So I don’t have a turkey on my head.

Today, here in Canada, is Thanksgiving. I wanted to write something meaningful, but I also wanted to make sure I wasn’t repeating myself, so I went back through the archives of Octobers past and found a rather alarming amount of… nothing. October 2009: Back pain. My bank account getting hacked. October 2008: A modelling gig. Daleks reading the weather.  October 2005, 2006 and 2007: No posts at all. It seems I’m long overdue for a post of gratitude, especially on a day like today.

In England, we didn’t have Thanksgiving. I remember watching those episodes of Friends and wondering what the significance was behind the holiday, and back then, wondering why English people didn’t have a special day for being thankful. I figured it was just because my experience of most English people involved English people from Stevenage, commonly known as one of the biggest chav towns, famous for Public Profanity, Vandalism, Disrespecting the Elderly, and Single Teen Mums. Not exactly gratitude central. When we first moved to Canada, I’d met a girl in high school whose parents soon became friends with mine, and had invited us over for what appeared to be a giant Christmas dinner come early, except with pumpkin pies instead of mince ones.  I finally learned about the significance of the holiday, in both the US and Canada, but also adored the chance to get together with friends and family every year for a big stodge up and just take a moment to truly count our blessings.

This year, we’re having three Thanksgiving celebrations. Two with my almost family-in-law, and, this past Friday night, one with our friends. I’d always wanted to have a Friends-style Thanksgiving, but until now, my friends had all either moved away, or didn’t know each other well enough to enjoy a whole evening celebrating together. This year however, I have a huge amount of things, opportunities, events, and most of all, people to be thankful for – the perfect year to throw our first one. This group of people came into my life after a series of events unfolded in the spring causing my whole social circle to change. It became apparent that, after a few periods of tension, misunderstanding, and subsequent distancing, a handful of people I’d known for most of the time I’d lived in Canada no longer belonged in my life. At the time, I was hurt, confused, and didn’t understand why it seemed I was being thrust out of a group I’d been a part of since first-year university. I was worried and scared of being alone – most of my good friends remained home in England, or had moved away. So I did what I do best: burst into floods of tears for a good two days.

But then came the lightbulb moment. The time spent saying “I wish” could just as easily be spent saying “I will”. So I made an action plan. Signed up for an evening class in the hopes I’d learn more about something I’m passionate about, and have the opportunity to meet new people.  Started reconnecting with people I’d lost touch with. Signed up for Meetup groups online and spent my birthday with a group of brilliant strangers who brought me cake. It was from that moment that my world began to change. I met some really fun, creative people, one of whom ended up sitting at my table for a good portion of the night, who just so happened to live a stone’s throw away from where we do. We stayed in touch, and soon after, introduced our other-halves to each other, and the four of us began seeing each other quite often. In the last few months, we became introduced to their group of friends, and have since recorded radio plays together, shared music, sunbathed at the beach, attended house parties, learned about Vikings, sung our hearts out at bonfires, planned Halloween costumes, and asked two of them to be in our wedding. These people came into my life at the perfect time – just as one door was closing, they opened another and allowed a flood of friendship to follow suit. I feel more blessed to have been accepted by this group than I think I ever have in my life, and celebrating Thanksgiving with them was beyond amazing, full of great food, laughs, “Antelope Canteloupes,” and fun.

This Thanksgiving I’m thankful for so many things. For being given a job where I can incorporate my passion for helping people, do things I’m good at and be given chances to work on the things I’m not, to be pushed out of my comfort zone, and see real lives being changed.  I’m thankful for my friends, new and old, some who’ve just come into my life and have already enriched it so much, and some who I got to see this summer who have been in it since childhood and still remained strong. I’m thankful for my family, my Dad and stepmum and all they are, and the new family I’m about to join, too, for all the times they’ve welcomed me into their home and their lives.  I’m thankful for Sweet, of course, of everything he’s helped me become over the last two and a half years, and for this amazing next chapter we’re about to embark on.  I’m thankful for little things, like access to great music that excites my soul, an education that I’m passionate about growing, cat cuddles on cold days, chair dancing at work, great books to read, and being able to keep up with the latest news, TV, radio and events back home in England. And I’m so very thankful for you. For any time you’ve ever taken to read something I’ve written, to offer your comments, thoughts, support, encouragement, or alternate viewpoints. For your continued readership and, more importantly, friendship. Through this blog I’ve met some people I’m honoured to be able to call friends, both over long distances and in real life, and for that I feel truly blessed. Thank you… and though it may not be Thanksgiving where you are right now, just know that today, somewhere out there in the world, there’s someone who appreciates you.


  1. I don’t think I’ve ever written a gratitude post, either. It’s now a must for me this Thanksgiving coming up for us in November! I’ve always believed that gratitude is a little thing that goes a LONG way in regard to happiness. Counting your blessings can truly open your eyes to how many wonderful things you have in your life. And you, my friend, are truly blessed! 🙂

    1. I am very lucky 🙂 Counting blessings is so important every now and then to really put things into perspective, especially if it’s been a rough couple of days – focusing on the good things can really show what’s most important 🙂

  2. This is a really great post. Even though we don’t have a Thanksgiving day here in South Africa, posts like these still make me thing about all the wonderful things in my life I’m thankful for.

