When I found out about the GEAI project and submitted my application, my mind began to wander thinking about what fascinating places I would visit, what people I would meet, and the change this experience would bring to me.

It all happened quickly, the interview, the acceptance of my application, and the preparation for departure.

I remember that morning I was quite anxious about my flight from Bari to Milan because a possible delay or cancellation would have made me miss my flight to Dublin. Luckily everything went according to plan and the 5 hours of layover allowed me to have a leisurely lunch and meet a very kind lady who was also going to Dublin to visit her daughter. She showed me some pictures of some places that she recommended I explore and I immediately took note. During the flight, I met another couple and also the reason for their trip was to visit her son who works in Dublin. How many Italians are there in Ireland?!

After landing I asked a girl if she knew the stop for the bus I would have to take and she very nicely showed me the way. I was impressed by the helpfulness and kindness of the Irish.

Just soon as I arrived I saw the bus that would take me to Carrick on Shannon and I thought I had missed it, but luckily it was late and after confirmation from Simona, I managed to catch the right one.

Finally, after arriving, I put my suitcases in my room and I fell into a deep sleep. I didn’t realize I had arrived the day before St. Patrick’s Day. I had been wanting to experience this national celebration in Ireland for a long time and I was lucky to have had the opportunity, along with the other volunteers, to spend this special day in Sligo. After two years away, the parade was organized where fantastic floats and marches made their way through the centre of town. In the afternoon I met Janice, one of the directors of GEAI who joined us in a pub where we spent some time chatting and snacking. She also recommended a venue where musicians would be playing live Irish music. It was enjoyable to hear how the different instruments such as guitar, fiddle, accordion, flute, and drum created different tones that blended together rapidly. All of a sudden a girl who was in the pub with her friends got up and started dancing moving her feet and legs quickly. She was wearing tap shoes with a special heel to produce a rhythmic sound. It was a fantastic experience!

After the weekend was over, I went to the office, a really warm and cozy place surrounded by the sounds of nature and within walking distance of the lake. As soon as possible I will get to know the other members of GEAI. I felt really good energies when I arrived and I’m excited to give my contribution to this great team.

By: Mariangela Difilippo