The recorded ramblings of an unschooled writer, aspiring biologist, amateur equestrian, ardent bookworm, avid music appreciator, increasingly addicted runner and college student spending the summer in Ely, MN.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Who needs a turkey when you can have a snapper?

November 26, 2009
THANKSGIVING!

I apologize in advance, but I feel like I have no other option than to be ridiculous festive in the writing of this blog and simply list a small selection of the many things I have to be thankful for in my life. I’m feeling a bit less sick today (or at least have gotten better at ignoring the nausea, throat soreness and headaches, even if the fatigue is still proving challenge).

So, things I’m thankful for in no particular order, whether they be serious, silly or just plain strange:
1. My mom – because she’s awesome and also because she’s made sure that I have good taste in movies and chocolate; insisted that I learn how to write in a readable fashion (though I apologize for my inability to adhere to basic grammatical convention – the fault there is mine alone!); tried her very best to instill some sort of fashion sense in me and is supportive of all of my ridiculous endeavors.
2. My dad – because he’s also awesome and because he’s a fabulous cook who caters to my vegetarian tastes; he’s taught me a lot about some really good music (yay for Meat Loaf!); he likes to go see musicals with me and he also supports my strange adventures, from horseback riding to a semester abroad in Africa!
3. My dog – Lancelot the Labradog is the world’s best dog. I feel like everyone gets that once in a lifetime dog who is perfect for them in every way at some point in their life, but how lucky was I to find him when I was only twelve years old and he was a four week old puppy? Clearly the fact that he has turned out so well despite the fact that I knew nothing about dogs in his formative years speaks volumes about his innate excellence.
4. My “barn families” at Arbor Grove, Happy Trails and Talisman Farm, especially those I call “chums” regardless of their ages. I’m thrilled that so many of you have been following along with my African adventures.
5. My horse – Spector and I haven’t always gotten along so well, but now he is one of my very best buddies and I’m proud of how far we’ve come together. I’m even prouder of the fact that my six year old brother can now ride the “wild beast”!
6. This whole study abroad program – I could write pages and pages just on all the things to be thankful for here, but I’ll try to keep it succinct. To sum it up, can I just say that I spent my Thanskgiving snorkeling on a beautiful reef in the Indian Ocean and then went back to shore for an amazing fish feast prepared by Mwalimu Ken? Does that explain it well enough?
7. My friends Rachel and Lydia here in East Africa. We’ve all kept each other sane in so many ways and are now a very random sort of sisterhood.
8. Mama Susan in Riruta and my Maasai Nini for showing me what East African hospitality and openheartedness are all about.
9. My family in general, especially the whole Marshall Clan. Things are always a bit crazy and chaotic, but they never fail to be fun!
10. The fact that creatures like hyenas, leopards, jackals, hippos, secretary birds, octopuses, martial eagles, kudu, eland, dik dik, zebras, gazelles, twiga, elephants, hyraxes, warthogs, weavers, bee eaters, aardvarks, baboons, vervet monkeys, lions, cape buffalo, wildebeest, water bucks, bush duikers, sykes monkeys, hartebeest and so many more exist in the world and that I have seen and learned about them.
11. Horses and dogs and domestic animals in general. Sometimes people are just too hard to understand and having other wonderful creatures in my life makes things so much simpler.
12. Books, books, and more books. I cannot wait to see the inside of a bookstore or library again.
13. The friends that I stay in touch with though I haven’t seen them in a long time. I’m thankful that we choose to stay in touch with one another – you are all so important in my life.
14. Musicals and showtunes for being on my iPod to cheer me up on tough days, make endless trot sets around the track more entertaining and for inspiring me to run that extra mile.
15. My little brothers – especially Brody who I am sure is doing a fantastic job of caring for the Labradog in my absence.
16. Smoothies. Life has been difficult without smoothies these past three months! I cannot wait to be reunited with my blender.
17. ACMA, my arts high school. I think that being surrounded by artists and being challenged to think outside of the box is something that will continue to serve me well even as my academic life becomes more and more science oriented.
18. The beautiful running and hiking trails that are waiting for me at home.
19. All of my non-horse related friends (and also the horsey ones that hang out with me outside of the barn). I do need to get away every now and then and be forced to wear something other than slobber covered jeans and boots caked with manure. I know its not easy to convince me of this sometimes and I thank you for your continued efforts!
20. The world, for being such a large and amazing place with so much left for me to explore!

I have so much more to be thankful for than this, but twenty seems a good even list and I’ve simply got to enter some data on sand perch before the battery dies!

Missing you all terribly!
Hill!

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