Two things that a lot of you probably don’t know: One, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Two, and more significantly: it’s been four years since I’ve been in America for Thanksgiving.
It’s been a year since I left the continent of Africa and coming up on a year since I returned home to the States after 27 months abroad, so I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’m thankful for. There’s the normal stuff we always talk about—friends, family, health, a roof over our heads—but after living abroad, there are a lot of things that I’m thankful for this year that at my last thanksgiving (2007) I took for granted.
I’m thankful for a shower that delivers hot, soothing water, after years of cold showers or bathing in a bucket. This is something I will appreciate more for the rest of my life.
I’m thankful for electricity that works, reliably, not once in a while when it feels like it.
I’m thankful that any runs in with mice, cockroaches, ants, or scorpions are rare occurrences rather than an everyday part of life.
I’m thankful for the ability to pick up my phone and call my parents or friends whenever I feel like it. I complain about AT&T’s horrible reception in SF, but it’s better than having reception disappear for days at a time, prohibitive call rates, and the other difficulties that made communication so difficult for years.
I’m thankful that when I want to go somewhere, I can get in my car, jump on the bus, or get a cab. I don’t depend on vans that are broken down with a drunk driver and no door with 30 people inside them, or sitting on the side of the road trying to hitchhike without knowing how far I’ll end up getting and wondering if I’m going to have to sleep on the road.
I’m thankful that I can go running and not have people staring at me, chasing me, or throwing things at me. Rather, I am one of many, and it’s normal. I’m thankful that I have a healthy and capable body that can run 8 miles with my mommy in the freezing thanksgiving day rain.
I’m thankful that at the age of 25 I’ve been able to visit dozens of countries and amazing places in the world.
I’m thankful for the perspective that spending time in Africa for 2+ years gave me. For knowing that every day for the rest of my life, I’ll be thankful for things I never would have thought about before.
And lastly, I’m thankful for skinny peppermint mochas, and for Starbucks’ ridiculous $5 price point that guarantees I’ll only buy one per year.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
What are you thankful for?