Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Thankful Thanksgiving

To all of you who are still reading my blog despite my prolonged absence my apologies for the delay. I’ve had a busy past few months and finally have some time/ internet access to reflect on the half way mark of my Peace Corps service. It’s been over a year now since I arrived in Kenya and that year has taught me a lot while testing my limits. I know that I have grown in certain areas and learned some valuable skills like independence (living alone in a Kenyan village miles from any other American has led to such) and adaptability (who would have thought it is so easy to live without running water/constant electricity?). But there are so many traits I still wish to improve on such as patience (I still cannot stand waiting hours for meetings to start!) and flexibility (a very true saying “This is Africa” in my mind translates to “shit happens, so deal with it”).

Thanksgiving (my favourite holiday!) gave me a chance to not only reflect on personal growth, but also what I’m thankful for. While I didn’t make a hand turkey to display my appreciation, I’ll tell you the things that make me especially thankful this time of year:
1. Family- both Kenyan and American who have been so supportive. My Kenyan grandma and grandpa have done so much to ensure my happiness and safety as have my American family who do the same by sending me parmesan cheese and flaming hot cheetos!
2. Friends- I’m so appreciative of all your letters and packages and visits. It seriously makes me week to hear from you. And my students who have you as penpals could not be more excited to have a friend in America.
3. Nala- My dog is the best company I could ask for. She makes my daily walks to and from school much more enjoyable. Plus, she is the perfect snuggler.
4. The opportunity to learn-I’m grateful to have a job/working environment in which there is so much possibility. Possibility to expand the school, possibility to start clubs and activities, opportunities to make a lasting difference in a students learning, etc. While this often translates to a lot of needed work and necessary motivation, I enjoy working in an environment conducive to change
5. The little things- I’m thankful for the little actions and moments that remind me why I’m here. A genuine smile. A true Kenyan friend. A perfect juicy mango. Sleeping in past the rooster crowing. An enthralling book. When the days are stressful and full of typical frustrations, it’s the little things that make a difference.
6. And lastly, I’m thankful for a delicious thanksgiving dinner. David and I cooked a fantastic Kenyan/vegetarian thanksgiving dinner complete with green beans, garlic cheese mashed potatoes, Stove top stuffing, and my all time favourite canned cranberry sauce topped off with charcoal oven cooked fudge brownies. Mmmm. It was the best dinner and company I could possibly ask for away from Los Gatos.

Completion of one year marks a big milestone in my Peace Corps service; I’m past the transition phase and beyond the adapting to the culture. But I still have so much to learn and even more to do! On my list are completing my school’s laboratory construction (be on the lookout for a donation email coming soon) and starting health clubs and life skills classes in the surrounding secondary schools. This next year will fly by much too fast. The best I can do is take advantage of my time here and be the most productive I can be. Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

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