Bucket list: host a Thanksgiving dinner

Once Thanksgiving rolls around, you know it’s the start of the season of traditions. Since we don’t have family in the States, mom started a Thanksgiving tradition of getting ourselves invited to someone else’s house for dinner. I used to be embarrassed by this tradition, but now I find it rather amusing. Hosting a Thanksgiving was on my bucket list, but now I can cross it off!

We’ve been celebrating Thanksgiving with the same family for the past three years. Due to their home renovations, we had Thanksgiving chez nous. Mom put me in charge. I cheated a bit (a lot)…we ordered a traditional Thanksgiving meal from the Fresh Market, which included the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce. Mom also picked up a ham from HoneyBaked Ham. With the help of mom (and dad on dish duty), I made the sweet potato casserole, brussel sprouts, green beans, and glazed carrots. I also happily made the desserts, including a tiramisu à la Alba. Given my history in the kitchen (read: not good), it turned out better than expected. Some things came out a liiiiitle burnt, but nothing caught on fire, which I consider a success. Hosting our friends was the cat’s pajamas.

I’m thankful for so many things. The tl;dr version: I’m grateful for my family and a year of quality time with my parents and Toto (tennis and golf with Dad and random things with mom), for my friends who support all my endeavors with joy and laughter, the opportunity to learn many new things like the cello, golf, and painting, my future career elucidation/getting into med school early in the cycle, travel, the time I spend outside, being healthy, sleep, time to read SO MANY books, the roof over my head, the clothes on my back, and the dog on my lap.

The long version follows. Sending love and gratitude to friends and strangers scattered across the world.

So far, in 2015, I’m thankful for the opportunities/experiences I had to…

  • ADVENTURE in Switzerland et al. with Char and Em
  • HOST Lexie in Switzerland
  • EXPLORE Europe with Ang
  • MAKE new Italian, French, Swiss, and of course American friends
  • TRAVEL to Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Copenhagen, Venice, Evian, Nice, Prague, Budapest, Split, Hvar, Athens, Hydra, Berlin, Brussels, Amalfi, Naples, Croatia, Milan, and many mountain towns in Switzerland
  • SKI in the Swiss Alps
  • SNOWSHOE while eating cheese, charcuterie, and bread provided from the producers themselves
  • HIKE in the Swiss Alps
  • EAT the best cookies from Van Stapele in Amsterdam
  • CARRY a 5 month old baby around for 2.5 days in Venice (children add another level of craziness to travel!)
  • ORGANIZE a lab BBQ on Lac Léman
  • SWIM in the Mediterranean and in Lac Léman
  • RUN in my first mountain half-marathon in Zermatt
  • SEE Sam Smith in concert at Montreux
  • ATTEND Daria and Collin’s wedding in State College
  • SHADOW Dr. Garcia and Dr. Hanel in the OR, who were both extremely willing to teach and explain things to a noob
  • WALK with Toto
  • CHOOSE a career path (no more PhD track), APPLY to med school and RECEIVE acceptances with the moral and financial support of my family and friends
  • DIVE in the Atlantic off the coast of Key Largo
  • LAUGH with Angela while exploring Atlanta
  • LEARN the cello and DEVELOP calluses on my fingers from practicing
  • HIKE the Flatirons and Rockies in Colorado
  • ATTEND Disney’s Food and Wine Fest with Catherine and Lexie
  • VISIT Lexie in Gainesville/KAYAK on Lake Wauburg
  • BAKE at home where I have SO MUCH counter space
  • VOLUNTEER at Mayo where I can combine my love for classical music with my interest in medicine
  • WRITE for Medgadget, which keeps me slightly in check on the academic front
  • and in general TIME to read, run, paint, practice cello, sleep, and scroll through my twitter feed 🙂

Some things I’m thankful for and super excited about in the near future are diving and hiking in Oahu and Hawai’i, attending my first CES in Vegas and hiking in the Grand Canyon, spending my first Chinese New Year in Taiwan with my extended family, skiing in Hokkaido, and traveling to Australia and New Zealand. So much travel fills my heart with joy.


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