Happy Thanksgiving

Today’s my first Thanksgiving completely away from my family.  Or to clarify: it’s year 3, so this isn’t *technically* my first Thanksgiving away… but it is without at least one member of my family.  My mom came over in first year and my dad and sister came over last year.

This year, they’re all back in Kansas and my sister has just returned home for the first time from University.  And me?  I’m writing this from a coffee shop.  But, just because I’m alone this Thanksgiving doesn’t mean that I’m lonely.

I actually find it pretty hard to be lonely in Edinburgh… and that’s not because there are probably more skeletal remains buried beneath the city than living inhabitants.  No, I find it hard to be lonely in Edinburgh because of the history and stories surrounding everything.  That, and of course, my friends… who are truly wonderful people and I probably don’t tell them that enough.

This weekend we went to the Bothy for the last EUMC meet of the year.  We cooked up a big meal aka about 40L of vegetable soup.  We started early on Saturday morning and served up around 8pm.  It was a few days early, but being at the Bothy, cooking, and drinking mulled wine in front of the fire felt a little bit like own little Thanksgiving.  I wasn’t related to anyone there, but it felt like a little family nonetheless.  (And, yeah, sure, maybe I’m a little sentimental… but being a long way from your family around this time of year makes anyone sentimental.)

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Happy Thanksgiving.

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I was grateful for this weekend.  I had been very stressed and I was grateful for that beautiful place in the mountains.  How the sun hit the snowy peaks and how the clear the river was.  I was grateful for the stars, and how you could see Orion overhead – the first constellation my dad ever taught me.  But, most importantly, I was grateful for the stories from the people milling about and the laughter they brought with them – for the singing and the dancing and the fireworks and even the bagpipes.

If living abroad has taught me anything, it’s that the world may seem pretty big… but it’s also pretty small as well.  The places and the people may be different but the feeling of the holidays remain the same.

Thanksgiving has been and will be a day for stopping and looking at the wonderful life around you.  It’s for realising that things aren’t as bad as they seem.  It’s about giving thanks for the places you’ve been and will go and the people you’ve met and will meet along the way.

Bothy Work Party 2k16 + Scotland Soundtrack 19

It’s Monday.  Here’s a playlist and some words.

This weekend I traveled northward to the lovely Glen Licht House in Kintail aka the EUMC club bothy.  Map below.

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As a lot of you know already know, I’m the Bothy Apprentice for this year.  Next year I’ll take over as Bothy Secretary.  While the rest of the club was tasked with various renovation projects including cleaning the tiled floor, fitting the new kitchen, or building a boot rack to keep mud off of the previously mentioned new tiled floor.  As Bothy Apprentice, I was tasked with feeding the hungry masses.

I decided on mass production of potato corn chowder.  Ellie (my sous-chef for the weekend) and I started early around 10:30.  We had a lot of help from other members of the club, including Eilidh and Caitlin, to chop all the vegetables needed for the soup.  Guys we brought a metric fuck ton of potatoes with us.

And that’s how my day was spent.  We set up shop outside in the gorgeous Highlands, turned on some music (spoiler alert: it’s the playlist above), and set to make four giant vats of soup.

People kept asking if I needed any extra help but I jokingly responded with, ‘Guys, I’m from the Midwest of the United States.  If there’s one thing we do actually know how to do, it’s making enough food for a small army.’ And then when people asked about the recipe, ‘Um… well, I learned how to cook from my dad, who learned to cook from the United States Marine Corps, so I just sort of throw whatever I have in a giant pot and dump spices in until it tastes good.’

It was exactly what I needed after this hectic week.

I needed to just get away from everything for a few days.

I read a lot over the weekend.  I took two of my favourite book with me: Tomorrow is Now by Eleanor Roosevelt and Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman.  I read TIN a lot when I’m upset or generally unmotivated.  It’s one of those books you don’t need to necessarily read in order either.  It’s like the Magic 8 ball of books, you can open up to any random page and find the answer you need.  Same goes for LoG. 

Some food for thought.

In a sense, nearly all great civilizations that perished did so because they had crystallized, because they were incapable of adapting themselves to new conditions, new methods, new points of view.  It is as though people would literally rather die than change.  Sometimes, seeing the stubborn resistance of large groups of Americans to accepting the existence of totally new conditions, their determination to meet the future as though it were the past, I am deeply puzzled.  How did it happen that a people with constantly developing ideas on methods of production and distribution appears unable to develop new ideas, new points of view, new solutions to the problems of adjustment to change? – ER

And.

LONG, too long America,
Traveling roads all even and peaceful you learn’d from joys and
prosperity only,
But now, ah now, to learn from crises of anguish, advancing, grap-
pling with direst fate and recoiling not,
And now to conceive and show to the world what your children
en-masse really are, – WW
By Saturday night, the soup was done and the hungry masses were happily appeased.  Sunday, I took a short walk through the rain up the valley to the waterfall.  I was soaking wet by the time I got back to the Bothy, but I was happy.  It was chance to clear my head.
This weekend was a nice break from the real world where I could get out and not have to think too deeply about things.  This week has deeply upset me. I was really fed up with a lot of aspects of humanity.  It was nice to escape everything, eff off to the mountains for 48 hours, and gather my thoughts.
One last thing.
This loss hurts but please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. – HRC

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