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Thursday, November 28, 2013

14 reasons to be thankful

On this Thanksgiving Day I’m sitting on the couch sick, as I have been much too often for the past month. But despite this lingering unwellness that the doctors can’t figure out, I still have much to be grateful for.

As Thanksgiving is on the 28th this year, I divided by two (because I'm not that ambitious) and decided on 14 things I’m thankful for on this day, in no particular order of significance:

1.) My hubby, of course. Othman unfailingly sees the bright side to everything and always sees solutions instead of problems… oh engineers. ;D He balances my negativity and classily puts up with my mood swings. He is a fabulous cook, a handy-man when time allows, a mover of heavy things and opener of sticking jars. He’s my translator, my bargainer, my always-willing errand boy. He does much more than he has to for me, and I love him all the more for it.

Pap and I outside
Casablanca's beautiful 

Hassan II Mosque last year.
2.) My big brother. Last year he became the only person so far to have visited us in Morocco, and it was wonderful to show someone so close to me how my life is now. Othman made the comment that it was cool I was doing his tour-guide job for him, and I agreed because showing off this country and my knowledge of it really made it feel more like my home. Additionally, at the wedding not only did Patrick give a lovely account of me knocking out his first loose tooth as a toast, but he also gave us a Canon Rebel as a wedding gift. It was extremely generous of him and it is being put to good, good use, as my Flickr and this blog can attest to. I wouldn’t have my camera if it wasn’t for him, so thanks Pap!

3.) Of course I’m thankful for all of my siblings, who have taught me so much about so many things, and who are all so different but who help make up our one-of-a-kind family. When I was little I was embarrassed to be so counter-cultural as to come from a big family. Sorry sibs! I love you all. =]

The ND contingent of said friends, with a plus-one 
taking place of a friend too pregnant to travel!
4.)       I’m thankful for my small group of friends-for-life, who I see rarely and don’t keep in contact with as much as I should, but on whom I can always rely for advice, love, laughs and great conversation. You know who you are, and know as you read this that I’m so grateful you’re in my life. Plus thanks for coming to an out-of-the-way very inconvenient Sunday wedding. You guys are the best.

5.) My turtles! I generally work evenings and Othman works days, so we each have a decent amount of time at home without the other. Sparkle and Chomper have a calming presence, and I love hanging out with them and watching them in their turtle world!

6.) My workplace. I love working at British Council for its facilities, my colleagues, and the opportunities I get there. There have been ups and downs throughout the 2.5 years I’ve been there, but even when things get rough the support of my bosses and colleagues is wonderful. I have worked with some amazing people and have learned so much from them. I'm truly happy to call many of my past and present colleagues friends. Also, I’ve had lots of health issues the past few years and have taken much more time off than I’d have liked to, and the understanding attitude of management is something I’m incredibly grateful for.

7.) The fact that almond flour here is about half the price as in the States! Meaning I can make delicious and easy GAPS recipes like this pumpkin pound bread one without breaking the bank.

Yummm-- so good!
8.) Related to that would be my thankfulness for the huge variety of fresh fruits and veggies that are available in Casa, at really affordable prices. Of course they vary by season, but that makes us appreciate the food we have all the more. Othman brought home 6 kilos of pomegranates last night because it’s the end of the season and we (especially me…) gobble them down like crazy. He also brought some of the first nice strawberries on sale too. When one fruit season ends, another begins. It would be much harder to eat as healthily as we do if we lived somewhere else.

9.) Speaking of eating healthily, I’m really thankful for GAPS. While the diet I follow now is more GAPS-inspired than strictly GAPS, cutting out grains and sugar from my diet has been a great change for me. While it didn’t help with my weight as much as I would’ve liked, my health has vastly improved thanks to it. So a big thank you to the ladies in the Sioux Falls homeschool group who introduced my mom to it, and thanks mom for having begun it with me and supporting me with it! And again of course thanks to my lovely husband who puts up with the meals I make as a result, and more importantly never complains about the ones I DON’T make! =]

10.) My parents. I've always been a daddy's girl, but I’ve become closer with my mom after reaching adulthood, and I’m firmly convinced that me getting out of the house was instrumental in growing my appreciation for them. Thank you mom and dad for being so supportive of your daughter who traipses all over the world then shows up for weeks at a time asking for things… like new bras, coconut flour and coconut milk, or even a wedding! You both are the best. =]

11.) My grandma Carolyn. Although she has always lived in Dallas while we moved around the country, she has always been a stable and loving presence in my life. Before she met Othman a bit more than a year ago I knew they'd get along well, but I didn't anticipate HOW well, and I'm so glad that Othman also has a soft spot in his heart for my grandma, because she truly is an amazing and wise woman. As I've gotten to know her better throughout the past few years I've realized that she and I are more alike than I could have ever imagined, and that I have so much to learn from her. It's hard being so far apart and I treasure every moment I get to spend with her, and hope there are many more to come. I love you grandma! 

The families merge. =]
12.) I’m thankful for Othman’s family and how they have warmly welcomed me both into their country and traditions but also into their family. Adjusting to life here has not always been easy, but they have been caring and kind throughout all of it. Othman has a very large extended family spread throughout Casablanca, and I’ve gotten to know some of his cousins, aunts and uncles quite well, and am grateful for their friendship and support.

13.) I’m American and Brazilian. Othman is French and Moroccan. Can we just take a moment to revel in how amazing that is? Our children will have 4 grandparents from 4 different continents. They will grow up multilingual. They will grow up with significant exposure to 4 different cultures. They will also bear the burden of loving people far away from them their whole lives, but Othman and I both grew up like that, and the benefits outweigh the sorrow, that’s for sure. I’m thankful that our children will be true citizens of the world.

14.) Finally I’m thankful that as I grow older I’m realizing more and more what it takes to have a happy life. It isn’t location-location-location as I once thought, nor is it just a matter of surrounding yourself with the right people. While those help, it goes deeper than that. Leading a happy life is a CHOICE, and one I have to remember to make every day. It involves being tolerant and accepting of others and myself. It means struggling to snap out of bad moods before they get rooted in. It requires me to make an effort to look on the bright side, and not weigh myself down with worry. If I choose to be happy I can be, and that revelation has made a big difference in my life the past few years. Sure I could have just listened to those self-help books/gurus and have been done with it, but for me this breakthrough took years of self-discovery and many helping hands to guide me through. So thank you to those special people, and also a frank thank you to myself, for choosing more and more often to be content with being happy.

What are you thankful for today?

1 comment:

  1. Yay for seeing the positive in life! It's wonderful that you're realizing that happiness is within daily reach. I don't know if you've read "The Happiness Project", but I thought it had a lot of helpful insights and ideas on getting the most out of each day.

    Also, one of my friends suggested listing 2-3 things you're grateful for at the end of each day and I've found that's enormously helpful too, helps you realize how blessed you are in life!