Thursday, 25 November 2010

giving thanks at Thanksgiving

It's my First Thanksgiving in the United States.

I leave Monday for England and then onto South Africa a week later, so not only is it my first Thanksgiving, but it's time to think about saying goodbye to the United States - at least for now.

I'll spend Thanksgiving at my friend Annie's house, and onto another new friend afterwards - so I'm sure somewhere there'll be turkeys and pumpkins.

Tonight though, I am pinching myself again to even figure out how I came to be here, and so grateful for a year that has surpassed even my wildest imaginations.

Living in London is good. 
It's a fantastic city, and I'd recommend it for so many reasons.
But after a period of time, it consumes you. And it's hard to get out.

I would get so mad at people telling me to leave, how pleased they were that they'd made the break, how I should hurry up and make a change. It felt so disrespectful of my life and where I was, the decisions I had made that led me to be there.

And yet, through a series of happy and not-so-happy incidents, interventions, good luck and bad luck - but mainly just being brave enough to say yes to opportunities - I was able to leave London, and England.

Looking back, I can recognise so much of what was fantastic about my life there, and I'm thankful for all the opportunities that England offered me - for underneath those grey skies I was able to build a pretty good life, with great friends, a good career, and - after twelve years there- it's pretty safe to say that England has shaped who I am.

As for the days that the sun came out, well, I'm even more grateful.

But when I look back over 2010 and where to lay my thanks,
it has to be the holiday in April to friends who were living in Ho Chi Minh City.

I thought work was too busy and I ought not to go, so really, I have another amazing friend to thank for *making* me go. Amongst the palm trees, humidity, dog noodles, Vietnamese coffees, long chats over dragon fruit smoothies, motorbikes and hustle and bustle of getting lost in windy side streets, I began to find myself again, and to see possibilities for a life less...well,...less *GREY*.

I'm so grateful that I took that time out to visit what is such an inspiring, vibrant country, and so thankful for the opportunities afforded to me by my clever, patient, inspiring friends.

It appeared for a short while that all this talk about being brave and allowing change to happen, indeed - making change happen -  would potentially mean Australia for a few months, but life is what happens when you're busy making other plans - 

- and so I landed up here - in sunny California. 
In what should be grey and foggy San Francisco, but what has been pretty much bright and beautiful for me!

Life couldn't be more different than it was in England.

I'm working too hard at the moment, for sure, but I've experienced so much, I've hiked concrete in the city and canyons in the desert. I've eaten peaches grown locally, and eaten at the finest restaurant in Vegas. I'm also now a dab hand at chopsticks - more so than any time in Asia ever taught me! I've slept under stars in Yosemite, in 300 thread count linen in five star hotels and with 35 other people aboard a bus.I've learned how to talk to strangers in the queue at Starbucks, and that there is nothing real about any Real Housewives of America.

On this great American Thanksgiving holiday, I am thankful for all the things that this country has offered me over the past three months. 

And of all those awesome and interesting, sometimes funny and often strange things, the main one is understanding opportunity. Americans are so great at that.

Today then, I will be celebrating the diversity 
and the scale of the opportunities that lie before me,
and wishing you well in yours.

Have a great thanksgiving


Gillian said...

And we are thankful for your inspiring words - always a perfect mix of humour and inspiration - which lighten our *grey* days xx

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