So, I haven’t yet published my account of Barcelona from last weekend, because the broken internet in my room has been a hinderance in the uploading of pictures, but I figured I’d get a bit sappy and write about Thanksgiving, as a break from my academic writing!
It’s business as usual today in damp, verdant Ireland, while all of America has skidded to a stop from its normal, bustling routine to wine and dine with loved ones. Thanksgiving is a time to pause (in between spoonfuls of buttery mountains of mashed potatoes) to reflect on all in life we have to be thankful for. I am still able to take some time and remember all I am lucky to have, though I’m not physically able to be surrounded by my family on this traditional American holiday (we normally put the table leafs in to make room for everyone, but not even IKEA has a table big enough to stretch across the salty, oceanic pond that separates us).
Above all else to be thankful for, I have a network of family, friends, and teachers who advocated my semester-long leap to Ireland, and know that they support me traveling and learning in my time here. Though I miss my family and friends every single day, I can never thank them enough for always encouraging me to be curious about the world around me. This instilled curiosity has lead to a growing love of learning that makes me appreciate every new day (even the windy, rainy Irish days). The kind and supportive people I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by has enabled me to see the world through the eyes of others and to not back down from challenges. It might seem that this distance and time apart from the most important people in my life would create gaps in our relationships, but I have grown to love and appreciate them even more. I think you all at home will find my international experience of total independence, and self and world discovery has made me a better person than when I left New England in August. The drives to chase my dreams, embrace experiences for what they are, and accept people for who they are, are stronger than ever.
I’m still the Fred (the bear under my chin)-loving little girl from this picture Nana sent me, but my time living and traveling abroad has exposed me to an array of beautiful places and people, countries and cultures that I never dreamed possible. One of the most significant things I’ve learned is to simply appreciate all that I am given and to make the most of opportunities I am granted. It’s not most important to have a perfect life, but appreciating life’s imperfections can make it look just as beautiful. I’m not sure it was necessary to leave home to learn this lesson, but regardless of where I learned it, I can now take this experience with me wherever I go. This year, I sadly don’t have the opportunity to binge on delicious home-made macaroni and the coveted Very Berry Pie with my dad’s side of our family, or devour more than my share of amazing dessert and meet my new baby cousin with my mom’s side of our family, but I’ll fly home in less than a month and Christmas with them all will be here soon enough!
Wishing from Limerick, Ireland that all my family, friends, and teachers who have knowingly, or unknowingly had an influence in my life enjoy a warm, Happy, carbo-loaded Thanksgiving! See you all soon!! XO