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Thanksgiving Reflections from London

by Alexa Nofsinger
Thanksgiving Reflections from London | AIFS Study Abroad

Although this is not my first time being apart from my family on Thanksgiving, I still find myself feeling nostalgic for the idea of being with them and celebrating life together. Regardless of the miles between us, I am still grateful for the opportunity to even be where I am.

Melody Beattie said, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”

During my time abroad, I have come to be thankful for a few different things:

  • This might seem like something silly to be grateful for, but I am truly grateful to be able to stay in contact with family and friends, no matter where in the world I am.
  • I am grateful that I have traveled a lot in my life so that I have the experience of what to do, how to travel alone, etc.
  • I am grateful to live across the street from a beautiful royal park that has several amazing features such as a pond, a royal garden, statues, etc. It’s nice to have a place so beautiful and close to escape to and enjoy the day.
  • I am grateful for the sun. It is not too often that London gets to see the sun during the winter, so I try to remember to feel blessed for the few times I get to see the sun and feel its warmth.

The thing that I am most grateful for, however, cannot be defined in one word. I am beyond grateful for the opportunities I have been given to explore the world. I am so fortunate to never have come across a roadblock when I decide to travel. I have learned more while exploring the world than I have sitting in a classroom. I love discovering new tastes, testing my fears, and interacting with people I never even knew existed before.

You don’t actually realize just how many people there are in the world until you step out of your home boundaries. Each country is like a small world of its own. It’s fascinating to learn how different school systems work, or how people’s understanding of different concepts varies.

The thing I have learned the most, though, is that there are about seven billion people on this planet, and we are all connected by history, the influence of culture (art, food, music), ancestry, sports, etc. I do not understand how there is so much hate and discrimination in the world. Wherever I have traveled, I have been blessed to interact with some of the kindest people.

So I guess what I am most grateful for is the opportunity to see outside of the box our world now lives in; to see that love still does exist; to see that there is still beauty in the world; to see that there still are places untouched by the destructive hand of man. I am grateful for the thing that feeds my soul: exploration.

This post was contributed by Alexa Nofsinger, who is spending her semester studying abroad with AIFS in London, England.

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