Thanksgiving is, by name at least, the day that we spend giving thanks. Generally it is the day that, before we eat a ridiculous amount of food, we force ourselves to mumble something on the spot and/or cliche about what we are thankful for. I feel like rarely does one get a chance to suddenly understand how thankful they are.
But for me, man, this year has been the greatest Thanksgiving ever. Not only was the spirit of Thanksgiving out in full show because I'm abroad, but I actually had a moment of true Thankfulness.
If you ever get to study abroad, do it in the fall because that's when Thanksgiving is. Something about Americans celebrating an American holiday brings out a rejuvenated sense of thankfulness and patriotism. It's a true coming together and the spirit of sharing saturates the air.
I headed down to the coolest, most traditionally Irish bar that we have in Cork, which we had rented out for our Thanksgiving. I had a good time. I had some friends there who I ate with and chatted with, I met some Irish Thanksgiving newbies, and then I headed out to my second thanksgiving.
It was halfway through this second Thanksgiving dinner, where I was surrounded by kids from all over, Ireland, Italy, Spain, America, that I actually had a moment of clarity and true thanks. It may sound cheesy, but it's true.
One of the girls had a seizure and collapsed on the floor. No one was really sure what was happening but we acted as fast as we could, got her on her side, called the ambulance and her parents (who were luckily in town). When she finally came to we got her legs elevated and she began to talk her way through the shocked silence. She's on medication for a tooth infection. She has one of those hole things in her trachea. Seizures were a common occurrence for her when she was younger (talking a couple hundred) and she wears one of those bracelets that has her emergency medical information on it. She won't be able to walk for the next 13 hours because of the seizure. And she went on.
I don't. I don't have any of that. Having food allergies sucks and having random and currently unattributed stomach pain sucks harder. But I don't get seizures that demobilize my legs for 12 hours. There is no hole in my body that should not be there. I don't have to wear my medical information around my neck. I haven't had an ambulance called so many times that I know the procedure.
And in that moment, sitting slightly uncomfortably on the couch, I realized what I'm really thankful for: to be alive and to be able to appreciate being thankful. My relatively good state of health. Friends and family who I can celebrate with and whose company I can enjoy.
I'm thankful for two Thanksgivings. I'm thankful for guitars and international students and four hours of jam sessions. I'm thankful for friends who I can laugh with. I'm thankful for friends with whom I can sit quietly and not feel awkward. I'm thankful for friends who I enjoy being with when I'm sober even if they are not. I'm thankful for An Brogue. I'm thankful for Italians who dragged me out on the dance floor. I'm thankful for kismet meetings of other fantastic friends. I'm thankful for way cute bar backs who end up at An Brogue. I'm thankful for friends who will stalk said bar backs with me in awkward, embarrassing 12-year-old ways. I'm thankful for drunk Irish flattery from drunk Irish friends. I'm thankful that I tend to like flame and lighters. I'm thankful for memorable moments like when way cute bar-backs try to burn the pants crotch of one of the drunk Irish friends, you know, as a joke. I'm grateful that the drunk Irish friend did not, in fact drop trou and burn off all his nether-hair as he was possibly threatening to do? I'm thankful for small music celebrities and I'm thankful for my paparazzi skill with a camera. I'm thankful for impromptu rap sessions in the street.
I'm thankful that I'm in Ireland and I'm thankful that I finally. Finally. wish I could stay longer.