101

Sometime back in October or November, I realized that I would soon pass the 100-post mark on this blog.  I thought that perhaps the 100th or 101st post would be in honor of a new year and that maybe it would be interesting to make a list of one hundred things that I am thankful for.  Cheesy you say?  Perhaps, if you’ve never tried it.  I’m beginning to believe, however, that the only cure for discontent is thankfulness.  The things that frustrate and annoy me spring to mind very quickly.  The things for which I am grateful are usually taken for granted until they are examined directly.  It takes a heavy effort to stop and be thankful, especially when I am in the middle of being annoyed.  Strangely, whenever I have made that effort, the frustration usually disperses a little.

I started this particular post on New Year’s Day, well aware that I probably should have started much earlier.  One hundred and one different things that genuinely make me say “Thank you so much” is actually a lot.  A whole lot.  I thought maybe it would take me a few days.  Then I started and quickly readjusted my writing goal.  After the first twenty items, I discovered it was really difficult to come up with more than five to eight in a sitting.  I usually had to go away for at least a day and think about it some more.  When you’re looking at number twenty-five and drawing a blank for the next one, it’s  daunting to imagine coming up with seventy-six more.  More than once, I thought I’d just publish the list at less than one hundred and admit defeat.  But that would also amount to saying that I didn’t have a hundred things to be thankful for.  Given that that is not true, I had not choice but to keep going.

In the end, it took me exactly four weeks to finish the list.  Here they are, mostly in no particular order (the place on the list is not a ranking), though some items were kept together because they just belong together.  If you decide to try and make a list of your own, let me know how it goes.

