Happy Thanksgiving!

We have so much to be grateful for, and I’d love to share a few of those things with you:

1.  I am grateful for Dale, who is my life.  We have been married for 21 years, and our marriage is stronger than ever, as evidenced by the fact that we can travel together and not want to push one another off a cliff at the end of the day.  He makes me laugh, and his faith in me is unswerving and has given me the courage to try to live life to the fullest.  —Since I’m writing this, you’re only getting my perspective, but I have verified that he’d say the same thing about me.  🙂

2.  For our families.  I am especially grateful for my mother, whose generosity and devotion to her family is endless, and for my sister, who offers me unconditional love and encouragement.  Along with Dale, the number one fan of my writing (they’re tied for first place!).  I like to say that I could write about my toenails and she would find something to praise.  Thank you, sis.

3.  For our many friends, old and new.  You make our lives so rich.

4.  For freedom—freedom as American citizens and freedom to live life how we want to.  We are fortunate enough to be able to quit our jobs to pursue our dreams, and we both recognize that this is a very special thing and a rare opportunity that we plan to take full advantage of.

5.  For the rich experience of spending three months on another continent.  We had the privilege of seeing some of the greatest cities in the world.  We spent time in Paris and can appreciate the spirit of beauty and perseverance that Parisians are demonstrating in the aftermath of tragedy.  We have gotten to know Spain well enough to know that it’s a fantastic, quirky, imperfect country that we would move to in a heartbeat.  We have spent time in Germany and can appreciate a bit of our heritage.  We met amazing people from all over Europe, and each of them made our lives better.

Every day spent on the trip also taught us a little bit about ourselves, and we are grateful for the opportunity to experience personal growth. We were pushed out of our comfort zone daily and exposed to different cultures and different ways of doing things.  Dale and I live in an amazing country that does many things right, but it’s good to be reminded that the American way of doing things is not the only way of doing things, and there are spectacular features of every culture around the world, even the ones that are very foreign to us.  We would do well to learn from other cultures.  If everyone spent even a week or two outside of familiar territory, the world would be a better and more sane place.  Mark Twain had a lot to say about the benefits of travel, and this is one of his most astute and biting observations: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”  Amen.

6.  Being constantly on the move also made us grateful for the little things, and I hope that we will never take these for granted!

-Hot showers

-Washers and dryers

-A comfortable bed, and one that is not a bunk bed

-Dry socks

-Cold drinks

-The pleasure of seeing a familiar face

 

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!