Even in such a challenging year, there is much to be thankful for…
Naturally, the Portuguese don’t celebrate American holidays, but that didn’t mean Won and I were going to let the Thanksgiving holiday pass without being recognized and celebrated. Instead of a roasted turkey with all trimmings and a table full of family to enjoy it all, we roasted a chicken for the two of us and used technology to laugh and chat with family.
For those who are not familiar with the Thanksgiving holiday, more than anything, it is a day to reflect and acknowledge the things and people for which we are deeply grateful and very thankful.
For us, family – immediate and extended – is at the top of the list. We are incredibly blessed because it is a large diverse group of smart, funny, talented, hardworking, selfless, kind and loving people – and it continues to grow. My brother Steve married Kristine on October 24 in a small (5 person) COVID-era ceremony in Northern California. Once it is safe to do so, we will all gather and have a great party to celebrate their union. Won and I wish them a lifetime of happiness, infinite love, and countless blessings.
We are also thankful for the breadth and depth of all the wonderful people we have the privilege of calling friends. Each one makes our life richer, more fun, and more interesting. I can’t wait for local restrictions to ease so we can continue to make and nurture new friendships and the travel ban is lifted so our calendar can fill up with visits from old friends!
We are especially thankful for the kindness and understanding of the Portuguese people. They have been patient and encouraging as we learn to speak their language and very helpful by offering great recommendations for restaurants and interesting places to visit. They have also provided valuable referrals to veterinarians, dentists, doctors, car repair shops, and even golf courses – you know, all the really important stuff.
We are so thankful that we were able to get Sweet Pea to Portugal comfortably and safely. We loved that she could be physically with us every step of the way, reducing the stress level for everyone. But, we are most thankful that her recent health scare was professionally, quickly, and successfully resolved.
We are incredibly grateful for modern technology. Video chats, emails, messaging, and social media have become critical lifelines that ensure we can stay in touch on a daily basis. It has bridged the chasm of distance and helped make this forced separation (due to the virus) less scary and more manageable.
This year has been more than difficult for so many people we know and love. On top of the challenges associated with the virus, some have dealt with serious health issues (and some continue to cope with them), some needed to evacuate because of fires, some lovingly supported and cared for family members who were (and still are) ill, and some experienced tragic loss. In the face of such sadness, worry, and anxiety, we are reminded more than ever to be thankful for friends and family, for the love and loyalty of our furry family members, for happy memories, and for the simple pleasures of sunshine, flowers, and birdsong.
Sometimes, in the face of so many challenges, we can forget to give thanks for all the happy events that took place this year. Graduations, weddings, job successes, births, creative successes, anniversaries, birthday celebrations, and personal wins. These special markers remind us that life is wonderful and to be grateful for every day.
I am personally grateful for YOU! The simple fact that you are reading this post connects us and gives me a sense of warmth and happiness. It helps to shrink time and distance and makes the world more intimate. This is my 50th (!!) blog post since starting “From Portugal with Love.” I started it as a way to keep family and friends updated on what we were doing so I didn’t have to write multiple emails. I had no idea it would grow the way it has – I now have 207 regular followers (welcome to the three that joined just this week)! It is a great, unexpected joy for me. My hope is that it has been fun, interesting, and informative for you to read. I will strive to keep it that way, but if you ever feel I’m off track don’t hesitate to let me know. I love getting feedback – all kinds.
To end this blog, I am sharing three photos from each month we have been here. Looking back on our journey so far, it is hard to believe that we get to live here and have this wonderful adventure and for that we are deeply grateful.
Whoa…that was HARD! My original plan was to post one photo for each month. I quickly realized that wasn’t going to cut it, increased my allotment to three, and then struggled with that restriction. The images above barely scratch the surface of all the places we have been and the things we have done. LOL! I guess that’s another thing for which I can be thankful – being able to explore Portugal and record our experiences with digital photos.
With a heartfelt thank you…
From Portugal with love,