I am taking a break from the steady stream of safari posts (partly due to the fact that my internet is so slow that uploading photos is close to impossible) to post a traditional Thanksgiving note.
The pumpkin pie is in the oven, ready for tomorrow's potluck community event. I'm looking forward to it - a casual get together with everybody's different traditions mingled together. My office has been a fun hubbub of recipe sharing this week and laughter as we tried to make grocery shopping lists that just might work at the grocery store. The only real fail was miniature marshmallows, but the sweet potato casserole will have pink and white giant marshmallows which really aren't that different, right?
I admit I got a little sappy at work today thinking about everything for which I have to be thankful this year, and my team may have had to endure a few extra sappy emails and thank yous. But they're awesome and they deserve it.
This has been a good year for my family, with the addition of a third lovely sister-in-law this past August. I haven't written about their wedding, but it was perfect and reflected my brother and his bride so incredibly well. I was so grateful to so many family and friends for making the trip to NH, because it meant I got to see everybody during my time in the United States. There was a lot of work in the days leading up to the wedding, but that meant time to bond with my sister-in-law's family and friends, and it made the big day that much more special for everybody.
Today is my younger nephew's birthday, and I am just so impressed by the great people he and his sister are growing up to be. They're fun, witty, curious, and always up for an adventure. And my older nephew has grown up into a great young man, and he continues to pursue his dreams and advance at work. I just had a chance to talk to the younger guy after his birthday lunch at the movies, which helps bridge the distance a little bit. And his mother does a great job posting photos and sharing stories about the kids so the aunts and uncles who don't live nearby can feel more involved.
I love my job and my colleagues, in Beirut and in all my previous posts. I am so thankful for their support, friendship, and dedication to public service, especially those who aren't U.S. citizens. Even the hard days are doable thanks to all of them. Here we've had a rough few months, as you can imagine from reading the news, and one of the best resiliency tools we have is the great camaraderie and collective sense of humor and fun that we share.
I'm thankful for the ease of travel my career affords me (I could have phrased that differently but liked the almost-pun). Since joining the Foreign Service I've spent Thanksgiving in the United States, Egypt, Uganda, Tanzania, and now Lebanon. I realize looking at this now that I was never in KSA over Thanksgiving, but I did spend a Christmas there. I love that even when I can't be with my family on this holiday I always have good friends to spend it with.
There are many more reasons to be thankful, but this is what's on my mind tonight. May you all have delicious, fun, peaceful Thanksgivings surrounded by wonderful people.