Thankfulness: A Photo Essay

While it is Wednesday, November 23 in the United States right now, it is Thursday, November 24, the date of Thanksgiving, in New Zealand. I am in Wanaka after an incredible time in Christchurch with wonderful people. I have felt homesick a lot lately. Those emotions need to be felt, but there are strategies that also help me be where I am.

One of those strategies is giving thanks. Today is a good time for me to pause and remember all that I’m thankful for. Not only is it Thanksgiving, it also marks exactly five months of being in New Zealand. That is a huge landmark. This is the longest amount of time I have ever been away from Indiana.

So without further ado, I am thankful for:

My parents. They encouraged me to follow this crazy dream.


My sister-in-law and brothers. (My brothers may be taller than me, but I can still beat them up.)

Packages from home.


The farm.




Music and the ability to play an instrument and sing.


Livestock and Farm Dogs-5

Dogs and their energetic personalities and hilarious antics.

The people I’ve met and worked with while here.


Free laundry.


The beauty of New Zealand.



Humour, especially on signs I understand better after earthquakes.

Familiar brands.

Baking and sharing American foods on my birthday. For the first time, I made yeast rolls from my great-grandma’s special recipe, and a couple of native Kiwis now understand why bacon and beans together is so amazing.


Starting a peanut butter and jelly sandwich revolution. I made a sandwich for myself one day with a couple of French housemates watching in disbelief at the combination. Then, I made them one, and they were converted and now eat them for meals while working. They also share this marvelous invention with others. (Photo taken in front of Lake Wanaka by one of the housemates.)


My students.


And you all.

Thank you so much for supporting me on this journey, for making sure I was okay after the earthquakes, for encouraging me with your kind emails, for asking for more pictures and for being you.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

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