November 27, 2014

I'm Grateful For....

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

So what does the day look like for you? Are you planning on watching the Thanksgiving Day parade? Will you spend the entire day cooking? Do you have people coming over for dinner, or are you going to someone else's house for dinner, or are you eating out, or are you volunteering somewhere to make someone else's Thanksgiving special (huge thank you from me if you are sacrificing your holiday to do that!) ?

I try to be grateful as much as possible everyday, even on the worst days, because I don't believe that it's right to only remember to be grateful once a year and thinking about the highlights of the day help me get through the worst situations. But in the spirit of Thanksgiving, here's my list of some of the things that I'm really, truly grateful for:


Let's start off with the materialistic, "less deep" things:

Pinterest: What is this?! I'm grateful for a website? Well..yeah! I get so much inspiration from Pinterest and it's one of my favorite ways to "multi-task" while I wind down and watch YouTube videos. It's simple, maybe even trivial, but I'm grateful for anything that helps me get my mind off of things.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             C'mon, 99.99999999999999% of the people who see this are gonna be like 'YUP THATS ME!' including me...
My Driver's License: Yes, I failed once and I'm grateful for having passed it the second time (believe me, SO MUCH anxiety was relieved). But that's not really why I'm grateful for that. I'm really grateful for the freedom to be even more self-sufficient and independent, two things that I value immensely. I love being able to not have to burden my parents by making them take time out of their schedule to pick me up from all of my activities. I love taking my brother out for frozen yogurt or for Chipotle. I love evening drives back home from late school activities where I get to sing random songs to entertain myself.

Nut Butters: Ugh. (not a frustrated "ugh" but a "ugh" like you satisfied a craving for your favorite food). I think anyone who has been reading my blog will know that I am a peanut butter addict. But I also love almond butter, pecan butter, walnuts, and cashews. That rich, roasted, creamy with the chunky bits spoonful of goodness that I eat out of the jar all the time. It's the best
                                                                                       my review of MaraNatha     

My favorite TV shows (Friends, Grey's Anatomy, Chicago Fire):  They get me through the rough days. They make me laugh. They make me forget about the rest of the world. They even teach me. 

Biking: Over the summer, when I was going through the awful online java course, cooling off (in the summer heat) by riding my bike down to the lake or just around the neighborhood like I used to as a kid, with Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" playing on my iPod. The steady pedaling motion was soothing; the evening breeze or the slight early morning chill was relaxing. On that bike, the frustration and stress that the java course generated melted away.

(this was taken the summer before last summer, but still)

Muffins: Have I talked too much about my love for nut butters and my incredible banana muffins? These babies are gluten free, naturally sweetened, lactose free, low fat, moist, fluffy, delicious. I pair them up with banana slices or nectarine slices and of course, almond milk and a nut butter. Just the other day, I found a very very very close second to my original recipe. Now, I'm quite torn between the two, so I'm going to share them both.

Festive lights: there's nothing more magical than seeing twinkly lights decorating trees, and they're not only for the holiday season, I saw them in California last-last-August. I love them so much that I just have to have them in my room ;)

Now, let's get into the people who I am extremely grateful for:

My brother: he's my best friend. I love our conversations on the drive home from school about our day, our favorite foods (we talked about a Thanksgiving menu forever), and the fall leaves that we admire so much. I can tell him everything and he always, without a doubt, listens. He helps me argue my case, he understands why I choose not to eat meat, he understands how I sometimes feel like I'm in a pressure-cooker. He lets me wear his sweater because it's comfortable. He even offered to sacrifice sitting with his friends at lunch to sit with me at lunch. He's truly a really good kid; he reprimands me (gently) when I rant about people who mistreat others or annoyed me or when I say something insensitive. There really aren't many people like him in the world.

My Grandpa: he's one of the few people who will go out of their way to do something for me when it comes to food: he cooks brown rice for me even though I'm the only one who eats it. He has helped me get ready for school since I was 3. He made me breakfast, lunch, dinner, you name it, since I could eat food. He taught me how to cook an omelette, the very first thing I've ever cooked myself. He walked me to school when i missed the bus and he walked to my school to pick me up when I missed the bus (again). I think I inherited his "engineer" way of thinking and love for "DIYs". He taught me to sacrifice myself for others, he taught me to be patient (well of course i'm still working on that). He's an incredibly talented gardener and he loves to learn.

My Parents: the main thing they always talk about is how I eat. Yes, that annoys me immensely. But the reason why they talk so frequently about it is because they're concerned, and I appreciate that. (but seriously mom, i'm fine.) They've sacrificed A TON for our family; they take a 3 (sometimes 4) hour commute to work just so my brother and I can go to a good school district and live in a nice area. They still make it to my brother's and my school concerts and recitals; they have taken my brother and I across the world so we can learn, be exposed to both the beautiful and sad things that exist in the world, be cultured, global citizens. They have picked me up from countless activities: my dad has sent me to so many early morning (i'm talking about 6:30 am) basketball practices or volunteer opportunities; my mom took time off of her work to send me to pre-prom and pick me up (at 2 am) in the pouring rain from prom. They have allowed me to try the most random things and have encouraged me to try things, even if they know I might make a mistake or even fail, because I can benefit from them (my dad paid $50 to rent a car at the last minute so I could take my drivers' test on my birthday; he said he knew I wasn't ready but he wanted me to have the chance to try). My dad used to bring home apple turnovers and cheese danishes from work; my mom used to save cookies or bring leftovers from her work parties for my brother and I, bring home the best popcorn and Irish soda bread, and just the other day, she brought home this amazing forbidden rice/sticky rice salad for me (she had it for lunch and went back for more because she knew I'd like it). 

