The thankful feelings I grow at Thanksgiving time are meant to inspire thankfulness throughout the year. I often approach my problems or worries by searching for the silver lining (actual happy moment in the fray), or seeking out my red ribbon (the way the calamity is interwoven in my life and will become a part of who I am), or at least a lesson I can learn. That is how I bring grace to my life.
With such an approach, it is pleasantly simple to return home from a trip full of quaint anecdotes and cheerful memories. After spending my Thanksgiving holiday in Brugge, Belgium (Bruges to English speakers), I can safely say that my grace saving techniques went unused. Even a grumpy mc-grumperson couldn’t help but be charmed by Brugge.
Scenic canals like this run along the edges of the center and twist into back alleys where adorable boutique hotels with secluded dining rooms await you. Romance is lurking in every tidy storefront, cafe, and apartment facade adorned with charming window box arrangements.
Our favorite cafe was Cafè Rose Red. Dave found it on Trip Advisor and the reviews were spot on. Friendly service, 150 beer selection, great crowd, and bewitching setting, especially after a few swigs of a strong Belgian brew.
Cafè Red Rose
And, I didn’t even get photos of the amazing chocolates or ubiquitous mussels and frites and baked goat cheese and honey salads.
Merci beaucoup, Brugge!
(Uno) 1. This delightful video posted by a Facebook friend whose son’s name is Domenic. That explains why she likes it. “Hee haw, hee haw” explains why I like it. Careful, this is one that gets stuck in your head.
(Due) 2. Any mention of my holiday favorites. For me, Christmas is about sharing feelings with family, and nothing helps me share like Home Alone, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (animated version, fool!), The Sound of Music, White Christmas, and the thought of a thick white snow blanketing the world outside my cozy nook on the couch.
(Tre) 3. Funny headlines by Michael K – “Your Boyfriend Ryan Gosling Is Still Cheating On You With That Homewrecking Whore Eva Mendes.” Thanks for posting, Claire! p.s. I love both Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes.
(Quattro) 4. Shrimp. Shrimp are the “chicken of the sea” in my book. They are small and plentiful, like chicken, and they have flavor profiles in relation to their diet and environment. Also, for me, just like I do not eat chicken, I do not eat shrimp.
(Cinque) 5. Getting back into my running shoes after the long holiday weekend. Refreshing!
Visiting Geneva over Thanksgiving was a silver lining of spending holidays away from family. After the silver lining fades, my nostalgia for my family Thanksgiving remains: food! (stuffing, cranberries, dinner rolls and butter, pecan pie), long-winded & rambling stories (sort of a family trait, you know, one I’m foolishly trying to rise above), watching a movie after dinner (either Home Alone in the dvd player or going to the theater together), and sharing, cajoling and laughing together as we create that special family buzz, the warm, squishy feeling in your full belly when you’ve been surrounded by laughter and love.
Being a favorite holiday, here are my five top o’my mind Sicilian thanks:
(Uno) 1. Arriving safely to our new home for three years, with cats in tact, family togetherness still a solid concept, and the giddiness of the adventure burbling in my soul.
(Due) 2. Getting a great job with wonderful colleagues. Let’s face it – this could be expanded to be an entire post of gratefulness, but I’ll encompass it all in this one.
(Tre) 3. Weathering the immediate-travel stress with relative ease (I’m referring to the 30+ hour adventure, from Auntie Em dropping us at the airport (and Aunt Karrie taking our leftover stuff for eventual mail drop), to the layovers, etc); to weathering the settling in stress with no memorable rough patches (I remember having them, but they were contemporaneous); to enjoying the adjustments we are still facing.
(Quattro) 4. Getting to stay in touch with SO many people who opt to check into the blog and keep in touch via email or through comments. Yay! I had hoped for such connections and they are even more precious than I could have imagined.
(Cinque) 5. It is easy to see that the NEW friends I have made through blogging are my thankful numero cinque. You all make blogging more fun than journaling, I feel community in you, and I learn from you every day. Thank you!!!
Cento – A general thankfulness
I am still feeling a bit of shock when I encounter smokers. Even at my most recent restaurant gig in Seattle, few people smoked. And I was working in a restaurant, folks – c’mon, let’s acknowledge the stereotype. I still feel surprised when I plow through clouds of smoke here, and even moreso when it is U.S. citizens smoking. I’m glad my college-years social smoking quickly faded as I became more engaged in running and yoga. The occasional cigarette and Scotch took longer to fade, but I happily enjoy a nip of Scotch all on its own, now. Thanks, self & society!