Hooray! Happy Thanksgiving! Hope everyone had a relaxing and restful weekend. To me, Thanksgiving means pumpkin season is here and Halloween is just around the corner! Canada probably has the best autumn in the world. All those glowing red, orange, and yellowing leaves make the whole country so lively and romantic. We just couldn’t help being thankful to Mother Nature for all these endless delicious seasonal products such as apples and pumpkins, pear and squash. There are also so many outdoor activities to explore such as corn mazes, hay rides, pumpkin walks or apple picking! As we no longer need to worry about sweat, isn’t it a great feeling to be cozied up again on a cool day? Put on your sweater, your boots and your blankets and no need to feel guilty for getting yourself a cup of hot chocolate. 😉
As an international student who came here in 2014, I still remember the first time when I heard about this holiday. I thought it was very interesting as there were no such holiday in my country. I was wondering why people would have a holiday simply for expressing appreciation or gratitude. Coming from an Asian culture where we are always quite reluctant to express affection openly, I always feel a bit hard to say “I love you” to my parents as they probably would consider it as rhetoric and we probably all will feel a little bit awkward. However, now that I am living far away from home, I gradually realized that it is important for us to express our appreciation and our true feelings, so other people can feel loved and appreciated. This is a great holiday as it reminds us never forget to share love and spend time with family members, friends and those important ones in your life; to thank the blessing of food, provision and nourishment.
In this chaotic world, I always feel that people need to slow down a bit, take a deep breath, and try to appreciate each other more often instead of blaming each other. Try to be thankful to everything that happens to you. It is not possible to experience constant euphoria and life is never a straight line, but if you are grateful, you can find happiness in everything. This weekend, I came across a book called “Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life” by Marshall B. Rosenberg when I was doing some casual reading. It is a book about effective communication, but it goes beyond that. It talks about improving the quality of relationships, deepening sense of personal empowerment as well. It lays out the tools and strategies for clear communication very well, which I find super helpful. Let’s accept it; at the end of the day we all need each other and building positive connections with people around us would create a sense of belongs and inclusion which would bring us more happiness and better health. A welcoming and inclusive community brings us that sense of belongs and warmth, which also maximize the potential in each individual.
Last Thanksgiving, I had a pumpkin carving with my colleagues at the chemistry department and I carved the character “Ice Bear” from the popular TV show “We Bare Bears”. This year, I had a special dinner at Swiss Chalet with my friends as they provide a special on thanksgiving feast with quarter chicken, stuffing, cranberry sauce, choice of side, and pumpkin pie and milk chocolate truffle. We also made some DIY candles, which could be used as great Christmas gifts. Sometimes we may feel a bit lonely being away from family, especially during holiday seasons. However, spending time with friends on those special days also gives us that family feelings. Remember wherever we are, there are always people who we love and who loves us. As the midterm season draws near, besides working hard, please also keep in mind to take good care of yourself and don’t forget to enjoy the beautiful autumn around the campus!