I am thankful to now be in Italy, experiencing a new city; Torino. While I am spending most of my time here in meetings, I have a chance to see new sights and eat new foods. After arriving yesterday, we took a short walk in the nearby area and went to a mall that is inside the old Fiat factory! (And speaking of Fiat, I was in a factory next to the current Fiat factory today.) Last night we had fresh ravioli for dinner, tonight we had risotto and crepes and are going to have pizza tomorrow! And I learned tonight that the area around Torino/Milano is full of rice fields. And in addition to factories and food, we have a beautiful view of the Alps from down the street, and especially when we drive towards them for our meetings…
I am thankful for a 7 hour layover in Frankfurt. While 7 hours is normally considered a long layover and most peacocks wouldn’t want it, I was pleased to have a long enough layover to leave the airport and explore the city of Frankfurt. Now, I didn’t have enough time to fully explore, but I had enough time to explore an area around Hauptwache. The reviews I read before going told me there would be new and old architecture and lots of stores, so I figured a great place for a tourist. Now I know starting my layover at 5:30AM was a bit early for shops, I didn’t want to go shopping, rather walk around and take in the sights (plus put my camera to good use), but what I didn’t expect was the entire area to be quiet, nothing open, but the alleys filled with Christmas markets (though they were closed, I was able to experience the decorations all over the area). While I would love to make it back to Germany again, I’m glad I finally made it, even if for a brief visit!
Today, one the one year anniversary of starting my job, I am thankful I for my job and the company I work for. I started at an interesting time in my personal life, but my coworkers showed support from the very beginning. I have not worked on a better team in my whole career. I am extremely thankful to work for a company who understands there is more to live than our jobs and values time with your family. I live a balanced life, my work time is work time and personal time is for me, my friends and family. I am blessed to have the opportunity to work remotely half the time, which also saves me time from commuting, plus saves on gas and wear and tear too! This job comes with some wonderful benefits and a decent amount of time off too. In addition to having ample time to travel for myself, I’ve been given the opportunity to see four new places this year, Montreal, Atlanta, Frankfurt and Torino, all as a part of my job (granted Frankfurt is only a short trip as it’s whatever I can squeeze in tomorrow on my long layover). I’m in a job at a company that wants to know where I want to go next; there is plenty of room for growth in the future and I don’t fret about the stability of my job or company. Finally being at a company that values its employees as people, not just as another chip in their pile, is a wonderful feeling.
I am thankful for the education I have received, and still have yet to complete. I was blessed to grow up in a town whose schools were constantly ranked best in the state. When I went to college, I was able to attend Bentley; a school that was just right for me. Going there afforded me many opportunities that have allowed me to get to where I am today. I am also thankful I went back for my masters a few years ago – it pushed me harder and helped open some new doors. And now I am thankful that I have the opportunity to complete my MBA, on top of my masters, to ensure other doors will be open for me in my future. I’ll be headed back to New England College mid-January to begin my MBA program, and am thankful some of my classes from my MSM carry over so at least my MBA will be completed quickly. And I’m even more thankful that all of my school debt has been paid off and is behind me!
I am thankful for the opportunity to host holidays at our house. And at the same time, thankful we didn’t host Thanksgiving this year. It’s been a hectic year and this has been a very hectic week with it being mom’s birthday, squeezing a week worth of work into two days, getting ready for Italy and other family plans this weekend; so I was relieved that I also didn’t have to cook a Thanksgiving dinner this year. But I am looking forward to Christmas, where we will be hosting. It’s the first time we’ve hosted Christmas Day, over the past four years, we’ve done Thanksgiving, Easter and Christmas Eve, but never Christmas Day. I’m excited for something new. I’m excited to spend the day not leaving my house. I’m excited for everyone to see our house decorated for the holidays!! I love the feeling of getting prepared and seeing our family relax while we do the work. It’s a blessing being able to have our families and friends over, and an extra blessing when it happens for a holiday.
Today I am thankful for my favorite Black Friday tradition – coming to Long Island to put up Grandma’s Christmas tree! While many people are out shopping, I take my day to spend time with my grandmother and help her decorate her house for Christmas, and get the tree up and ready. I’ve been doing this every year since 2002 (with the only exception being 2006 when I was in Ireland) and I don’t plan to stop anytime soon. It is a wonderful way to spend time with my grandmother and to start celebrating the holidays.
I am thankful for the Christmas season! I know it is still technically Thanksgiving, but I promise I’m not getting ahead of myself. Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, now Christmas can begin! And it truly is my most favorite time of the year 🎄
I firmly believe in waiting until after Thanksgiving to begin the Christmas season. And I don’t participate in Black Friday shopping. We now have a month to celebrate Christmas and all that goes with it – especially acts of charity and love. Plus I can now listen to my favorite Christmas music!
