Around this time of year, many people like to discuss the "first" Thanksgiving. Americans debate Thanksgiving's historical accuracy and our culture's depiction of Native Americans. What I find interesting about the "first" Thanksgiving is that the idea of thanksgiving sprang from multiple countries' religious traditions of giving thanks to God. Thanksgiving was especially important for immigrants as they settled in foreign lands and faced the threat of war, starvation and death. So there are numerous records of thanksgiving ceremonies throughout early American history, in Massachusetts, but also in the Spanish colony of Florida, and in the Virginia Colony, near Jamestown.
Admittedly, when Phil and I arrived in Bristol just over two years ago, there was no threat of war, starvation or death. But even so, the transition wasn't exactly easy, so we were thankful for all the kindness shown to us on our arrival. Last year we celebrated Thanksgiving as a potluck at our house, inviting all of our new UK friends to join us. We are continuing the tradition this year.
And I feel I have so much to be thankful for.
I'm thankful for all the basic necessities I have which many others lack. I'm thankful for a roof over my head, plenty of food to eat, heat, fresh water and health (yes, I've had a cold/flu how many times this autumn? But really, it could be so much worse).
I'm thankful for a large and loving family which I get to speak to and see often, even though they live so far away (thank God for Skype!).
I'm thankful for my friends, old friends who have stayed in touch and new friends who have reached out to me.
I'm thankful for the opportunity this year to pursue my writing dream. And I'm also thankful for my fellow students, teachers and supportive family who have helped me enjoy pursuing it so much.