Monday, November 28, 2005

What I was thankful for. . .

The main thing I was thankful for was family. I had the chance to be with my parents, my brother and his wife, my nephew, and my brother-in-law (my sister-in-law's brother) along with my spouse and daughter. Also, my brother's compadre (his son's godfather) and spouse were there as well. Though my parents and brother don't live that far (in Fort Worth, Texas), it does feel distant from Houston, so any chance we get to go up there is highly cherished. The nice thing about celebrating Thanksgiving in a Puerto Rican household is the food because in addition to things like turkey, we have all sorts of other dishes. For instance, instead of ham, we make a nice pork loin ("pernil," for the Spanish speakers). We also had some arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas), and homemade tembleque (a type of coconut custard) for dessert. This year we had a fried turkey; my brother-in-law brought a deep fryer for the occassion. I must say it was good eating. We told jokes and stories; we laughed; we had fun; we had music. The spirit of the season was in the air. We just left Houston behind and had a great time.

My brother has a new house, and his family is expecting a new baby, due in May. He is desperately hoping for a little boy, while my mom and most the women are praying for a girl. He figures, or so my mother thinks, that he is worried he would have to actually behave decently if he has a girl. Go figure. Either way, the new family member will be welcomed and loved I am sure. So, I am thankful for that.

I am thankful that my family survived the first year down in Houston. The job has gone well, even though it had its moments (and still does), but overall, it has been and continues to be a good experience. My wife is doing well in her work, and our daughter has adjusted well to school, and she is involved in Girl Scouts as well. The part I am sure she is thankful for is the weather. I mean, it is great there are days in November you can still wear summer clothes, or so she thinks. During this year, we added to members to our family: Autumn and Isis, two kittens who are very curious, and are pretty much happy as they try to point out who really owns the apartment. I think we are reaching a happy medium.

As my father said during our prayer back home, we are thankful for our health, and we hope we will have good health in the coming year.

I am thankful for small wonders. For the fact my daughter reminds me of such small wonders. Innocence can be a wonderful thing. I am also thankful for the small wonders that some of my students show me at work. I am thankful for the opportunities to learn and grow. And I am thankful because in some small way, I have the chance to make the world a bit better than I found it.

I have a lot to be thankful for, and this past holiday was an opportunity to reflect on that and to look towards the year ahead. Now, I am not terribly religious (ok, I am almost a heathen if readers need to know), but I consider myself to be spiritual. So, in the words of one of my old scout leaders, I pray, "in the manner most convenient to each," that we will all have good health in the next year and that we can all be together one more year.

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