I am thankful for traditions. Growing up we had a number of them, but over the years they changed – Sarah and I outgrew them, or they disappeared when our parents got divorced and now a number are gonna without Mom. But just because most of the traditions from my childhood are gone, doesn’t mean I don’t have new ones. Tom and I started some traditions before moving to our home, but since then even more have come about. We go strawberry and blueberry picking in the summer. And in the fall we go apple picking, and even try to make time to go apple picking upstate where I used to go with my parents – and then go pumpkin picking too. And the tradition I’m most looking forward to is buying our Christmas tree 🎄! We go to Jones Farms on our anniversary every year to buy our tree – this has double meaning. First, we go on our anniversary so we always spend they day together and second, it’s where I used to get a tree as a little kid, before my parents got an artificial one. These traditions may seem simple, but I am thankful for them every year!
Today I am thankful for my mom. Over the past nine months I have realized how much I truly relied on her in my day-to-day life. When I couldn’t find the recipe to chicken supreme last week, I wanted to pick up the phone and call mom for it – fortunately, I was able to call my grandmother to get it. But mom didn’t just give me my favorite recipes on demand; I used mom as my own personal google too. When I need to know how to get a new stain out of clothing, or get burnt off food off the bottom of a pan, mom always had some good tips – did you know that the granular Cascade dishwasher detergent can get almost any stain out of anything? I didn’t until mom suggested I use that to get grease out of a shirt. I am thankful that mom would always be there, any hour of the day, to answer the most ridiculous and obscure questions I might have.
Mom was more than my own personal google too; she was the woman who taught me how to be an independent woman. She taught me to hold my head high, to feel secure as a female in a male dominated field and to stand up for myself. She taught me to be respectful, to listen and not speak out, to learn and to love. She taught me that it was OK to not be perfect but also taught me to strive for perfection. She taught me to never give up and to always fight for myself, my loved ones and my beliefs. She taught me that family is important.
I am thankful that I celebrated her birthday with her last year. Two years ago, we celebrated Mom’s 60th at Gramercy Tavern in NYC with most of her family. She wanted a smaller brunch in the Rainbow Room, but we weren’t able to get reservations, but thanks to a suggestion from an aunt, we found an even better place that could handle a larger crowd too! I cannot speak highly enough of the people at Gramercy Tavern for the service we got that day. While we rang in her 60th in style, it is actually her 61st birthday that left a bigger impact on me. Last year I was unemployed when her birthday came around; while it was the end of my unemployment and I knew I would be starting a new job soon, I didn’t have much money to spend on going out for mom’s birthday. Tom and I invited her over for dinner, but she told me she didn’t feel comfortable driving home from our house in the dark, so instead we went to her. What she didn’t tell me was that she wasn’t feeling well and that was the real reason she didn’t want to drive to our house, on roads she’s uncomfortable with, where she didn’t know where she could stop on her way home. So we had her birthday dinner at her house a couple weeks early (eating our beloved chicken supreme), but at that time I didn’t know she wasn’t feeling well. A few days after the early birthday dinner, my Mom texted my sister and I to let us know that her sister and her mother (and possibly my cousin) were going to the Botanical Gardens for the Holiday Train Show and then out for dinner. I called my mom to talk about it, I wasn’t opposed to going, but didn’t think I could afford to go (and to be honest, wasn’t super excited to go) – I was on a tight budget, the holidays were coming up and I still had a number of presents to purchase, I didn’t have money in the budget to go out for a nice dinner, pay for parking, pay for admission, etc. Mom told me that since she was a member, she had guest passes, I didn’t have to pay to go to the gardens, and she’d cover my dinner, she didn’t want me to miss it. Even though I didn’t have a strong desire to go, I agreed and met my mom, aunt, grandma and cousin there on the Saturday before Thanksgiving to go see the train show. I am very thankful that my mom told me how much it meant to her that I come and be there, because if I’m being honest, that is the only reason I was going. I really enjoyed the train show – so much so that Tom and I are headed back there today, on what would have been Mom’s 62nd birthday to celebrate her!
After the train show. We went out for dinner in City Island. It was after dinner, while we waited for dessert, when Mom finally told me she wasn’t feeling well. We didn’t know at that time what exactly was the problem, but we would soon find out. In hindsight, I see how important it was that I went to celebrate her birthday that day. I am thankful I gave in and that she was persistent that I come. I am thankful that I had that day of fun with her. I am thankful I was there on her last big outing. I am thankful she enjoyed her birthday.
Every day I hope that I am making her proud. I hope that I am using the lessons she taught me. I am forever thankful for the time I spent with her, even if it was not nearly enough time to do everything we wanted to do.
Today I am thankful for yoga. And not just any yoga, but specifically Blue Lotus Yoga here in Monroe. A little over a year ago, my amazing friend Elaina told me she was going to open her own yoga studio. Since I was unemployed and she was a bit unfamiliar with some technology, like building her website, she asked me for some help. We met a couple of times and I helped her launch her website and social media accounts. About 3 1/2 months later, her studio opened and I stayed on helping with social media and the website. And along the way, I decided to start taking yoga classes myself. Yoga gave me peace of mind during what was the most turbulent period of my life. It brought me peace and comfort and allowed me a way to take a break from reality and focus on me for a short bit of time. But the whole thing also turned an acquaintance into a real friend and seeing her grow with her studio has been a joy to witness. 🙏🏻💙🙏🏻