Showing my appreciation to my new friends in Fort Collins
Yesterday was Thanksgiving - and the first one I've spent in the United States as an adult.
While I was born in the USA, I've lived nearly my entire life in New Zealand and China and travelled a fair amount in between.
In New Zealand, we had a few Thanksgiving meals, but most of the time, our family celebrations were centred around Halloween, Christmas, and our birthdays. We never really got involved with the expat community in China. So while I think we did have one or two Thanksgiving or other get-togethers there, none of them really stick out in my mind. Yesterday's here in Fort Collins will, though.
This Thanksgiving, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
There were only three of us, and we each made a dish for sharing. I'm prone to preparing more than I need to, and I know it. So after prepping for the dish I made, I deliberately took half of it and saved it in the fridge. It turns out that it was STILL too much! But at least I caught myself!
When I arrived, I helped my friend Leanne to prep and cook her dish as well. It looked similar to mine but tasted completely different. Then her friend came, and he brought some smoked chicken that was absolutely wonderful. We all brought our own style of warm and comforting food, and even though we didn't really coordinate it, they all complimented each other so well. The chicken was smokey and savoury, Leanne's was full of fall flavours with wonderful textures provided by crisp apple and chopped nuts, and my veggie dish was tangy and sweet from the rosemary sprigs and orange marmalade I used.
When it came time to talk about what we were thankful for, I said that above all else, I was grateful for the friendships I've made since I arrived here.
And I meant it. I couldn't have stayed positive and hopeful without the wonderful people I've met and worked with here in Fort Collins. I know for sure that the best thing I can do for myself and my family in the future is to invest in the people that live here. They're so friendly and welcoming. Even last night, while waiting for my ride, I was greeted by an elderly man, and we had a short chat about our day. I can't imagine that happening anywhere else.
Continuing on with giving thanks, I thought I'd just share some really cool things about my friend Leanne!
First off, she's a singer and songwriter. She helps refugees overseas learn valuable skills so they can integrate and contribute to their new homes. She's also building a wellness brand that is set to take off! I'll share some of her music with you below. You can also check out her Facebook page and YouTube videos. Enjoy!