Northern Ireland is exactly how you would picture it. The cliffs are as gorgeous and jaw-dropping as the pictures, the fields and countrysides are as green as the shamrocks so commonly thought of, and the people are as confusing and delightful as any story has ever told. Let me begin by telling you this trip was physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting. The bonds I formed with the kids at Oakgrove were immediate and intense and exciting. We instantly loved each other. This trip was eye-opening in ways I had never known. We got to meet and hear from people who had been in prison for bombings, men and women who had lost their loved ones to the IRA, bomb survivors, and activists. The information pouring over us was both overwhelming and confusing. We had learned about the Troubles before, but we didn’t learn just how real it was-and still is. I didn’t know how to feel. Am I allowed to cry over this story of a death of a child, when their father was sitting right next to me? There came a time during this trip when we had the opportunity to see a play centered on a young man who committed suicide. This not only shook me to my core, but devastated the group as a whole. To say we opened up to each other about our feelings would be an understatement. I have always been the type of person to keep my feelings hidden, and I wanted to change that. Overtime, I look back on each situation in NI differently. I find myself thinking differently about people and things and places. I know more than I ever did before, and somehow I don’t know enough. I don’t regret going on this trip-in fact it’s the opposite. I learned how to self-reflect in a way I had never done, and I’ll always remember the moments that made me realize things I had never known about myself. I was so worried before I left, that all my friends who went to SA would forget about me, but coming home I could only think about how exited I was to share with them the details of my adventure. I am so thankful to the amazing teachers who learned, adventured, and even cried with us. The other kids who went with me on this trip are some of the most incredible people I have ever met, and all I can say is this trip has been something I will always treasure and hold close to my heart.