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There’s a lot to give thanks for…

Well Thanksgiving has come and gone, and now it’s officially Christmastime! I have to admit, it was very strange coming to terms with the fact that they do not celebrate Thanksgiving in Ireland. It was even weirder when I had to take a final exam on Thanksgiving! Even though I was not surrounded by my family, eating delicious homemade food, and watching marathons of “Christmas Vacation”, I think this is one of the most ‘thankful’ Thanksgivings I have ever had. Usually I am surrounded by my family on Thanksgiving, but this year I was surrounded by an amazing group of new friends. Usually I eat turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, apple pie, and all of the other “typical” Thanksgiving food, but this year I ate pasta, frozen vegetables, chicken nuggets, and our version of apple crisp. Usually I end the night by gathering around the fire watching “Christmas Vacation”, but this year we all piled into my little twin bed and watched “Love Actually”. Even though it was certainly not your typical Thanksgiving, I think this is the most thankful I have ever been.

img_2173 (A picture of our make-shift Thanksgiving table!)

Not only am I extremely blessed for all of the amazing opportunities and experiences I have had since being abroad, but I am so grateful for all of the incredible people I have met. My family came to Ireland over the Thanksgiving holiday, but they were traveling around the Emerald Isle during Thanksgiving, so I was left to celebrate with my friends and my brother. As is tradition at my house, I made all of my friends say something that they were thankful for after we sat down to eat. Even though we each came up with different things, we all agreed on the one main thing that we were thankful for: each other. We have helped each other through all of the rough patches of stressful schoolwork and homesickness, we have celebrated with each other at pubs and clubs, we have traveled together around Ireland and Europe, we have laughed together over the stupidest/funniest things, but most importantly we have always been there for each other. It is not until you are thousands of miles away from home and completely out of your comfort zone that you realize the importance of having good friends by your side. And this Thanksgiving, I realized how grateful I was for all of the new friends I made.

And since Thanksgiving is a time to think about ALL of the things you are grateful for, it would be amiss of me if I did not express my gratitude for being able to study in Ireland for the past four months. By studying and living in Ireland, my eyes have been opened to a whole new world of possibilities, and my lust for traveling has increased immensely! I am so grateful that I was able to study in Ireland, a country that I have grown to love, and I am so thankful for all of the people who made this possible (I’m talking to you, Mom and Dad!). To add to the list, I am so grateful that my family was able to visit me while I was here (my mom, aunt, and cousin came in October, and my parents, brother, aunt and uncle all came for Thanksgiving)! The list of what I am thankful for could go on and on!

I have always loved the spirit of Christmastime, the bustle of the city, and of course the 25 days of Christmas movies on ABC family, but I think Dublin (and Europe, in general) takes Christmastime to a whole new level! The Christmas lights on Grafton Street have been lit since about the middle of November, and the stores all have their Christmas displays up! I love walking down the streets in Dublin, listening to the street musicians perform Christmas carols and enjoying the Christmas spirit of the city!

img_2156 (Chloe and I in front of the lights on Grafton Street!)

Unfortunately, I only have 10 days left in Dublin. It’s honestly so hard to believe that my semester abroad has almost come to an end. And I know the next 10 days will fly by! Between exams and final goodbyes, I’ll be home before I know it. But for now I am going to continue to be thankful for all that I have experienced, all of the amazing friends I have made, and all of the incredible places I have seen!

That’s it until next time!

xoxo, Maggie

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