That goes for all of you — even those of you who don’t live in countries that celebrate Thanksgiving.
Because, hey, I think we can all agree that there aren’t enough days in the year dedicated to the eating of pie. So if you didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving this year you have my permission to go eat some pie already. Not that you should ever need my permission for pie. But still.
This was my first year to be back in the States celebrating Thanksgiving with my family in five years. Or has it been six years? I can’t really keep track of these things. Which is weird because I usually remember stuff that has to do with pie.
And while I’ve had some truly wonderful Thanksgivings overseas, it was good to be home celebrating Thanksgiving with my family.Even if we celebrated it all wrong.
Like, we didn’t do turkey and all the fixings until Friday. On Thursday, we ate Stromboli. Not because we’re Italian or anything. Just because we’re weird.
And then for our actual Thanksgiving dinner, my family put me in charge of making the crescent rolls. Which, judging from the very uncrescenty shape of the rolls, is all kinds of wrong.
Plus, we didn’t do that thing where you go around the table and say what you’re thankful for. My family’s not really the touchie-feelie type. Plus, that would have meant we had to wait to eat. And my family’s not really the waiting-to-eat type, either.
At least, I’m pretty sure we got the pie right.Even though we didn’t talk about what we’re grateful for, I do have a lot of things to be grateful for this year.
And I’m not just talking about cheese. Not that I’m not talking about cheese. I mean, I’m always talking about cheese. But I have other things to be grateful for that have absolutely nothing to do with dairy products. I swear.
I’m grateful for a year of some amazing travely experiences.
Like being able to return to Japan and attend my friend’s wedding in Tokyo. And going to the Harbin Ice Festival even if it meant I couldn’t feel my toes for four days. And running a 10K on top of the Great Wall of China. Which I’m seriously having trouble believing I even did because these days I can barely walk up two flights of stairs without wanting to die.
I’m grateful that I got to spend my last month in Asia exactly the same way I spent the last five and a half years there – namely, eating.
I’m grateful that I can finally buy pants again. Because I really kind of needed them.
I’m grateful that I can also finally buy peppermint mochas again. You see, most countries in Asia don’t understand the wonders of chocolate and mint together. Probably because most countries in Asia are CRAZY.
I’m grateful for my local public library. Every time I walk in there I get so excited by the fact that I can check out any book I want for free, that I just want to run around screaming at all the other library patrons, “Free books, you guys! FREEEEE BOOOOOKS!”
I’m grateful for my cat. (YES, WE ARE GOING THERE. THIS IS JUST WHO I AM NOW. AND YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE TO DEAL WITH IT, OKAY?)
Granted she has yet to catch the mouse that was terrorizing my apartment. And, because she was raised in a barn (literally), she’s kind of socially awkward when it comes to stuff like petting. Which means when she wants me to pet her, she just lies on top of my hand in the hopes that I’ll get the hint and stop doing whatever it was I was doing and just start petting her already.
I’m grateful for this here blog. And all you lovely blog reader people who make me smile so much with your nice comments and encouraging emails and requests to see more pictures of me in the pink pleather cop uniform.
I’m grateful for crunchy leaves and blue skies.
I’m grateful for my health. Although I’m still pretty sure my lungs have not yet forgiven me for China.
But mostly I’m grateful to be home this year.Even though, to be perfectly honest, being home hasn’t been all that easy for me.
In fact, these past few months have been really hard.
Because, honestly, it hasn’t all been cheese and super-sized margaritas and lady boots since my return to the States this summer.
In fact, I haven’t had a super-sized margarita since August if that gives you any indication as to what life has been like. AUGUST, YOU GUYS. That’s like a lot of months ago.First of all, there’s the whole new job thing. Adjusting to any new job can be overwhelming, of course, but teaching is like its own special brand of overwhelming.
Don’t get me wrong.
I like my job.
I work with an awesome bunch of colleagues that I respect and some super supportive supervisors. My students, for the most part, are active and eager and engaged. And, hey, I’m a big fan of paychecks and health insurance and all that other fun stuff that comes with being gainfully employed.
But, since I’m teaching all writing classes, I spend pretty much all my free time grading papers or thinking about how I really should be grading papers or trying to figure out how I can bribe someone else into grading all my papers. (Ha, ha, just kidding. I wouldn’t do that. Unless you would like to grade my papers. I’m sure you’d be really awesome at it. THINK ABOUT IT. I could give you pie.)And, well, returning home to live with my family has meant I’ve actually had to, you know, deal with my family.
Not that I don’t love my family.
But my family, like all families, is not without their own dramas.
They are also not without their own birthdays.
And, well, living overseas made it kind of easy for me to ignore difficult stuff like dramas. And gave me a handy excuse for never remembering anyone’s birthday.
I know. I know. All of this makes me sound like a horrible, selfish jerk. But the truth is I am a horrible, selfish jerk. This little fact was another thing I could handily ignore living overseas. That is until someone tried to share my dessert with me.And, well, I have yet to get myself a social life.
Which, admittedly, is totally my fault because I’ve been a total hermit.
Meanwhile, my friends have been awesome about reaching out to me and inviting me to stuff like their weddings and bachelorette parties. And not the creepy kind of bachelorette parties that involve strippers, but the classy kind that involve cheese trays.And, of course, there’s been the whole adjusting to life back in the States thing.
Which, honestly, hasn’t been that hard BECAUSE CHEESE, YOU GUYS.
But, at times, I do feel awkward and weird and out of place and like I’m doing stuff all wrong.
Like, I’ve noticed I’m really bad at making eye contact with people now. I suspect this has something to do with the fact that I spent my entire time in China staring at my feet so I could avoid the fact that everyone was staring at me.
And I always forget that we hold the door open for other people here.
So I pretty much spend my days being all shifty-eyed and slamming doors in people’s faces. Which, come to think of it, probably hasn’t been helping my social life much.So, yeah, moving home has been hard.
And, honestly, I’ve sucked at it. Which has kind of surprised me. I thought it would be a lot easier for me. I mean, I’ve done some hard stuff. I waded through rice paddies for two months. I’ve battled spiders the size of hamsters. I ran a 10K on top of the Great Wall of China. (Yes, I’m bringing that up again. Because, seriously, you guys, I DID THAT.)
Shouldn’t moving home be easy?
I mean, there’s CHEESE.
I’ve spent a lot of time doubting myself. Which is not really anything new for me. Doubting myself is something of a favorite pastime of mine. But still.
I’ve flirted with the idea of running away from home again. And I can’t say that I won’t run away from home again. Because running away from home is also, like, the best pastime ever.
But, for now, I’m grateful to be home with my family. Even if it hasn’t been that easy.
Because, hey, I may be horrible and selfish and shifty-eyed. But my family still loves me. Or at least they do a pretty good job of pretending.What are you grateful for this year?