So this is the last week in the Gratitude series! It's been fun to do and really, it's been pretty easy to do. When you're actively thinking about the good things in your life, you can absolutely find 30 things to be thankful for. Likely more. Here's my last list.
"Simple. That's what it is. When it comes down to the things that shift this world and shake up souls, the ideas are simple. They're basic, not extravagant."
"Just keep going. Keep showing up for things if you ever want to see them grow. You have to swallow your pride, and swallow the parts of you that want to see a movement grow in a day, and just get used to tiny movements. Tiny, microscopic shifts that may never matter to anyone but you. Celebrate those little things and then keep going."
"And to that I say again: just keep going. Every day you are given nearly a thousand and one 'sink or swim' moments. The important part is that you remember to choose to swim. You remember to kick your arms and kick your legs and swim. You won't always feel like you want to. You won't even know where you are heading off to sometimes, what direction is shifting you where. But this was never a story about destinations. This has always, always been a lifetime full of coming & going & leaving & staying & listening to your heart when it whispers to you, 'This matters most. Pay attention.'"
November 25: Books. I've read 22 books since I've been in Moldova. Some of them have been terrible, some of them have been life-changing. I've read almost 200 pages in 3 different books just today. I usually have one I'm reading on my Kindle and one physical book. We have tons of books in the Peace Corps library that we can take back to site and read, and I've got a bunch on my Kindle I haven't yet read. Since I've found that I have more time to read than I had had before I got here, I'm doing a Winter Book Challenge, which has added some titles to my list that I wouldn't have picked up without the prompts. I've finished 4 books for that, and I'm enjoying the challenge.
November 26: Letters and cards from people back home. I have a rotating display of them on my desk and I definitely reread them! I know everyone's don't make it here but I am thankful for the ones that do (and the ones that don't - in that case it's the thought that counts!) and it makes my day (or week, or several weeks) to see an envelope in my locker whenever I get to check it. So many different people, from family to church to friends to sorority sisters to people I don't even know in person, have sent me mail, and it's just the greatest. Anyone who's sent me anything - you're the greatest.
November 27: Happy Thanksgiving! I'm thankful for my family, because they're awesome! While it's depressing that I don't get to eat the yummy food they are cooking, I am sitting on their counter and watching them do it! So it's basically like I'm there, except the dog gets more turkey than I do. Technology is much appreciated at times like these, as we got to "hang out" while they got ready to have their Thanksgiving. I even got a chair set up to "eat" dinner with them!
November 28: I spent the weekend with a bunch of PCVs to celebrate Thanksgiving. It could easily be a really difficult time for all of us. For a lot of people, it's the first Thanksgiving they haven't spent with family. But everyone's attitude the whole weekend was so great. No one brought measuring cups, our beater had one beating part, the whipping cream didn't always whip.. Didn't matter; everyone was in good spirits and made the best of everything. I got to spend time with people I knew well and people I didn't know at all, and it turns out, both groups are wonderful.
November 30: The kindness of strangers. This weekend, as I went to Anenii Noi for the first time, not 100% sure of where to go, but both the driver and a young guy my host mom introduced me to on the way were set to tell me where to get off the bus. It doesn't go into the town I needed to be in, but it stops nearby so I just had to get off at the right place and walk about 20 minutes. They were both concerned about my getting off correctly and told me which way to go. Then today on the way home, we couldn't catch a bus and these guys stopped for us and put a bunch of Americans in their car to take us all the way back to our raion center! We tried to chip in for gas and they gave us back 1/3 of it because they said we were chipping in too much. We get into some interesting situations as PCVs but there is often a stranger there to help us out when we need it.
And that's it. It's practically December - just hours from now. I'm feeling pretty good about life at the moment, so we'll see how the rest of the year goes.