What I’m thankful for in 2018

It’s that time of year again-American Thanksgiving! As always, I’d like to take the time to reflect on and give thanks for the past 11 months, and what I’ve experienced during that time.

First and foremost, I’d like to give credit to my friends and family for being there for me. You guys are what keeps me going, and I honestly wouldn’t be here in Russia for this long without all the support! I’d also like to get a little mushy here and credit my wonderful girlfriend for helping me out like no other. While I strive to do the best I can as a person and a teacher, Polina really has brought out the best in me. Together, we explore as many places as we can in Moscow, whether they be galleries, bars, restaurants, or even just walking in parks. Furthermore, she’s in the process of applying to PhD programs, so she’s incredibly brilliant, and it’s been a pleasure helping her with the process! The best part though? Being able to have a kindred spirit who’s arguably traveled more than I have, especially since she perennially inspires me to set my eyes towards different, sometimes even radically so, destinations! Yep, I am blessed.

While I’ve unfortunately been limited in traveling this year, as I only managed to go home for week and Volgograd for a few days, I’m proud to announce that I’ll be going to the ancestral homeland of Taiwan in December/January with my mom and my brother! The fact that all three of us are going to be traveling together for the first in a long time, maybe even 15 plus years, is something I’m entirely grateful for! We’re going to be spending ten whole days going down the west coast of Taiwan (Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung), and again, I’m really excited to see the land where my mom grew up in. However, I can’t take the credit for it-she was the brains behind everything, and the fact that she’s put together (with some of our feedback, too) is nothing short of amazing. Thus, I’m thankful for being able to spend precious time with family, all while traveling to a new region of the world!

On a more personal level, I’ve been inching closer and closer to reaching serenity. Sure, things never are 100 percent easy, but I feel that I’ve been able to place myself above whatever madness gets thrown my way. I concede that this gets tested when I’m working with teens, but it’s the real way to see how calm I can be in trying circumstances. This even extends to when I’m playing hockey-my mental game has gotten infinitely better. Considering how mentally fragile I’ve historically been, it is incredible to witness my own growth.

Finally, I can’t neglect to mention my colleagues and students. After all, they’re the ones who’ve given me a job, literally and figuratively. My fifth year of teaching has gone swimmingly, knock on wood, and this wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t have this system to abet the process. As of this post, I’ve gotten some more students who have been incredibly pleasant and had made every lesson something I look forward to. Every day feels like a fresh new day of work, and I do eagerly anticipate what will happen in my lessons. To this day, the fact that I can combine being a goober while simultaneously utilizing my own hobbies and knowledge gained over the years is something that I believe qualifies myself as being counted myself as extremely fortunate. “I get paid to do this?” is a recurring thought, and man, it’s a ride that I hope never ceases.

Oh yeah, happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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