We have a larger-than-usual abundance of people and things to feel thankful for on this, our first Thanksgiving back in the U.S. in three years.
· Our friends outside the U.S., especially in China, who laughed with us, cried with us, drank with us, and scolded cab drivers with us. We know what it’s like to be an American far from home on this most American of holidays. And we are so lucky to have met friends from nations on every spot of the globe.
· Our family near and far. As I type, Daniel and Joanna are asleep in their childhood bedrooms. As we sat around the (small, temporary) dinner table last night, we reminisced about China. Add in my larger family, particularly my siblings who made it possible for me to live in China for three years without feeling too much guilt, and I know how lucky I am.
· My mother’s good health. The fact that she threw together a couple of pies and home-made rolls for my brother’s Thanksgiving table, she goes to church every week, and golfs every summer is a sign of just how vital and lively she is still.
· The incredible help we got in the last few years from friends and family here – giving us beds to sleep in, picking us up at the airport, taking us back to the airport, feeding us, collecting our mail, making time to see us on our whirlwind visits home, and welcoming us home.
· Smudge’s safe return home. She understands she’s home, and while she’s not a well cat and I doubt I’ll have many more years with her, today she’s safely under the couch in the living room. The day before she actually sat on the window seat in the family room and chirped at the birds flying by.
· Our house. It’s small and at the moment jammed packed with almost 30 years of accumulated stuff, all coated with a layer of dust, but it’s home.
· Washington DC and America in general. The air is clean, the streets peaceful, the internet works like it should, and the press is free.
· Clean food and water. I’m still getting used to drinking from the tap, buying whatever I want in the grocery store, and cooking it all with no worries.
We miss China and our friends there very much, but being home again is a comfort beyond words.