Happy Thanksgiving!

Tis’ the season for hand turkeys and celebrating gratitude!

Thanksgiving, though a typical American holiday, is a holiday I cherish because of its gentle reminder to celebrate all that we have in our lives. The only other time I have spent Thanksgiving away from home was in 2013 when my mom flew into Montevideo for a week, and we celebrated the day with bizcochos and delicious Uruguayan pizza. This year I am in Lusaka, Zambia for the African Union Girls’ Summit on Ending Child Marriage in Africa and expecting to enjoy 2 ZamFam Thanksgivings – which sounds like a perfect way to celebrate to me!

In a spirit to practice gratitude, I have reflected on what I am thankful for this year:

  1. Family & Friends – I cannot brag about my support system enough. Words cannot even express how grateful I am for the family and friends that have constantly supported me and shown me unconditional love this year.
  2. My Co-fellow – One thing I truly value about GHC is that fellows are intentionally paired as an international and national pair so that no one is alone and so that a greater cultural exchange can be had. A day does not go by that I do not thank my lucky stars that I was paired with Mwansa. Without her positivity, love of life, and friendship I know I would not have been able to overcome any challenges and I might not even still be here.IMG_4749.JPG
  3. Travel – This year alone I had the opportunity to go to Miami, go on a cruise to the Bahamas, visit California for the first time…oh and move to Zambia for the year and explore Southern Africa. I am beyond fortunate to have such countless opportunities to see the world.
  4. Chitenges – Available in vibrant colors and beautiful designs, women don chitenges for everything, and I am completely obsessed. Thank you, Zambia, for introducing me to my new love.
  5. Dance – Time and time again, the universe shows me that the easiest way for me to break into a community is through dance. This month has been pivotal for me and it all began with a dance performance in Lusaka. Now I am suddenly discovering an art community in Kitwe and teaching Bollywood dance lessons on the side!IMG_5958.JPG
  6. Hard Challenges – Though my support system will tell you I never sound too grateful going through challenges when I am crying to them on the phone, in hindsight, I am very grateful for all the obstacles I am facing. These challenges are teaching me valuable lessons and helping me grow both personally and professionally. What more could I ask for?
  7. Opportunity – It is no secret that these past few months have been some of the most challenging in my life, but I am beyond grateful for opportunity to explore my career. Though I am being pushed every day, I still recognize that I am experiencing load shedding, kwacha shedding, Zambia, and work obstacles from a privileged context. This has been such a great opportunity to practice cultural humility and to learn from so many strong people.
  8. Time – Transitioning from undergrad to the real world is not an easy task, but one thing I am constantly reminded of is that I have the rest of my life ahead of me. I am excited and energized more than ever before to continue venturing out of my comfort zone and discovering my place and purpose in the world.

With all that is going on in the world, hugging those we love a little tighter and being even more appreciative of the good in our lives is the best thing we can do. Feel free to share what you are grateful for this year, and Happy Thanksgiving!


One thought on “Happy Thanksgiving!

  1. Geeta says:

    Reena, we are so thankful for you my child and for the person you are and becoming. I know you always come out strong regardless of the challenge, not surprised with this huge challenge either. Love you to the moon and way beyond. Happy Thanksgiving:)


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