to this blog – it will need to take a new spin and the name will potentially change. However, I hope to bring you fun tales from America, many book and restaurant reviews, and I promise to continue my travels!

Categories: Musings, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Beautiful Barcelona and My First Grand Prix

Back in May, Matt and I took a trip with our friends, the F1 fanatics (more commonly known as Damon and Jo), to Barcelona to go to the Barcelona Grand Prix. Being an Indianapolis 500 fan myself, I was quite excited to attend a live racing event. Include a trip to a city I’ve never seen and you’ve got the full package! However, I think this tale is best told visually…

Barcelona, Gaudi, Grand Prix, F1, Spain

The beautiful Gaudi park. That guy must have been a nut – his architecture is unbelievable!

Gaudi, Barcelona, Spain, F1, Grand Prix, Las Ramblas

An ugly, cloudy day, but still a brilliant view of the city and the sea.

Gaudi, Barcelona, Spain, F1, Grand Prix, Las Ramblas

Me and my beau in the Gaudi park, rain jackets in tow!

Gaudi, Barcelona, Spain, F1, Grand Prix, Las Ramblas

The famous lizard – we actually thought it was going to be much, much larger than this. Slight disappointment.

Gaudi, Barcelona, Spain, F1, Grand Prix, Las Ramblas

The Sagrada Família, the cathedral in Barcelona. Unfortunately, it is still heavily under construction, so much of it was covered. Really take a second and look at the details. Amazing.

Gaudi, Barcelona, Spain, F1, Grand Prix, Las Ramblas

A look at La Rambla, the famous tree-lined pedestrian mall, and the cite of our first day of escapades!

Gaudi, Barcelona, Spain, F1, Grand Prix, Las Ramblas

Escapades proven – look at the size of those!!! And meet Jo, one half of the F1 fanatics.

Gaudi, Barcelona, Spain, F1, Grand Prix, Las Ramblas

Drivers, start your engines! I had the best time at my very first F1 race.

Gaudi, Barcelona, Spain, F1, Grand Prix, Las Ramblas

Meet Damon, the other half of the F1 fanatics. And I’m wearing my new Nico Rosberg shirt – officially my favorite driver – cause he’s cute!

Gaudi, Barcelona, Spain, F1, Grand Prix, Las Ramblas

This guy was a legend. Probably Kimi Räikkönen’s biggest fan – he stood up and waved his flag EVERY SINGLE TIME Kimi came around.

And there you have it! Barcelona in a nutshell. An absolutely beautiful city (despite our unfortunate weather) and a great place to watch your very first F1 race live! Unfortunately, my purse was stolen the first day (tourists be warned – Barcelona is notorious for its theft), but that’s another story for another time…not really – I’d rather forget that part. 😉

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The American Invasion

Spain, Europe, Travel, La Fina, Pura Tapa, Alcaidesa

My girlfriends made it! A pre-dinner picture in my backyard.

This past week the best thing happened – Matt and I had a group of our American friends come to visit us in Spain! It was a wonderful visit, and we had an amazing time showing our friends the area that we live in and the Spanish/Gibraltarian culture.

On the day they arrived, Monday, they were pretty exhausted, so after a nap we all decided to stay pool-side soaking up some rays. That gave us a great opportunity to catch-up and for them to tell me all about their time in Greece, their first stop on their European tour.

Following a relaxing day by the pool, we got dressed up to head to our favorite local spot, La Finca. We wanted our friends to enjoy the Thai Fusion that we’re constantly raving about, and the atmosphere couldn’t have been better. We had a nice big table out on their beautiful patio, it was a lovely evening and as always, the food was fantastic. I think every single one in our group raved about their dish and the owners, Chris and Syrie, with whom we’ve become good friends, stopped by during an extremely busy evening to say hello. We then continued the evening back at our house on the patio – we lit the tiki torches and candles around our yard, turned on some tunes and kept the drinks (and cigars for the guys) flowing. It was a perfect evening.

Gibraltar, Apes, Spain, Europe, La Finca, Alcaidesa, Pura Tapa

Poor Lenore and the series of events leading up to and after the ape attack.

On Tuesday, Matt and the guys ventured out for a round of golf in Sotogrande while us gals made our way down to the Alcaidesa beach. It was packed with people and colorful umbrellas, so we joined right in. We relaxed in the sand, enjoyed a snack at the Alcaidesa beach bar, Blanco, and just had a quiet day.

