A mural on Fleet Street in Downtown Kingston

Hi everyone,

There were five emails about taking the post-DDCSP survey. Marking them as "Unread", I told myself I would get to it once I finished "processing". A beautifully vague way to grant myself a few more days of pretending that the experience wasn't over, pretending that the past two summers in Seattle did not impact me as much as they had, pretending that I wouldn't miss the community I found. But the deadline was getting closer and the squad kept posting pictures and I realized that I had to write something.

If there's one phrase I can attribute to my father, it would be, "Haffi give thanks". ("There's food at home" would be a close second because of how often I asked for food on the road.) The past three months have been different types of busy. Busy with packing up my second year of university. Busy with taking on new positions and responsibilities. Busy with reconnecting with friends and family who mean more to me than I realize. Busy with the never-ending process of understanding my likes and dislikes and hopes and dreams.

Just the easy things really.

Now that school has started [cue maniacal laughter], I want to pause and think about the things that happened. Initially, I felt the need to recount the things that happened and come up with a list of lessons I learned. I kept pushing that idea away. It didn't seem genuine because I felt as if I had to make each of my experiences have a one-line nugget of wisdom like an Aesop Fable. However, what did jive with me was stopping to think about moments that I am thankful for.

So here we go.

Haffi give thanks:

for friends who will help move boxes and bags that are half their body weight

for opportunities to learn from professionals who are doing dope, life-changing things in different countries

for the ability to play in the dirt, dig (but not too deep) through the garbage, and play with sidewalk chalk

for friends who should be chefs and not worry about this whole undergraduate degree thing

for my Seattle squad

for hallway conversations, dance parties and mini crossword puzzles

for three+ hour car rides and junk food pit stops

for preparing meals and watching bad reality television

for trekking in the bush and getting lost in said bush

for confusion about what I want to do with a project/my life

for climbing mountains

for mountain goats in all their glory

for mentors who took the time to have us over for dinner, edit our work, or let us cry on their shoulders, even when they had their own things going on in their lives

for losing my voice the day after I presented about finding my voice

for my beautiful, messed up island

for family who I can laugh with until I get stitches or sit with in comfortable silence

for going to bed when the sun comes up

for friends who will come over and eat lunch in my living room while I'm getting ready to go to the airport

for roommates

for parents accomplishing their own dreams and inspiring me to go after mine

for a sibling who will cuss me off (with love) and put my concerns into perspective

for not being 100% of what I believe and learning to be okay with that.

Something I realized this summer is that even if I don't know what I want to do, I know that there are people around the world who will support me as I figure it out.

The song is "Count Your Blessings" by Damian Marley and Nas.

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