Thursday, November 24, 2011

What I'm thankful for

Happy thanksgiving!

I don't actually celebrate Thanksgiving. It's an American tradition - so it always amuses me when people ask me if we celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia. Why would we? I guess people don't think it through - y'know, the whole Pilgrims and Native Americans that don't exist in the rest of the world... Anyhoos, I like to joke that I'm just in it for the food, but over time I've started to value the day for what it has started to stand for - being thankful. Chris' family has a tradition where, before eating, they say what they are thankful for. I scoff at it because I hate being put on the spot (especially when in subsequent dinners, Chris' 3-yr-old nephew had to state what he was thankful for and made us all do it), but later I did reflect on what it is I'm thankful for:

- The opportunity to come to this great school. Cheesy, I know, but every once in a while I still pull up the email that told me I was accepted and get all teary-eyed. I feel incredibly privileged to be attending such a great institution and being exposed to a life I couldn't've gotten anywhere else.

- The people that I've met through my program. I've made some very tight friendships that I know will last. I'm enriched each day by their experiences, their intelligence, and general outlook on life. And they're incredibly supportive - I had a couple over for Thanksgiving dinner and I shared some bad news I received recently and they immediately cheered me back up.

- The personal growth that I've gone through in just the short period of time I've been here. I'm learning a lot of life lessons just by being in this program.

- My partner, Chris, who has been incredibly supportive with this. He occasionally complains about the Pittsburgh cold, but I know he wouldn't want to be anywhere but here with me and I'm incredibly grateful for that.

- I'm thankful that my grandmother passed away easily in her sleep and not lingering on in pain and starvation. (This is personal: I was notified a couple of weeks ago that my grandmother had terminal cancer in her pancreas, stomach, and gall bladder. She very quickly degenerated, almost unexpectedly, and she passed away Nov 22. Her funeral was held today (well, today in Australia))

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