Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Pre-Embarkation Thanksgiving

Knowing that I'm leaving to drive to San Diego in t-minus five hours, I figure I'll share some pre-embarkation thoughts with you.

I am thankful to the world. I am thankful for this scholarship and the opportunity it brings, and the fact that I can live my dreams without having to ask my family to pay for it. At the same time, I am thankful for the fact that my parents are open and willing to let me continue running around the world. I am thankful for the chance to travel, and learn, and live.

I am thankful for everyone who made this possible, from the man at the Indian Visa processing center who told me where to take new passport photos to the man who helped me work the fussy ATM when I realized I needed more cash to pay for these overpriced photos. I am thankful for all the embassy workers who kept track of my passport, and the Chinese lady behind the desk who smiled when she handed mine back to me with my final visa stuck in place. I am thankful for the international admissions person at Semester at Sea who took care of us international students when we had issues with our scholarships, and who never lost her cool with us. I'm thankful to my extended family who has taken me in, and done more than their fair share of work for this embarkation.

I am thankful for every single car that has not hit me when walking to the embassy, and every single bone in my body which remains intact as I prepare for this trip around the world. I am thankful for the fact that I have good health to carry me around foreign cities and ports and stormy seas. I am thankful for the fact that I am able to get new lenses for my glasses to help my eyes see this incredible world.

And I know that these seem like simple things, having a passport and good health and all, but as I've seen over the past few days, there are too many people struggling to make the logistics of this thing work. Life throws some crazy punches in the way, and I know that I am surrounded by tough people who are working through heck and high water to get onto this boat.

So, while I am sure there are many people simply looking forward to tomorrow, when we get on the boat, I invite everyone to pause for a moment, and be thankful for what exists now. I know you are all looking forward to foreign lands, but take a moment to appreciate the people around you. Give them one more hug, and thank them for being the characters of the beautiful life that you are living. Close your eyes, take a breath, open them, and find the beauty in the scene in front of you. Now, smile, because you're going on the trip of a lifetime :)

And cross your fingers that they find A's passport, which has been lost in the mail... maybe if the internet sends some good vibes this will all work out by tomorrow.

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