Being thankful.

I’ve always walked through life with this skewed idea that I’m untouchable. I’ve been hurt before, yes, by many people and in many different ways. I’ve never thought of myself as immune to emotional heartache or physical pain. But in certain ways, I viewed myself outside the scope of normal human-human interaction in such a way that traditionally “bad” things couldn’t happen to me. When I was a kid I’d easily shake off the warnings that my mom gave me about talking to strangers, being kidnapped and, when I got older, being raped. Even as the DC sniper attacks were in full swing back in 2002 and several people were killed within 30 minutes of my house, my 8-year-old egocentric mind decided that I simply would not be one of the victims. And that was that.

As I’ve grown older, the shield I thought once surrounded me has slowly melted off. I started to hear more and more stories about friends being sexually assaulted, neighbors being robbed, and peers committing suicide. These tragedies tiptoed closer and closer into my protective bubble until, one day, it popped.

I have to assume that everyone goes through this transition. The evolution from the individualistic mind of a child into the vigilant, self-conscious mind of an “adult”. I don’t think I’ve officially crossed the line into adulthood, and I honestly don’t know if I ever will.

But something that’s helped me take another step into the right direction is having my wallet stolen. My wallet, which had 70 euros, a credit card, a debit card, and 2 IDs tucked inside. Oh, and a week later, having my phone stolen. Within a two-minute time period.

Part of me is mad at myself. For not keeping a hand on my bag every second. For not separating my credit cards or my cash. For not keeping my phone in a zippered pocket.

And part of me is just sad. Sad that we live in a world where those procedures are necessary. Where we have to lock up our belongings 24/7 because people can’t control their magnetic hands and sticky fingers. Sad that putting trust in humanity is an “irresponsible, immature” thing to do now.

Of course, I only had material possessions stolen from me, and for that I can only be thankful. For that I can only forgive. I just hope that whoever has my belongings now needed them more than I did.

I feel very Jesus-y now. And I like it.

And my faith in humanity has been sustained by the wonderful friends and mentors that I’m surrounded by.

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My study abroad program celebrated Thanksgiving this past Thursday with some actual American food (finally!). The evening was filled with turkey (fish for me), mashed sweet potatoes, green beans, patatas bravas (alright, so maybe not the most American food), corn, cranberry sauce, bread, tarta de manzana, and quite a lot of alcohol.

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I feel so lucky to be spending these 4 months with such a wonderful group of people. All of the homesickness and nostalgia I was feeling on Thanksgiving melted away as I got to sit around a table with 12 of the strangest, nicest, most welcoming people I have ever met. And I’m starting to realize that when I go home, I’m going to be feeling a different kind of nostalgia — for Sevilla, for traveling, for Spanish food, and, most of all, for all these humans that I’ve grown to love.

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Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!


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