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.