Yes, I’m Doing a Thanksgiving Post

The world turns, seasons change, and the weather moves from rain to wind as another year enters its final stretch and I begin my last month in Costa Rica.  That’s right, I’m going back.  Turns out, working for free in a foreign country on a tourist visa isn’t a sustainable career, at least with only a Bachelor’s Degree.  But I am not bitter, I am not complaining, especially today, an occasion to focus on things we are all grateful for.

Yes, as a particularly grumpy student reminded me, today is Thanksgiving in the US, although not in Costa Rica.  However, sitting around great heaps of food at the tail end of the harvest season and keeping in mind everything we have to be thankful for that year is not a national holiday, nor even a historical commemoration.  Rewritten histories of Pilgrims and Indians aside, Thanksgiving is a day I appreciate and celebrate, and I will do so here with a list of my own thanks.

Warning: this might get a little sappy.

I am thankful for conservation, for people who really care about the environment enough to put their money, work, and even lives into the effort of preserving beautiful land.  I am thankful for the opportunity to work at these places, to be a small part of that effort.  These people are rarely involved in conservation for the money, but because they truly care.

I am thankful for relatively easy international travel, for the fact that different countries have agreed to respect a little book with my face in it and let me fly between their borders.  I am thankful for that little book, for the fact that it is respected.  I am thankful for the country that let me have that book, that allowed me to travel internationally with it.  A few conversations with people in other countries has reminded me that this is not a privilege afforded to everyone, even if they can afford it.

I am thankful for my health, for the fact that this year I recovered from several tropical diseases, scorpion sting, venomous snakebite, army ants, killer bees, fungal infections, landslides, rogue waves, sinking boats, quicksand, machete wounds, and hundreds upon millions of mosquito bites sometimes beyond the reach of medical care without serious incident.  I am truly lucky to be alive, and boy do I appreciate it.

Seriously, I am lucky to be alive.

I am thankful for the little things in life.  I am thankful for cheap beer and strong coffee.  I am thankful for the first person to try cherimoya, and whoever invented guanabana.  I am thankful for well-designed waterproof tents and bug spray that actually works.  I am thankful for a good throwing arm that lets me bean a monkey in the face with a guava from 50 feet away.

Most of all, I am thankful for Costa Rica, a country that lets me romp around in their forests, sometimes even with people in tow, chase after their animals, eat their wild-growing fruit, and really just live my dream.  Thanks, and pura vida.

I got to live here. For like, nine months.

Now turkey isn’t a big thing here, and neither is pie, so I don’t really have my hopes up for dinner tonight.  But they might surprise me.  This place certainly has done so far.


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