Today was my first holiday without my family. Unfortunately, my first holiday was my favorite holiday. Therefore, today has been pretty hard. It has been a great chance for me to think about what I am thankful for. I am thankful for so many things.
I have the most amazing family & friends. First, I want to say that I am extremely thankful for Danielle. She is the best friend & I am so glad I am in China with her. She is one of the only people in the entire world that I could imagine being here with. I'm thankful that she has the same sense of humor as me. We both think the same thoughts (often at the same time) and totally understand each other. I'm thankful for her skills in Chinese. She has been so helpful to me just getting through daily life! Also, I'm thankful that she is here with me, having the same experience, so there is someone who understands how I feel and what I am going through. I am incredibly glad to have DK in my life, especially China, and she is one of the things I am most grateful for!
Also, my family has been wonderful to me this year. They were so supportive as I made the big decision to move to China. Now that I am here, I have been lucky enough to be able to talk to them almost every single day. My parents are always interested in my day and want to hear even the littlest details. I'm thankful my mom will get on Skype just to answer a silly cooking question at 8 in the morning! Additionally, I am thankful that they are always so excited to talk to me and that they often let me Skype with the puppies! I also am able to talk to my other family members on Skype & Facebook. Plus, I know many of them read my blog regularly. It is great to feel so loved while I am far away!
Another thing I am thankful for is my friends at home, especially Big Danielle & Chris. Due to the craziness of their schedules, they are often online while I am up during the day. As a result, I get to talk to them often. They always seem interested in my day and the latest stories from my students. They are always there to listen when I need to vent or complain about China. Big Danielle has been particularly great with keeping me involved in her life, so I don't feel out of the loop. I love when she Skypes me with just a normal fashion question or gossipy tidbit. Chris has also been great, I talk to him almost every day. He was really helpful when Danielle was having computer problems. Aside from his tech skills, he has been great for just listening to me when I need to talk about the little things. I am so thankful for all of my friends and how wonderful they have been!
Within China, I am thankful for so many people. Sherry has been such a great help to us and I could not have made it this far without her. She is our translator, guide, teacher, boss, and friend. Having her around has made our transition to living in China much easier. Plus, she is a great friend & I am so thankful that I have gotten to know her!
I am also thankful for all of my students. Now that we have been together for a few months, we are starting to form a closer connection. They are so wonderful and fun. When I am having a bad day, at least one of my students will do something unexpected that makes me smile. Today one of them gave me 12 Sprites (still not sure why), one gave me a coupon for cake, and all of them told me Happy Thanksgiving! Plus, two of DK's students told me that they loved me yesterday. I'm in a pretty good mood regarding all of my students!
I am also thankful for my computer with Skype & email. Without it, I would feel much more homesick and left out. I love how well connected I am to my family & friends.
There are tons of other little things I am thankful for: my pink coat, my heater, cheese, the good exchange rate, my Kindle, etc. Overall, while this might not be the ideal Thanksgiving, it has been an interesting one. I really have had a chance to think about everything I have that means a lot to me, especially the people.
Next year, I can only imagine how thankful I will be for this experience!