It’s the week of Thanksgiving and I’m thinking about Thanksgiving day last year when I was in Poland touring Auschwitz Concentration Camp, and that has really put things into perspective for me, especially moving forward in the future. I was so moved by my experience I actually came home and asked a friend to watch Schindler’s List with me because I had never seen it. After that I didn’t revisit the holocaust for some time. Not even to blog about it until 5 months after the fact.

Farmer's Market FlowersSo many things have happened in the past year to reflect upon, but a few major things stand out.

I started graduate school and I am getting paid to get a Master’s degree, so I remind myself often not to take this opportunity for granted because this opportunity is so rare. Even when I am completely overwhelmed and spend 4 hours extra every day at the library to write a thesis, and even when feel I have no idea what the F is going on.

Previously, I had been overseas for almost 4 years before moving back to the states in March. The craziest part is that one of my closest childhood friends and confidants, who I grew up with in Pennsylvania lives only two and half hours from Monterey, California where I go to school. What?! Is it because intertwined souls are meant to reunite in the future? I’m not sure, but it’s awesome being able to see her regularly, which has not been a thing since I graduated college almost 7 years ago.

The other major event this year was my younger sister Emmeline’s wedding. There was a moment where I thought I wouldn’t be there when she got married. I know, most of the time its a written rule that you should attend your sister’s wedding, if she’s having one.

SistersOriginally, she thought about getting married in the Virgin islands, just her and her now husband Patrick. Of course I would have been okay with it, but can I also admit that deep down I would have been a bit sad if my family and I couldn’t have been there.

The Zitka virus intervened (meaning we all said hell no H2O to that plan), and within one month my mom, aunt, and sister were able to put her wedding together in Wisconsin where I would be for my break in between semesters visiting family. My other sister Lenise even flew in from Japan for the wedding, which was amazing because the last time I had seen her in person was Christmas, 2014.

Luckily, we also plan to be together for Christmas this year, which is exciting. Unfortunately, at the age of 29, I have the worst relationship I’ve ever had with my mother, and I haven’t really been talking with her since July, and there’s much more to it than that, but I am grateful to be going home to see my family for Christmas.

As in every life, there is always ups and downs, the good and bads, and highs and lows. I definitely think it has a lot to do with how you look at it. I’ve always been an optimistic person. I never need coffee to get through the day, and I’m almost always the first person to wake up in the morning. To some, probably annoyingly so. hehe.

Being Thankful QuoteWherever you may be in the world this week, whatever you have going on, you’re alive, you’ve lived longer than others, and there is something empowering in that. Don’t forget to give thanks.

This article appeared first on The Cassey Excursion.