November has rendered me speechless, but after taking some time to reflect and process, I have more than the “wow” I uttered at least a dozen times so far this month.

In times when we’ve been dealt odds that are against us, we have the tendency to want to throw in the towel. There are so many individuals out there right now who don’t know what to expect in the future, and rightfully so. If you are one of the people who doesn’t fear for what may be, be a beacon and shine bright for those need it. Be kind, be full of love, bring peace, and help your brothers and sisters on this planet who need a little love right now. We are truly stronger together, and only time will prove this to be true. If you are in fear of what may be, don’t forget that you are as much deserving of a life of love and happiness as everyone else. If you aren’t receiving what you deserve, fight and speak up for what you deserve. Surround yourself with people who accept you as you are, in any form. Don’t let anyone silence your voice, because you do and will always matter.

For all the chaos that seemed to take up the past week, there is still (and always) room for gratitude. As Thanksgiving approaches quicker than I expected, this will be the second Thanksgiving in a row that I am not at home. Last year, I was on a road trip with my college hockey team. This year, I am abroad and unable to make it home. There’s a lot to be thankful for, as I take the time to reflect on all that has happened this year, and even further back.

I’m thankful the wonderful group of friends and family I have all over the world, that have loved, supported, and accepted me as I am, no matter what.

For the job I have now, and the jobs I have had in the past that have led me to where I am and taught me so many various lessons.

For my college years, as turbulent as they were, I was reminded recently by a good friend of mine just how far I have come, and how much I have grown because of my time at Chatham. And just how “world ready” Chatham has made me, even though while still in school I didn’t imagine myself to be close to that.  For the wonderful friends Chatham brought into my life.

I’m thankful for my students, for always putting a smile on my face, even on the worst of days, and showing me that the smallest of things can turn a sour mood around.

For my coworkers, who have helped me get adjusted and improve at my new teaching job.

For Netflix, always showing me new shows and making me even more unproductive when I’m not at work.

For dumplings, tea, and shaved ice a plenty here in Taiwan, because even with as much as I eat, my second stomach will never be full of the delicious food.

For music, because of the ability it has to just take you away from our worries and to bring people together, no matter where you are in the world.

Lastly, but not least, for writing, because writing has taken me to places and opportunities I didn’t know existed, and language brings people together, teaches you, and shows you a whole world you didn’t know existed. A world, that perhaps, is more intriguing than you originally imagined.

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends and family! I miss you all, and hope you are well.

Published by Marie Soukup