This afternoon, Josh and I made the mistake of riding our bikes around Bethesda with all the black friday shoppers and eaters. I take that back. Riding our bikes is never a mistake. We made the mistake of wearing too few layers and freezing our way through the afternoon. We stuck it out, though, and shopped some ourselves. As we perused the racks in moth ball-smelling Montgomery County Thrift store, I became thankful that thrifty vintage clothing is now so trendy and that the carolina blue ski pant overalls I found were only $4.24. As we played endlessly with the iPads at the apple store, I became a victim of consumerism and was convinced that I just had to have one. But as we looked through the creative and original goodies at Ten Thousand Villages, I thought about the people making those crafts and grew thankful for the technology I do have.
Most of my life, I enjoyed thanksgiving for the food and the time off of school but it didn't mean as much to me as most holidays. I loved Halloween and I loved Christmas, and Thanksgiving was a nice break between the two but always just a stepping stone from one to the next. It wasn't until my High School years that fall became my favorite season and, with it, Thanksgiving my favorite holiday. Coupled with the High School Soccer State Championship (in any good year), the week of thanksgiving was always one of the best all year. My senior year was especially memorable when us Maryland Shaws met the Vermonsters in New York City for an unconventional Thanksgiving weekend complete with the balloon inflation viewing, a broadway musical, live Macy's parade viewing, brunch at Serendipity, and a Thanksgiving feast at Jane on Houston Street which continues to be one of the best meals I've ever had.
In the following years, Thanksgiving became even more special because it was one of the few times I was sure to come home from college to see my family and friends. Until my Junior year, though, when I was too fed up with travel to fly home and was too excited about Florida football not to stay in the state and attend the annual Florida v. Floirda State rivalry game, which we've won every year since I began caring about it.
This year, Josh and Brendon and I decided to rebirth a tradition that was a symbol of Thanksgiving throughout my college years. It began my Sophomore year when my four roommates and I decided to host a potluck the Sunday before Thanksgiving for all of our friends. We probably had 20 or 25 people there but we constructed a table (with four different tables collected from all our friends' apartments) long enough for everyone to dine around. Given that we were young college kids who were much more into keg parties than dinner parties, we weren't sure how committed everyone would be to this event, especially the boys. But it ended up being a HUGE success. Two of our guy friends spent the whole day cooking a turkey. And everyone came with their favorite family dish in hand. We had so much food that all five of us had a leftover thanksgiving dinner for every subsequent meal before we left Gainesville for our respective homes. It kind of spoiled my Thanksgiving day dinner but it was well worth the tradition that was born and it was a lesson that I learned from for future years.
With the lesson learned, Turkey Day 2010 was not spoiled by our Sunday dinner. It was a wonderful day and night spent with many people whom I love and am thankful for. In the morning, I played touch football with Josh, Nathan, and five other friends. Being the only girl, I am often nervous that I won't be passed to as deserved. Even though I know these boys and that they know I'm athletic and aren't male shovenists, I can't help but question their trust in a female's ability to play football. But I ended up participating as much as anyone, scoring a touchdown, making an interception, and making the only safety of the game. It was only four on four but it was tons of fun and my team won! Cold, tired, and ready to eat, we all headed home. Josh and I went to my parents house where we ate lots of food with Betsy, Sandy, Nathan and Nathan's friend Kate. After dinner we played a very close boys v. girls game of trivial pursuit, ate dessert while watching multiple thanksgiving FRIENDS episodes, and played charades. Josh and I went home in a food comatose state, passed out, and slept for over ten hours. I'd like to say I went to sleep thinking about all the things I'm thankful for but that would be a scripted interlude to the story I'm about to tell. Had I truly thought of these things, here is what would have gone through my mind...
I am thankful for the weirdos that are Nathan, Betsy, and Sandy Shaw, who's quirkiness continues to surprise me after all these years. I am thankful for my parents twenty-five long, happy years of marriage and for the upcoming family trip to Colorado.
I am thankful for a bearded boyfriend who has made me laugh and smile every day for almost four years. I am thankful for his athleticism and excitement about being active outside, I am thankful that he moved north with me and that he loves the weather so much, and I'm thankful to have him in my bed every night to keep me warm.
As my dad said before dinner last night, I am thankful that we now have two Josh's in the family.
I am thankful for my betrothed, Joyce Huang. For her loudness, for her enthusiasm, for her many visits last winter spring and summer, and for the fact that she loved me from day one of our cohabitation despite the mess that I made of our room. That is a kind of unconditional love which only she, josh, and my parents have proved to possess.
I am thankful for Inna, who is so honest and genuine and cool, who tells me I'm pretty more than any of my other friends, who is my fashion mentor, and without whom this city does not feel the same (especially for Thanksgiving and New Years). I'm also thankful for Mike Denny, who has made them our best couple friend.
I am thankful for Ingrid, who I finally live near after many years apart. I am thankful for her excitement in anything, no matter how trivial, and for the contagion of this excitement. I am thankful to finally play soccer with her again and am excited for the many athletic adventures we have planned for the future.
I am thankful for the Vermont Shaws, whose visit this fall brought back so many wonderful memories of my childhood.
I am thankful for Ben and David and Jeff and the other BCC '04 boys that I've become close with through many games of frisbee at Norwood. I'm also thankful for Brendon, who is Josh's favorite roommate and our great new friend.
I am thankful for my girl scout family, who give me a reason to be excited for work every day, who are so funny and ecclectic and exciting, who can make anything, from a work baby shower to a girlie throwback slumper party, fun.
And I'm thankful for the work I do at GSCNC every day. I'm thankful to be employed and to have an opportunity to support such a great organization.
I'm thankful for Sam and Jessi and D4M4F. I'm thankful for Brian and Proemsey and Josh's other weirdo friends.
I am thankful for the florida gators and for the superb rarity of my college experience, made such by people like Tim Tebow, Al Horfod, Urban meyer, and Billy Donovan.
More importantly, I am thankful for The University of Florida and my college education, made possible by my grandparents, Betty and Don Shaw.
I'm thankful for this holiday which gives me a reason think of all that I'm thankful for. And I'm thankful for this blog which gives me the internet space to say thank you to all you readers whom I love and appreciate.