The Thankful Challenge: Day 1 & 2

Every November, I participate in something called the Thankful Challenge (#ThankfulChallenge on Twitter) where each day, I pick one thing for which I’m thankful and share it with others.  I do this to remind myself to be happy for the things I have and not stress about everything I don’t have.  It gives me perspective, which in harder times like these, is pretty important.  So without further ado…

1

As the month of November begins, and the East Coast continues recovery after Hurricane Sandy, I am ever thankful today for the men and women who have been working overtime to get New York City back up and running.  I am so amazed by how quickly the MTA was able to get even some limited subway service going just days after what was the worst disaster to ever hit the NYC metro system.

Growing up in the Midwest, things like this always happened miles upon miles away, so while it was sad to see devastation on TV and in newspapers, it never truly affected me.  Being here now in the midst of it (though my street only had one fallen tree), I see how much we take for granted little things like the subways or having electricity.  Once common conveniences have become luxuries to those without them.

The sun is peeking through the clouds today, which I can only take as a sign things are on their way to getting better.  New York may have its faults, but the resilience of its people is not one of them.  That resilience is not something that can be fully documented on the news; it’s a feeling.  It’s not that New Yorkers don’t feel sorrow or helplessness, it’s that we choose to feel it for a few brief moments and then set about getting back to our daily lives come hell or high water (literally).

2

I’m thankful for Astoria, Queens.  Not only was it mostly untouched by the destructive forces of Hurricane Sandy, but it’s also a wonderful little neighborhood.  Before I moved to New York last year, I had never even been to Queens (except for LaGuardia Airport).  I had lots of former classmates who lived in Astoria, but beyond that I knew next to nothing.

Now, I’ve really settled into this area, and it feels more and more home-y every day.  The little Chinese lady who owns the Chinese restaurant a block from my apartment knows my usual order.  She calls me “sweetheart” every time I come in and always makes sure to include extra duck sauce.  My bank tellers know me by name and ask how I am.  There are real grocery stores and trees.  TREES!  Plus the most authentic Greek food you’ll find short of boarding a plane to Athens, Greece.

(If I sound like I’m writing a blurb for a travel magazine, I apologize.)

The point is that I’m thankful to live in such a place that is just minutes from New York.  It’s quieter at night, and people are a little bit nicer.  Sure, I could pay a pretty penny for an apartment the size of a shoebox to live in Manhattan, but as a Midwestern girl, I’m just fine having a little peace and quiet in the sort-of ‘burbs.

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