When the boys finished their round of golf, we made our way into La Linea for the fair, or la feria! Talk about a perfect week for the fair to come to La Linea. We gorged ourselves on kebabs (very similar to a gyro), buñuelos (fried dough balls covered with powered sugar or chocolate), and mojitos. Only a few of us were brave enough to jump on the rides – I loved one that reminds me of the Crazy Mouse, while I passed on another that included a lot of upside down flipping. My friends got to experience some Spanish culture – we found that at the fair, the little girls often come dressed like flamenco dancers. We’re not sure why, but it certainly added to the Spanish atmosphere!

On Wednesday, we woke up earlier and made our way to Gibraltar. No trip would be complete without a trip to the top of the rock to see the apes! And boy were the apes out in full force. One of the baby apes sitting on a railing became mesmerized with my sunglasses and kept touching my face, which is definitely a first for me! The rest of the group definitely got their up close and personal encounter with these creatures, until one became a little too close for comfort. My poor friend Lenore, sitting innocently on the stairs, was bitten by one of the apes. Luckily it wasn’t too hard, so it didn’t break skin. However, after that, we decided our adventure was over. We took her to the fire brigade located just at the bottom of the cable car to have it checked out and after disinfecting her shoulder, the firemen declared her safe from harm.

Spain, Gibraltar, Apes, Europe, La Finca, Pura Tapa

My new bestie! I didn’t know Andrea prior to this trip, but had the best time getting to know her!

That evening, their last one in town, we took the group to Pura Tapa, another one of our favorites. We enjoyed a full array of tapas like tuna tartar, mejillones (mussels), cuernos de langostino, patatas bravas (a Spanish favorite), mini hamburguesas, and more. After stuffing ourselves to the brim, we relocated to the nearby beach bar, Chambao, where we enjoyed drinks and the atmosphere until the wee hours of the morning. I’ll tell you what, it may have been a Wednesday night, but the Spanish sure do love to party! Chambao was packed all night.

Sadly, on Thursday, their trip came to an end and they were off to the last stop on their adventure in Barcelona. It was so wonderful to have the whole gang in Spain experiencing what Matt and I get to enjoy every day and we had the best time catching up with them. It really has been the year for visitors and I’m so glad this group was able to make it over. Thank you so much for coming and I can’t wait to see you all in September and October!!!

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The 4th of July – European Style

Over the weekend, Matt and I hosted a 4th of July party at our home here in Spain. We invited all of our European friends to celebrate America’s birthday with true American traditions. We decorated the house in all kinds of red, white and blue – small American flags lined our yard; we hung bent flags from our railings and our main flag from the upstairs balcony; we put out red and white flowers with small American flags in the middle; and there were red/white/blue candles and lanterns, as well as red/white/blue cushions for our outdoor chairs.

As for food, we followed the rules of an American BBQ. We did hot dogs and burgers on the grill, and I made my Mom’s potato salad, fruit salad, Hanky Panky’s, and best of all, queso in the crockpot (which is always a crowd-pleaser). We played games like beer pong and flip cup. And in the middle of the day, there was an epic water polo fight with a greased-up watermelon.

Honestly, I think the story of this party is better told in pictures, so I’ve included my favorite ones below. What I do want to say is how amazing it was to have all of our European friends support our wonderful holiday. They really rolled out their red, white and blue, and were game to take on American traditions. Based on the current state of our house, I think it’s safe to say we won’t be having another party for a long while. However, I think this one goes down in the books as the best one we’ve had yet.

Party, Independence Day, Europe, Spain

Our house, all decked out in red, white and blue.

Party, Independence Day, Europe, Spain

. In case anyone got thirsty…

Party, Independence Day, Europe, Spain

…in case anyone got hungry! Cheese balls, fruit and potato salad, snacks, etc.

Party, 4th of July, Independence Day, Europe, Spain

Slippery watermelon polo – it was an intense and epic game!

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The Perfect English Muffin

Marbella, Spain, cafe con leche, eggs benedict, breakfast, brunch, English muffin

Enjoying a cafe con leche at Pan & Mermelada in Marbella.

My hiatus is officially over. I wish I had a really cool reason as to why I haven’t been blogging…like, I’ve been on an African safari or jet-setting around the world writing for a travel magazine. Alas, I’ve just been very busy at work and planning the wedding, so I let some of my extracurricular activities slip.

However, with the Spanish summer officially upon us and some fun things happening in our area, I figured now was a better time than any to do what I love doing the most – sharing some of our cultural experiences that make living over here so unique! What a better way to start that than to tell you about a little gem we found in Marbella over the weekend…

I wish I could take credit for finding this amazing spot on my own. However, the discovery was made by a co-worker and relayed to some of the other foodies in the office (ironically, the details were shared over lunch), which really, is an even better way to discover amazing restaurants – word of mouth. Pan & Mermelada is a Canadian-owned restaurant, located about 45 minutes up the coast in Marbella, and on Sunday, I dragged Matt there upon rumours of eggs Benedict with real English muffins! Be still my heart.

