maybe the best part about any job are the unspoken parts. the bits that aren’t explicitly written into your contract. the subtext you create.

for me –

I am thankful for the many times each day I am reminded what a blessing it is to have been born into learning English. I can’t imagine anything so hard as trying to learn it.

aw. thanks tiny student.
aw. thanks tiny student.

It makes absolutely no sense, there are no patterns, no rules, no rhyme. And if you want to make fun of someone learning English because “you’re in America, dammit! Speak my language!,” please allow me to buy you a plane ticket, drop you in another country and then beat you senseless with a silent “e.”

i am thankful for my students that I think of, even on the weekend, hearing their voices in my head saying inane things like “the horse likes to drink water” and important things like “Ayyyyyyyeeeee loooooooow yuuuuuu, Miss Waaaaaaaaaayyyyy!!!!!” and  hearing the scurry of their feet across the tiles when I tell them they can pick out a sticker to put on their shirt for today’s work. (kids go ape over a sticker. i love that. send more stickers?)

I am thankful for the ingenuity that is friends discovering ways to make things when the true ingredients are nowhere to be found, that taste like home when you didn’t even know you liked pumpkin pie, pecan cobblers, etc. I could have cried over mashed potatoes tonight, thinking that despite the weather here in Rio that says all to the contrary, it is Fall and Thanksgiving and all kinds of made up but meaningful things in the States.

I am thankful for a job that pays enough for me to live in a place I’ve always dreamed about. Where I can see the sun set. Where I can have my toes in the water, ass in the sand.

I am thankful for the people of Brazil, who forgive me again and again for not speaking their language, for not 10701948_10103454856990727_2109314700187181585_nknowing where i am going, for not knowing how much change i should be making. Lord Jesus – these people are kinder than I deserve.

I am thankful for coworkers from so many different countries – they stop and ask me “whats this day all about? thanksgiving?” and I am forced to slow down where I may have hurried. I am reminded to be patriotic, to be politically correct, to remember things easily forgotten about our nation’s past.

I am thankful to live a life where things that I used to take for granted are now huge gifts. Like a shower with more than one temperature. Food and drink without anything crawling in it. Food I didn’t make and didn’t have to clean up after myself.

I am thankful to experience a different culture that makes me appreciate my own. That makes me question my own. That makes me take a serious look at my own, where before I wouldn’t have even noticed my own.

I am thankful for sun. For yummy drinks. For the sunscreen that you can spray on you so when you touch your eyes it doesn’t feel like poison in your eyeballs.

10354749_10205558981799091_225498845732258723_nI am thankful for couples in their 80s who want nothing more than to make pizzas on the beach for tipsy Brasilians. Or people who pretend to be.

And to have the time to sit around and wonder what I’m thankful for –

all right, God, I get it. Thankful. Thankful.