This year Thanksgiving came with a different feeling for me. Since moving to Panama nearly six months ago, so many of my previous thoughts and beliefs have been challenged, and my eyes have been opened tremendously.
I’ve always been aware that I was blessed to have what I did: a healthy family, wonderful friends, and nice material possessions. However, until this year I never would have thought to give thanks for the simpler things in life- a bed, access to an education, medical care, ease of communication, and just to have been born in a nation where many of these things are simply a given.
In the past six months my “normal” has shifted. In my town there is no electricity, no internet, no health care center, and no high school. There is no variety in available foods, and there are many times when the only thing people have to eat are the bananas they grow on their farm. I can’t call my parents whenever I want, I don’t have a bathroom, and I have no bed.
While it’s certainly tough to wake up to this new normal everyday, it has also given me a much broader perspective, of which I am so thankful for.
This year I’m still thankful for my family, friends, and the support they are constantly giving me. But I’m also thankful for all of those little things- a few moments of signal to call home, an air mattress so that I don’t have to sleep on the floor, and community members who invite me into their house and don’t hesitate to share what little they have.