Since today is Thanksgiving, the most filling of American holidays, I’m bumping up the cake post. Pie is pretty much out of the question here in Deutschland, but I decided to celebrate with a turkey sandwich, some roasted veggies, and a slice of apple cake. I even sprung for Bourbon Vanilla ice cream. You know, since it’s a holiday and all. I am fancy.
Look at all that tasty apple filling. A delicious end to another solid week. And I enjoyed my Thanksgiving dinner with a side of German beer, and yet another Packer win. Done and done.
And since it’s Thanksgiving, I thought I’d share a short, (or long, we’ll see how it goes), list of things I’m thankful for this year.
1. Family should go without saying, but I’m saying it anyway. I’m lucky enough to have a family that mostly understands what I’m doing here, and doesn’t give me non-stop nonsense about it. My parents gave me advice, but let me make my own mistakes. They were hard on me as a kid, but I *think* that I have grown up with good enough judgment and good sense. They enabled me to become a self-sufficient and independent person, and supported me even when that independence made me do crazy things like pack my bags and move to Euro-land. A family that is supportive without conditions is a rarity it seems, so I’m lucky to have that. Additionally, it’s been a rough year on that home front…. my grandma got sick shortly after Christmas last year and hasn’t been well since. So I’m very thankful that she was well enough to sit in front of the computer on Skype today and I got to tell her that I’m coming home for Christmas for the first time since 2008.
2. Friends should also go without saying but here it is. And having friends scattered around the world means that you’ll always be well-advised no matter where you want to travel, and maybe even have a personal tour guide or place to stay. Not to mention there always being someone on Skype, Facebook, or if you’re lucky, even here in person when you need a chat. From the 60+ year-old ladies I used to work with, to acquaintances I barely know, they always seem to pop up when I need them.
3. My students. It seems like most people these days absolutely dread going to work. And yes, I do have the occasional “I really don’t feel like teaching today” days, but I get over it pretty quickly. I have enough interested, interesting, funny, motivated, and hard-working students that make my job enjoyable. They even do nice things like look up the exact differences in the German words for turkey for me, so I know what I’m buying at the store. I’ve never seen myself as a 9-5 person, so I’m quite happy to work unconventional hours and skip in and out of companies without the name tag and dress code requirement. What can I say… not being chained to a desk = priceless.
4. This guy….
|Image via NY Daily News|
Damn right the Packers are now 11-0 for the first time in franchise history. It makes me happy, it makes my dad happy, it makes Jay Cutler weep, and that’s all that matters. So I am thankful for Mr. Aaron Rodgers (Aaron, call me!), the rest of the Green Bay Packers, and for the glory of the Slingbox that allows me to watch them!
5. Handwritten letters. This is an art form that is almost gone, but every now and then one pops into your mailbox and it’s like a ray of sunshine, wrapped in adorable stationary direct from South Korea.
6. Old ladies who smile at me and start speaking to me in German on public transportation. This seems to happen to me an awful lot, and I have no idea why, but they’re always so sweet and I hope to someday be able to understand everything they’re saying to me. Today’s woman was probably at least 70, but pulled out a little bit of English to say that she wished me a beautiful day as she patted my arm and got off the U-Bahn. She was saying something about my warm gloves and every day being colder, but that’s all I got before she figured out that I didn’t understand. But it’s the sweet little bit of out-of-context human interaction that is becoming all the more rare in this world that I love.
7. The Arcade Fire, The Beatles, Go Radio, Adele, George Harrison, Mumford & Sons, Bon Iver, and every other song I’ve listened to this year that reminds me that yes, All Things Must Pass. There were parts of this year that were so dark, so sad, and I needed every ounce of reminder that I would be able to get through them. Whether it be dark or light, the best art, the greatest songs, the most brilliant writing, all comes from a place that no one wants to visit. But we all do. And that’s where you need the reminder that you’re not the only one. Others have gotten through it, and you will too. And so I love this song and it gets me every time.
Not to say that I don’t have my weak moments now, but every day it’s a little less, and I’m thankful to be on the other side. And now I’m here…
The official video is better, but it won’t let me watch it in Germany. Boo.
8. Fuzzy animals. I miss my dog and cat like woah. Look at them!
And I’m thankful for all the people who have taken care of Frodo, or have found him a home. I would love to bring him here, but I don’t know if it’s feasible at this point. So if he’s at a happy home, then I can’t ask for anything more.
9. And lastly, I’m thankful for you… the known or unknown people who read this. It makes me feel slightly less like a crazy person talking to myself alone in my flat. Not that I do that. Ok, I totally do. I’ve written before about me deep and abiding love for my Fortress of Solitude, but it’s nice to feel not so alone. Selective solitude, so to speak. So thank you. And Happy Thanksgiving… whoever you are, and wherever you may be.