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September 3, 2012
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This sucks." I grumbled as I stomped through puddle after puddle on the dirt road. Nobody heard me, how could they? The clatter of the heavy rain as it reached the ground drowned out everything else on the quiet Island. It was the beginning of my last week in Ireland. I came here with my parents three weeks ago to visit my father's family in County Limerick. We had never been to the Aran Islands, off the coast of County Kerry before, so we thought it might be a good way to kick off our final week. When we set off from the mainland, we didn't expect the monsoon that was waiting for us a few miles offshore.

After just a few minutes of walking, I was soaked. My heavy jacket had become damp on the inside, and my thin sundress underneath didn't stand a chance. Everyone else was in the same boat. My little cousins were cloaked from head to toe in sweatshirts, rain jackets, and ponchos. Their parents were the same, and the clutched umbrellas that were useless in fending off the rain that was pelting us from all sides.
Finally, we reached a small pub. Fifteen of us squeezed through the doorway and into the small barroom. I set off for the bathroom, praying there would be a hand dryer so I could warm up a little.

As I held my thick jacket underneath the tiny dryer, I sulked. This couldn't be any worse. It was cold and rainy, we were stuck here for another three hours, and we had nothing to do. I pulled my damp jacket back on and walked back out to the main room. I slumped into a chair next to my aunt Noelle, and looked around. My family, despite the miserable conditions outside, were smiling. They were all clutching steaming cups of tea and hot chocolate and acting as if we were snug and cozy back home in Limerick. My mother had pulled the game Left Right Center from her purse, and now the kids were laughing and giggling as they rolled the die like maniacs and distributed their chips. My uncle sat his baby on the table and she was squealing and gurgling as he made silly faces.

Had this been any other situation, say I were back in America, I probably wouldn't have even tried to have any fun. But this was completely different. I was surrounded by people I loved and who loved me, and in a week I would be on a plane not knowing when I would see them again. With that thought in mind, I smiled. I just smiled. I was in the company of wonderful people, and no amount of rain or cold would discourage me from enjoying one of the last days we would have together.

A week later, as I boarded the plane, I looked out the window. It was raining. Through the tears, I smiled. I thought back to that day, and I had no regrets. I was able to make the best of it, and it was a memory I would have for a long time.

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