For the first time in our young lives, we were acting like adults - and loving it
My memory of the summer of 2008 is a blur of hot, humid late nights, endless shift work and cramped living conditions.
I'd never intended to go on J1. Instead, I was going to visit friends in New York, spend a few days sight-seeing and partying and then head home. But after 30 minutes in Manhattan, I decided I was staying. I sorted out a visa, had an almighty row with my mother ("You're doing what?!"), and started working as a cocktail waitress in two different Irish bars.
In the morning, I served boozy breakfasts in the West Village and, at night, I dished out spicy buffalo wings to screaming baseball fans in a sports bar on the Lower East Side. Myself and my best friend, Niamh, lived together and hopped around the city sleeping in the cheapest rooms we could find.