Some things I'm thankful for this year, as always in no particular order:
Just over EIGHT YEARS of at least a few people at a time coming here to read the things I post
Having found some friends in Okinawa
All the folks who traveled to Pensacola almost a year ago to celebrate with us at our wedding and the many more who sent us love and well wishes
That almost a year ago, I got to marry the best guy there is
The opportunities this year to travel around Asia and to Spain, as well as to live in another country, something that's always been a dream of mine
The many comforts of home we get by doing our living abroad through the military, like American-style grocery shopping and English-language medical care
Kona Hazelnut Coffee
Our base housing, which wasn't our first choice, but is wonderful for its spaciousness and big American appliances. And a garbage disposal! (Not common in Japanese housing and something I missed to a surprising extent during our stay in Barcelona.)
New food discoveries, including toasted sesame dressing, udon noodles, and tomato bread.
Champagne, prosecco, cava, and sparkling wine
Overnight oats, how do I love thee, let me count the ways. I love thee with lemon and blueberries, with strawberries and blueberries, with blackberries and sugar, with apple sauce and pumpkin...
Individual screens with many movie and TV choices to distract me on long international flights
Bad holiday movies are on TV even before Thanksgiving and I DON'T CARE IF THAT BOTHERS YOU
Good health and really excellent health insurance
For once, my favorite fast food is actually not unhealthy - tuna sashimi from the grocery store outside my base, which is frequently my dinner when Raj is away
Hundred yen stores, which are basically dollar stores on massive doses of steroids
I'm almost done with my first three grad school classes. So far, so good.
Over a month off from grad school coming up when I can read whatever the heck I want
Skype, email, and an international cell phone keeping me in touch with Raj when he's far away
Amazon, where we can buy almost anything and have it here within a week or two
Dark chocolate chips (After dinner in our house "Would you like some milk?" really means "I'm going to have some milk and dark chocolate chips. I assume you'll want some too.")
What Not to Wear. I can't believe it's over, but I'm thankful for the many lessons Stacy and Clinton taught me and that it will hopefully air in reruns for years to come.
That when my mom told my brother, sister, and me that someday we'd be glad we had each other, she was right.
That both of my parents are currently cancer-free.
I'm thousands of miles from my family and my husband is in the Philippines working this Thanksgiving. But friends are coming over. We'll join up in the backyard with my neighbors and their friends and visiting family for a big potluck dinner. And if I hadn't had these plans, I had two other invitations to choose between.
And yes, I say it every year. Every year it's true: I'm thankful for the things I sometimes forget really are luxuries in this world. A loving family, good friends, a warm and dry home, clean water, sufficient food, access to medicine, reliable electricity, security and freedom, the vote, and the right to marry the partner of my choosing.
I'm loved, safe, happy, and oh so grateful. I hope you are too.
I encourage you to tell us some of the things you're grateful for, not because I'm a glutton for comments (I am) but because it really is a valuable thing to think about. Every year.