Seventh Email- Thanksgiving and 'stuff'

Sent 4.12.05


Here is another quick email to keep you all up to date on how things are going over here in Ireland. There isn't a whole lot of real exciting stuff to report, however, as it is finally hitting that time of the year where studying and writing essays has taken a step up on the priority list. My exam schedule should be doable, but it is rough with five exams in six days. They start on the 15th and end on the 20th, which is the same day I fly out to Austria for the ski trip I told you about in the last email.

So what is there to talk about? Thanksgiving day in Dublin normally would just be any other day, but the ND program here has had a Thanksgiving dinner for the past few years and this year was no exception. The dinner was at the Merrion Hotel, a rather upscale hotel just across from the Government Buildings right off Merrion Square. It is one of the more upscale hotels in Dublin, and I'm sure the nightly rate is not cheap. So what the heck are almost 40 college kids doing at this place? One of the owners of the hotel is Martin Naughton, a well-respected and wealthy Irish businessman, who also happens to sit on the ND board of trustees. I guess networking with ND people does pay off, because this was the best free evening and meal I have ever had. It started with a group picture in the lobby of the hotel, which I will put on my website once I get a copy. After this, we went downstairs for an hour of talking and champagne. This was followed by being led upstairs, where we were each seated individually in our assigned seats with name cards. Quite the touch. We then proceeded to make our way through the five course meal, which I will hold off on listing the menu as there are probably already people wanting to kill me for telling them about this dinner. The dinner was served with red and white wine from Mr. Naughton's business partner's French vineyard. He really didn't hold back on giving us a great evening of food and talking with all the kids from our school. It wasn't quite the buffet style Thanksgiving dinner that I know and love from home, but it was a worthy replacement for the year.

I do have a few pictures of the dinner on the website, but I apologize for not taking more as eating was keeping me preoccupied.

The weather has been, to say the least, unexpected. We actually just ended a streak of about three weeks without any real rain (more than just a misting) this past Friday. It was a good thing while it lasted, but then when the rain returns you aren't used to it so just complain that much more. Of course, it has rained for parts of both the past two days now, although the weather does look fine today looking out my window. The lack of rain wasn't the only unexpected thing in the weather; it has also been quite cold these past two weeks. I posted one picture of it snowing in the Thanksgiving album, this is unheard of in Dublin in the month of November. Granted, this heavy snow that I caught on camera only lasted for about ten minutes, but it was snow. We have had other dustings of snow overnight which you see on the cars in the morning. All of the Irish say this is the coldest weather they have had this early in the year, and it is even cold for being winter. They said meteorologists are predicting the coldest winter in like 20 years for Ireland.

Listening to the end of the ND vs. Stanford game was a bit scary, but I'm glad the Irish pulled it off. It was amazing how when Reggie Bush had his record-breaking game against Fresno State the week before, which was the main reason USC managed to pull of a win, USC was viewed as a great team that can always find a way to win. We didn't do a whole lot different the following week against Stanford, and had huge offensive numbers, but apparently the 'finding a way to win' doesn't apply to everyone. Whatever, its bowl pick day today so we will find out where we end up.

Da Bears continue to impress me as well, winning some close games with not a whole lot of offense. Defense wins championships though, and hopefully that is where they are headed. Green Bay is never a pushover, but hopefully their record is indicative of how good they play and the Bears get another W today. And how about those Lions? Have to give the Michigan kids grief sometime, but it looks like the "M&M era- part two" is done and finished. Hopefully Dick Jauron can get that team into shape.

For all you future nurses (and I everyone else who cares), I was a good boy and donated some blood about four weeks ago. I even got a "Irish Blood Transfusion Service" card in the mail, and found out my blood type (A+) for the first time as I always have forgotten to ask when donating at home. This is more for the future nurses, but nurses here aren't allowed to start blood draws or IV's yet so they have a doctor there at the blood clinic just to do that. I guess they are trying to change that in the near future though.

I will hopefully send one more email sometime before I take off for Austria and places beyond over my Christmas break. Happy holidays to everyone. I also hope all of you who have spent the semester abroad enjoyed your time, and all of you going abroad in the spring will have a great time as well I'm sure.

Keep in touch,

Dan McGee
Mobile: +353 87 056 4163