Saturday, November 30, 2013

thankful

This Thanksgiving I did a lot more reflecting than in previous years. I am going to be an aunt and I think that it has made me a bit softer than usual. I thought a lot about how thankful I was to have SB with me for better or worse, in emergency rooms or healthy. We had another kitchen accident that required emergency care so more on that at a later date.

This reminds me to be thankful not only for our usually good health but also for the medical services here in Hong Kong that allow us to seek care without stressing out over the cost of hospital care. We are living on my salary and a trip to the emergency room in the United States would have hurt.  I hope that Obamacare, as it is being called, works as it is meant to because one should never have to choose between one's health and one's financial solvency.

I also was reminded this year that I am at an age where I no longer consider myself to be young.  I experienced some trauma thinking that I am now closer to middle aged than teenaged, but then I thought about how much less awkward and dumb I am and that cheered me right up.  I prefer my sharper self even if it is in a less sharp body.

It must have been thinking about aging that caused me to look back on a poignant Thanksgiving more than a decade ago. A university tradition went terribly wrong before our annual game against the University of Texas and the bonfire that we had been building collapsed.  There were twelve trees planted alongside the rugby pitch to memorialize the students did not survive the accident; it was something that I am thankful for because I saw those trees every week and is eased my heart to know that I was not in danger of forgetting.

One of the students was an architecture student in my year.  I had never met her but I felt her loss anyway.  At my graduation, right before I hoisted the gonfalon and led my class into the stadium, I spared a moment of thought for this unknown woman as well as my dear friend, Robley, who succumbed to cancer one month before. It is times like now when I face down a milestone that I think about those who are no longer along on my ride.  They were bright and beautiful people and they should have had whole lives but sometimes things don't work out like they should. While I am saddened that they missed these experiences, I am very grateful for the life that I have had and for the gift that these people gave me: the knowledge of how precious our time on earth is.  

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