1. My education. From preschool to now in graduate school (18 years and counting!) I've been beyond lucky for the support of my parents and other adults, the quality of my teachers, the astonishing generosity and incredible intelligence of my peers, and most of all that I've made it through. Not many people are so blessed to have all the opportunities that I've had growing up, and I hope that I can pass these opportunities on to others.
2. The roof over my head, the food I have to eat, the water I have to drink. So many all over the world and just down the street don't have these pretty important things that I tend to take for granted.
3. The free artificial Christmas tree I picked up yesterday from MIT's warehouse. I emailed the reuse listserve last week about acquiring a tree, as many of my grandmother's Christmas ornaments came back with me to Boston after she moved to a nursing home this summer. I really wanted them to have a place of honor, and now they will, thanks to the generosity of someone I don't know and haven't met.
4. Holidays mean that there is no construction next door at Ashdown. This means that there will be no one jack-hammering at 7 am anymore! Well, at least til Monday. In the same token, no taiko drumming on Saturday! This also makes my life a little more peaceful.
5. Music. I miss about half of the orchestra rehearsals since there's a conflict with lab meeting (and job ALWAYS > fun extracurriculars). This meant that I wasn't going to be in the last concert of the year, a semi-staged production of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream." The orchestra is playing the music from Mendelssohn's ballet, a women's choir is singing the fairy chorus, and there are actors acting out the show. Last week, I got an email asking me to think about assisting, which I readily agreed to...the parts aren't "hard" (although each piece is in a different key - there is E, Eb, D, C, G, and A. Which, yes, means that we're sight-transposing. Which makes us much more badass than trumpets). But---the key is there are a couple parts (Wedding March!)
that are loud and constant, which is sometimes more challenging than difficult technical passages. Anyway, I got to assist yesterday, and while still slightly rough, I was extremely impressed with both the actors and vocalists. It's gonna be a great show, and if you're Boston, let me know and I'll get you free tickets.
6. Family and friends. You know who you are. Thank you. (also---a special shout-out to the person who sent me the immersion blender that arrived in the mail today. It was completely unexpected, and truly thoughtful....the best kind of gift, I think)
7. Marscapone cheese. Good lord. How did I survive without ever tasting this wonderful food before this week, I don't know. Seriously! It is that good.
8. Houseplants that don't die in my new apartment. You can do it! Keep photosynthesizing! I know you can! Please!
9. Scarves. Thank you Nimli for keeping my neck warm (yes---that is right. $10 for a pashmina scarf. They're great...the only thing is you can't choose the color).
10. Love. It's a wonderful thing, folks. And if there's one thing that I've realized even more in the past few months is that life isn't worth diddly squat without it. Plain and simple. So don't keep it to yourself. Tell people that you mean something to then. Send them a package, write them an email, bake them cookies and surprise them, sing them a really silly song really loudly while dancing in lab, just to make them laugh...look them into their eyes and tell them you really care. It's worth it.