Love the one you’re with

Near Seurasaari, Helsinki, Finland. 24 July 2020

The Cuban and I took a long walk around Helsinki this evening on our stroll, and found a new-to-us route. It was stunning and we plan to return with proper cameras tomorrow (weather permitting). There was something about this walk, though, that we just joked and laughed and enjoyed ourselves the more we walked, to the point that my cheeks actually hurt a wee bit as I’m typing this. I’m not sure either of us had just let loose that much in far too long.

This year sucks, y’all. And we’ve all already experienced more heartache than we need for a single year, perhaps even a lifetime. But, you know, today wasn’t all bad, and I think that’s largely because I got to spend it and a few uninterrupted hours with my favourite human, without worrying too much about everything else going on. Yes, we talked about our worries. But, we also felt free to marvel at the good around us. And likely scared the shit out of some poor woman we said ‘hello’ to unprompted. We are still in Finland, remember?

So, despite the shit and chaos that currently surrounds us all, try to take a few moments out to enjoy those in your lives and those you love. Life is entirely too fleeting to not stop and photobomb at least one panoramic photo every once in a while. And look at how long your torso can become!

#lovetheoneyourewith #loveistheanswer

#TBT thankfulness

Thanksgiving, the fourth Thursday in November in the United States, has always been my favourite holiday. I love the gluttony of eating heaps of food which never really feature on menus at other times of year (cranberry sauce, anyone), which inevitably lead to the most interesting leftovers (turkey, mashed potato and cranberry sauce sandwiches on homemade rolls FTW).

But, more than anything, I love the opportunity to spend a day eating, drinking (whether alcoholic or not), being merry and giving thanks to whatever we have for which we are truly grateful.

There’s something simplistically magical about a day devoted to just simply enjoying and reflecting upon the many riches we all possess but typically disregard as unimportant the other 364 days of the year. Annually, the day leaves me more than full regardless of how much I actually eat.

This  year, once again, it’s just a typical cold and grey Thursday in November, as I spend yet another expat’s Thanksgiving far from my home in the United States. This year is just another working day for me, with no real plans to eat turkey or any of the other Thanksgiving-like trimmings. Yet, I’m perhaps more grateful than ever and dare I say rather more emotional this year compared to others. This week and month have provided ample and stark reminders of just how different our fortunes are from a mere five years ago.

In short, despite the absence of a feast, my cup and plate runneth over.

Earlier this month, we had to reapply for permanent residence in Finland. Within two weeks, both of us had our reissued cards, valid for another five years. And, both of us  breathed incredibly loud sighs of relief.

In the moments between receiving our new cards and sending off the old, we both were amazed at how far we’ve come from that hellish time not that long ago. Looking at the photos which identify us as the owners of those cards, our journeys show. We can see how much happier we are. We can see how much less stressed and fearful we both are. We can see how much healthier we both are.

The journey has been hard. It has been heartbreaking and spirit destroying at various moments, and it has challenged us and our resolve at times.

But, we’re here, and we’re both grateful. Enormously, tremendously and inexpressibly grateful.

So, as many friends I miss desperately and family I love dearly sit down with others to eat, drink and be merry, here’s my #ThrowBackThursday of thankfulness. It seems only fitting to share it all with all of you since you’ve helped make it a reality. May I never forget the journey itself or how far I’ve come. May I continue to enjoy this journey through life for years to come, even in the face of obstacles and detours along the way. And, may I continue to be surrounded by insanely supportive folk who help me get from there to here regardless of the starting position or finish line.

Always grateful…

 

TBT