Wednesday, November 25, 2009


So first Thanksgiving EVER not at home with the fam. I figured it would be a weird kind of day, but I had no idea it would be this weird. I don't know what it is- if its just because im gone?- but it seems like things at home are 10,0000 times more festive and celebratory this year than I can ever remember. Olga brought up the good point that everyone we know is now 21 (except a select select select few...tom groner.), so now everyone can go out. It's also been over 3 years since high school so perhaps people are now feeling the actual desire to reconnect with those who they haven't seen in while.
Not to mention, people really really really don't celebrate Thanksgiving here. haha. I figured it would be like a US celebrating Cinco de Mayo kinda thing (it's not our holiday but hey its an excuse to have a party so why not?) but nope. Only the few American kids here I know even recognize that it's tomorrow. Odd for sure.
Anyways, I'm super glad I'm heading out to London tomorrow with some fun people or else I'd probably be pretty down in the dumps. Lindsay and I will find turkey sandwiches and indulge on the London Eye. Or Something. :)

SOOO YES. I think I will now take the time to have my own little sentimental Thanksgiving moment because it's my blog and I can do what I want.
10 thangs I've become particularly thankful for in 2009
Not necessarily in ant particular order, but more or less so I guess

1.) My family
Not to be cliche putting this first and foremost, but it is the almighty truth. Anyone who knows my family, knows how incredibly close we all are. I'm not in any position to go comparing us to any other family, but I would say that not only are my mom, dad, jack, and I related by blood, but we are best friends. Jack and I are now at the age where there isn't a lot that we don't talk about in front of our parents. I think that is the mark of a great upbringing. I am very proud of Jack and myself, and the things we have accomplished.. even if they are very different. My parents have taught us to not measure our success by grades or money, but by how happy and challenged we are in gaining that success. Not only is my family fun, but I couldn't ask for more supportive and caring people in my life. Being abroad has made me realize just how much my time and effort my parents and willing to put into keeping in contact and making sure that I'm doing okay. I miss them more and more everyday. The 4 of us have not been together for just about 11 months now, and I know seeing them at the airport will be phenomenol :)
Not only am I thinking about my direct family today, but also of my extended family. In recent years, I've become more connected with my cousins, aunts, and uncles dispersed all around the US. We're all coming into adulthood now and are sharing a much deeper bond than ever before. Spending New Years on Marco with some of the O'Neill aunt and uncles will be a wild time, and I cannot wait. Christmas Eve at Grandpa Dick's is always a yearly highlight as well. So yes. That said. Cheers to the fam :)

2.) Friends
I have the best friends in the world. donezo. I could finish this segment right there. Whether it's someone I talk to everyday or someone I only talk to once every few months, I feel like we are all a closeknit family no matter what distance we are apart. A lot of the kids here that I've met don't have friendships at home like the ones that I do. I'm constantly talking about people at home and referring to them as "one of my best and so", and a lot of people can't understand how I can consider so many as "my best". I don't know if it makes it easier or harder during holidays like this to know that I have such a strong foundation back at home, but I really do appreciate it. Whether youre someone I met in elementary, middle, high school, college, camp sargent, coop, china, israel, ireland, florida, new england, or anywhere in between I wish you could ALL be here in Ireland with me :) Seee youu sooooon.

3.) Health
not just my health, but the health of the people around me. and not just physical health- but mental and emotional too.
The past few months I've become particularly health conscious, and I've felt better than I ever have in my life. This is the first year in my life that I haven't tried to diet to change the way I am, but instead I've just taken on a whole different way of living. I overall eat better quality, balanced, colorful food... work out because I like to not because I feel like I have to... take the time to relax.. and push myself to achieve things that I never thought I could. A year ago it was a struggle to run a mile and now I am comfortably running 5 (minus the whole knee ordeal). I don't crave things like fastfood, but find really exotic and interesting meals to be the best indulgence. If there's a great desert out there, I'll eat it, and not regret it. I'm also grateful for other aspects of my health- such as having all 5 senses. Losing any one of them- sight, touch, smell, taste, hearing would be devasting, and I love being able to experience the world for what it has to offer.