  1. Wool socks.
  2. All the friends and family who have come to visit me in Kenya over the last four years.
  3. Quality Ethiopian and Indian food at my fingertips.
  4. K — who taught me to sew, cook, and cake-decorate.
  5. Sleep.
  6. The means and opportunity to see my family on a regular basis.
  7. Skype.
  8. E — who, among other awesomeness, is always willing to water my plants when I’m out of town.
  9. Mangos.
  10. The ocean.
  11. Oxygen.  Which I miss on Mt. Kenya, appreciate at the beach, and love especially when I’m fifty feet below the surface and staring down a sea turtle.
  12. Sea turtles.  And everything else that lives on the reef.
  13. All the friends who share my love of the outdoors: “Camping?  Hiking?  Kayaking?  Diving?  Sure!  When?”
  14. Great books.
  15. Great authors.
  16. My beautiful niece and nephews: Abrielle, Asher, Justus, and Tytus.
  17. Wilson (my newly christened, very old car) who keeps going and going and going and …
  18. The young man who has washed Wilson five mornings a week for four and a half years and is now an expert car washer.  I think it’s time to give that man a raise.
  19. The caretaker in my apartment complex who often intercepts the power company disconnection-man, buys me time (literally), and then reminds me that my bill is due.  And this usually on a day when I have company coming for dinner.
  20. S, C, and Z — who made my recent return to SA meaningful and memorable.
  21. My personal technology adviser: my brother.  (Also my regular book-recommender.)
  22. My personal style consultant: my sister.  (Also my guide to good eats in SoCal.)
  23. The tech department at school.  Their mere presence in the room is often magical.
  24. Skirts.  (I just like them)
  25. My sewing machine.  One of my favorite creative tools, with me now for 8 years.
  26. Morning sun in my bedroom window.
  27. My own bed.
  28. Fun, hilarious, and amazing cousins.
  29. Airplanes.  (I don’t love them, but I’m thankful for them.  How does that work?)
  30. Lilies.  And gardenias, and jasmine, and tuber roses – blossoms that catch your breath in every way.
  31. The Spring Valley Supermarket.  It’s just so nice to have a grocer, green grocer, butcher, and pharmacist only a two minute-walk from my front door.
  32. The tidal wave of birdsong that wakes me up most mornings.
  33. Singing with the Nairobi Chamber Chorus.
  34. The friends I have made through the NCC.  Even when they laugh at my proper Swahili.
  35. M — my amazing Swahili teacher.
  36. K — whose leadership of the NCC has proven that there are in fact wise and just men in Kenya, able to lead their own.
  37. Gas stoves.
  38. Hot showers.
  39. Banana chips.
  40. Cell phones.
  41. The smell of home.
  42. Comfy couches for afternoon naps.
  43. E and T&K — who have fed me wonderful, home-cooked meals when I’ve been sick.
  44. Washing machines.
  45. Electricity.  You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.
  46. Quiet spaces.
  47. Green places to walk, run, and picnic.  (The Karua Forest, for example.)
  48. Mosquito nets.
  49. A home big enough to share with visitors.
  50. Supportive administrators.
  51. Having an accompanist for my choir classes.
  52. Christmas cards and all other snail mail that comes to me here.  So cheerful.
  53. Beautiful music.
  54. The friends who have remained a present part of my life through long years and vast distances.
  55. My in-laws.  After years of one brother and one sister, it has been fun to have a new sister and a new brother.
  56. My third-floor classroom on the far corner of campus.  It’s a workout built into my day.
  57. Former students who make a point to come back and say hi.
  58. Good health and energy (when I have it).
  59. Weekends.
  60. The large indoor clothes-drying space attached to my kitchen.  A good thing, since I often forget to bring in the laundry.
  61. Those rare moments when Nairobi roads are almost empty.  (Because they are never completely empty; and if they were, I’d be worried.)
  62. Tree-tomato and passion juice.
  63. Friendly, respectful, and helpful neighbors.
  64. The world’s closest-to-perfect weather.
  65. Delivery – pizza, curry, sushi, whatever … when it shows up at my door, “Thank You!”
  66. Cheese.
  67. Dark chocolate.
  68. The amazing diversity that exists on Earth.  Wherever I go, I am astounded by all there is to see and explore: peaks and caverns, ice and sand, water and rock, places where the only canopy is sky and places where the only sky is green for trees, the mammoth and minute.  Infinity stretches in all directions and I am thankful for it.
  69. Modern medicine.
  70. Fresh bread.
  71. Home group.
  72. Reliable and safe public transport systems.  (There isn’t really one here, but when I am around it, I am thankful.)
  73. The abundance of resources available to me at school.
  74. A room in my home I can dedicate to artsy projects.
  75. My students who are patient with me when I am forgetful or when I try new teaching experiments.
  76. My teachers who took a genuine and individual interest in me when I was discovering my academic path.  (And those who still stay in touch.)
  77. My aunt and uncle who let me live with them for so significant a time.
  78. Puzzles that tickle the brain.
  79. A social kitchen.  (The kind of kitchen big enough to allow the non-cooks to hang out in the same space, or do small tasks like chop veggies, without getting in the way.  This is not the same as an open kitchen-dining area, where the kitchen space is still separate and the people sitting at the dinning table just watch from a distance.)
  80. My local grocer who lets me “put it on my tab” when I forget to replenish my wallet before leaving home.
  81. Wise council.
  82. Mountains that test the limits of my endurance.  Through them, I usually discover that those limits are more flexible than I think.
  83. P & B — who have taken care of me in Kenya as though I were a second daughter or niece.
  84. Online banking.  (I can’t even fathom how my parents and grandparents traveled and lived in so many places without it.)
  85. That I get to do something I love.  Teaching may be challenging, but it brings me so much joy.
  86. Boats.
  87. Ice cream and/or gelato.
  88. Dragonflies.
  89. That my parents always supported my many curious creative whims.  (Various musical instruments, cross-stitch, latch-hook, sign-language, star-gazing, puzzling for months on end, framing the massive puzzles, black/white photography and learning to develop the prints myself, composting, etc)
  90. Rocking chairs and porch swings.
  91. Thunder storms.
  92. Candlelit evenings when the storm knocks out the power.
  93. Sunscreen, and the people who remind me to put it on.
  94. All the stuff I was forced to memorize when I was little.  Given how much I forget on a regular basis, it amazes me how often and easily I remember helpful words, poems, songs, and facts that I memorized twenty years ago.  I appreciate it all now.
  95. Opportunities to travel and experience different people in different places.
  96. All those who support my seasonal nomadism and let me invade their homes temporarily.
  97. My grandparents, who have shaped my life in so many ways.
  98. Time to write.
  99. My mini urban garden.  Plants in pots and baskets are good when you are surrounded by cement.
  100. Trees.
  101. The Lord, the Giver of Life, who has said to my soul so simply, “Come.”

3 thoughts on “101

Add yours

  1. Love the new look and you 101 list! Reminds me that I should pay more attention to all the things that I'm blessed with and be happy, grateful and happy for the bounty of people, earth, sky and love that surrounds us!

    Like

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