In light of some recent (and what seems like never-ending) tragic events around the world, I wanted to write a short and light-hearted post about 5 things I’m thankful for. (It’s also Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend). With 5 major hurricanes this year affecting the Caribbean, Mexico and the U.S., earthquakes in Mexico and the deadliest shooting in modern American history having happened just this past Sunday evening in Las Vegas, we just keep getting bad news. While we seem to be surrounded by a lot of tragedy, there are a lot of good things, awesome people and unforgettable experiences that make this world an amazing place and make this life worth living. Amidst suffering, sadness, anguish, confusion and frustration, it’s so important to take the time to acknowledge all the good in our lives. Remembering, being thankful and taking time to appreciate what we DO have can give us more positive thinking if we make it a goal to focus on the good! Here are 5 things in my life I am thankful for since last Thanksgiving.
1. Bought My First Camera
After taking photos and making videos with my various iPhones and in iMovie for the past 6+ years throughout high school and university, at Christmas time I finally bought my first camera — a Canon Rebel. Though this camera is humble, is an old model and definitely isn’t the best out there, especially for video making, you have to start somewhere. Since getting my camera last Christmas, I’ve felt a little bit more legit. I’ve got a Canon and I’m working in Premiere Pro… I must be getting somewhere or at least developing somehow. In the last year since I bought my Rebel, I’ve taken thousands of photos and hundreds of video clips, making dozens of new videos. Getting a camera gave me the motivation and excitement to devote more time and to do more about what I’m passionate about — video making. I hope this camera will be the first of many and as I buy more equipment I will be continuously more motivated in what I love to do.
2. Family Vacation in Oahu, Hawaii
This year my family had the great privilege of spending 3 weeks in Oahu, Hawaii. Do I need to explain? Hawaii is the definition of paradise, breathtaking, colourful, beautiful and honestly magical. Being able to spend this time exploring such a beautiful part of the world with an insane amount of history, an awesome culture and the physical beauty of the island is an experience I am so thankful for. I’m especially grateful I got to see Hawaii with my family, my mom has wanted to bring my family to Hawaii for years! I’ve had the privilege to go on many family vacations to many cool places and the memories I’ve made on these vacations are some of my greatest childhood, teenage and young adult memories. A lot goes into family vacations, a little money, cooperation, health, compromise and more. These vacations and memories have helped my family close. It’s important for us to appreciate family time and having these types of family experience. Trips with friends, family or a boyfriend all give you a different type of experience, but I DO love family vacations. If you’d like to read more about my vacation in Hawaii, you can click here!
3. My Best Friend Kicked Hodgkins Lymphoma’s Ass
In October of 2016, my best friend since freshman year of high school was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma cancer when she had just turned 21. Watching Ashley be sick affected my entire school year. I constantly worried about her, through her good and bad weeks. The worry was ongoing for months and months. She had invasive tests, surgeries and aggressive treatment which wore her down after a long period. From her initial diagnosis, we knew she would be fine at the end of 6 months of chemotherapy. The 6 months was long for her, her family, boyfriend and close friends. As they say “I really never thought this would happen to me” that my best friend would get so sick. While this was a horrible experience for all of us to go through, it undoubtedly brought all of us together as we supported each other and especially Ashley through such an awful time in her life and through such an awful experience. Watching Ashley ring the chemo bell at the end of her last chemo session in June 2017, I cried the happiest and most emotional tears I’ve ever felt. To watch someone you love and have been through so much with go through what she did and conquer and kick cancer’s butt was the most emotional, crazy and beautiful feeling. I am so thankful that Ashley, at the end of a difficult journey, had such a positive outcome. This was an experience that taught me so much, brought Ashley and I so much closer together than we already were and eventually even led us to book a California trip.
4. My Boyfriend’s Sister Visited From Poland
Family has always been a very important aspect of my life and been very important to me. Just the same if I have a boyfriend, his and my relationship with his family is just the same very important to me. Having been dating Paul for just over a year and a half, I hadn’t met any of his family till this past June when his sister Paulina came to visit Paul and I for 2 months this summer. Paul’s family lives in Poland (we live in Canada) and he hasn’t seen his family for over 2 years now besides his sister. Though it would be hard for Paul and I to be able to visit Poland some time soon, it was so nice to see his sister and have her come visit us. Often family time, if it’s excessive can get annoying, frustrating and after too much time together on a family vacation — we’re all just about ready to kill each other. Having not been given the opportunity to see any of his family for a while, it was such an unforgettable experience spending time with his sister, a time we really treasured. I had such an amazing time showing her around and getting to know her. Most importantly, it was so nice to see Paul bond with his sister and to see their camaraderie, watch them look back on old memories and create new memories. Also getting to know and love Paul’s sister Paulina with our language barrier was incredible. We can barely carry a conversation because she speaks Polish and I speak English but there is just so much love there. His family is mine and my family, his. We must always be appreciative of time we spend with our family because we never really know how much time we have with them, we need to take the time to treasure it. Going through this experience gave me a new perspective on family life and appreciating that my family is local and that they are always there to support me.
5. First Trip With My Best Friend of 8+ Years to California
When Ashley was diagnosed with cancer, a couple months after her diagnosis, just when her chemo was starting, we booked a trip to San Francisco and Los Angeles post-chemo. We had wanted to go on a trip since we became friends as young teenagers. Growing up, my dad always said to me “Monica, emancipation is near.” Emancipation in fancy terms basically meaning “becoming independent.” Emancipation was finally near and here. Ashley and I would be travelling to San Francisco and a few short days later travel down to Los Angeles (2 of my favourite cities ever). Thinking of this trip several months in advance while we were going through hard times when Ashley was sick helped us keep high spirits. What an amazing way to celebrate Ashley kicking cancer’s ass and us conquering such a difficult journey. I’m so thankful we booked this trip, planning, creating “must-see” lists and so much more made us so excited about the trip the months leading up to it. California from San Francisco to Los Angeles and everywhere in between from the Googleplex in Mountainview, to Stanford University in Palo Alto, to Silicon Valley in San Jose, to all the beaches in Los Angeles, to Runyon Canyon Park, to The Broad, to Laduree in Beverly Hills and seeing Skid Row in DTLA, our trip was one for the books (and was our first trip together ever). I’m so thankful I had the opportunity to celebrate Ashley getting better with a vacation to one of my favourite places on Earth!
These are just some of the notable things I am thankful for this year! What are some of the things you are thankful for this year? Let me know in the comments!