Giving Thanks (from a land without Thanksgiving)

It’s been quite a few years since Thanksgiving was a big deal in our house. We do the turkey, sure. There is cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes and tense political conversation and my parents’ orphan friend who sports a ponytail, but we skip the whole “extended family cramming around one table and pretending to like each other” thing.* For the past four years especially, I’ve seen the holiday as simply a week off school, a chance to decompress and head to the mall to buy myself presents. As such, it hasn’t felt too strange to be across the ocean today, but being away has led me to truly see how many things I have to be thankful for. So in honor of this (slightly problematic) holiday, I thought I’d enumerate some of the most notable.

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t begin with my incredible family. This week marks the longest I’ve gone without sleeping in my childhood bedroom, petting my dog, singing with my sister, hugging my mom, or teasing my dad. And I have never been more thankful for them. They are the most supportive people I can imagine being related to, and I can say with 100% certainty that I would not have made it through the last 2.5 months without them.

I’m thankful for THON, specifically for my OGC family. I’ve said it before, but my college experience would not have been what it was without those beautiful, crazy, drunk people. It is no exaggeration to say that they changed my life. A special shout out goes to Michael Belsky for snapping me about Thankskilling today and Natalie Walden for visiting me last weekend and gifting me with a new sense of ownership for this city.

I’m thankful for the friends back home cheering me on. I miss you every day. A special thanks to Emma and Jess, who have given me the extra support I needed in the last two weeks. Thanks for letting me call you at all hours of the night as I make my way home alone in the cold.

I’m thankful for the amazing friends I’ve made here in Prague, particularly Harrison and Cody, whose paths I’m certain were meant to cross with mine.

I’m thankful for the number nine tram line that takes me many places I need to go and offers me a daily reminder (pictured below) that I live in Prague, and that even when things are rocky, I am so absurdly #blessed to be here.20150930_190228.jpg

I’m thankful for music. For music that makes me cry, for music that makes me dance on the metro in spite of myself. For music that makes me nostalgic and music that makes me feel brand new. For Taylor Swift’s 1989 and Adele’s 25. For Rufus Wainwright, Karen O, Ingrid Michaelson, Twenty One Pilots, Vampire Weekend, The Beach Boys, the Pride and Prejudice score, and many more than I could (or should) jam into a blog post. Above all, I am thankful for the opportunities that music has offered me over the years and the absurdly talented and incredible people that came with them. Also for Mambo No. 5

Last, but far from least, I am thankful for Kimberly Nicole Anguish/Nicole Kimberley/My Rock/My Light/My Everything. For letting me moan about my boy problems when you were dealing with your own emotional turmoil. I will never stop being grateful to you for coming on this adventure with me. While I’m sad that things aren’t going to work out the way we imagined, I am so happy to have the memory of these wild and crazy months. Thank you for giving me a second chance even when you thought I was too weird to be your friend. I love you forever.

*disclaimer: my extended family actually like each other.

November Mixtape

playlist

If there’s one thing I enjoy, it’s making playlists that I enjoy listening to. Recently I’ve been putting together short little collections at the beginning of each month that reflect how I’m feeling, how I want to feel, etc., and I thought I’d share them on the blog. This may become a series, or it could end up a one-and-done type of deal (likely, bc I suck).

Footnotes:

  • Last Thursday Kim and I ran into each other in the lobby of the building where we coincidentally were each teaching a lesson at the same time. Afterwards, we said poo poo to productivity and went to Kafka’s favorite cafe, Kavarna Slavia, for strudle. By the time we left, it was nearing dusk, and we walked across the river to take in the sunset. In taking this atypical route, we happened across a poster advertising a Purity Ring concert that very night! So I donned some purple lipstick and off we went. The show was stunning, visually and aurally, and the whole day was awash with just the early-twenties spontaneity I hoped would color my adventure year. Truly one of the best nights I’ve had since arriving in Prague.
  • Someone cool introduced me to Jamie XX this summer, and this song really makes me think of him, which is not a bad place to be.
  • Since I am actually a member of the Stones, I feel that they must be featured in every playlist I make.
  • The Front Bottoms’ new Back On Top was all I listened to for about two weeks of the TEFL course, and it often provided the angsty push I needed to make it through some very stressful evenings. Thanks Brian/Steven!
  • In the past week we’ve acquired a very wise and wonderful squatter named Harrison. Not only has he changed our entire outlook on life, but he introduced us to the charming Dan Reeder. Seriously, who can resist a song that opens with a harmonica solo?
  • I am completely unashamed to admit that Hotline Bling has been stuck in my head for the past two months straight. It has been the soundtrack to many a night getting ready, getting pumped, and getting our asses up the cruelly steep hill outside our apartment.
  • Say what you will about Mumford, but Babel helped me through a low point in my life, and I’ve found myself returning to it quite a bit lately as the weather’s turned cold. This song has particular power to remind me that no matter how bad a day may get, I will not float away from the world; everything will be okay.
  • I honestly don’t know where I would have been these past three years without Twenty One Pilots. These days they remind me of sunny days, driving with the windows down, and home.
  • The Zombies really hit a home run with “The Way I Feel Inside,” which actually makes me feel like I’ve stumbled into an abandoned diner whose jukebox has been stuck on this song despite the recent zombie apocalypse.
  • Empress Of opened for Purity Ring last week (we end back where we began, you see what I did here??!), and though we’d never heard of her, Kim and I both instantly fell in love with this badass, tiny, trendy Honduran girl.