I am Thankful

I keep telling myself I’m going to be better about regularly posting. Most of the time I believe this; I can’t see why I shouldn’t. Should reading nonsense fiction novels and watching stupid (when I say stupid know that I mean highly entertaining with little substance) movies take precedence over communicating, albeit one sided, with family and friends? No, but as time turns and the excitement of “new” wanes it’s hard to express simple thoughts and events in terms that might seem exciting or meaningful. I don’t want to bore you. . . . more. Therefore, I envision the need for well thought out dramatic prose and exciting adventures as an absolute necessity. And frankly, that’s exhausting and burdensome, as well as not true. I know. So I’m going to just list some things I’ve been thinking about or doing:

  • In response to Patrick: I too love the stories and histories. Apparently my friend does not, and his efforts were a one time gesture to cement a forming friendship. Oh well, looks like I’ll have to do my own research.
  • If you would like to sample a taste of heaven go out and buy some Kewpie Mayonnaise (I’m pretty sure this is impossible considering I don’t think it’s sold in the states) If you can find this delicious treat buy in bulk! RED JAR ONLY. The blue is sweet and tastes like sugar water. blah.
  • The other day I had the best soup I’ve tasted since being in China. The reason: it was a slightly less oily and salty (and therefore, less tasty) version of the Beshbarmak sourpa. If only I had the opportunity to actually eat the meal!
  • China isn’t that cold. Correction: Shanghai/Suzhou isn’t that cold. What makes it feel cold is that despite the illusion of walls and ceilings, you are actually living outside 100% of the time. IE: the temp doesn’t go up when you enter your apartment. The neighbors down the hall seem to enjoy this harmonious existence with the cooler winter weather exemplified by the opening of every possible  window or door in the building.
  • Being solely responsible for paying the heating bill makes the above mentioned situation agonizingly simple to resolve. Turn on the heat. But considering the “ILLUSION” of structures built to keep heat in, the coast sky rockets! And breathing deep and steady my hold equal effectiveness. I’m holding on to my money for the time being.
  • I’ve just spent my second Thanksgiving out of the country. This one hit a little harder than last year considering there wasn’t the getting kicked out of a country thing going on to divert my attention. I miss my family and friends. I miss Kazakhstan and the fact that I should still be there with other family and friends. I had a wonderful Thanksgiving in Shanghai (it’s quite possible you saw the apartment I was at if you saw SkyFall) with my new family and friends. I realize how lucky I am, to have more people to miss every year. Isn’t that what traveling, growing up; living, is all about? There were so many places I wanted to be this Thanksgiving. So many places I thought I should have been. Yet, I was happy I was able to be in Shanghai. People belonging to a family help each other out when casual friends wouldn’t. They might not agree with you, or like what you say or do, but they try to understand and at the very least listen.
  • I am unbelievably thankful for my Kazakh family who I have been lucky enough to have weekly conversations with for over a year now (thanks to the tireless efforts of Amantai Apai and the best language learning partner ever, you rocked that body parts lesson! Remember when our biggest concern was being sent back after failing the language test). I am thankful for my Peace Corps family. If your not a family after 48-72 hrs on a train sharing poop your pants stories (which could last hours) on more than one occasion, I’m not sure what you are. I am thankful for the sandwiches, spreadable cheese, stinky fish, and cold train stations we shared while searching for some compensation in a futile effort of understanding. Acceptance isn’t necessarily understanding.
  • I am thankful for my China family, as you in America will be when I introduce DUCK to Thanksgiving dinner (soo much better). I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than conversations till 5am, paper hand turkeys, duck, and Sheesha. They also haven’t mentioned how annoying it is to hear about Kazakhstan so much. I’m am sincerely appreciative of that. And I do try to limit it!
  • More than anything I am thankful for the unwavering support of my family in America. I have missed weddings, parties, babies, and holidays, but the comments here, conversations on facebook and the phone help me realize how truly lucky I am to have so many things to miss. There are friends who you can show a few pictures to, and then there are those people who will sit and listen to you talk for hours about 5 photos; maybe because it’s interesting, but more so because they know it’s important to you. Thank you for all your support in everything I have done. . . . especially for humoring me by making it through these loooong posts.

Maybe it’s hard for me to stay consistent in writing because I know that despite my best efforts a monster of a post always results. Sorry to get all sentimental, but it was just Thanksgiving and we didn’t share our thanks! Here are some pics of all my wonderful friends and family I feel blessed and luck to have! Some are old. . . .and I need more of my cousins! !

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5 Responses to I am Thankful

  1. Coryn says:

    miss you Ben! thankful to have you as a friend! 🙂

  2. Dan Bourret says:

    You should be used to the no heat thing after living with me…

  3. Mom says:

    Wow Ben, thanks for sharing so much of yourself with us. You know I will NEVER be bored with your long blogs. And those pictures, alot of them I’ve never seen. What a blessed life. Christmas will not be the same without you!!!! Please tell your mama I am so thankful for her. Love you.

  4. micheleth says:

    Dearest Ben, you put into words exactly how I was feeling this Thanksgiving season, but I hadn’t been able to say it quite as well as you. I had imagined being somewhere else this Thanksgiving and with different people, and although it turned out to be lovely, it was a bittersweet day for me, as I’m sure it was for so many of us Kaz 23’s. I think of you often, buddy, and I’m so thankful for YOU. Thanks for sharing your adventures with those of us who live in less exciting places (read: Michigan). Love you lots!

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