4.) Nature
I've seen a lot of the world this year. And I've seen a lot of crazy things that man could never dream of reproducing. We live on one cool flipping planet, that far too many people take for granted. I'm not talking about recycling more or worrying about global warming, but just taking the time to slow down and look at what nature's got to offer. From the jagged Yellow mountains in China to the alien Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland to the giant redwood trees in the western US to the woods in my own backyard, I don't think I could pick a favorite. The best things I've seen this year have been outside, and I am thankful that I have the time and energy to enjoy every second that I can of it.

Whether its Bob Dylan, Lady Gaga, Hillstomp, Debussy, Coltrane, JUSTICE, the Dandy Warhols, or Joff Cleveland... I don't care. I love music and the way it makes me feel. I have something on my Ipod for just about every occasion and mood. You will hardly ever find me studying without Jack Johnson, running without Timbaland, driving without Dave Matthews Band, or walking to class without Miles Davis. When I feel homesick, I listen to tracks of my brother playing guitar and I feel like I'm home again. When my brain is completely fried from reading genetics papers, I can listen to top 40 trash and feel like a fun person again. I love how certain songs can bring you back to a moment.
"Good Vibrations" ...Tampa spring break 2007
"Superstition" ...Deval Patrick's campaign in 2006
"Wannabe" ...making up dances with Abbey Feloney in 4th grade
"3rd movement of Beethoven's 5th" ...watching my parents put presents under the christmas tree when I was probably 5 years old
I guess there's not much else to say, but that I am very grateful for this form of expression and how it's kept me such good company this year.

6.) Financial Security
There's not a lot I want to say about this, but a lot has happened this fall that has made me very thankful for the life I have been provided. I have seen the poorest of the poor this year, people living in conditions that I could never begin to fathom living in every single day. Although the economy has been shaky at home, and both my parents have had close calls with their job security, I know that we will never end up in a rut that we couldn't get out of. I know that I live a comfortable life, and although I try to work as hard as I can to support myself, I am fully appreciative of what is provided for me. Getting my full scholarship was a tremendous relief, and it has taught me that working hard and being passionate will pay off somehow or another.

7.) The United States
I am thankful for Barack Obama. I remember when Olga said this at a Thanksgiving party last year, and I wholeheartedly agree. Yes there is much to be skeptical about with his progress, just as there would be with any president one year into his term. However, Obama has sparked an interest in politics for a generation who had little hope about the future. The world is talking to America again and willing to listen. I have met many people from dozens and dozens of countries, and even if they are not the biggest fans of the United States, they still have a respect for how our leader is trying to improve the future with confidence, intelligence, and grace. Aside from Obama alone, I am also thankful to be a citizen of the US. I am thankful that I can vote, that I can choose my occupation, that I can choose my husband, that I can attain a quality education, that I can have friends of different races religions and sexual orientations, that I can run for office, that I can choose to read from a variety of newspapers, that I can travel, that I can climb the economic ladder, that I have liberty

8.) PUPS
The past few "thankfuls" have been pretty global, but this one comes right back to home. I love my dogs. Bode is a friend like no other. He knows when I'm sad, when I'm happy, when I'm excited, when I'm lazy. He is the goofiest, blockiest, clumsiest dog I know. Maddie is a breed of her own..literally. Although she takes a lot of crap, she's still the sweetest girl...once you get on her good side. I love how my dogs have personalities. I love that they keep my parents company when Jack and I are gone. I love that when I walk in the door, no matter how long I've been gone (2 months in China or 20 minutes to the grocery store), they both act like they haven't seen me in years.

So I was going to go to 10, but I'm beyond exhausted. I have to be up at 4 (IN FOUR HOURS HAAAAA) to catch my flight to LONDON :D

however if i did have to do the last two they'd probably Can you blame me? See, no explanation needed anyway.

I hope everyone has the greatest of Thanksgivings. I'll be thinking of you all!

ps- i know i half-assed the pictures on this post, i'll fix it after London, but no time to finish it now!

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