When does something become a tradition? After doing it one time + then deciding to do it again one year later? If so, then I’ve stumbled upon a new Thanksgiving tradition for myself. A new (now, old) way to be give thanks + celebrate this very American-ish day while welcoming the season of rituals, magic, and traditions.
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year. And, at this point in my life, the actual day, today, is also one of the toughest. All I want is for my love + I to gather with my family in the States and watch the parade, eat turkey + pie, lay around, laugh, take walks, eat more turkey + pie, and begin to decorate for the holidays.
But, living in Sweden keeps me far from those traditions that I cherish from my American life. Though, my love + I do our absolute best to do as much as we can here in Sweden. But, the turkey meal comes on the weekend and Thanksgiving Day is just a regular workday.
So, last year, instead of wallowing in a puddle of wishing I was in the States, I decided to focus on… what else? Gratitude. I looked back through the previous year, with all of its ups + downs, and really focused on the moments, both good + bad, that I was now grateful for.
That’s the beauty of time passing. Perspective. With new eyes, I was able to see + understand, yet again, how life unfolds and how there is gratitude to be found in every little moment.
I loved doing that so much last year that I’ve decided to do it again today; hence, making it a new Thanksgiving tradition for myself.
So, without further ado, I present to you 12 moments from the past 12 months for which I am deeply grateful.
There is nothing like the feeling of waking up in New York City. Especially during the holiday season. On our way to meet up with my family for the holidays, we stopped for about 15 hours in NYC. We ate mexican food, went to Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree, walked around East Village, and ate breakfast at a local coffee shop. It was a whirlwind trip, but so freaking awesome. The vibes + the holiday spirit were magical. And this early morning moment in our Airbnb, with all of the possibilities that come with a day in NYC, was an indescribable quiet moment of pure, open, free-spirited bliss.
We spent the holidays last year in Portland, Maine with my brother (who lived there at the time) and my parents. It was 10 slow, lazy days of family, food, snow, and just being together. The perfect way to start the year. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. Long, cold walks with a mug of coffee on a snow-covered beach… I mean… perfect.
In the end of February, we started the celebrations for our first year in our home. That’s right, one year ago, we had become homeowners and I cannot explain how much we have come to love our home and how absolutely grateful we are for it. It’s just our perfect little corner of the world. In February, we also had the premiere of our House Hunters International episode in the States. It was an incredible experience! And sometimes I just stand around in my home, just looking and feeling overwhelmingly blessed.
We traveled to Ireland in March to visit our dear friend + her son. It was a very special weekend of exploring, catching up, remembering, and just loving on each other. You see, her amazing husband, also our dear friend, had just passed away a few months before and it was the first time we had visited since his death. So, it was a deeply special time to be together with our friend. Words cannot really do it justice.
My brother came to visit in April – again! It was his third trip to see us + he stayed for about 10 days. Every time he comes it’s just so freaking wonderful. We tour around, eat, drink, relax, and discuss everything important in life.
Another amazing friend of ours got married in May, on my love’s birthday! So, we flew down to Berlin + then drove about 3 hours southwest to a tiny little German village. It was idyllic, simple, gorgeous, and just a perfect spring weekend of love and friendship.
As summer began, we celebrated Midsummer by taking a little road trip out to a little coastal village about an hour from where we live. The village was crawling with people getting together to dance around the midsummer pole, and after celebrating with them all, we found a nearby shoreline that was quiet and empty. The perfect place to just sit + soak up the sun. So simple + wonderful.
We had our summer vacation in July + headed straight for the States. After a couple of days in NYC, we flew to North Carolina for two weeks. In this moment, I felt total complete bliss. I was high in the North Carolina mountains, far from any civilization, with my parents + my love, and just feeling totally whole + at peace. Like I said, bliss.
When my love + I flew home, my parents came with us! It was a major, major feat + an experience beyond words. It was incredible to spend 3 more weeks with my parents, showing them Sweden, and sharing with them what my life looks like over here. I think they loved it. Hehe. I know I did.
This has got to be one of my favorite months. It’s my birthday month + the beginning of autumn. And this year I even started an amazing little group for elderly people. Every week, as I walk across town to meet up with them, I have passed this secret little path. My Friday morning walk has become this tiny little ritual of my own that is just a magical moment of connection, grounding, and peace.
I had many, many moments like this one in October. Cozy, dark, slow, and magical. It was an extremely inwardly-focused month. And it was absolutely perfect. I felt so much inspiration. So connected with my soul. And I simply sank deep into the darkness of autumn.
Most of November, so far, has been extremely busy. However, this moment, in the beginning of the month, on All Saint’s Day, was a quiet, meaningful one. One that reminded me of the beauty of all of life, even death. The beauty of endings + beginnings, the cycles of the seasons. And, in that moment, I was reminded of the peace of how life unfolds and evolves.
What a beautiful year, with so many beautiful memories. I am certainly blessed and absolutely grateful for these, and so many more, moments. And, with that, I bid you all an amazing Thanksgiving Day. Sending you warm thoughts of peace + love. May your life be blessed with magical moment after magical moment.