So there are some minor not-so-great parts of celebrating Thanksgiving in England, like, ohhh, the fact that Thanksgiving does not exist in England. There are good parts though, too, like the fact that at approximately 8 a.m. New York time, I had already returned from the gym, made stuffing, poured myself a glass of champagne, and scored a gravy stain on my shirt from too much taste-testing.
It’s my 36th Thanksgiving, so I thought I’d share a list of 36 things I’m thankful for. What the heck, right? People like numbered lists. I bet a few of you are even thankful for them. Here we go.
36 Things I’m Thankful For
- Old friends, especially those who are better than me at staying in touch. Love you guys.
- New friends who are starting to feel like old friends already. How does that happen so quickly?
- That I can still hear Dad’s voice and see his smile. Hi, Dad.
- My sister Allison’s upcoming wedding. Hells, yeah!
- The way it feels to get lost in music
- Shiitakes, tomatoes, soy sauce, marmite, nutritional yeast, and all other plant-based sources of umami. God bless.
- Endorphins, and how you can just put on your running shoes and switch them on. What a marvelous cheap trick that is.
- That even though everything else is different in England, the gym class choreography is exactly the same.
- Good health
- Four generations of tight-knit family (and a few of us are even still alive for now!)
- David Sedaris, Malcolm Gladwell, Dana Spiotta, Leonard Lopate, Mo Willems
- 5 Second Rule, Joy the Baker, What Katie Ate, Sweet Paul — a few current favorites among shiny spots on the internet
- Modern Family, 30 Rock, Mad Men, and Parks and Recreation
- Learning to say “I’m open!” I could never do it in middle-school soccer, but it gets easier as life goes on.
- Kindle, Skype, Pinterest, Nikon, Apple, Virgin Atlantic. You guys know how much I adore you, right?
- That I learn as much from a good children’s book as my kids do, if not more.
- Dinosaur kale, spicy tuna avocado maki, caffe Americano, Veuve Clicquot. I love you all every day, but not always in that order.
- Separation of church and state
- The fact that in England, there’s no separation of church and state. Hellooo, adorable owl and angel in the school Nativity play.
- The way the 3-year-old says “ackshuwee” instead of actually
- How much the 7-year-old loves to disappear into a book
- Cope. Hi, love.
- The incredible luxury of doing work I find both important and fun
- The best vegetarian gravy ever. Recipe coming soon.
- Joel Fuhrman, Caldwell Esselstyn, T. Colin Campbell. Great work, you guys. Say it louder!
- A home to live in…and to decorate
- That hair grows back
- Late afternoon light (or as we call it in England in wintertime, the light at like 5 minutes past noon)
- That some people are really great at being funny, and some people are really great at being serious.
- Nursery rhymes and tea (two things I didn’t appreciate at all until moving to England)
- My friend Vera’s Facebook feed, aka my primary source of news
- Levi’s Curve ID
- Good questions and people who aren’t shy about asking them
- That other people want to be doctors and teachers
- Both of Conan O’Brien’s commencement speeches
- All of the hundreds of thousands of you (from 178 countries!) who have found Umami Girl’s little blip in the solar system and decided to spend a few moments of your busy, interesting lives here. Thank you for sharing this space with me. Without you I could only be like this in my own head, and that would suck.
Happy Thanksgiving, all. Hope it’s a great one.