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There is always, always something to be thankful for.

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Thanksgiving is this week, so I figured I’d use my favorite holiday as the inspiration for my motivational Monday post!

Going through some of my pictures from last year, I started to reminisce a little on my first (celebrated) Thanksgiving away from home.

The beginning of my “Madrid experience” last year was a little bit complicated. I found it harder than I expected to adjust to my new Spanish life. Settling in to a new place with all new friends, a new culture, a new job and even a new eating schedule, was a lot to take on all at once. I tried to push my comfort zone a bit by moving in with two Spanish girls, who seemed awesome, but were hard to connect with at first considering the language barrier. Without my usuals (friends, comfort foods, etc.) to fall back on, I began to feel pretty lonely and isolated, which only worsened with the onset of the holidays.

It’s never easy to be away from the people you love during the holidays. You feel like your missing out on the yearly traditions that have become a very part of who you are. My first Thanksgiving away from home was spent with a host family, and therefore the day wasn’t really acknowledged. It was really weird to ignore the day and it felt like a piece of my year was missing.

Last year, for my second Thanksgiving away from home, two of my best friends, and favorite people on this earth, planned a trip to come visit! Not only did this help with my Thanksgiving FOMO, but we also decided that we weren’t going to let a few thousand miles stop us from indulging in our favorite feast.

I wasn’t sure exactly what we were taking on, but I was super excited to share this American tradition with my new Spanish roommates. My mom packed some of the essentials in a bag for my friends to bring along and e-mailed over some of our regular recipes. We lined up the box of stovetop stuffing, canned cranberry sauce and packaged Jiffy corn muffin mix on the kitchen counter and the process commenced.

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Well, let’s just say I give all the moms and dads that take on Thanksgiving some major props. This meal is NOT easy to coordinate. Ours may not have been quite like moms, but I guess we’ll chalk it up to a work a progress. Even so, last year’s Thanksgiving was definitely one of my favorites this far.

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Before eating, we went around one by one and shared a little bit about what we were thankful for. It was real and it was pure. We were honest and we were open. A few of us even shed a few tears.

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It was in this moment that I new everything in Madrid would be fine. No, it would be better than fine.

Old friends. New friends. Cheap wine. Breaded turkey fillets. Canned cranberry and burnt pumpkin pie.. Everything was perfect.

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This year I will continue my new Thanksgiving Day tradition. Some Spanish friends, some American friends and lots and lots of mediocre food! 😀

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Here’s to another unforgettable holiday!

My motivation for this week: Take a few moments every week, or even every day to recognize the good in your life. More often than not we zero in on the negative and dwell on those little things that don’t go exactly according to plan. This week let’s try to focus on the positive. Remember that you are lucky and that there is always someone worse off than you are at this very moment. Most of all remember there is always, ALWAYS something to be thankful for.

**P.S. Sorry for the crappy IPhone shots—at the time I had no idea these pictures would be going on my blog! Actually, I had no idea I was going to have a blog ….

What are you thankful for this year?

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