Marbella, Spain, cafe con leche, eggs benedict, breakfast, brunch, English muffin

Just a little peek at the quaint atmosphere.

See, one of my favorite breakfast meals is eggs Benedict. The problem over here is that I can rarely find it on a brunch menu and when I do, it is not served over an English muffin, my favorite breakfast “grain.” If you are able to find eggs Benedict on a menu, it is often served on a “bap,” which is really just another word for hamburger bun. Bleh. So you can imagine my glee when I heard that this restaurant made eggs Benedict the proper way.

And boy were they worth the drive! I ordered mine with bacon instead of their usual ham or salmon, to which the owner declared, “great choice!” Served with potatoes and a salad, these eggs Benedict really hit the spot. Salty, creamy, with runny yolk and the most wonderfully toasted English muffin on the bottom. Matt enjoyed a breakfast burrito complete with scrambled eggs, bacon, avocado, Monterey Jack cheese, fresh lime, tomato and sour cream. He devoured that burrito in minutes. And because they are Canadian, the buttermilk pancakes are served with traditional maple syrup – enticing enough to go back next Sunday!

The food isn’t just wonderful at Pan & Mermelada – the setting is delightful as well. An eclectic taste prevails with interesting art, rustic birdcages and lanterns, smooth wood finishing and large open windows that let you enjoy an outdoor atmosphere even if you are at a table inside. We spoke a bit with the owner (it is refreshing to hear an accent so similar to ours) and she encouraged us to come back on Friday evening when there would be live music. Based on the photos I’ve seen on their Facebook page, I’m pretty sure reservations are required to secure a spot to enjoy what looks like an equally delightful dinner menu and the cool music.

I highly recommend this spot to anyone in the Marbella area. With outdoor seating, the perfect breakfast menu (I’ll keep you posted once we’ve done dinner!) and a wonderful atmosphere, I know we’ll be back.

Marbella, Spain, cafe con leche, eggs benedict, breakfast, brunch, English muffin

Trust me – they tasted as good as they look.

Categories: Food, Nightlife, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Camuri – A Restaurant Review

A couple weekends ago, Matt and I finally ventured out of our little area of Spain to sample the nightlife and cuisine located up the coast. It’s just too easy to become a creature of habit – we typically stick to local places when it comes time to decide where to have a dinner out. Many of these places you’ve heard of multiple times on this blog, Pura Tapa and La Finca being the most popular. However, in the winter season La Finca closes, and Matt and I have discussed trying to get up north a little more. So that’s exactly what we recently did.

On a low-key Saturday night, we wandered up to Laguna Village, an outdoor shopping area about 20 minutes up the coast with fabulous restaurants. We’ve eaten at Terra Sana, also located in Laguna Village, many times and enjoy it so much that we’ve brought most of our visiting family and friends there for lunch. This night, however, we chose to visit Camuri, an oriental restaurant with a fabulous menu. Located right on the beach, the floor to ceiling glass walls open in the summer, but with the cool winter temperatures, they were closed for our visit.

Laguna Village, Camuri, Food, Cuisine, Restaurant Review

Not the best picture I’ve ever taken, but you get the drift. The sushi is in the top left, the chicken wings just to the right of it, the crab roll close to me and the beef tips in the far right of the photo. {Click to enhance}

As for the food, we decided to choose from their “to share” menu so that we could sample a few dishes. We enjoyed crab spring rolls with a ginger dipping sauce, beef tip skewers, chicken wings in an oriental sauce, and a Nobuko sushi roll comprised of seared beef fillet with rocket leaves, crunchy tempura and a hot chili sauce. Their menu includes traditional sushi rolls like the California roll, but the appeal for us are those unique to the restaurant. When we go back, we plan on trying the Age salmon maki, which is a fried salmon roll with two sauces – orange tobiko and mango. The words “sushi” and “fried” together sound quite tasty!

I’m glad we stepped out of our comfort zone for once, because it ended up being a lovely evening. We will definitely be going back to Camuri, especially in the summer months when the doors open to the beautiful Mediterranean. We’ve also decided that this will start our “tour of the coast.” We plan on continuing our exploration in an effort to find more hidden gems like Camuri!


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Let the Wedding Festivities Begin

Wedding, Engagement, Festivities, Party, Holidays, Christmas, Family, Friends

With our amazing hostess!

Over the holidays, I did many things that were extremely enjoyable. Time with family is always at the top of my list, as I only get to see them a couple times of year. I also spent some wonderful evenings with friends catching up. And there is always the shopping – I never shop over here, so when I go home, especially around Christmas, I bask in the holiday sales and stock up on some essentials for the next half a year.

