It's hard for me to believe that today is Thanksgiving. Besides time going by so quickly, the weather has been warm and sunny, with most days being in the 80s. It's quite a change from the weather back home in New Jersey during this time.
It's also going to be a special Thanskgiving for another reason. There's a protest happening! I have been pretty fortunate (and thankful) that I haven't been caught in any tear gas bombs, water canons, or mobs of people, and hopefully it will stay that way. I doubt that I will have any problems, as I'll be walking into town around the time the protest is starting (but coming from the south), and I only have to cross the main street Alameda once to get to my class. After that I'll be taking a bus to Providencia, which is out of the way of the protest downtown.
Well, given the spirit of Thanksgiving, what am I thankful for? Here's a list of things:
my good health
living in a comfortable apartment in a safe area
having hot water and a bathtub (I love taking baths to relax on the weekends)
having steady work with reliable and motivated students
working at an institute with lots of teaching resources and great bosses and coworkers
being able to buy fresh fruit and produce only a bus ride away
being able to afford to eat out from time to time and to travel
being able to pay back my student loans while here
having friends (both Chilean and non-Chilean) to hang out with here
having family and friends that communicate with me (phone calls, email, cards, packages) even though I'm so far away
That last point of thankfulness relates to my next point: mail that I've gotten from family and friends in the past month or so.
One of my close friends is always very good about sending cards for the holidays and any occasion (a new job, moving to a new country, when I need encouragement), and so I got a card for Halloween:
Two other friends sent me a care package earlier this month:
They both came down to Santiago at the same time as me and returned back to the States, one after 6 months and another after a year. Now they are both teaching at the same school in Colorado.
About a week after that, I got another package! This one came from my dad and was brought over by a friend's parents from Jersey that were visiting.
I've been using Zirh since I was in my early 20s, and they are the one thing that I needed from home that can't be sent in the mail becuase they're gels or liquids. They are apparently going out of business. This makes me sad, as they have a great line of products that I have used religiously with great results. Most people that I meet are surprised to learn that I'm turning 30 in February.
Yesterday afternoon (The day before Thanksgiving) I got home early due to a cancelled class, and I had a surprise package waiting for me. As I rode up the elevator I was trying to figure out why I was getting a package from my dad now, as I hadn't requested anything.
When I got into my apartment and opened the box, this is the first thing I saw:
So I called home to thank my dad for the package, and he didn't believe me. Why not?
He mailed the package on November 16th, and I received it on November 23rd.
Before mail has usually taken about 3 weeks, and in one case I got a package in 2 weeks. He thought that it would probably arrive in mid December, but here I am with the package the day before Thanksgiving. So now I just have to wait a month before I can open my gifts.
Completely changing the topic, Britney Spears came to Santiago on Tuesday. She's incredibly popular here, and she was performing at the Estadio Nacional 4 blocks from my apartment. I considered going to the concert since I saw some people trying to sell tickets they couldn't use, but I was going to be getting out of class at 8:30 or so and the concert was at 9. So I decided to cook, do some work around the apartment, and enjoy the concert with my windows open.
Granted it was nothing like going to a concert live, but then again I'm not a huge Britney fan. She's got some great songs and classics that everyone knows, but it wouldn't have been worth the cots for me. And I was surprised when the concert was over shortly before 10:30. Perhaps it's just me, but if I'm paying for a concert I'd usually expect it to be closer to two hours.
So besides avoiding teargas and water cannons, how am I going to spend my Thanksgiving? I have class today from 2 until 8 (my morning class was canceled), and by the time I get home it'd be too late to go out to do any type of Thanksgiving dinner. So I'm picking up Peruvian food on my way home and will enjoy that tonight. Then Saturday is the TeachingChile reunion and a Thanksgiving dinner that a coworker is hosting at her place.
I don't know about anyone else, but for me it's very easy to fall into a pattern of feeling like I don't make enough money, I don't have enough material possessions, and feeling like my life would be more complete if I only had (fill in the blank). It's also very easy for me to compare myself to my brothers and to other people my age in that same way, but I've grown to realize that such an attitude is not helpful at all. Rather than thinking about what is lacking in my life or what I don't have that I'd like, it's much more beneficial to realize how fortunate I am and focus on what I do have. And that's one reason why Thanksgiving is a great holiday and is annual reminder for me about that.
Thanks for reading and Happy Thanksgiving from Chile everyone!