My New Year’s resolution was to embrace and express gratitude. These gratitudes often took the shape of people, particularly those here with me in Ireland. So I’ll share them below, in the hopes that in 2021 you’ll join me in choosing to prioritize gratitude.
1) My Irish landlord, Peter
Peter loves to talk American politics, and he won’t drink his tea unless it’s boiling hot. He is a retiree from Shrule, a small village in County Mayo. When I was here by myself for a bit over the holidays, Peter made it a point to stop by for weekly coffee chats. When I told Peter that fellow Mitchell Kyle was allergic to cats, Peter added an extra barrier on our gate to prevent cats from getting in our backyard. When fellow Mitchell Mason and I struggled at first to set up our Irish bank accounts, Peter drove us to his local bank and argued our case to the branch employees.
2) My volleyball teammate, Cerena
Originally from California, Cerena moved to Galway four years ago to earn her PhD at NUI Galway. Her accent sounds very Irish, so when I first met her at the Galway Volleyball Club I didn’t realize she was American. It was Cerena who showed me Irish pancakes (which are just crepes for the record), and it was Cerena who taught me that when you say “dirty takeaway” in Ireland, you’re referring to the least nutritious, but potentially most delicious (depending on your mood) to-go food. To give some comparative examples, think like americanized Chinese food, McDonald’s fries, or KFC. Cerena & I’s favorite eats in Galway are the Singapore prawn noodles from Papa Rich and a carnitas and queso burrito from Boojum.
3) My housemates, Mason and Kyle
Humble and down-to-earth Mason is the best for surprising you with a crazy story over a glass of Chianti. Even the neighborhood cats can sense Mason’s kindness, and one in particular named Felipe will only approach Mason and no one else. Mason is also the only person I know who can cook a good pork chop (sorry mom).
Kyle has every reason in the book to brag, but he has absolutely no interest in doing so. For my November birthday, Kyle decorated our entire house with balloons and party decorations. When Kyle makes his famous quesadillas, he blares Todrick Hall and our kitchen turns into a dance club. Kyle also has the unique ability to find adventure in everything, from watching Pixie at the cinema to trying a spice bag from the infamous X’ian Street Food on Quay St.
4) The Dublin Boys™
There’s nothing like having friends who know exactly what you’re going through. I am grateful to have spent a few weekends on the Galway-Dublin Exchange spending time with fellow Mitchell scholars Dan, Alex, Achille, and Joseph.
Alex is one of the kindest people I know. When he stayed in our home in Galway, he left a painting of Menlo Castle and a bottle of Cork whiskey as thank you gifts. Alex’s only flaw is that he think the Kansas City Chiefs will win the Super Bowl this Sunday. Go Bucs.
Dan taught us Galwegians the memory game Fishbowl that combines Charades, Password, and Taboo. He serves as a very fair moderator when things get heated, and let it be known that the Galway Mitchells are the reigning Fishbowl champions. I hope Dan knows how much of a genius he is, because there is no doubt amongst the rest of us.
Achille is a morning person, runs marathons, and will one day make an excellent lawyer. When Achille visits Galway, he gets the honor of being our house DJ. It’s impossible not to feel motivated when Achille is around, and it should also be noted that his Halloween Avatar Aang costume was incredible.
The chef of the group, Joseph has an incredible bolognese recipe that requires loads of cooking time and even more red wine. Joseph’s breakfast sandwiches are also famous, and he makes one heck of a tour guide for experiencing Dublin. One of my favorite memories of 2020 includes his mandolin and Dan freestyling while Achille harmonizes. Find them on Spotify. 😉
In Ireland, as a Mitchell, and in life in general I have loads of things and people to be grateful for. I’m looking forward to finding more in 2021.