First off, Happy Thanksgiving! Even if you don’t celebrate it (i.e. you Brits, Greeks, Canadians who had yours a month ago, basically the entire world), this is one day to step back and say “Wow, I am SO blessed.”
Which is what I’m doing right now. I am so, so thankful for so many things. In fact, I think I’m more thankful being away from my family and being here in Wales. It’s one of those adages “You never know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” My family isn’t gone – they’re just 4,000 miles away for my parents, 6,000 miles for my sister, my other half.
I should be working on my dissertation right now, seeing as I have a meeting with my supervisor in a few hours and I’ve really done nothing for it this week. But I’m in a bouncy, dancing, cleaning, anything-but school-because-I-can’t-focus mood. I’ve started cleaning the kitchen, I’ve vacuumed my bedroom (gasp! shock! horror!), I’ve done the dishes (my and other’s) and I’ve managed to commandeer one of my flat mates to take out the kitchen trash. And that’s only the half of what I WANT to do. I should finish typing the notes from this book, but I want to focus on this happy, happy feeling.
So what am I thankful for?
– My flatmates and Flat 15 – When I realized I was living with five other people (three of which were guys) my mind freaked out quite a bit. But honestly, I love living with you guys. Sure, my idea of cleanliness and yours are a bit different. But if I need something (mashed potatoes for example), you guys are there for me. You’ve been considerate enough to remember that not everyone is out until 1 am and that consideration needs to be taken. You’ve been there when I need someone to vent to, when I need someone to explain why I’m happy to, and most of all, just to be there. The funny moments involving mis-translation errors have been hilarious and I hope they keep happening!
– Jessa – I know, I know, it shouldn’t have to be said. But I love you girl! I was so worried I wasn’t going to connect with anyone here in Wales, and there you stood. I’ve gotten you into some interesting things (MUN, York, bars with police….) but you’ve stuck by me. You have no problem with me ranting the entire walk down the hill on Mondays about passing notes, texting or the lack of clearly defined definitions. You like to plan just as much as I do, and you bring a whole new take on life for me to learn. The swearing just came naturally. 😉 I have to thank you most for Edinburgh. I was ready to curl up into a fetal ball and cry until the world told me “You have no more tears, ever.” I was trying, so so hard to put on a brave face and go about seeing Edinburgh the way it was meant to be seen. But you knew I was hurting inside and so we talked (probably how we ended up in Leith) about suicide and death and where we go afterwards. We talked about what we want with life and our own struggles with mortality. And then you got Starbucks and we went back to Hamilton to curl up into a ball and work on position papers and watch ER and the Big Bang Theory. If that’s not a true friend, I don’t want to know what is.
– MUN – Yes, an inanimate society gets its own thankful rant. I am so thankful for MUN for a couple reasons. One, for introducing me to Anastasios and people I can’t believe I’m friends with, but so happy I am. Two, for giving me the confidence to say “Hell no, that’s not how it turns out” and fixing it. Three, for giving me an outlet for my academic frustrations by letting me over-research for each weekly meeting, except maybe Romania. MUN has helped me gain a group of friends I know I can have deep, politically-minded conversations without a second thought. And a hugger! I’ve found my hug-buddy in MUN.
MUN’s given me great memories at York and during regular weekly meetings. I won’t forget them, mostly because I’ve been writing them down, but still. I love, love, love MUN and I am so happy it exists here at Aber in its current form.
Anastasios – you didn’t think you were going to escape this, did you? I am thankful that I met you, that you have made me feel at home here in Aber. I’m even thankful that you made me go through 70 pounds of credit in 6 weeks before I switched phone plans. I’m glad I have someone who understands my constant frustrations with “British-ness” and cultural differences. I’m glad to have someone who will always text me back. Thankful to have someone smarter than me guiding us through MUN Conferences. Canada made a bit of a fool of herself by contradicting policy at York but you were there, via phone, to help me to fix it. I’m thankful you have the confidence in me and the calm to say “You’ll do fine” when I’m completely, totally freaking out for whatever reason. So many, many more things I’m thankful for about you. But I can’t let all of this go to your head!
Dr. Hendrix and the Carroll History Department – I don’t think I’ve ever met any teacher, professor, hell person, like you before. To be honest, you terrified me the first time I met you. But now I can’t imagine my academic life without you. You believe, better than I do, that I am meant to go to graduate school, that I am meant to be an archivist and I am meant to rule the world. (Or did I make up that last one?) You challenged me, but never to the point of pushing. You made me think and I am forever grateful for that. You never said, “Ann, you really shouldn’t do that…” when I applied for the Smithsonian. You instead wrote a letter, with a few wrong details, but one that convinced the American History Museum that I was meant to be there. You decided somewhere along the line that I was worth fighting for. While I usually like to fight my own battles, it’s nice to know I’ve got someone ready, with kickboxing skills, to back me up.
I know as an advisor you’re suppose to help me choose my path. Well, you didn’t really have to do that, did you? I just kind of came to you and said, “Here’s what I’m doing. Live with it.” A lesser person would have been intimidated or tried to get me to go their way. You knew better. Although you might tease me about being short, I’m thankful for the teasing. It’s definitely helped my witty retorts. And I’m definitely thankful for you letting me help with your three (four?) manuscripts. That trust you have in me to not completely change your argument or mess up the footnotes is one I’m happy having.
I’m still waiting for my name to appear in the acknowledgment page or the “dedicated to” page. You promised last book!
My parents, Maggie – I’m thankful that you let me pursue my dreams, even if that meant being 4,000 miles away in Wales. That you have absolutely no doubt that whatever I decide to do will be the right decision FOR ME. Thankful that you told me to stop complaining about War and Society class and just go, do the work and shut up about it. Told me I am beautiful, I am wonderful, I am intelligent and I will do whatever I want because I CAN, for the entirety of my life. You have never put boundaries on what I should do with my life and for that I’m thankful. I know that you three have allowed me to become my own person and that, that is what true parenting (and sistering) is about. Shaping me but not moulding me in your own image.
A special note for Maggie – I love, love, love you! My other half. I’m thankful that you got me involved in MUN, that you can help when I’m confused by politics, that you are always willing to listen and you refuse to take BS from me. I am thankful that you love Panera bagels just as much as I do (we’re going at Christmas, no questions) and that we can sing in the car together at the top of our lungs without thinking “Man, we’re crazy, we should stop.” I’m thankful you have the convictions to pursue your own dreams because without that courage, I don’t know that I would have them to pursue my own.
If I’ve forgotten you, I am incredibly sorry! Just know my love and thankfulness doesn’t always need words.