In this time of thanksgiving, I have been reflecting on how blessed I truly am. I am surrounded by people who love and support me; I am doing something that finally challenges me, and every day I strive to rise to this challenge; I have all of the resources, inner and outer, that I need to sustain me. I am grateful for all that I have experienced, for it has made me into who I am today.
But a few more specific things— or rather people— come to mind:
A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of unexpectedly running into an old professor of mine from when I first studied in Italy. Her passion for the art and culture of the bel paese had a powerful effect on me, for it was during that seminal period in my life that I learned so much about myself and what it was that I was passionate about: and here I am, seven years later, in graduate school, living the dream that was born one morning as I watched the dawn rise over Venice, largely thanks to her.
Recently I also reconnected with an old friend, with whom I had fallen out of touch, and not under the best of circumstances; after four years, we have found our way back to one another. We met over a drink and caught up and reminisced about the adventures that we had shared together in Florence— those dizzy days of romance and hope and discovery and uncertainty. It was so wonderful to see her, and to observe how all of the misunderstandings and the hurt that resulted have dissipated with time. In all honesty, I never expected that this would happen. I am overwhelmed by the power of grace, and overjoyed to have my dear friend back, who once was lost to me.
Similarly, I am so thankful for my closest friend in my new city, who is always there for me. We bonded on a class trip to Rome (I am SO blessed to have opportunities like this, needless to say!), and ever since she has been my confidante and a sister in spirit. Though our faiths are different, she is one of the most open-minded and respectful people I know, and we share a deep connection that transcends any difference in creed. She is a beautiful human being, within and without.
I have also recently celebrated eight months with my boyfriend, a wonderful man who inspires and encourages me; his warmth, tenderness, and generosity of spirit support me in so many ways, and I am so very grateful to have him in my life. Together we have traipsed across the hills of Tuscany, the parks of Disney World, and the avenues of New York City, amongst other adventures... but more importantly, we have shared so many of those quiet, quotidian moments that make up much of our lives, and still we appreciate the beauty in them. I have learned so much at his side, and I look forward to watching our relationship continue to blossom (se son rose ancora non so... but I have a good feeling!).
My family, as always, are at the core of my support system, and I am thankful for them each and every day. I admire my parents who work so hard to provide us with all that we need, and my siblings who are each seeking to find their own paths in their own ways.
And, lastly, I am thankful for every friend with whom I have had the honor of crossing paths, even if only for an instant.