Though it’s not Thanksgiving in Croatia, we’re celebrating anyway. Our parents are all spending the day together and are going to Skype with us tonight (afternoon for them), and we’re going to fry up some chicken and make a few Turkey Day favorites. I thought in the spirit of the day and our recent adventure I’d share what I’m most thankful for. It would be easy for me to get a little down since we’re spending the holidays away from our loved ones, but typing up this list reminds me that I am very fortunate.
1. I’m thankful every day for my husband. He’s the only person I can imagine spending 24 hours a day with for 6 months (and not wanting to murder). He’s patient, loving, carries around cat food to give to starving kittens, supports me in everything I do, can rock a 70’s mustache (RIP) and will full-on sprint down a Bosnian street if it means getting us home. He also makes me laugh almost every day. He’s just the right person for me, and I’m so grateful to have him – especially because when I tell him to pose for a picture (and his eyes aren’t closed), I usually get something like this:
2. I’m thankful that we have two families that love and support us so much. Nobody bat an eye when we said we wanted to take this trip, and there are a lot of objections they could have had. Everyone gave us loving, careful advice and didn’t make us feel bad for being away for so long (though they are happy to Skype when we can work it out, and patient when it repeatedly crashes).
3. I’m thankful for an equally supportive network of friends. Everyone talked through all of our reasoning with us and encouraged us to go for it. They made time to say goodbye to us, helped us pack and move, put us up on the drive cross-country and spent time with us in Seattle. I know a lot of them read this blog and I hope that I can return the favor by supporting every one of them in fulfilling their goals. I got an email from a college friend the other day that said we’d inspired her to make a move she’d been putting off, so that’s a good start! (these are just a few recent pictures I have, so apologies if you’re not included)
4. I’m thankful for the opportunities and experiences I’ve had that have brought me here. I got to travel a lot through high school programs and on my own, and Jared and I remark on a daily basis how well our time in New York prepared us for this trip. We’re not experts, but we have a pretty good skill set and knowledge bank to draw from.
5. I’m thankful for the technology that allows us to keep in touch with the aforementioned friends and family, and to share our experiences with them. It doesn’t work perfectly all the time, but that’s a frustration we can easily live with for the luxury of feeling not so far away from home. I can’t imagine what this trip would be like if we had to wait for letters back and forth. The world really is getting smaller.
I could go on all day, but we all have eating to get to and waistbands to strain. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope this finds you all healthy, happy and blessed.
ADDITION FROM JARED:
While Whitney and I are enjoying our time together in Europe, we definitely are feeling a long way from family and friends today. I am thankful most of all for Whitney. I can’t think of anyone I would rather be with on this adventure. I’m also thankful for my parents who continue to be as supportive as any parents could ever be, and my in-laws, Dean and Pam, who have helped us in ways too numerous to mention, not the least of which is watching our two cats (whom we greatly miss too).
I am thankful to have many wonderful and supportive people around me, and I count my blessings every day that I have a relationship with all of you. I don’t always get to see everyone as much as I would like, but that does not diminish the love I feel for each of you one bit. Please know that Whitney and I are with you in spirit.
May you and your family have a wonderful time today simply being together. Whitney and I send you much love from Dubrovnik.