I'm thankful for the opportunity to be living in Spain.
I'm thankful for visiting the Vatican and sitting on the Spanish steps. I'm thankful for that penny I threw into the Trevi Fountain. I'm thankful for all the laughs riding the roller coaster at Oktoberfest. I'm thankful for getting to see Big Ben and Tower Bridge. I'm thankful to have swum in the Mediterranean Sea. I'm thankful for my stroll through Parque Guell with some of my closest friends. I'm thankful for riding camels in Morocco. I'm thankful to be going skydiving in Switzerland in two short weeks. I'm thankful for taking classes at one of the best universities in Spain. I'm thankful for the feeling that I need to "get home" to Madrid when I'm leaving a trip over the weekend. I'm thankful for FaceTime keeping me in touch with people back home.
But also I'm thankful for the things that haven't gone quite as planned. I'm thankful for the bouncer in Portugal who asked us to pay 400 euro each to get into the club. I'm thankful for the shoes I broke at Kapital because we spent far too many hours on the dance floor. I'm thankful for the time we couldn't find a third Lime scooter so we had to ride one together and practically fell off laughing so hard. I'm thankful for my Spanish teacher who asked "¿Dónde está tu cabeza?" when I got a question wrong which really put me in my place but got a good laugh from everyone else. I'm thankful for not being able to take all the classes I had wanted to register for, because now I have a four-day weekend with more learning than I could ever get from the classroom. I'm thankful for the wild nights at discotecas that turned into relaxed wine nights just enjoying each other's company.
This year, I have more than enough to be grateful for. My life has truly never been better. Even in the hardest/weirdest/most disappointing times of this experience, I can acknowledge that I shouldn't even waste a second being sad or mad or upset in any way. I'm a firm believer that even the worst happens for the best and you can only grow as a person when you're uncomfortable and trying new things out.
This Thanksgiving post would be inadequate if I didn't get to throw a few shout-outs to those back in the United States. So here it goes.
To my family. Mom, Dad, Lauren, and Allie I cannot wait for our trip to Portugal next week. You have all been such a blessing in my life and I couldn't thank you enough for shaping me into the woman I am today, for always lifting me up, and for being just the overall best. Being without you all this Thanksgiving will sure be different. Mom, I'll miss your constant generosity to everyone at our house on Thanksgiving. I'll also miss the sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, and cranberries. Dad, I'll miss you forcing us to listen to "Alice's Restaurant" by Arlo Guthrie. I still don't know if it has anything to do with Thanksgiving? But it's always a painful 20-minute song to listen to. But I still miss you. Lauren, I'll miss you asking me to curl your hair and asking to try on my dresses 10 minutes before the family comes over. Allie, I'll miss you getting upset because we somehow ended up matching agaaaiiiin and it's embarrassing. I will also miss your desserts.
To my friends. Thank you for texting me weekly, daily, even by the minute to update me on all that is new in the world and making sure I'm doing okay. Thank you for sending me Snapchats of campus and telling me all the latest news. Thank you for FaceTiming me even when it continually breaks up every two minutes. Thank you for texting me even when you know I'm asleep to tell me that you miss having me around to hang out. Thank you for remembering me even when I feel far removed.
To Villanova. Thank you for the late nights, both studying and partying. Thank you for being beautiful in the fall and for making the rain seem a little worse with the subsequent double rainbows. Thank you for the classes with strangers who turn into best friends. Thank you for introducing me to intelligent and outspoken people who constantly challenge me. Thank you for making me feel safe enough to go on runs outside at 11PM. Thank you for the dance company and letting me continue to do what I love most. Thank you for giving me a new reason to work hard each and every day. And finally, thank you for the basketball team and one of my favorite nights of my college career for the Championship.
Halfway across the world during one of my favorite holidays, I have to admit that I will be missing quite a few things about Thanksgiving in a couple weeks. But I feel like the luckiest person in the world and have so much to be thankful about while I'm here and so much to look forward to when I get home!