Flat Stanley Invades Ireland

Flat Stanley Invades Ireland

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Apparently, Flat Stanley isn’t an international superstar like he is in the United States.

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So if you didn’t already know, Flat Stanley is a book by Jeff Brown. In the story, Stan, as I like to call him, is inadvertently flattened by a bulletin board at school. Looking on the bright side, Stan finds that there are advantages to being flat, like he can slide under doors and be mailed to any location in the world. This is something I’m envious of. Imagine all the money on airfare I could save!

Several weeks ago I received an email from a friend asking if I’d take Stan on my next adventure.  The second grade class from my hometown needed people for Stan to tag along with as part as their social studies curriculum. The class would then map Stan’s adventures and research the locations. As a former teacher, albeit high school, I was more than happy to take Stan along with me to Ireland. After all, he wouldn’t add much to the weight of my luggage.

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The next thing I knew, I got a package in the mail with a letter from a kid named Le ‘Zhane.  Along with Stan came a journal and instructions. I was supposed to give him adult supervision at all times and send back photos and interesting tidbits about where Stan had been. So much for what happens in Ireland stays in Ireland, I guess.

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Stan had to wait a few weeks in Houston before he got to go to Ireland. He was no trouble though; Stan is a very well-mannered boy. I didn’t hear a word from him until it was time to pack our bags. I told Stan about all the cool things we were going to do together in Ireland, which got him really excited. Stan was relieved to know that it wasn’t supposed to rain since he’d forgotten his umbrella and galoshes.

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Stan at the Houston airport

The idea of flying thrilled Stan to no end. I explained that we would take two different planes: one from Houston to Newark and one from Newark to Dublin. Stan asked if I’d pack snacks for him because he thought airplane food was really yucky. I also made sure to bring an extra pillow and blanket, so Stan could get some sleep on the flights.

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Stan at the Newark, New Jersey airport

We arrived to the Houston airport plenty early. In fact, Stan got to hang out in the United Club where he ate his weight in cheese and crackers. He got to see the planes land and take off and watched as luggage was loaded and unloaded from the planes. It was time to board, so we had to get to our gate. Don’t tell, but Stan took a green apple.

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Stan at Powerscourt Estate

We got to our seats, but instead of being relieved, Stan was a little upset because there was no entertainment system. He really wanted to watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Instead, we played with my iPhone apps and looked at maps. Before we knew it, we’d landed in New Jersey. Stan got to see the Manhattan skyline, which he thought was awesome.

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Stan at Waterford Crystal

Stan and I didn’t have much time in New Jersey, just enough time to go to the bathroom before we boarded our flight to Dublin. We got to sit towards the front of the plane and a Canadian boy about Stan’s age sat next to us. All that boy wanted to do was play on his iPad and watch movies, so Stan fell asleep watching Harry Potter.

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Stan at Blarney Castle

After a really long nap, the lights on the plane came on and woke us up. It was time for breakfast, which meant that we would be arriving into Ireland soon. Stan could hardly sit still he was so excited. Just a short time later, we were standing in the customs line waiting to get our passports stamped. I was very impressed with Stan’s collection of stamps; he’s such a world traveler. We then picked up our luggage and were off to get our rental car. Our Ireland adventure began.

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Stan with Sapphire the Harris Hawk

Stan and I spent a week experiencing Dublin, Waterford, Cork, Shannon, Galway, and all points in between. We stayed in a thousand-year-old castle, hunted with hawks, cut our own crystal, kissed the Blarney Stone, took a ghostbus tour, and rode in a boat to the Cliffs of Moher. Stan made lots of friends like Emma from Waterford Crystal and TJ, Sapphire, and Jim from the Dromoland School of Falconry. One person Stan didn’t get to see is Ginger Aarons of Time Travel Tours. Ginger went out of her way to make our first trip to Ireland special, and we want to thank her.

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Stan on a boat at the Cliffs of Moher

Now Stan is back in Texas and on his way home to Le ‘Zhane. He has lots of memories and pictures to share with the second grade class. Stan was the best travel partner, and if you ever get a chance to take him with you, do it! He’s so curious and really appreciates the opportunity to experience the world. Travel is the best gift one can give.

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Sit back and stay awhile