365 Days of Wonderful – Day 11
I am grateful for how small the world has gotten in my life time. I’ve recently spent some considerable time planning trips for the coming year: Florida and the Bahamas, San Diego, Big Sur, Phoenix… In my life I have been to Mexico, Canada, Italy, and Greece. A few months back I spent a week in Panama. And, I am struck by the fact that I hold the belief that I can travel the world. For this I am truly grateful.
I am grateful that it is possible to get on an airplane and fly across the country and around the world. I am super grateful that I do not have to take an arduous journey by boat across the Atlantic to go to Europe, as many of our ancestors did to come here.
Years after high school, I was interviewing my grandmother and recording her stories. She was telling me that her grandmother spoke only French. I paused, and asked why no one in the family encouraged me to take French in high school? This puzzled me. I am a descendant of French ancestry, and no one talks about it, celebrates it, nor encourages further study??? I asked my grandmother what she thought about why we lost our ethnic heritage? She replied that in World War One, she remembers being a young girl, and the family would hang blankets over the windows to black out the light, in case there were bombings in the night. She said, no one wanted to be French, or Italian, or German, we wanted to blend in and be American.
As I reflect on this now, I also think that the world was bigger for my grandmother and my mother. I don’t think that they contemplated world travel. I don’t think they thought that I might grow up and travel to France some day… Certainly, no one seemed to think that it was important to retain our cultural connections, or to pass them down the lineage. In this era of DNA testing and knowing your ancestry, I find it very interesting that in three generations, my grandmothers, my mothers, and now mine, that the trend has swung entirely the other way.
I am grateful that I had the time with my grandmother, to glean some of her stories. I am grateful that I now believe that I will travel to France some day, and go to the town of my ancestors. I am grateful that I feel safe enough to travel. I am grateful for a great set of luggage, and frequent flyer mileage plans. I am grateful that the world has gotten seemingly smaller. Maybe I’ll learn French some day…something more than Bon Appetit!
365 Days of Wonderful – A Gratitude Practice for shifting the way that we think, and re-framing life with a slant toward the positive.
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Blessings. _____________ Individual Inquiry: Where is your family of origin from? Do you feel connected to your ethnicity or have cultural connections to your heritage? Does the world seem big or small to you? Where in the world would you like to travel to?