The Beginning of the Most Wonderful Time

My family’s never really celebrated Thanksgiving in the conventional sense of the holiday (Hot pot instead of turkey, anyone?), but the older I get, the more I’ve come to appreciate this time of year. It’s a hugely necessary break in the academic schedule, and it’s also just nice to take some time to think about what you’re thankful for.

In light of this long (and not yet finished) seventh semester of college, here is a list of all the things I’ve been grateful for this past year, because I truly haven’t spent enough time dwelling on this:

Being at Berkeley

A bit removed from campus, but still darling Berkeley all the same.

Over the course of this semester, a couple of my friends and I have come up with a mantra that began as a joke — but eventually turned into something almost serious.

“Look calm on the outside, but always be screaming on the inside.”

It is, at its heart, still a joke, since I’m not always screaming on the inside, (I would not be able to handle myself perpetually screaming.) but I cannot express how relieved I am that there are only three official weeks left of this academic semester.

I’ve felt challenged — academically, physically, mentally, and personally — more than I have in previous semesters.

But as rough as some of these days have been, I’m still grateful to be at this school because of these exact challenges. I’m grateful that I’ve had the chance to go through these experiences and learn from them. Because even though I’ve stumbled more than I would’ve liked, I’m at Berkeley to learn and to figure out what I can work on for myself.

Making new and keeping old friends

"We look like a girl band." | Photo Courtesy of Eileen Wang
“We look like a girl band.” | Photo Courtesy of Eileen Wang

I’ve known my entire life that I’m an introvert, but this semester has also decided to bring me closer to more people on a regular basis than I ever thought I would be comfortable with. I usually take a couple weeks to settle into the semester; this time, it took actual months because I had so many errands to run with so many people.

I’m immensely grateful that I have had the chance to meet up and spend time with so many people. Even if some of these errands were work obligations, all this time spent out and about has, in part, ensured that I keep in touch with more of my friends than I generally do.

And of course this gratitude goes hand-in-hand with my being grateful to my friends. I won’t name all of you by name, but…

Thank you to my mantra-buddies for being the best virtual (and in-person) companions 24/7 this past year: I could not have survived this without you.

To my weekly lunch friends for providing me opportunities to get good food and keep my head clear: I’m always so, so glad to see you, regardless of how my week has been.

To my Spoonies for being a wonderful group of fellow food lovers among whom we can all indulge ourselves: I don’t even know where to start with you all, because all of you are da real MVPs.

To my friends both near and far for your perpetual love and support: I’m sorry we haven’t been able to see each other as much, but I hope to see all of you very, very soon.

To my partner for being my best friend: I could not be more grateful to have you here with me than I do this year.

Spending time with my family

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Photo-ception of baking adventures. | Photo Courtesy of my mom

Thanksgiving is never complete without family time. I’ve said this a couple times in some of my other blog posts, but truly —

I love Thanksgiving because it’s just this perfect, happy in-between season time where I can feel cozy and warm at home, but also begin to think about Christmas. There’s the feeling of anticipation, of gratitude, of love, as well as all the time you can spend with friends and family.

I’m so, so grateful that I am/was able to spend the beginning of the holiday season with my family who have provided me with just some of the family time that I can’t get during the year, surrounded me with comfort and support, and given me that little added boost of love to recharge me for the last stretch of the semester.

It’ll go a long way.

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