I´ve been going back and forth between what I want to write about for Thanksgiving for over a week now. It´s a science blog, so I figured hitting you with Turkey facts galore would be fun. For example: Did you know that in 1929 the average turkey weight was 13 lbs and in 2013 it has almost doubled to 30lbs!? Also, wild turkeys are capable of flying and sleep in trees. Down in Oz I was witness to one literally running up a tree, flapping its wings hysterically as it went. The first meal on the moon eaten by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin was a turkey! (Gobble, gobble up, Neil!) But then I realized: this is MY (science) blog after all. So it´s time to get a little personal. When I think of Thanksgiving, I don´t think of the turkey. To me, it´s about giving thanks and being surrounded by my favorite people. My favorite Thanksgiving memory is of my family and friends sitting together and the question “What are you thankful for?” being passed around in a circle and answered. So that´s what I will be dedicating this blog to, to the very emotional and unscientific question, “What am I thankful for”.
I am thankful for where I am in life now, and most of all I am thankful for the people that I´ve met along the way. We had good times, we had awkward times, we had animosity and we had smiles and giggles. We had fun.
The last year has been a whirlwind of emotions and excitement. I am thankful for one of my best friends taking the time to have hour – long conversations on the phone with so I could muster up all the courage I needed to actually get on that plane down to Melbourne. I am thankful for the opportunity to come down to Oz in the first place, for the Australian embassy granting my visa (it´s so much harder to get into the States). I am thankful for the amazing people I met in Albury and its climbing gym, who gave me a place where I felt welcome, who let me feel at home 18.000km from the place I was born. I am thankful for my wonderful brother, who not only came to visit me for an adventurous road trip down the gorgeous east coast of Oz, but has been the sweetest, most patient listener in the universe during those long hours in the car. Thank you for the music, thank you for the endless laughter, thank you for your limitless love. (It´s also his birthday today! And man, am I thankful he was born.) I am thankful for the friends I made in Sydney, the hours we spent on the surf, trying (and failing) to do backflips into the waves, the witty banter in the pubs and the (buddy-) climbs in the gyms. I am thankful for the opportunity to work in Melbourne, for being able to stay in such a beautiful place as the Walther – Eliza Hall Institute and work on a research project that challenges me with people who have been nothing but welcoming and accepting. I am thankful for my best friend from Georgia finally sitting me down and persuading me to start this blog, because it´s been a helluva fun ride already and I can´t wait to learn more about the work that I love by writing and telling you all about the wonders of modern science.
You would think all of this more than enough to be thankful for. But life just went ahead and after a year that was almost too much for me to bear, it gave me 2015. The year I met the kindest, caring, loving man I never believed I´d meet. You have been supportive through moments when I honestly thought you´d seen a side of me that would make any sane human run. From the moment I met you, I haven´t really been able to stop smiling. I am thankful for the dances in the kitchen, the singing during long car rides, the philosophical debates that leave me feeling in awe of (and sometimes frustrated by) a completely different point of view, the hours of quiet reading side by side, the email about the free Einstein books you just sent me (thank you for accepting my geeky, nerdy side, because I don´t think I can switch it off), the laughter, the giggles, the happiness you have brought me. I started the year feeling as empty and numb as I never had before in my life. I´d come to the conclusion that love couldn´t be anything but a long, weary battle. Thank you for proving me wrong.
All in all: I am thankful for 2015 and the people who made it happen. It feels like the year I finally came alive again.