Thanksgiving in Kabul, and so much – and so many – to be thankful for. I finally feel like I am exactly where I am meant to be in life. Thank you – to new friends and old – for being a part of that. And a special thank you (bear with me for a long post – feel free to just control + f for your name):
To the colleagues that helped me get here – Toby, for having the controversial faith to give a 20 year old college student a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; Agus (who I just saw after three years!), for making the introduction that brought me here; Tara, whose stories and experiences were what ultimately convinced me to jump on the opportunity; Ahmad, for being the facilitator that made this trip happen.
To my Twitter and other virtual buds (I do work in social media after all!) – some of whom I have yet to actually meet in person – Amandine, for trusting me to stay in your (amazingly warm and welcoming) home while you were away; Sajad, for making so many connections after numerous online interactions but just 1 in person meet-up; @_ndrw, for being a constant and supportive reader; Akhila for inspiring me with your writing; and Abed, Alex, and Mike for all of of the hours we spent working together on TEDxKabul communications.
To my family, friends, friendtors, and mentors back “home” – mom and dad for putting up with my impulsive decisions as well as the ensuing worry; Rajiv for the years of love and support – I will never forget them; Yamila, whose Egypt adventures gave me such wanderlust (and the push to create my own adventures); my old colleagues for still being so supportive (especially Will and Nathan for making me still feel part of the “team”, and AMC for the continued mentorship); Lulu (and Cadengo) for all of the pre-Afghanistan support and friendship; Lisa + Lulu collectively for reminding me of where I come from and that some things never change; Matt, for the encouragement to move forward when everyone else called me crazy; Cecilia for taking me in when I most needed it; Martin, for being the one man that’s stuck around the longest (8 years of friendship and counting!); the entire Global Shapers community for giving me a built-in and inspiring/encouraging community where ever I am; Justin for being such a great sounding board; Ted for inspiring; and Eugenia, for being the absolute best bestie a girl could ask for.
And to my new (and old) friends in Afghanistan – Farid and Zahrona for the years of friendship; Riz for making me feel so welcome during those critical first days; Gull, for helping me to feel at home for the first time in Afghanistan; Paddy for giving me a place to crash and regroup; Eliot for always making sure I was on the invite list; Melissa for being a wiser older sister and anthropology mentor; Ahmad (again) for the great conversations at FSC, Dari lessons, and shisha adventure (more to come?); Maria for being a kindred spirit in country; Pashtoon for an unforgettable experience in Kandahar; the entire Kabul rock scene (Trav, Warren, Pedram, et al) for converting me into a total, loyal groupie; and last – but definitely not least – to Hameed and Una.
Hameed, so thankful for your infinite patience and insight, for the good times we’ve already had, and all of the adventures to come. I can’t wait.
And finally to Una, for being a source of support, wisdom, and laughter since even before I arrived in country – thank you, thank you, thank you. My first two months in Afghanistan would look so different without you.
I know there’s so many people that I missed, but I think you know who you are. Thank you so much for being a part of my life. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! Big hugs from Kabul,