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.