I’m Thankful For….

“I'm Thankful for Mom and Dad,” said one younger cousin. “I'm Thankful for Mom and Dad,” echoed her sister.   “Katrina, what are you thankful for?” asked my grandmother. “Nothin',” I pouted.

My poor grandma. She was just trying to get her older grandchildren to think about what we   appreciated in our lives before the family said a perfunctory grace and then raced for the buffet line. I was eleven and resented being asked to do something that seemed childish. So, naturally, my response was even more childish.   My mom intercepted me on my way to the turkey and stuffing and, appropriately, made me feel ashamed for my snotty behavior.   To this day I wish I could take it back even though I'm sure Grandma Betty understood and forgave me. So, in honor of my late grandmother, I'd like to say what I'm thankful for this year.

It's been a pretty great and pretty crappy year all at once. Last year we moved to Scotland when my husband accepted a job there.   We were reluctant to leave the San Francisco Bay Area after living here for only three years. I wrote in L&P how painful it was to leave behind dear friends, a job that I liked, and the city where we were married.   However, we were also really excited to live in Europe.

I wouldn't take back our experience living abroad, but I am really “chuffed” (as they say in the UK) to be back living in San Francisco. In August my husband's company went bankrupt and the employees didn't even get their final paychecks.   We were, more or less, stranded in a foreign country. A few months after we dropped thousands of dollars to get ourselves settled in Scotland we had  to turn around and come back. Due to Visa restrictions staying in the UK wasn't possible, but our plane tickets home weren't for 60 days. I was able to work during that time, but my salary was meager.   So, I'm thankful to our friend Petra from my church choir. She took us in and gave a us a free place to live for a month, thus sparing us from further financial strain.   It was a generous act that really saved our bums.

Despite the fact that our European adventure disintegrated I am really thankful for the time we had to travel around the UK and Europe. It wasn't nearly as much traveling and living abroad as we hoped,   but we've still had more opportunity to travel than most people I know.   Plus, I lived in Scotland just long enough to get a sense of the local colour. I mean color. (Seriously, I'm still spelling like a Brit.)

Finally, after a tumultuous couple of years, I'm grateful that we've landed on our feet. My husband got a new job almost immediately after we returned to the states. I have plenty of leads for full-time work and, in the meantime, I'm reconnecting with old friends and colleagues. At a time when so many people have lost their homes or have struggled with long-term unemployment my crisis seems relatively minor. It's easy to compare my life to those who seem to be doing better, but there are also people who are struggling so much more.   Soooo much more.

I'm thankful for my husband, our friends and family, San Francisco and sunshine, and to Grandma Betty who made me think about it.