November 27, 2015 Leave a comment
It was a quiet Thanksgiving here in our little apartment. I spent the morning drinking coffee and going through a massive amount of photos from the past six months, and the afternoon video chatting with family back in Michigan. I’ve definitely appreciated the space to breathe this week – we’ve spent so many of our breaks and even weekends out of town.
I’m not feeling particularly festive this year. It may be as small as the tragic combination of PMS and a bad haircut. (Not to be underestimated!) It may be the startled realization that it’s been over a year since we moved across the country, and that so little has changed (other than the steady trickle of bank accounts emptying into cross-country flights.) It may be that this Michigan girl still can’t reconcile the disconnect of a California Christmas, with snowflakes pinned to palm trees. More than that, it’s other contrasts: A colonizer’s holiday is celebrated in a country where having the wrong skin color can (still) be fatal. Messages of peace and goodwill decorate doors that are closed to refugees and to neighbors who worship the wrong way. People celebrate the holidays with death-defying consumerism, rushing into stores where employees can’t make a living wage but can be trampled to death.
Gratitude is important, however. It’s one small way to fight the discontent and greed and hate. I feel that I often write about gratitude, both here and elsewhere. For me, it’s the only antidote to the absolutely human capacity for discontent.
This year I’m thankful:
- for this still-new city, with its many beauties – both obvious and hidden
- for my husband, who for eight years has been my adventure partner, and who more recently has become a very good cook
- for that cat who we love despite it all
- for friends both old and new, both near and far
- for technology that allows us to connect with our loved ones even from far away
- for new nephews and new sisters-in-law
- for weddings and the chances to go to them, even from across the country
- for my job and the chance to work hard for something I care about, with wonderful students, families, and staff
- for the chances I’ve had to connect with others in a positive ways – my own students, exchange students, youth volunteers and children in Mexico
- for the opportunities and the connections I’ve made via the Spanish language
- for (oddly enough) the chance to participate in our justice system by serving on a jury
- for health, freedom, food on the table, and a roof over my head
- for photos to fill in the spaces when words fail me: