The other day, I was asked to name some of the positive aspects of my country. Let’s just say with everything going on in the news, it was a challenge, but with Thanksgiving coming up it got me thinking.
As an American living abroad, I am made acutely aware of the problems going on at home both through my own consumption of the media and conversations with workmates, friends, and even the local kebab guy. I do appreciate others taking interest, and love the openness that most Spanish people show towards political discourse.
However, it’s mentally draining, especially if you are someone who does not admit defeat so easily.
So, what does all this have to do with Thanksgiving?
Some may see it as American excess at it’s finest, but beyond all the fixings, historical inaccuracies, and Black Friday craziness, on this day I am reminded to be thankful for the true diversity, strength, and constant evolution of American people and count my own blessings too.
For me, giving thanks resonates now more than ever. This Thanksgiving, I am reminded to be grateful for the life I have. Just as it’s easier to focus on the negative events happening in my country, it’s far easier to complain about the bad days than appreciate the good ones.
While there’s no doubt that the first two months were full of plenty of highs and lows (if you’re reading this you’ve probably heard me complain about them; I apologize), I have plenty to be thankful for. I’ve been fortunate to get to know some amazing people from all over the world after just two months in Spain, and while I’ll be working on the holiday this year, there are plans to end the day with a Friendsgiving feast between American, Irish, Australian, and Spanish pals.
The list of things I’m thankful for could go on forever, but here are just ten of them:
- The opportunity to meet and learn from people from different backgrounds
- Books and education
- Spanish sunshine
- The ability to speak and continue to learn a new language
- Living outside of my comfort zone, and growing because of it
- Supportive family and friends who listen to my rambling, often indecisive, self
- Friends new and old, near and far
- Lazy Sundays
- Cute students that greet me with hugs everyday, and remind me what it’s like to see the world through a child’s eyes
- Free tapas and tinto de verano
Happy Thanksgiving, folks! What are you thankful for?