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Born in the US, raised on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, lived in Italy, the US, and Canada. Lover of language, travel, colour, and the natural world.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Apples & giving thanks

It has been a lovely weekend. Warm, sunny, clear blue skies. The perfect weekend to head out of town to Apple Hill to enjoy the apple harvest, and the endless list of apple-related foods and drinks that the creative apple-growers in this region have come up with. I have been very conscious this weekend that if I were in Canada I would have been sitting around a table enjoying a thanks-giving meal with my nearest and dearest friends, and the awareness that so many of my friends north of the border were gathered together celebrating made me more conscious of how grateful I am for all the amazing experiences and people in my life right now. 

On Friday evening a group of friends gathered at the home of a couple who are quickly becoming two of my favourite people out here, Dionne and Todd. Their seven month old son Lucas is the most handsome man in my life at the moment, and I am blessed to get to spend social time with their family every week. This past Friday myself and a few other friends gathered at their home to enjoy devotions. The readings were chosen my another new friend who recently moved back to the US from Thailand. After devotions we ordered Thai food, and the men went out to pick up our feast. We filled our bellies with chicken curry noodles, steamed rice, coconut milk and seafood soup, and spicy apple salad, and sipped on sweet, creamy Thai iced tea. We shared stories of recent trips a few people had been on, watched a slide show of wedding photos from Todd and Dionne's gorgeous wedding. We shared exciting news and future plans and funny stories. We laughed. A lot. And we played Super Mario Brothers, which most of us had not seen since we were in elementary school -- blast from the past. When I finally collapsed into bed at close to 2am Saturday morning, I had a smile on my lips and joy filling my chest. 

On Saturday afternoon I met up with a few of the same group for tea at a local coffee shop that has an outdoor patio. We sat in the sunshine and chatted and enjoyed the Fall afternoon. The breeze. The warmth of the Fall sun. Mugs of hot, creamy chai tea. 

Saturday evening I had a lovely phone conversation with my soul sister Pascale, over in New Zealand. Our conversation was short and sweet, and reminded me yet again how vital it is to have friendships that not only inspire me and make me laugh at myself and at life, but that remind me the depth of connection that is possible between human beings when we connect not only intellectually and emotionally, but also at the level of the soul. That spiritual connection completely redefines relationships -- what they are, and what they can be-- and makes them so much more fulfilling and transformational.    

Yesterday I was again surrounded by friends, this time out exploring the foothills and a region called Apple Hill -- an apple-producing region famous for its colourful fall foliage, great apple picking and hot apple cider in October; pumpkin picking and pumpkin pie in November; and Christmas trees in December. We meandered our way between farms, enjoying the sloping hills, the trees heavy with sweet, crunchy apples; the sun bright and warm. Along the way we enjoyed cups of hot apple cider; freshly made, hot apple cider doughnuts sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon; hot apple pie with vanilla ice cream, and apple cider milkshakes. On the way home we stopped at a charcuterie where I got myself an apple sausage, which was divine. It was a day of leisure and laughter. Of more stories. Of getting to know the people around me more deeply....and of very full, very happy bellies! 

When I climbed into bed last night I felt tremendously grateful for the incredible community of friends that I am surrounded by. This year has been a hard one, but no matter what has been happening around me, I have always been surrounded by incredible friends -- friends that I have just met since arriving in California; friends that I have known for years and years who stay in touch by email and hand-written letters; and friends from Canada who have remained a joyful and supportive part of my life out here in California despite being so far away physically.

Today it is raining. Pouring, really. It has been raining and raining, all day long, and I am LOVING it! As you head into this new week, try to be conscious of all the incredible people that you share not only a physical/emotional/intellectual relationship with, but also a spiritual relationship. The people who remind you to be silly. The ones who turn up to eat Thai food with you on cold nights. The ones who beat you at video games for hours on end, but whose company you enjoy so much that you forget that you have lost every game you have played all night. The ones who give you the opportunity to take care of, love, and learn from their children. The ones who sit and pray with you. The ones who believe in you no matter what. The ones who invite you over for hot cups of tea. The ones you sat around a thanks giving table and enjoyed a delicious meal with (or will be doing so with some time soon!). The ones you enjoy hot apple pie and steaming cider with....I hope this week is full of good times with people whose company you love, and who love and appreciate you in return. Happy gratitude Monday, friends! 

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
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