My Algebra teacher: He's the best. Ask anyone in my entire school and they will attest to how incredible of a teacher he is. He's so patient, approachable, and hilarious. I could ask all of my one million and fifty seven of my questions and he would always answer them and help me. (i've NEVER had a math teacher outside of summer school who would answer my questions or made me feel comfortable with asking questions). He doesn't talk down to students and he doesn't make us feel bad for not understanding something. (i've NEVER had a math teacher outside of summer school who never talked down to students or made me cry. or both.) He's so kind and he makes you want to learn. Honestly, I took this class after passing an algebra summer school course but failing the placement test at school, so I was extremely frustrated with myself going into this class. Once I walked into his class though, I felt immensely grateful for having failed, because I would have never been able to have him as a teacher. I was sad when he was absent from school because I looked forward to going to his class everyday. (If that doesn't prove how amazing of a teacher he is, I don't know what will)

My Spanish Lit teacher: She's the hardest working person I know and she's also the most cheerful and happy person I know. She has made me love the Spanish culture and language so much more. I have learned so much in her class and she has truly made me realize that taking classes that interest me make me love to learn. She's not only the kindest teacher but she's truly a friend and role model. She's so friendly, kind, funny, and sweet. She tells us all about her travels in South America and her crazy stories about teaching freshmen. She's the NHS advisor so I get to work with her being the historian and she's just incredible. She's pretty much my role model.

The friends who have been with me through thick and all of the thin: the ones who live across the country. the ones who i see everyday. the ones who back me up when the biggest butts make me so mad. the ones that let me cry it out and make me laugh when i cry. the ones that get mad at people who are mean to me. they motivate me and encourage me when i need it. they make me crack up, they get all of my friends references, they laugh with me at our inside jokes. 

Now let's move onto the deeper things, both little and big:

The view from my window: my mom always tells me how my room has the best view in the entire house. I see the big tree that I used to climb all the time, I see my Grandpa's garden and the patio, I see the entire lawn. No street view, no view of the neighbor's house. Peace. Quiet. Tranquility. It's the view that relaxes me after a long day at school. It's the view that reminds me that I'm at home after a trip. In the summer, it's that green lawn that I see with the green leaves on the "whomping willow"  in the backyard; in the winter, it's a snow dusted lawn with bare branches. 

The fact that seeing a horse or a dog or a cat triggers a reflex in me and makes me smile: during sophomore year, volunteering at a horse stable was so incredible. I finally got the chance to have first hand experience with horses. I petted cats and was licked by dogs. They just made me so happy. This organization brings a different dog to my school everyday for a week as part of their promotion for their organization that helps kids with emotional struggles. It's scientifically proven that seeing dogs make people happier like how eating chocolate releases endorphins. Animals make me smile and I'm super grateful for that.

Seeing the sunrise every morning: waking up early for school, despite how annoying it is, has its benefits. It just puts me in a total state of awe---the sunrises in the spring and early fall are the best. 

Those cold, rainy, cloudy days: I'm one of those people who like dreary days. It's just who I am: I like snuggling up in fuzzy pajamas, watching my favorite shows, baking. And snowy days can be included too cause those are incredible too. 

The experiences that I've had: Traveling, learning, volunteering. Traveling has opened my eyes to customs, architecture, art, food, music, values, and even the injustices in the world. Learning, both the good learning experiences and the ones that ended in failure, have taught me so much. Volunteering, what began as an "high schooler's obligatory chore", is now something that I love: it's a creative outlet, learning experience, and emotionally uplifting act.

      my brother and I at our district's 2014 relay for life event                   ootd in the midst of doing barn chores at a horse stable

College Essays: I serious? Why yes, I am. I love love love creative writing, and the questions that I wrote about actually made me learn a lot about myself due to all those self-reflecting questions ;) Plus, with that java course I was going through, writing was the one thing that I felt adept at.

Setbacks: Like I mentioned before about my math teacher and experiences, setbacks are important. I've learned a whole lot through trials and failures despite how awful they might be. 

Fairytales: While those setbacks remind us of reality, fairytales remind us that good things do happen to good people and they remind me that all the work that I'm doing is going to be worth it somehow in the a Cinderella story ;)

Competition: I'm competitive. I'm too competitive. But so is my environment. My peers at school push me to strive, to want to stand out in the crowd. It's one of my fatal flaws, but it's also one of my attributes that has allowed me to accomplish my goals. 

and the last one that I'll mention...

this blog: I look forward to writing every single day; here, I can share my love for cooking, DIY projects, photography (even though I'm not that good), thoughts (mostly rants), travels....the list goes on. I can be creative, I can be unique. I'm not afraid to write because that's the best way I can communicate. When I talk, sometimes I talk too fast and I stumble over words; other times, I don't have the right words to say and I can't talk. Here, everything I write is from a stream of consciousness. All the thoughts come out just as I'd like them to (well, most of the time). I can communicate to my friends across the country, I can communicate to visitors who just stumble across this little blog from across the world. This blog showcases the other side of me, the side that people at school don't really know about: here, I don't have to be the reliable and responsible student; I can be Hannah. This blog is something that I've worked hard on because it's something that I love so much, so thank you for reading this post and if you've read the others, thank you for reading those too ;)

happy thanksgiving

xoxo, hannah

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