Happy Thanksgiving

Yesterday was my third Thanksgiving in Morocco.  I didn’t eat turkey, and spent most of the day trying to legalize the legalized copies of my work documents so that I can get residency, but it was still quite a good day.

In my morning class, I asked each student to say what they were thankful for.  The third student I asked said that she was thankful for her family, her friends, and for Teacher (that’s my name, apparently), because I am nice.  I thought it was really sweet and thanked her for saying that.  I continued on to the rest of my students, and every single one after her also claimed to be thankful for me…but I’m pretty sure it was just because they didn’t know how to say anything else.  Well, I’m thankful for their thankfulness, regardless of how genuine it might have been.

I invited a couple people over at the last minute for a (turkey-less) Thanksgiving dinner, and of course also made them say what they are thankful for.  Since I’ve been making so many people answer that question, here is my list:

-I am thankful for technology that lets us communicate with those near and far

-I am thankful for my church and for all of the support it provides; the aid it gives to migrants, the volunteer opportunities, and for the pastor who agreed to do the work of organizing our wedding

-I am of course thankful for my family, friends, and all of the opportunities and support I have in both my professional and personal life

-I am thankful for the fact that I can now start listening to Christmas music!

This is the only Christmas decoration I've got.

This is the only Christmas decoration I’ve got.

Everything is Amazing but Nobody is Impressed

How is it that we can connect with people all over the world using internet and phones, something that was unheard of not long ago, and not be fascinated by the technology every time we use it?  Why do those miraculous things wear off and become a normal part of life; and even annoy us if the connection is slightly slower than usual?

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This impressive photo was taken in Dharamsala, India.

I often feel guilty that I am not more excited by my own life, which one of my mom’s friends in the U.S. deemed to be just like a movie (I think that movie would be called Casablanca….)  I am no longer impressed by the fact that both my boyfriend and I have jobs in the same city, exactly where we both wanted to be.  Instead, I am frustrated by my commute to work, how far his apartment is from mine, and that I don’t really like his kitchen.  I spent months longing to be more involved in my church, and what’s more, to improve my level of French to the point where I would be able to understand sermons and bible study.  Yesterday I was at an event at church and understood all of it, but was bored with the topic and wanted to leave.  So what’s wrong?  Am I taking God’s gifts for granted?  Have I forgotten about what is important?

This impressive photo was taken in Vienna.

This impressive photo was taken in Vienna.

This weekend, in need of spiritual guidance, I discovered the text of a sermon by the pastor at the Rabat International Church about this very topic (http://rabatchurch.org/sermons/everything’s-amazing-and-nobody’s-impressed/).  He wrote that we can’t always be impressed by everything or expect everything to always go right; that would be exhausting.  But if we are making an effort to learn and grow, we’ll have those moments where we realize how wonderful things can be and are truly thankful for what we have.

This impressive photo was taken on the way to Zanzibar.

This impressive photo was taken on the way to Zanzibar.

I certainly don’t feel thankful when I wake up at 5:30am, when a child coughs in my face and I know I’m going to get another cold, or when the tram lines are down and I’m already late for something.  But there are also the moments when I go for runs in perfect whether, when I can’t help but laugh with my students, or when I drink avocado juice outside on a Saturday afternoon.  I guess I can’t always be impressed or even totally thankful, but I do need to remember that I still have plenty of those good moments.

This impressive photo was taken in Utah.

This impressive photo was taken in Utah.