So we left off at Thanksgiving. My fiancé, Jeff, was over, and we went to Paris for a few days. The Lourve was unbelievable, so much so that I begrudgingly might have to consider it more grand that the Vatican Museums. We wandered around for a solid eight hours only to get on a plane with our feet very thankful that we were sitting.
Thanksgiving Day, Jeff and I made a turkey dinner of sorts in my dorm kitchen and then went to see Casino Royale. I was really happy that all of the Mitchells assembled in Dublin the next day so I could introduce them to Jeff before he went home. As a group we pooled our talents to come up with an amazing belated Thanksgiving Dinner, and Trina didn’t even kill us with the turkey and potatoes as she had threatened. We always have such a good time in each other’s company, and I am really looking forward to the two trips this coming semester that will be outside of Dublin.
The new Mitchell class members were announced, and my alma mater was well represented!! I personally knew both winners and am really psyched for them. I also enjoy being contacted by them and the new Mitchell who is coming to do my program here at DCU. It is nice to help, and nicer still to know what a help it really is (Thanks Brit!).
Back in class, the first semester wound down. I’ve been trying to come to grips with a certain dichotomy all semester. The Irish like Americans, but you’d never know it if you walked into one of my classes and listened in for 10 minutes. Granted, my program is very much a foreign policy/international relations all to do with the high security matters of war and peace. And I might understand the wrath if it were just aimed against the current administration, but it seemed to go much further. In my last class of the semester though, my professor opened the floor to a public airing of emotions, and I think I may have a good idea about what is going on.
It isn’t really that the Irish hate all American foreign policy. Ireland is a neutral country and an intelligent one. America is an open country whose every move is fodder for immediate examination and critique. This touches on two very Irish truths. First, the Irish are inquisitive and love to debate. They will question every move of the US as superpower, not out of spite, but out of a true desire to get to the heart of the matter. Second, Ireland considers itself a close friend of the United States and therefore feels, in the manner that only close friends and allies can, obligated to let the US know when it disagrees.
I went back to the States after lectures ended. I made good on my desire to finish all of my finals papers before I left, and so now I have but one final exam in International Law and the Use of Force on January 18th. I joined my extended family in Florida for Christmas where Jeff came and met us after visiting his own family. It was a tough holiday as weeks before, my beloved grandmother passed away, and we were there to celebrate her funeral. Still, I love my family like none other, and we did as we always do – get through things together.
I then went back to DC for two weeks. It is now official, Jeff and I get married in the chapel on Georgetown’s campus August 16th, 2008. Our friends threw us a lovely engagement party right before I hopped on a plane back to Dublin. Now it is time to buckle down and get ready for an exam, and then it is off to Palermo and Rome to collect a few sources I’ll be needing to get started on my dissertation.
I’m really looking forward to the new semester and what look to be very engaging courses as well as an involved travel itinerary!