Happy thanksgiving to all of my American friends, and to anyone else who has decided to adopt the holiday – it’s one worth adopting I reckon (for the food, if nothing else). Mike’s been up in the field for the last two days, but I celebrated Thanksgiving with friends here who generously opened their backyard to all of the Americans in town, and their spouses.
The food was glorious and very Little House on the Prairie. The turkeys had been alive and flapping around the host’s bathroom until the day before the feast. Someone scoured an entirely different city for a box of sweet potatoes (rarer than gold here, for some reason) and transported them up tenderly by bus for the sweet potato casserole. The woman who made the green bean casserole was lamenting the fact that she had had to make it with real green beans instead of canned – “it just doesn’t taste the same”. And the deserts. Oh yum. There was pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and some chocolate cream thing on top of oreo cookies that is not at all a traditional Thanksgiving desert but which I dreamed about last night. I am so in love with Thanksgiving food.
It was warm and sunny and we ate under a tent in the backyard with extra shading provided by nearby palm trees a giant umbrella mounted on the back of the truck. It was a lovely break in a busy week, but at 3pm sharp I sighed, got up, walked home, and got back to work.
Poor Zulu has spent significant time this week begging me to stop typing and play with him, and a great deal more time curled up in the corner next to me, sleeping. He’s about twice as big as he was when we brought him home and he’s currently at that charming stage of puppyhood where he is gaining in strength and speed, but has not yet learned not to bite us playfully with his razor sharp teeth. He has learned the commands “come” and “sit”, but only obeys them when he feels like it. When he’s wandering somewhere he shouldn’t be wandering, sniffing something he should not be sniffing, he never feels like it. In other words he resembles nothing more than a furry four-legged toddler with the mouth of an angry shark.
Zulu, however, will get more attention this weekend because the resilience report is almost done – I think, I hope.
I’ve learned a couple of things during this process.
I don’t enjoy working to a deadline and trying to write fast. I can do it, it is probably even be good for me, but I don’t enjoy it while I’m doing it.
I get frustrated and insecure when I write first drafts that I think are merely decent, and not amazing. Then I can start to wonder if I’m actually certifiably dumb, and feel like a failure and a fraud of a human being. I realize that this is all probably rather far from rational, but sometimes I can’t snap myself out of it for ages (a whole day, maybe two… sometimes even three). This is a real problem, because my first drafts are rarely amazing.
I must talk about wanting to drown myself in the Mekong more than I realize because my patient husband, after listening to me vent about the report draft last Friday night after I’d spent five straight days working on it asked, “OK, what else are you feeling? Do you want to drown yourself in the Mekong?”
“No!” I said, shocked, then, “I hadn’t quite gotten to that stage, but now that you mention it…”
Most of these lessons are not exactly new lessons, so I don’t know why I continue to feel surprised when I am ambushed by this sort of ickiness during certain phases of working on a big project.
So, back to Thanksgiving, I am thankful that this report is almost wrapped, and that it looks as if it’s shaping up to be a piece of work to be proud of. And that’s just one thing I am thankful for. Here are some others: I’m thankful that Mike’s coming home tonight, for family and friends, for relative health, for running water, food, money, and the sense that life means something important that stretches beyond the here and now. I’m thankful for the adventure of living here, and for the view from the bamboo bridge we crossed this week to get to a restaurant over the Khan. Life is good.
A friend of mine (hi, Lynne) asked an interesting question on her facebook status today? What is something that you’ve experienced this year that you’re surprised to find yourself thankful for? Do share…