I didn’t remember it was thanksgiving today until my mom said something about it yesterday. Being immersed in my own world in a country that doesn’t celebrate it and being frustrated and angry half the time, it’s easy to forget. But despite all this, and despite the fact that it’s 4am and I woke up and can’t go back to sleep, I’m going to remember gratefulness. I’m going to remind myself to be thankful even though there are so many things wrong in the world and my life and my current situation.
First off, I’m thankful that I’ve been able to have this experience in the first place. So many people don’t have the opportunity to travel, and I try hard not to take that for granted.
I’m thankful that I was able to follow my heart and do what I needed to do, even though it meant putting a pause on my travels. The me of a year ago wouldn’t have been able to do that. I’m here because I want to make the world better for animals that can’t do it themselves, so that I can learn as much as I can here so I can open clinics and shelters internationally while expanding education.
I’m grateful for the friends I’ve made in the other volunteers here, who have not only taught me so much, but have been there with me in difficult times.
I’m thankful for all of the amazing animals I’ve met here, living and dead, many of them persevering against the odds, reminding me to be loving and happy despite whatever is going on around me.
Even though my heart is still broken for my puppy that died, I’m trying to remind myself to be thankful I knew her at all. I know that we make each other’s lives better, even though I couldn’t save her, even though hers was so short. If I hadn’t been here, I know that we would have both had slightly less joy.
I’m thankful for my son, my cat back home, who will always want snuggles. I’m thankful for the easy access to vet care I have, and my ability to know he will always be taken care of.
For all my amazing people back home—friends and family, who have never stopped supporting me throughout all my crazy adventures.
I’m thankful for this space heater that has been running all night because the Guatemalan mountains get COLD.
I’m thankful for all the freedom I have in my life to pursue my ever-changing dreams. I haven’t had a real job in over a year and a half. I’ve been able to write books and travel and do whatever suits my fancy at the moment. I’m grateful that I’ve discovered another source of income besides waitressing—editing is much preferable.
I’m thankful for my health, something I rarely think about until I’m sick as fuck from eating something and getting sick in these countries. Happened twice so far this trip—I only have a week left, so crossing my fingers it doesn’t happen again.
I’m grateful for the roof over my head, and food to eat, even if it’s not a Thanksgiving feast (probably rice and bean paste, ramen, and Oreos). So many people (and animals) don’t have enough. I see it every day.
I’m grateful to be traveling for my second Thanksgiving in a row, and grateful to be returning home in a week. Hopefully for pumpkin pie. RIGHT, MOM?
There’s more, of course there is, but right now I just might be able to sleep, so I’m going to take this opportunity. I hope all my friends in the States have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and my friends from everywhere else—look around you and be glad for what you have. That sounded super preachy but you know what I mean.