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My Irish Spring – Ben’s going international! (The Overview)


March, 2023

Wow… How long has it been since I’ve done an international trip? How much longer since I’ve gone international solo?

Let’s see. The last international trip was to Scotland, right before the Pandemic hit. When I had that really bad flu… right before the Pandemic. With COVID. That presents sort of like a flu. That I’ve somehow avoided getting, as if I’d already gotten it and gained an immunity… Okay we’re not going down that road the last time I went abroad was January 2020. Three years and change.

The last time I went on a solo international trip? Well, that’d be New Zealand, back in 2012. 11 years.

It’s high time I explored.

I got accepted to Trinity College’s MBA program back in November, and accepted the offer that same month… though I delayed admission until 2024, to give me some time to finish up in Oregon and save up a bit more money. While talking to the admissions officer though, I learned about a Business forum put on by Trinity in March – a perfect opportunity for me to stretch my international adventure legs and see if Dublin would make a good home for a year or three!

I planned, I packed, and I set off on my first solo international trip in over 10 years…

An overview:

My plan for Dublin was as interesting as it was simple. I’d asked around, and created a list of gifts that friends of mine wanted me to get for them in Ireland. I took it, and made myself a rudimentary scavenger hunt – an opportunity to explore the city without timeline or deadline, a chance to relax and decompress in a new place while leaving behind the highly regimented and “always 5min late” routine that defines my life in Oregon.

I’d fly out on Saturday and Sunday (Thanks, time zones), and then spend Monday and Tuesday floating around the city enjoying my freedom from schedules. Wednesday would be spent at the business forum, followed by more gloriously improvised floating from Thursday through Sunday. Monday would find me flying back to Portland, after which I’d return to the day to day life of an engineer in Wilsonville.

Of course, I had places I wanted to see: The Guinness brewery, the Jameson and Teeling distilleries, and every national museum I could get myself into. Trinity College had a tour I’d go on, and full Irish breakfasts were calling my name.

None of those had specific days, much less times, assigned.

Instead, I’d explore and enjoy myself. Plan-free, without a timeline.

Adventure time, come on grab your friends


Monday, 19-Dec-2022

So this may not mean a lot on its surface… But I finished watching Adventure Time on a cold Monday in December.

I’ve loved this series since… God… Since I first saw it in 2010? It was what I watched in Venezuela when I was homesick, and in Sao Paulo when I was in that detention center, and when I missed hanging out with you all when I was in New Zealand.

I watched episodes when I was apprehensive / scared driving into Oregon, and then Sarah and I watched it together by the fire before shit got bad between us.

It’s got 10 seasons, but I’d never made it past season 9… ’till now.

And now… It’s done. It was a good ending – fun, happy, and well written. But… Damn. Just, damn.

I’mma pour a generous glass of scotch and stand in the cold on my balcony for a bit, I think.

The GMAT, the GRE, and me


September, 2022

“Hey Ben, why haven’t you posted anything recently?”

“Well, other-Ben, it’s because I was studying for and taking admissions tests for grad school!”

“Ohh cool, Ben! Congrats!”

Yep, you read that right. I, the one who’s always pushed back on every recommendation to get an MBA, am applying for grad school. For an MBA.

Why, you may ask? Well… work hasn’t been going great, and I’m hitting some sort of ceiling at my site. No promotions in view, no advancement to management… it’s time to shake it up, yeah? I’ve been here for almost 5 years, so I’m thinking it’s time to look abroad. Maybe find a school in the UK or something?

Yeah… we’ll see.

Anyways, I was studying a lot. It was rough. Then I took the exams – they were rough too… but I crushed them, so pretty proud of that. And both exams were at 8am, so I got up pretty early to be fully awake ahead of time… so I got to see some beautiful sunrises, and have amazing lunch afterward! Double-win!