A Feeling of Grace


It doesn’t feel like it, much, this year. It’s dreary, befitting November, but there’s no chill in the air. We’ve finally made plans, decided who will make sweet potato casserole and who is in charge of the yeast rolls and what time we should eat. Turkey is de-frosting in the fridge: for the first time, Michael and I–and when I say “we” I actually mean “he”–will be baking our own instead of ordering from the Hilton. (That’s what happens when our only source for pre-baked turkey raises their prices to $200 USD–on the low end!)

In the language here, Thanksgiving could be translated as “sense-of-grace-holiday.” I certainly need that sense of grace, of gratitude, every day. For me, living overseas is not unusually hard. In a lot of ways, I find that my heart thrives here,  my sense of adventure sated, my desire for the unique and unusual met around every corner. But while I love Asia and am thankful to live here, so often that thankfulness slips beneath the surface, covered by layers of frustration over delays and inconveniences and a missing, a yearning, for our American home.

So here’s a small list, a teaspoonful of things I’m grateful for about my life, wonderful and imperfect as it is.

I’m thankful for those tiny oranges we don’t have in the States but which are sold on every street corner here. Sweet and tangy, quick to peel, the perfect mid-afternoon snack.

I’m thankful for chubby Asian babies, bundled till their arms stick out from their side at 45 degree angles, like Randy Parker in A Christmas Story. They’re adorable and precious and I love seeing them waddle around our apartment complex.

I’m thankful for my tiny space heater, which keeps me cozy and cuddled up on my couch.

I’m thankful that our local xiaomaibu (small store) stocks fresh milk in addition to the ultra-pasteurized boxed kind which lines most of the shelves.

I’m thankful for a community who loves and cares for me.

I’m thankful for Skype, which makes calls and communication with the States a hundred times easier than it was only five years ago.

I’m thankful for the subway which is soon to open (rumor has it next week!) near our home and will make transportation around this massive city much more convenient.

I’m thankful that we’ve only lost water once this semester, for a few hours, and we’ve not been without electricity at all. I’m also hopeful that this is not an aberration but a pattern that will continue throughout the year!

One Comment on “A Feeling of Grace”

  1. Erika says:

    Happy Sense-of-grace-holiday! Your list made me a little homesick for Asia 🙂

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