Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Time for Thanks

Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.
- Brian Tracy

I’ve always been aware that I was blessed to have what I did: a healthy family, wonderful friends, and material possessions.  However, until this year I never would have thought to give thanks for the simpler things in life- a bed, access to an education, medical care, ease of communication, and even to have been born in a nation where many of these things are simply a given.

In the past six months my “normal” has shifted.  In my town there is no electricity, no internet, no health care center, and no high school.  There is no variety in available foods, and there are many times the only things people have to eat are the bananas they grow on their farm.  I can’t call my parents whenever I want, I don’t have a bathroom, and I have no bed.    

While it’s certainly tough to wake up to this new normal everyday, it has also given me a much broader perspective, of which I am so thankful for. 

This year I’m still thankful for my family, friends, and the support they are constantly giving me.  But I’m also thankful for all of those little things- a few moments of signal to call home, an air mattress so that I don’t have to sleep on the floor, and community members who invite me into their house and don’t hesitate to share what little they have.  

I'm also grateful for the opportunity to spend this past week surrounded by 200 other Panamanian Peace Corps volunteers in the beautiful Cerro Punta, Chiriqui.  Our group rented out a mountain lodge (Los Quetzales, which I highly recommend!) cooked a true American Thanksgiving meal, and soaked in each other's company (and the hot water showers...)  

After this refreshing week filled with food, cold weather, and beautiful scenery, I feel refreshed and am looking forward to the next few weeks- my dad arrives in mid December and after that I have several projects lined up to keep me busy until Springtime.  

As always, thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your words of encouragement and support.  You guys make all the hard days so much easier!

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