Livia Romanov: With This I Bid You Farewell 

Cliffs of Moher (photo: Marna Bestul)

Another tour, another family, another goodbye.

It has been several days since we arrived back to home base at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, but we are still feeling the aftershock of the trip in our hearts, minds, and sleep patterns.

When I was 15, I had the opportunity to write to you about the adventures of Argentina and Uruguay, but I was just a kid back then. I didn’t fully understand the impact that international trip had on me. But as I sit here, writing to you as a (partially) functioning adult, I can truly express what I experienced.

I fell in love with and in these beautiful countries. I fell in love with the essence of what it means to be Irish. I fell in love in the atmosphere of the Irish culture.

The people of Ireland are born of thick blood and warm hearts. I had the pleasure of talking with many of our audience members about their beautiful country. I was having a conversation with this wonderful lady in Dublin, and when I asked why she decided to come to our concert, she said, “well, there wasn’t anything good on the movies.” It is this type of love and appreciation for the arts that truly inspires great history and a bright future.

One of the many lessons I’ve learned from this trip is that you may leave Ireland, but Ireland doesn’t leave you.

We saw this in the EPIC Irish Emigration museum. All of these wonderful people that have their roots in Irish soil, standing with the walls and the potatoes; but every Irish person stands together. They form an abundance of history, art, and culture surrounding their beautiful nation, and they welcomed us with open arms and warm hearts.

MYSO has given me opportunity to travel the world and express myself through music. I encountered an immense amount of freedom as I reached out to my Irish heritage (but not too much freedom; we always stayed with our chaperone groups). MYSO even ordered us the best weather; we never got rained out on our adventures. MYSO gave us the experience of a lifetime that I am forever grateful to have been a part of. This trip has even inspired me to study abroad when I go to college. Just one of the many doors MYSO opened for me with this trip.

Although we are back home across the pond, I know Ireland will always have a piece of my heart, and I know that one day I’ll come back for it. For the memories, for the people, and for the love of Ireland.

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