What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?
Unexpected gifts: a work trip to Amsterdam and a most deliciously wonderful cream pastry eaten just outside of the red light district; an envelope of surprise money when I was hungry and broke; a rainbow on a beach one day after a sprinkling of Scottish rain; a surprise, completely free trip to Greece in the middle of the summer (dolmathes! dolmathes!); and a farewell dinner in St. Andrews that ended up being the most delicious meal I’d ever had in Scotland.
Because how is it possible, really, to pick just one thing to appreciate? For all that last year had its hardships, there were so many wonderful things about it, too. Food was a big thing, as you’ve probably already guessed. Most of the unexpected gifts from last year have to do with food in some way or another. But they also have to do with people, and the kindness of others: my manager, who paid my way in our lottery group for a good few months because I couldn’t afford to do it; a dear friend who took me on the above-mentioned trip to Greece; another dear friend who shared some Scotland time with me and was my dinner companion on that last night in St. Andrews; the cool cat Edinburgh friends who had me over to their house countless times and introduced me to the culinary exquisiteness that is cheese sauce.
Perhaps you don’t truly appreciate how wonderful these things are until you’ve been in those low moments. I could, for example, have seen the amount of traveling that I did last year as the thing to be most thankful for. But when stacked up against good friends and good food — especially as there were times when I didn’t have good food — the travel doesn’t give me quite that same flood of warmth.
I would like to do more traveling this year, if I could. But if this year brings me unexpected gifts like the ones described above, I’d consider myself a lucky woman. And as for how I express gratitude for these things — I hope that I have been a likewise good friend and source of warmth for the people described above. I hope I have opportunities to be an unexpected gift, in many ways, for other people. And that’s what I wish for today.