Last Saturday morning, my extremely disorientated and jet lagged self landed back in Ireland along with Cillian O’ Sullivan and Patrick Allen. The three of us embarked on this journey hoping to gain a new cultural experience and to explore the history and geography of such a different world. Not only this, but we also hoped to make friends for life- our exchange families.
Each of us stayed with separate families, each one as warm and welcome as the next. We would each be attending Delbarton- a Benedictine school in Morristown, NJ. Although it was a little chilly (-7!!), it didn’t stop us from exploring. The families knowledge of New York was extremely impressive and acted as a great help in showing us every sight. From the Empire State Building, Freedom tower, the Statue of Liberty, the Rockefeller centre, ground zero and of course M&M world, we got to see it all! But most notably, we got the rare and prestigious experience of getting a private tour of Wall Street stock exchange and were guests at the closing bell. Throughout our travels each of us got the tasteful experience of trying out some amazing foods including monstrous burgers, hotdogs, pretzels and much more. It was inevitable that we’d be more than full!
Not only did we get the advantage of touring The Big Apple, but also the lovely city of Washington DC. During our three day trip there we visited the Supreme Court, had the privilege of meeting Justice Brett Kavanaugh, had dinner with past Delbarton students, saw the Washington monument, explored Arlington cemetery and of course got some retail therapy to finish it all off! Personally, what struck me was the contrast between the two cities. Both so different. While Washington is a lot smaller and oozing with character, New York is massive and displays some amazing modern architecture. However I must say, meeting Justice Brett Kavanaugh really made Washington the outlier for me.
Due to an extreme mixture of weather, we didn’t attend much school. Between snow storm days off and presidents weekend it was like a holiday. But I must say, the time that I spent in Delbarton will remain with me forever. Everyone was so kind and welcoming and genuinely interested in knowing more about Ireland. There was truly a great buzz swallowing the entire school. And of course, this really helped us to settle right in.
Therefore overall, I think it’s fair to say that it was a trip that was well worth while. We met people who will undeniably be friends for life and made memories that I know we will cherish.
Laurence Tuohy. TY