Maundy Thursday, apparently, is what the Germans call “Gründonnerstag” – not sure what either “Maundy” or “Grün” means in the context of this very special day. – They were saying on the news that Pope Benedict washed the feet of some prisoners tonight. Today, it’s about being, or at least trying to be, humble and decent, even, or especially, when you are the leader of a pretty large organisation like the catholic church.

This morning, Pat sent a request to a great programme on the Irish National Radio Station RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta she, Pádraig and I were listening to in Pádraig’s room in the UKE Hospital here in Hamburg. The programme is by Sinéad Ni Uallacháin and is called Sinéad ar Maidin, Sinéad in the Morning.

Within a few minutes, Sinéad had picked up that message in which Pat had asked her to play Mexico by Mundi (the Irish version). Instead of just playing the song, and as it turned out that she knew what had happened to Pádraig, she said they were all thinking of him and wishing him the very best. She said that, unfortunately, she did not have Amhrán na Phádraig, the album Pádraig’s friends had recorded for him with her, but that she was going to bring it in next week and play a song from that album on air. For me tonight, it was a reason to watch the video to the first song on that album, Dreamboat, again – the song written by Maitiú Ó Casaide and recorded in the summer of 2014 for Pádraig by around 40 of his friends over several days in a number of Dublin-based recording studios.

By the time Mundi started to sing Mexico (“Meicsiceo“) on Sinéad’s programme, both Pat and I were in tears. When we brought Pádraig across the big water to swim at the University of Kentucky’s First Division, the whole family flew over to New York (cheapest destination) and drove a long drive to bluegrass country, to Lexington, KY. Pádraig, being Pádraig, came well prepared: he had decided to play his music during this trip and that was that. There was just no way to stop his enthusiasm for the music he had brought along. While I was driving the car down south, the music drove me bananas. A couple of days later, when we finally arrived in Kentucky, I knew that song (and a few others) by heart – with Pádraig’s voice, in my head and in my memory, shouting out the chorus, with the happiest face on earth, full of excitement and a cannot-wait-for-what-is-going-to-happen-next expression from one ear to the other.

Abair liom, ‘beidh saol níos fearr ann’,
‘s an ghrian ‘ thógfaidh ár ngrá slán,
Cibé fad gur tú mo leanán.
Is cuma liom,
Is cuma liomsa.

… I had no idea what all that meant. A couple of years later he made his dream come true and went to Mexico.

I am crying when I sing the chorus in my head, when I hear him singing as loud as he could, at the top of his voice, full of excitement, in my mind: Beidh saol níos fearr ann.

Not in my wildest dreams would we have thought, than and ever, that one day we would listen to this together again. In Hamburg. In Germany. In a room we’d share on a hospital ward.

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Pádraig is still very weak and sleepy from the operation and the medication doctors have given him (we’ll stop that once we get home). Otherwise, he seems to be fine. Thank you to all who thought of him, send their good wishes, and kept him in their prayers. We all hope that he will get to a point where he can safely return to the apartment, which will, most likely, be on Saturday – he’ll be home for Easter.

Today, a nurse told a great story from her visit to Ireland.

She and a friend were traveling through Ireland ‘on the cheap’ and used to pitch their tent somewhere every night to save on accommodation. One night they had found a nice pitch and decided to ask the owners whether it was ok with them if they stayed on their land for the night.

So they knocked on the door of what looked like the owners’ house. Another couple opened the door. It turned out they were Germans too. When asked about the possibility of putting up the tent, they answered in their very German way that they had to phone the owners to ask.

While they were still on the phone trying to reach the owners, our friends with the tent just went to the next house. The person opening the door was Irish. He, in a very Irish way, said “sure, why not?” and pointed out the most wind-shielded plot on his land, offered them to use the bathroom in his house, and asked them whether they were interested in breakfast.

Und die Moral von der G’schicht: you have to leave your country to get to know it.

I know you have been waiting for this! Here it goes: Step 4 to “Germanise yourself”!

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Today’s German Music Tip
Dagobert, Afrika – could not find the title song from the brand new album, so here is the preview of the whole album…
What’s hot
Operations – over
What’s cold
Hospitals
The German word/phrase/verse of the day
Durch den Kakao ziehen.