Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Thankful Heart

Today is Thanksgiving!  It's almost strange to think about Thanksgiving over here.  Many of my western friends aren't even from the US, so the 4th Thursday of November is just... the 4th Thursday of November.  Nothing special, just another Thursday.  Nonetheless, Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Thanksgiving for me has always, always, been a time of heading out to the country for the long weekend.  When I was growing up, we'd load up in the suburban and go to my grandparents' house in Hearne, TX.  There wasn't much to do except follow my brothers around, play in the woods, shoot at things with a little .22 chipmunk, play with my mom's old toys, and watch The Land Before Time.  Once my cousins got there, we'd play My Little Ponies or make homemade movies and music videos.

College football has, of course, played a major role in my Thanksgiving memories.  Every other year for the past decade or so, we've all been sitting in Kyle Field watching the Aggies play t.u., and even on some odd years I made the trip to Austin to watch us play in Darrell K. Royal. That's one Thanksgiving memory that wouldn't be the same this year anyway, cause the Longhorns have their panties in a wad (pardon the expression) about us going to a better football conference.  I'll be up watching the Missouri game Sunday morning, though!  It just won't be the same for anyone on either side of the Pacific.  (Side note: even though they aren't playing today, I'm wearing maroon like it's my Thanksgiving uniform. I can't not wear my team's colors on Thanksgiving. Thanks and Gig'em.)

The past two years, since we've had the ZZZ Ranch, Thanksgiving's been out in Paint Rock, TX.  I absolutely love going hunting for Thanksgiving!  There's a crispness to the air out in west Texas, the colors are different, there's no humidity, and Turkey Day just feels right out there.  Waking up before the sun, grabbing a mug full of something warm and going to sit in a cold deer blind for hours with my dad, taking a nap until the sun and the animals wake up... just how it should be.  You know how memories are tied to scents?  As I think about that, I can smell leather and gun metal and dirt and cold, plus that AWFUL cover scent that Dad always sprays on the blind as soon as we sit down.  Ugh.

Later, the girls usually all go boutique shopping in the 'big town' of Ballinger and we'd stop at the Hoppin' Basket for groceries on our way back to the house.  Of course, we'd make the drive out to The Turnrow a time or two for the best steaks in the world.

My parents and both brothers and their families are all out there right now.  That is the hardest part about today, actually, because there is no internet at the ranch and there's hardly any cell service.  (There's one stretch of highway between the ranch and Ballinger where Verizon has two bars for about five minutes, but at the ranch only AT&T really has service, and even that is very limited.)

Anyway, I know they're all out there at the ranch hunting and shopping and cooking and watching the parade and tons of football.  That's what makes it so strange to be here and not there!  I know EXACTLY where I would be and EXACTLY what I would be doing in this moment if I hadn't moved to Korea.  I can't usually say that, cause I really don't know where I'd work or what city I'd be in if I'd stayed in Texas.  But holidays are so traditional.  Weekends at the ranch are so... typical, in a comforting way (not a boring way).  I'm sorry if it sounds like I'm getting all weepy.  I'm not really sad about it, just nostalgic.  I miss them, of course, but like I've said a thousand times, it's a trade-off.  I chose this.  So I don't get to complain (nor do I even want to!!)


Rather than sit and bemoan the fact that I'm not at the ranch with people I love, doing things I love, in a place I love, I'm gonna make you a list of things I've been thankful for today.  I've been making mental notes.  I have made my students do this all week, so now it's my turn.

I'm thankful that I live in a country I love, surrounded by friends I love, and I get to do neat things and go on crazy awesome adventures that I love. 

I'm thankful that I have ondol heating (it's heat from under the floor and makes your bum all toasty when you sit on it... it's a delicious feeling)

I'm thankful for my dad's friends on facebook adding old pictures of him that look straight out of the Dukes of Hazard.  Keep 'em coming!  I show my friends and laugh. 

I'm thankful that my family has such a spectacular place to spend Thanksgiving (and tons of other weekends), even when I'm not with 'em.

I'm thankful (on that note) that I had the guts to move and the means and education to get this job.  

I'm thankful for my beautiful kinders.  My 32 little preciouses rock my socks.  

I'm thankful that hangul is easy to read. 

I'm thankful for my rockin' group of friends in Korea.  This weekend, I will have not one but TWO American Thanksgiving dinners.  

I'm thankful (and it's so cliche and cheese-tastic, but nonetheless true) that I'm a Christian... that Jesus chose to bless me with his sacrifice... that I accept his grace every day.  I'm thankful for forgiveness and mercy and the Word of God.  I'm just all wrapped up in the undeserved LOVE of God and I can't stop smiling when I let that truth rest on me!  

I'm thankful that even when I'm broke at the end of the month, I'm not poor.  I always have enough food, I have shelter, and I have plenty of clothes in my closet.  (Maybe next year I'll be able to say that I'm thankful I've become so much better at handling my finances and I never stress about payday anymore... this is not that year)

I'm thankful that I get a lot accomplished when I procrastinate. (Somehow it works.)

I'm thankful that I'm from a country that values freedom and individuality.  I'm thankful that I live in a country that values freedom as well, even if the "individuality" thing isn't as important here as it is at home.  

I'm thankful for Home Plus and iHerb making it easier for me to bake for this weekend!  

I'm thankful for one of my coworkers bringing in a huge box of chocolates today!!  Thanksgiving WIN!!! (even if they are the brand from that American woman who sided with Canada during the War of 1812, they're delicious.)

Happy Thanksgiving from Zara Teacher's classes!
(They're hand turkeys!)
See?  My Thanksgiving uniform at work


What are you thankful for today?

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