So, as you can see, you can blame her for this post, my own little corner of minor cheerfulness (mostly because I was in the wrong time zone to remember to add something to her epic post).
This is also a wee touch of the Thanksgiving vibe – we don’t celebrate this holiday in New Zealand (well, until I was adopted by a group of homesick Americans as a student) and family arguments about sports aside, it really does feel like the least commercial holiday there is (especially when we give it a multi-national flavour overhaul).
No overpriced florists, no present-giving stress, no religion, no creepy clowns jumping out at people from bushes; just people who make you smile (plus the obligatory family occasion when you’re in the same country) gathered around a table enjoying a feast of delicious construction (including vegetable dessert pie).
So in honour of this family holiday (which does slightly gloss over the past history of the American nation, but I digress) I’ve assembled a few small things that have made me smile recently and feeling grateful for what we have in the face of some hard political times.
Us Kiwis aren’t really a nation of hand shakers, fist-bumpers (unless of a certain recent generation) or cheek-kissers (until we emigrate and then it gets a little awkward) so we’re converting our London friends one at a time with an awkward hug/cheek kiss combo that they think they’re smooching but really they’re getting a proper cuddle. There have been a few really special occasions (one with hugs scheduled in, another one that was pure ninja) recently that have properly required celebration hugs.
Whiskers on kittens –
This needs no explanation, right? Also, please note that I put a human thing before a cat thing, just for the record.
Mr Kiwi –
He puts up with so much, including being given the nickname Mr Kiwi and eating cold food. He keeps me grounded, encouraged and making sure all of that boring #lifemin that keeps us going is done. Worth his weight in gold I’d say (possibly because he’ll be reading this one day in the future).
The only way to survive the grey days of winter is with a decent collection of cozy scarves that brighten up the long, wet days ahead. #notsponjustaddicted
Video Calling -
With family both in the UK and overseas, we have be so, so grateful for the opportunity lately to just sit back and chat like we’re all in the same room – especially with the recent earthquake shaking my home nation. Not only being able to settle in with a cozy cup of tea on both sides of the world, but also live stream some of the the cool places we were exploring on holiday was made all the better for sharing.
When a recipe turns out exactly how it’s supposed to –
For years I’ve wanted to bake a Christmas Cake, a proper proper one doused with tipple for weeks, before we gather around in our Christmas socks on the 25th of December (garish jumpers have been banned apparently so I’m restricted to footwear and earrings) and the other night I even managed to bake it in time for Stir Up Sunday, the traditional date for baking festive fruitcakes. Only trouble is that it’s MASSIVE. Cake anyone?
Actually, this should be at the top of the list - how did the world survive without it? How did explorers navigate the world before Coffea was discovered in tropical Africa, Madagascar, the Comoros, Mauritius and Réunion Islands in the Indian Ocean? According to legend it was an Ethiopian goat herder who discovered the beans – we should be putting up a stainless steel shrine to him.
Having the confidence to know when to say ‘no thank you’ –
I used to be as quiet as a mouse. I know, it’s really hard to believe, but these days I feel like as I’m getting older that my long-term gut instinct is the best impulse to listen to.
Luxury is one of the most overused phrases in the world, but taking the time to enjoy the little things that make us smile is so important – you know the things that you love but would never actually admit to in public (even though they end up on Instagram.) I’m talking soft socks, a glass of wine at the end of a long day, the smell of a peat fire, the smile of a bub - the simple things that we take for granted in the first world.
Sure, sure I’m a soppy, sentimental git at the best of times (I’m not sure I’ll ever be truly indoctrinated with a British stiff upper lip but I’m working on it) but I really do believe in appreciating what we have every day – when we can - especially in the face of hard lessons (p.s. you must, must read this post by Madam RunawayKiwi about making sure life is kept real in amidst the cotton softlens view on life). Contentment can be hard to attain.
I've intentionally left one because there is always room for more.
What are you grateful for?