Monday, October 8, 2007

Monday Gratitude -- Iron Curtain Edition

It’s Thanksgiving Day in Canada today. I’ve got many things for which to be thankful, roof over my head, safe food and water, friends, love, something to do (writing) that makes me want to get out of bed each day.

Generally, most of us would agree that we’ve got a lot to be grateful for.
For example, if you’re reading this, then you are educated enough to be able to read, you know how to use a computer, and you have access to one right now.
If you can’t think of anything else to be happy about today at least you can chew on those three points with your turkey.

Those points, like so many others, really don’t take a lot of thought to list, merely a slight twist in perspective. So how about a big twist in perspective?

I’m grateful to live in a country where it’s okay to talk to strangers.
Granted, it may not always be safe, but at least you can’t get arrested for it.

That wasn’t the case in Bulgaria. Back in 1983 I was flying between Greece and Italy on the cheapest flight available, Balkan Bulgarian Airlines. The flight was Monday, October 10, and it included an eight-hour layover at the airport in Sofia, Bulgaria.
The in transit area of the airport had seating, washrooms, food, and a free English-language magazine. I still have it some place, I think. The lead story was about the Young Journalists and they came off sounding rather feisty. Another story was about a National who’d been charged in connection with the attempted assassination of the Pope two years earlier.
“A Bulgarian trying to kill the Pope!” scoffed the story. It turned out the magazine was correct to scoff.

Some information I found somewhere in the airport said travelers could take a bus into the city. I considered it, thinking, as a naïve traveler, that if I got lost I could just ask a local how to get back to the airport. I might have to do it by gestures, but it could be done.

But I stayed at the airport. I read, gazed at some mountains (if you add the appropriate vegetation it looks just like the scenery out of Honolulu airport), drank a cup of coffee that held the record as worst cup ever for four stellar years, and marveled at the fact that I was behind the Iron Curtain on Thanksgiving.

I was quite grateful to be Canadian. I was also very grateful to have some different currencies on me as the concession didn’t accept the Drachma.
And I was especially grateful that I stayed at the airport as I found out later that ordinary Bulgarians were not allowed to talk to Internationals.
Had I gone out and gotten lost I might have had quite the adventure.

How about you? What interesting or unusual thing are you thankful for today?

Happy Thanksgiving.


Anonymous said...

Great post, Leah, and Happy Thanksgiving!
I am grateful for our woodstove (and would be Really Grateful if we actually had some firewood laid in for the winter...)
We had a mini-hurricane blow through here yesterday. It blew down half a dozen trees in our yard, and, of course, knocked the power out to a goodly portion of the countryside. Took the electric company 5 hours to restore it. Had to light the woodstove (using some of the blow-down) to keep the house warm. So I'm grateful for the stove, the fact that I am capable of gathering the wood and lighting the stove, and I'm really grateful I wasn't trying to cook a turkey for 20 hungry people!!

Leah J. Utas said...

Bag Lady - Mini-hurricane? Yikes. Glad you got through it okay.

Anonymous said...

Honest, it sounded like a freight-train, just like they say on TV when a hurricane or tornado goes through! It was scary. The wind didn't last very long, but it was strong enough to move a loaded log truck sideways on the highway! (that's 65 tons of wood, folks!)

Leah J. Utas said...

Very scary, Bag Lady. Glad everyone's okay.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in Canada!!

Leah, that is quite a story about Albania.

Bag Lady, what an experience! I'm glad you are all okay.

Today is the fifth anniversary of my retirement and I am thankful that I have been healthy enough to enjoy those years.


Ann (bunnygirl) said...

I'm grateful for the things you mentioned, and to have my boss out for another day. A lot of people are out and it's quiet, so far. I'll be especially grateful if things stay that way.

I'm grateful for some new world-building and plot ideas swirling in my brain, and to have written the draft of another short story last night.

And as always, I'm grateful to have friends and family, friendly critters to come home to, and a husband who, while not perfect, is comfortable to live with. A lot of dumb stuff can be overlooked when you've got that! :-)

Leah J. Utas said...

Terrie - Congratulations on the fifth anniversary of retirement. I'm glad you've been able to enjoy it.
Thanks for the Thanksgiving wishes.

Bunnygirl - Congratulations on the new story. Family, friends, and critters are what make life grand.

Reb said...

Interesting post Leah.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.

I am grateful that the bag lady was able to post today, so that we know she is all right. I am grateful that I have a roof over my head and food in my cupboards. I am grateful that I don't have to harvest or butcher my own food and that we have refrigeration. And so many more things!

I am grateful to be Canadian.

(I am also grateful for spell check and that I can correct before you all see what a hash I am making today!)

Leah J. Utas said...

Reb - We have much to be grateful for. Good point about refrigeration.

Madeleine said...

I'm thankful that the weird plastic strip my cat vomited up didn't make it to his intestines. Gross, but that stuff can kill.

I still think he might have pica.

Virginia Lee said...

I'm grateful very day for my mother who taught me to read and write and so much more. And I'm grateful that I have made a few truly special friends over the years, one of whom is a Canajun up there in Edmonton! And I'm grateful that I am finally well enough to think again. Oxygen. It's brain food!

Michael said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Leah!

I'm grateful for a lot of things - although I seem to forget my blessings rather quickly sometimes (sigh). Most especially for my son, Aidan, who continues to fill my life with joy (and vexation, but I always say a bad day with him is better than a good day without him).

Yep, not only do I have a computer, I've done away with that cranky old dinosaur and got one that was very cheap and probably the least you get these days brand new, but it's still so much better than the old one; how can I not be grateful for that? Sheesh, I was grateful to have the dinosaur (because, despite it's being slow, fitful, and irritating at times, I don't know what I would've done without it)...

And I do have a warm and loving family. That's something that's really precious.

Leah J. Utas said...

Decaf, Please - I'm happy the cat got rid of the plastic strip.

Virginia Lee - My cousin Murray is an actor/director in Edmonton. The city is about two hours away from here. If you ever find yourself in the Great White North please let me know.

Thanks, Michael. And you are right.

Anonymous said...

Good post.