So this is the time of year that all my American (and some Canadian) friends gather around lots of delicious food with family and friends to rest, relax and perhaps give thanks. I've been fortunate enough to be invited to people's houses every year- it's one example of one of the nicest things about America and Americans- their generosity towards (relative) strangers.
Last year was a bad thanksgiving- I stayed home and watched a live stream of the terrorist attacks that were happening in Bombay. It was hard to be thankful for anything when confronted with such terrible images and thoughts. This year, I shall go to a couple of events and partake of all the great food that thanksgiving brings and hang out with various friends. But it struck me that in all these years I've been here, I've never actually said thanks at any of these gatherings. Do people still actually do that?
So this evening, on the eve of thanksgiving, I say to myself- why not? Why not give a thanks or a semi-public shout out to all the things I'm grateful for this thanksgiving? Because things that you are thankful for can disappear, as is the case with the sandwich I blogged about so lovingly last year. Gone. Just like that. So in memory of that sublime sandwich, here- in no particular order are the things I'm thankful for this thanksgiving season.
First, before I get to the fun stuff, there's some serious thanking. I could skip it but it wouldn't be right...
1. I'm thankful for my family- my parents, my sister and her husband. First and foremost. No need to elaborate here but not a day goes by that I'm not thankful for them at some level.
2. I'm grateful for my friends and the people in my life (who are not my friends, haha). One of the nicest things about Syracuse, as chanbong and I were talking about yesterday, is the people here. I am surrounded by kind, intelligent, committed, thoughtful and surprisingly funny people- all engaged in an enterprise that is truly collective, when it so easily couldn't be. It is unusual, specially in notoriously competitive and isolated grad school, to have bonds and friendships like we do and it shouldn't be taken for granted. Special shout out to my room mates: they're awesome- as room mates of course but also as great friends. They do things like make stellar pesto and coffee and patiently teach me about music theory and football :)
3. I'm thankful for being reasonably well off (yes, I said that) and having the support system I do. Yes, I'm a poor grad student who's going to look for a job during a recession hit job market etc etc but I recognize my many privileges and rich experiences. Ok, so I can't make an impulse buy impulsively (Kindle anyone?) or take vacations abroad but is that really such a bad thing? Not at all!
4. Finally, this is weird... but I'm thankful for being able to see the funny side of things. In my head there resides a sarcastic person who's constantly coming up with dark little one liners that I chuckle at- whether I'm gushy or happy or miserably sad. (The voice is currently mocking and smirking at the mawkishness of this post but I'm ignoring it/her.)
ok, now on to the fun stuff...I'd like to publicly declare my thanks for:
my computer, cell-phone and ipod supposedly we lived simpler lives before these but really, I can't remember what I did before that...
Netflix/Jet Blue/Wegmans- the holy triumvirate of companies. All the others- learn from these 3 companies.
( this is commercial but hey, it's America- thanksgiving is after all followed by Black Friday)
This American Life- every week I am moved, enriched or emotionally touched in some deep way by this radio show. A radio show! In 2009! Who would have thought?
(This is a good time to just say thanks to whoever came up with the notion of a podcast. Thanks, have a slice of pumpkin pie on me.)
City Walks- I walked a 100+ blocks in New York last Tuesday. Why? Because I don't get to roam, really wander in Syracuse. Sure you can walk in a park ...but there's nothing compared to walking in a great, really alive city with the rush of people and experiences coming at you. So when I get an opportunity to do it, I do it. Thankfully.
John Mayer - if you're surprised by this, then I say "Welcome to my blog stranger!"
Blogs- I know how hard it is to find the motivation and inspiration to write a blog- it's a bit of a struggle, as you may have gathered if you've taken an interest in mine. Granted that most of the blogs I read have a readership of thousands of people but still, the ability to come up with interesting things to say every day or week is not to be underestimated. A blog, a really good blog, is a thing of beauty. It has the personal impact of reading someone's diary but then directs you to learn about things you would not have found on your own. It is snarky but also deep- it gives you an entertaining, informative and sometimes moving window into someone's life without the commitment to have to deal with them. Basically, the ideal meaningful relationship.
Days I don't brood/worry These are RARE but lovely.
Freedom- of course, freedom by itself is a good thing. I am thankful for being able to (to a large extent) travel, aspire for opportunities and live and learn with people regardless of my national, racial or gender characteristics. This is not so for everyone of course so it is something to be profoundly grateful for.I'm also happy to be free in other ways today. But right now I'm referring, more shallowly, to the application.
There's a lot more that comes to mind (like that sandwich) but that'll just make this a 'things I like' post and that's not what this is. This strange mix of the deep and the shallow are the things that I'm most thankful for tonight, as I am now.