I may be a little late on the Thanksgiving game, but I’m giving myself a pass because I’m not even in America at the moment and better late than never, right? Anyway, while eating breakfast this morning I realized that I am (or ought to be) grateful for many of the things I take at face value.
On this particular day, I sat down to my usual setup of fruit, bread, gallo pinto, juice and coffee. The fruit this morning just so happened to be watermelon. Now as you may have guessed from the direction of this post, I do not like watermelon. I don’t know why, I mean it looks so refreshing and delicious but it’s just so watered down and odd tasting- and yes, I know how dumb that sounds because it is called watermelon. Regardless, I’m just not the biggest fan of the strangely textured blob of pink staring at me, but of course I eat it because 1) I’m hungry and 2) it is polite. So I’m about four bites in and I’m cheering myself on: Look at you annihilating that watermelon and telling it who’s boss! You’re so close to the finish, you got this champ! And I have the fork halfway to my mouth and I’m mid-inspirational internal pep talk when I suddenly realize how silly I’m being (aside from the fact that I’m pep talking myself through eating a piece of fruit…) But here I am enjoying a breakfast (which is a good one compared to some other volunteer’s experiences here) and wishing the watermelon was a nice shade of yellow instead and took the form of a banana or a pineapple. Then just as suddenly, my internal cheerleader quickly turned to annoyed bystander and I began thinking: You are being absolutely ridiculous- oh no, there is healthy food to eat, a table to sit at and company to enjoy it with, your life is clearly in shambles.
Don’t worry, I’m not here to tell you that this piece of watermelon changed my whole perspective on life and I’m on my way to being the next Ghandi and belive you should be too. No, I can’t say I am suddenly an avidly vocal fighter against poverty and malnourishment by holding signs and asking for signatures on a petition. Although, that’s not to say that would be a bad thing. However, in the case of my breakfast, I came out with more than a filled stomach but also a welcoming change in perspective, albeit small, as well as a greater sense of my privilege. Despite being such a little thing, it acted as a much larger reminder of how lucky I am, and with that, I finished my gross slice of pink watery goodness with a strange sense of happiness and fulfillment (literally and figuratively).
Now being the over-analytical creature that I am, this little breakfast encounter of mine naturally got me to thinking, so in true Caitlin-fashion I have compiled a list of things I am thankful for.
This Thanksgiving I am thankful for:
1. Bills. I am happy that I pay for a car I’m not currently driving because that means I have car to drive and that’s pretty awesome. Student loans are also evil little devils but it’s proof that I had the opportunity to receive a higher education and I’m learning to love that monthly e-mail telling me to pay up (see what I did there? I actually graduated with a Bachelor’s in Bad Puns).
2. Expensive jars of Nutella. I stand in the grocery store with tears in my eyes as I see that my beloved jar of happiness is $8 here. $8! Damn you delicious hazelnut import! But let’s be real, my lack of self-discipline and high level of self-indulgence mean that I still buy it, so in hindsight, I’m thankful that I have plenty of options and enough money to afford the choice to either splurge on my vices or not. And splurge I do…
3. Being away from my family & friends. It isn’t fun to be thousands of miles from loved ones as they gather together for the holidays, but I am not there because I have the oppurtunity to travel to new and faraway places. If the worst thing is that I’m eating rice and beans while being immersed in a different culture in a beautiful country, then I’d say I’m doing alright.
4. Bottles of sunscreen. It’s annoying to spray myself down multiple times a day, but I do it because I get to spend time under the (way too) warm blanket of sunshine and that’s hard to complain about, especially to those back home in Washington bundled in their sweats. Happy Winter, guys!
5. Walking miles in the wrong direction. To be clear, I am not thankful for my lack of direction and my ability to get lost, which I am really good at doing by the way. I’m pretty happy, however, that I have two working legs and enough endurance to walk in circles for miles until I get to where I need to go (and yes this happens to me, and yes, it happens often). Working at a school for kids with disabilities means that I’m surrounded by, well, the disabled, and many of the kids I work with are unable to walk a mile, and some can’t even walk at all, so I guess my getting lost and aimlessly crusising around the city isn’t so bad after all.
Well, this essentially became a large list of “first world problems,” yet I think it’s good to remember that all those annoying little things that happen throughout the day are really indicators of something much more wonderful. What may seem extraordinarily negative in the moment can also serve as a subtle reminder that I live in a world of privilege and although some things don’t go my way, I am actually doing really well for myself. No, not everything goes according to plan and most days end up being an accidental adventure (or dare I say, misadventure), but for the life I am able to live I am seriously one lucky gal. So shoutout to that piece of watermelon- I may not like you but I’m sure thankful you exist, even if only to keep me in check.