Sunday, November 25, 2012

In Gratitude

I hope everyone back home had a lovely Thanksgiving, no matter what you ended up doing. Were you surrounded by family and friends? Did you go to work and treat it as a normal day? Did you volunteer somewhere that needed a hand? Whatever you did, whom ever you spent the time with I hope you had moments of stillness where you were able to reflect on what being thankful means to you.

Berkeley Rose Garden - Nov 2011

On Thursday, I couldn't help but feel far from home, a bit disconnected from the festivities that were taking place with our various groups of family and friends. For the past three years we hosted a Thanksgiving potluck in our cozy abode in Berkeley. As I went about my day in Cambridge I reflected on fond memories of friends and family cramming into our tiny space, all the furniture pushed up against the walls, and numerous dishes of tasty vegetarian food covering every available surface. Friends would bring folding tables, dining room chairs, their own plates and silverware because we never owned enough dishes to provide for everyone who came. The day would last well into the evening. After feasting at least twice, so you could try a bit of everything that was brought, we'd leave the house en masse and take a walk through the dimly lit neighborhood streets, stopping to noticing the first of the Christmas decorations put on display that week.

Outside Our Berkeley Home - Nov 2011

Once back at our home we'd strip off our coats and hats, the house feeling toasty and warm, smelling of savory and sweet dishes, the sweet dishes still to come. More wine, spiced brandy apple cider, maybe a finger or two of whiskey. Then desserts, more laughter and talking, disassembling ears of corn, folding origami, and inevitably the great clean-up. Devin managed to capture two of these epic Thanksgivings in a time-lapse format which we still watch from time to time. Watching our home transform and fill with those we love, having a grand party, and then transforming back into a quiet and still abode. Magic, captured in time-lapse.

Our Quilt - Now & Then

Traveling to and from my volunteer position at the cancer centre on Thursday I thought about how much things have changed in one year . . . and yet, so many things are similar and remain the same, while other things have improved and grown by great measures. A year ago before the Thanksgiving festivities began, I was doing the work I love, and was growing as an individual, as a professional. A year later I find myself in another country, being invited to pilot a similar program, for a similar job, with a similar population. To say I'm grateful for this opportunity to live and work abroad is an understatement. To be welcomed into situations and organisations were people are walking the razor's edge humbles me each and every time. How did I become so lucky to live a life such as this?


For a warm flat and a laptop from which I write these words.
Money to buy food and other luxuries.
Friends that write, call, send love through the air.
Family that unconditionally supports, loves, gives, and listens.
A husband that tells me how much he loves me, each and every day.
An education and life experience that helps me do the work I love.
A body that does so much without my conscious instruction.
A heart that's willing, open, vulnerable, and giving.
A mind that is curious and malleable, and able to record and recall memories.

Thankful. So very thankful.

Great Grandma Bessie's Flowering Begonia

1 comment:

  1. Thankful for the Grandma Bessie Begonia that is rooting itself for you here.