“Amor de Café” by Juan Tuk Durán in Sintercafe’s Grano de Oro exhibition
I’m tempted to say that this year I have more to be thankful for, but I think my thanks are just more diverse.
The past three months have made me daily thankful for the coffee I drink. Seeing firsthand, meeting face to face, and even sometimes working alongside the people who produce coffee for a living has made me infinitely and profoundly thankful for coffee. I love coffee, it truly makes me happy every time I drink it, and those who know me will attest to the fact that my mode changes with a cup in my hand. Now I don’t spend a minute of a day without being thankful that I have the privilege of enjoying something that is so difficult (sometimes seemingly to the point of being impossible!) to produce.
I am thankful to the “cosmic lottery” for having been born in a time and place where my family and community could provide me far more than my basic needs. I’m thankful for my luck. I’m thankful that I had comfort and safety that I did nothing to deserve or earn.
I am thankful for my education. Every teacher I’ve ever had helped lead me to this place where I am confident to be running around the world, pursuing trade, culture, and global interactions. Living in new places as reminded me the power of education. Access to information is meaningless if I don’t know what to do with the information when I get it. Someone can pull something over on me if I don’t know what’s going on. The valuable part of education is not getting information, it’s learning how to put those pieces together, learning different strategies to stack, interlock, string together or lean pieces against each other to figure something out. I am thankful that I’ve been lucky enough to grow up in a place that pushed me to do something with my luck, to appreciate my cosmic lottery and use it to do and understand new things.
I am thankful for the people that I haven’t seen in months, but who stay up late to talk with me, even when they have work at 6. I’m thankful for the people who read my blog, take my survey, look at my pictures, and think differently about the coffee they drink. I’m thankful for my family, who has infinite faith in the postal service to deliver letters and pictures to the remote places I stick myself.
I am thankful for friends that have become my family, friends who drive on the median to get me to the airport in time, who help me carry the entire contents of my apartment every time I move, friends who offer me food and a place to sleep in my nomadic wanderings.
I am thankful for the people I’ve met on my travels. I’m humbled by the ways they’ve trusted a stranger with their stories, the histories of their families, their land, themselves. I am thankful for the people who have invited me into their homes, guided me up the mountains, pulled an extra chair up to the table, and fed me with food they often didn’t have to spare. I’m thankful for people’s patience in explaining the obvious and answering my ignorant questions. I am thankful for people who have shared their homes and their pantries, when all I had to share in return was a story and a smile and a willingness to wash the dishes.
I am thankful for a body that can scale mountains, dance salsa in heels, stomach ceviche, heal open wounds, and sleep through city dawns and jungle midnights. I am thankful for my health and for the people in my life who helped me stay healthy until I could take care of myself.
Probably because I’m and only child, but more likely because I’m just stubborn, I like to do things for myself. I’m thankful for the people who helped me even when I didn’t want it and for those who listened and helped me when I did.
I’m also thankful for everyone who doubted (and still doubts) my unconventional choices. Sometimes the desire to defy is even better motivation that unconditional support.
I’m thankful that I have the time and ability and political freedom to sit down and write this. I am thankful that my parents instilled me with enough budgeting capacity that I haven’t emptied my bank account yet.
I’m frustrated that I don’t often feel like I adequately say or show how thankful I am.
I am thankful that I somehow ended up with more than is fair, and I’m thankful that I have my wits about me enough to appreciate it.