This visit home, however, included a very special evening. My wonderful sister Melissa hosted a beautiful and elegant engagement party for me and Matt. Though Matt and I got engaged back in August, this was our first long visit home, so close friends and family living in the area were invited to celebrate. I was so excited because many of the people invited were able to make it, so we were able to visit with a lot of friends we haven’t seen in awhile – included in that group were a couple of my bridesmaids, one who’s been my friend since middle school and the other a girlfriend from college who even came to Spain to see me and Matt!

Melissa planned the event at the Stoneleigh Hotel in Dallas, which ended up being a fabulous choice. The area we were given was beautiful, we had our own bartender, and the food was delicious – not a single detail was forgotten. From the champagne for a toast, the bite-sized quesadillas, bruschetta, shrimp & scallop ceviche and shot glass desserts, to the beautiful centerpiece flowers and candlelit tables, it really was a wonderful night to remember.

My Gamma Phi Beta girlfriends also came in for the party, and at one special point in the evening, I introduced them to Matt’s 93 year-old grandmother, who was also a Gamma Phi and is still a very active alum. Having generations of Gamma Phi Betas from such different times standing all together was a unique experience I know I’ll never forget. At one point, my friend started to playfully sing one of our songs, and Matt’s grandmother joined right in!

Throughout the evening, Matt and I told the story of our engagement to those who hadn’t heard yet, I finally got to show off my ring, and it really hit home that come October 19th of this year, we are getting married. Other than the engagement party, we’ve found our band, finalized the wedding cake details with the baker, and have nailed down our gorgeous venue. Everything is starting to come together, making me one excited bride-to-be! Thanks again Mel!

Gamma Phi Beta, Holidays, Christmas, Party, Wedding, Engagement, Stoneleigh Hotel

This is definitely a keeper!

Categories: Nightlife, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Last Trip to Dublin in 2012

My hostess, bridesmaid and great friend Lauren!

My hostess, bridesmaid and great friend Lauren!

Happy Monday! I’m only feeling chipper this morning because of coffee and the extra 30 minutes I gave myself to get ready so that I wouldn’t be rushing out of the house. This is actually one of my New Year’s resolutions – to get up a little earlier in the morning in an attempt to start the day right. I feel like it will make me more positive and productive. So far, I use this time to feed the cat (and myself) and then play with the cat under the warmth of a soft blanket. You gotta start somewhere!

This past weekend we had absolutely beautiful weather. However, when I woke up today and as we travelled to work, it was freezing. Well, freezing by Spanish standards – really, really cold but still sunny. This cold front got me thinking about what I wanted to share today. Whenever I think of cold, I think of Dublin, and last November I took an epic trip up to my old home that was never documented here. Better late than never, right?

I’d caught wind last October that a surprise birthday party was being thrown for one of my girlfriends and that the whole gang would be attending. What a better way to see all of my old buddies in one place! I called up my good friend Lauren to see if she’d have me for yet another weekend, and not surprisingly, she said yes. See, I always stay with Lauren, she’s come to visit me in Spain, and after my engagement to Matt, she became one of my bridesmaids! So it was really a no brainer. 🙂

The weekend tripled as a birthday celebration for my friend, a way for me to celebrate my birthday (I went up the weekend after my birthday), and an engagement celebration with Lauren since she wouldn’t be able to make it to the parties in the States like my other friends and family. We started the weekend with great one-on-one catching up – Lauren cooked us dinner, the two of us had drinks at a pub around the corner that played some great, classic music, then we finished the evening by meeting her boyfriend, Andrew, at another pub for a Guinness and a bit of live Irish jams.

Saturday was the surprise party and boy was it fun! Lauren and I started the night by having dinner with Andrew at a fantastic Japanese restaurant in the city. We had a big meal, sake and then were off to Eli’s for the bash. To say that our friend was surprised is an understatement. When she entered the room and saw everyone, the look of shock and happiness was just so genuine that it made me so glad to have been there to see it. From there the evening just got better. Not only did I get to party with all of my old friends from when I lived in the city, I even made new friends in the process. We laughed, we visited and the next morning at brunch we had some pretty funny stories to retell.

All in all it was a fantastic weekend. I enjoyed dinner out the next night with my good friend Karen, with whom it is always wonderful to see. My lovely hostess even planned a day out for the two of us that included…wait for it…wedding dress shopping! Obviously, I did this again with my Mom and sister while I was home, but it was great to be able to partake in some festive wedding traditions with one of my bridesmaids and to get an initial idea of what I like.  I was a bit bummed when the weekend was over; I always get a feeling of nostalgia when I visit Dublin. I had such a wonderful experience when I lived there that when I go back for a visit, it feels like I’m going home in a small way.

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