Last Thanksgiving…

I was desperately homesick. But, I also got to see this:

(The Angkor ruins in Cambodia, which remains one of the beautiful and most heart-wrenching and soul-stomping places I’ve ever been).

This year, I’m surrounded by family and friends. In Seattle, which is nice, but it’s clearly not as exotic as Cambodia.

Life sure is interesting.

3000 PLUS

On this special Thanksgiving day, it’s also a special day for me–and for you, if you loyally keep reading this blog.

 

I have 3,000 PLUS posts.

Maybe that’s not a lot. But it seems that way to me!

In honor, as you’ve probably noticed, I changed the name of my blog–I like it. It’s the same as my url. Perfection. And exactly what this blog is about. Not that “Lost Is Where You’ll Find Me” didn’t fit…but sometimes, things should change.

I’ve looked back over these past six months when I started this blog: a LOT has changed. Not just that my blog has been viewed over 3,000 times.

I moved away from home for the first time, snagged a live-in boyfriend for the first time, started my first big-girl job, started and finished a temporary job at a nursing home that was surprisingly influential, and found myself connecting to the inspiring blogging community in ways I never pictured.

Um. WOW.

In honor of my followers, the few that may be out there, and in honor of Thanksgiving, I just have to take a few words to be grateful. Look how far we’ve come! I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know, not a flattering picture. One of the kids cut it out too…I’m not sure what it means that a good portion of my head was cut out. Perhaps I was having a particularly interesting hair day.

On a different note, I’m celebrating Thanksgiving HERE this year!:

Seattle, if you didn't get the hint ūüôā

A Story From the Archives

It’s almost Thanksgiving!

In honor of this lovely holiday–where I can gorge¬†on mashed potatoes, those weird canned cranberries that come out in the form of a tube, and pecan pie–and spend time with various friends and family members–I’m doing a post about being grateful.

I’m going back into my past a little bit, to tell you all an inspiring tale.

“The Graveyard Man.”

It was a pre-dawn morning in Southern California. I, en route to studying abroad in Cusco, Peru, had stopped to visit my favorite cousin at her (ridiculously fancy) school in San Diego, Point Loma Nazarene University. It was a fantastic week: I sort of fell in love with her California lifestyle. Hers, at least, was like the movies, or so it seemed to me. Between classes she surfed, watched the sunset, wandered down to the waterfront where she walked barefoot eating frozen yogurt. We took Chinese food to a little island, I gave myself a nose bleed with a surfboard, I bought ridiculous sunglasses that looked like a Dalmatian.

I know, I can TOTALLY pull these off.

You must understand this was at a strange point in my life. I had recently been put on academic probation, been dumped by several boys in a row, including the boy I thought was my OTL (one true love) and had, basically on a whim, taken my savings and signed up for a Spanish school in South America. About three weeks before I was due to start.

This trip was like a respite from my real life: I didn’t know where I would go after my time in Peru, if I wanted to go back to school, if I wanted to just be a surf bum in California. I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to stare at the ocean constantly, watch every sunset I could, go sail away and pretend I didn’t really need¬†an education, after all. And really, why did I need¬†to go to Peru? Who needs to learn Spanish?

See? You wouldn't want to stop looking, either.

After a week of adventure, it was time to go back to my aunt’s house for my final round of packing and goodbyes. It was almost time for my greatest adventure yet and I did. not. want. to. go. So, in reference to my crabby, my cousin decided to grab some blankets and go to the cemetery to watch a sunrise over some bay, dragging me along. I was grumpy–as I usually am in the morning–and my suggestion of two gallons of coffee had been ignored. I sat there, wrapped in a blanket, on a wall that was turning my butt cheeks to blocks of ice, when one of the happiest people I’ve ever met entered into the picture.

He was a graveyard worker. “Why¬†was he so happy? He works in a graveyard” was all I could think.¬†But he bounced around, drove his little golf cart like a maniac while laughing like a hyena, sang (in Spanish) while he worked, and even took a minute to enjoy the glorious sunrise.

It was totally worth waking up for that. I think he made more of an impression on me than the sunrise did, truthfully. I, obviously, did not forget him (or the sunrise either, but you know what I mean). I did make it to Peru, and I learned further that your life can be very simple, but you can still be happy.

Just livin' simply in Peru (and the Dalmatian sunglasses lived on...until they broke).

Maybe happiness really is¬†what you make it. But, I know that a key to it, one I still struggle with, is that being grateful goes a long way. I’ve met a lot of people since this graveyard man–many who, in what seemed to me very undesirable circumstances, also seemed to be having the best time.

I’ll stop preaching now. But I hope, if you made it this far, you’ll take one thing from all this blabbing: to be grateful. ūüôā

Nurture

I recently finished a book (I’m a little embarrassed of the title…let’s just say it’s one of my strictly for pleasure¬†books, okay, series) that discussed clones, and it got me thinking about the old nature vs. nurture debate.

I wrote a paper on this in high school, which did not endear me with my English teacher (probably the one¬†English teacher who didn’t like me, as it was always my best–and sometimes only good–subject) as I filled the supposed-to-be-research paper with anecdotes about me, my friends, and some I’d even gotten in books.

(I thought copying over good stories from research books was enough research for a paper like that. I learned that lesson quickly).

My conclusion was, adamantly, that nurture is all that matters. We are what we make, do, become.

In the book I just read, the police officer encountered an entire school full of perfect females that had been cloned. When several murders were committed by a clone, it got problematic when it turned out the clone and her two “twins” had taken turns committing said murders. Their lives had been the same: they’d been married off to one man, and were able to switch between him and several exotic locales every few years. They’d even given the man children. They called themselves “we” and acted like the same person.

The psychologist in the story argues that they can’t be the same; they must have had some¬†differences in their upbringing. When it turns out they didn’t, she agreed they were all, basically, the same person, having the exact same thoughts.

I disagree with this. I am one of those “every choice could make a vital difference” types of people (which is why it’s so hard for me to make any decision) and even though these women had almost identical upbringings, they didn’t have the exact same experiences. Sure, they would take turns hanging out in Italy, but surely the exact same things did not happen to their twin when she took her year in Italy.

I mean, one woman would go to the store, and meet a certain grocer that wouldn’t be there when the other her twin when to pick up some milk. A storm would flood the house, which wouldn’t happen at the same time under the same circumstances when her twin took her turn the next year.

It is our experiences that shape us, after all, not necessarily how we were born and who we were born to. Sure, maybe there are some things that are predestined (that’s a whole different ball game), but I find it interesting that in this same book, the main protagonist is a self-made cop. She doesn’t seem to find any caveats with the fact these women are all claiming to be the same, and she often questions whether they are thinking the same thing at the same time.

I guess I don’t know much about cloning–in truth, it really¬†creeps me out, so much so that the extent of my knowledge is about Dolly, that Scottish sheep that was cloned some time ago.

(I’m obviously really knowledgeable on Dolly, as well).

Also, with the work I do (as in, with underprivileged children with pretty much a zero chance of graduating high school) I can’t really¬†believe that nature will always triumph. There is that old adage “blood will tell” which I think is bogus. I wouldn’t be doing this job if I thought these kids would end up exactly like their parents.

So, I refuse to believe that because I was born with certain genes I am destined to be a certain way.

Which is why I can never decide what to eat for dinner, much less whether to go to grad school (and what to go to grad school for).

(On a different note, stay tuned…when I finish!…for my new type of book review that I hope to make a regular feature: travelogues!)