  3. Once again Emily, you leave me with more things to wish I’d followed you to Canada. 🙂

    It’s posts like this that make ME extremely grateful to have such a bright, shining and eternally positive influence in my life. Your gratitude for so many little things, and for all the things most people would take for granted is humbling… it makes a person realise that to live a happy and fulfilled life, you don’t need tonnes of material possessions, or lots of money… you just need to be grateful, truly grateful, for the things you already have and to show that love for them every now and then. Love is the answer, and being grateful for that love keeps that positive cycle going.

    To quote a very clever man “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love, and be loved in return.” In a way, that’s exactly what you’ve shown in this post, you’ve already learned that lesson and are reinforcing it through these acts of gratitude.

    If only we’d had thanksgiving day here in England.

    Thanks for sharing that with us Emily.

  4. I went through a frighteningly similar experience with the circle of friends I’d had since 2004 which ultimately led to my moving away. It would have behooved me well to follow your path. Though that’s not a complaint really. I just moved into my new apartment this morning and found that I can steal internet for the time being from neighbours, right up until they catch me mooo ha ha! I kind of wish I’d stayed there to be included in that new circle of friends. However, my new adventure begins today. And I will have Thanksgiving dinner with family for the first time in a few years. Its quite exciting actually. And I don’t get excited about such things. Love your persepctive, and this post, so thank you my friend. 🙂

  5. thanksgiving isn’t for another month here, but i think it’s so great having that time to reflect on what we’re all thankful for. two of my friends and i try to email daily to share 5 things we’re thankful for for the past day. since we started, it’s evolved into an email every few days, but it’s still a chance to sit and reflect over the past day, or few days, and see all the BLESSINGS and WONDERFUL things we have in our lives.

    honestly, i’m so glad my friend came up with the idea. it’s been amazing and a great way to keep from going under when the waves of life seem to roll right over my head. it’s a way to counteract a bad day. it’s a way to stay in touch with some dearly loved and missed friends. it’s truly awesome.

  6. beautiful post em and can i just say what a great picture that is of everyone, i’m sure you must have all had a blast! i wish we had thanks giving here, it seems like such a nice and meaningful holiday. so in honour today i will give thanks, to my family and husband, to my friends, and to you for always inspiring me.

  7. I think it is so important to stop and be thankful for what we have in our lives every day, but especially on Thanksgiving when we can all be grateful at the same time. Last year, my parents were out of town on Thanksgiving and it made me realize how truly grateful I am that I have them in my life. We pulled Thanksgiving off without them but it wasn’t the same without them there.
    I love the last line…I think it’s hard sometimes for people to express their gratitude towards others, or for people to realize how much they might mean to people. Thanks for being you and sharing your positive thoughts! 🙂

    1. It’s very important to let loved ones know how much they’re appreciated, and it’s not often done I guess for fear of being too sappy, or maybe not being reciprocated – but it doesn’t matter, I think. If someone means something to you, you should tell them 🙂

  8. When meeting with friends for a large meal like that, people have taken to calling it a Friends-giving. We’re planning on having one of those (and we did just have an official “dinner party” this weekend) at some point. It’s so great to get together all at once and just talk over food and wine.

  9. Now I’m wondering where Canada’s Thanksgiving originated from, since America’s had to do with the Pilgrims and Native Americans sharing a meal…just curious!

    Love that you brought up Friends in this post! I miss those Thanksgiving episodes!!

    Look at how beautiful you are in that photo 🙂 Love it.

    1. From Wikipedia…:

      On January 31, 1957, the Canadian Parliament proclaimed:
      “ A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed … to be observed on the 2nd Monday in October. ”

      I think it’s just about being thankful!

      Thanks for the sweet comment about the pic 🙂

  10. Today is my first ever Thanksgiving and it’s nice to hear from someone else who didn’t grow up with the holiday. Your post is beautiful. 🙂

  11. I’m so happy to read this post, especially given our email chain where we discussed new chapters and open doors. I’m so happy for you, Emily! What a lovely idea – a friends-style Thanksgiving. 🙂

  12. Last year, I wrote “100 Things” I’m thankful for which really showed me how much awesome I have in my life! When we think about it, we really do have a lot to be thankful for.

    I am so glad you have found such a great group of friends who encourage and motivate you. It seems as if it has done a world of difference.

    1. Keeping that 100 things list will be a great way to remind yourself when times get tough just how many wonderful blessings you have in your life! 🙂 I’m so incredibly grateful to have found this group, you’re right – it has made THE world of difference 🙂

  13. “Today, somewhere out there in the world, there’s someone who appreciates you.” Thanks for reminding me this. Kinda needed it.

    We don’t have Thanksgiving here but I think there’s really a lot to be thankful for. Glad you got to meet new friends. You are inspiring, as always. I think I should really sign up for that you recommended. 🙂

    1. Oh I would love to hear about it if you do! There were a few weird kinda groups, but this one was extremely cool and has paved the way for a lot of good things. Let me know if you sign up! 🙂

  14. This was beautiful and it looks like you have a group of really wonderful people there. They are lucky to have such a great friend with a kind heart and gracious spirit!

  15. We’ve got to get through Halloween first before I can really start thinking about Thanksgiving, but I think taking time to thankful for all that’s blessed us in our lives is always a good thing, whether it’s the right holiday season or not.

  16. I’m so happy for you that you have found a group of friends there. They all look really nice and it sounds like you had a great time!
    We don’t have Thanksgiving here but I do love the food (from the one time I celebrated it with a friend’s family in the US).

  17. Pingback: 2010: Brilliance |

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