Giving Thanks in Chiang Mai

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love that it’s all about food. There’s no pressure for gifts, no religious association, just good food and company.

Today we’ve particularly missed family and friends. I missed my Aunt Shernaz’s thanksgiving soup and I even missed the way her oven always takes an hour longer than it’s supposed to for the Turkey. The wait is always worth it.

On the brighter side, our family has so much to be thankful for this year. After all, we are living the dream of traveling around the world! We spent Thanksgiving celebrating the two things we are most grateful for right now – our health and time with each other. We did this by cycling 40 miles together in the hills north of Chiang Mai.

We’re thankful for health. When I found out I had multiple sclerosis five years ago, I had fears of not being able to ride a bike, let alone being physically capable of traveling the world with two kids. Luckily, thanks to a great group of doctors, support from family, friends and colleagues, and most importantly a positive outlook, MS has been a reason to experience life to its fullest. Given the unpredictability of MS, things could have turned out a lot worse, so our family is thankful for our collective ability to enjoy unrestricted physical activity on our trip (like cycling to a reservoir and then carrying our kids across its overflowing dam).

Each year, Sandeep and I lead a team to cycle 30 miles around Manhattan to raise awareness for MS. We figured that, on Thanksgiving, cycling around Chiang Mai would be a great way to celebrate the adventures of a healthy family living with MS.

We’re thankful for this unrestricted time together. In New York, we I tried to maintain a work-life balance that allowed us to be home for dinner and work-free on weekends. However, we still checked-in constantly, and maintained a level of stress that comes with active careers. Sandeep is still working, but his (very long distance) telecommuting has enabled him to set hours and expectations so that we can still enjoy our life on the road.

Spending more time together means listening to Ava go on and on about she only knows what, and having the patience (and interest, most times!) to do so. It means taking 15 minutes to walk to the end of the road to entertain Kayan’s fascination for every flower, rock and car. And even though Sandeep and I have struggled to have our independent conversations, we have been able to recall and share a lot of random stories from our pasts and ponder our future.

We had Thanksgiving lunch by the reservoir at the top of the mountain. We didn’t have a turkey, but enjoyed Thai fish with all the trimmings. The only thing that could have made this Thanksgiving better would have been the ability to share it with those at home.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Filed under Food, Health, Thailand

18 Responses to Giving Thanks in Chiang Mai

  1. I cried for joy for you, Sandeep and the family. Happy Thanksgiving

  2. Hitasha

    Wow. Diya. It’s amazing what u r doing! I didn’t know you have MS- makes what you r doing even more amazing. Good luck and I look forward to reading more about your adventures.

  3. Daphne n Kwok Hoong

    Hi Happy Belated Thanksgiving! Great idea biking trip! In celebration of good health and family time…. We are off ziplining treetops today! Gave night safari a miss as you were right! Reviews not great.,.

    Have a wonderful day!!

    • Diya

      We would love to do the ziplining, except it would be one more thing we’d where need to leave the kids behind. Let me know how it is, the pictures seem great. Enjoy!

  4. Larry

    You seem to have several silent readers – Kerman C & Hoshi P are two I know – who enjoy your column. So keep it going……..

  5. Jordana

    This entry has made me all teary eyed!! Tears of thanks, tears of joy and tears of love! Thank you for being such a wonderful ‘sister’. Thank you for letting me be apart of your family. Thank you for my god children. I love you 4 every much! Keep enjoying these moments together however simple they are because it’s these moments that create a wonderful life. Looking forward to reading about your next adventure! xoxo

  6. Amanda

    Happy Thanksgiving to you all! And thank you for inspiring all of us “back home” with your courage and positive energy and thirst for adventure! I love reading the blog … think I´ll go for a bike ride today!

  7. Aye

    Happy Thanksgiving Diya!!!! This is my first year spending Thanksgiving outside of the US (in Barbados currently) but I think the most important thing about Thanksgiving is to be with our loved ones. Really happy to see you, Sandeep and the kids living life to the fullest! Can’t wait to reconnect with you in Africa!

    • Diya

      You are definitely at the top of the list of friends of ours that are obsessed with travel! Barbados sounds fabulous, send pictures. Looking forward to celebrating the next big American holiday, Fourth of July, on AFRICA!

  8. Keri

    We missed you all so much on thanksgiving (so true about the turkey!) but are so happy that you guys are having such an amazing time on your trip. i don’t say it enough but i’m SO proud of my amazing, brave, strong cousin (obviously you). love you!

  9. Viren

    Hi Diya

    Just started reading your blog! It is fantastic. Very excited and happy you and your family are doing this adventure. We must hang out properly when you come back to NY.

    • Diya

      Welcome Viren! So glad that you are reading. Yes, it has been an amazing adventure so far and we are so exciting about what’s coming.
      We will see each other in NY and catch up – properly as you point out 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *