The word thank comes from the Old English thanc, which means gratitude. The word gratitude comes from the Latin gratus, which is preserved as a root in other modern words such as agree, congratulate, grace, gratuitous, and ingratiate.
A quick list of things for which I give thanks this year:
1. My mind has been on Ferguson: the murder of Michael Brown and the failure to indict the police officer who killed him, the organized protests of thousands around the country and the rioting of much fewer, the silence of too many. So, I’m thankful for a few things, including the right for Americans to assemble in peace and express their disgust for certain systemic injustices without fear of a violent crackdown (theoretically, anyway). I’m thankful for the people in my social circles who organize, march, and raise awareness as loudly as they can; without them, I would be totally incognizant of what’s going on, and my ignorance would do no one any good. I’m thankful for the privileges (of race, religion, gender, social class, neighborhood, and education) that I have, because they make my life more secure even when I take them for granted, and, (much) more importantly, for having been taught that these privileges must be dismantled, because they are the symptoms of a dangerously unequal society.
2. I’m thankful for my family. They have provided me with so much and they ask for nothing in return. For my mom, who drives for two hours round trip just to deliver some food to her son who can’t cook very well. For my dad, who takes his son to the ballet and laughs because he can’t remember that we used to do this more regularly years ago. For my brothers, who make me feel right at home even when I’m not home or as far away as New York. For my aunts, uncles, and cousins, around whom I can be as silly or awkward as I want and still feel relatively normal.
3. Now that the semester is winding down but the workload is piling up, I’m thankful for my cohort, the six other first-year students in my program. They make me laugh every day; they are as witty, friendly, and down-to-earth as I could have hoped for; they’re what I need to keep from going crazy as I type away madly in our shared office with its green-screen walls. I’m also thankful for my professors, the other students, and all the people who make grad school life less hellish than it’s always been said to be.
4. I’m extremely thankful that I found a nice church and a good faith community to belong to. It’s neat that my three roommates are all a part of it, as well, so I don’t feel like my life is being too compartmentalized. I’m thankful for even having faith in the first place, for having a God who guides me through life, even at times when I don’t feel like listening or reciprocate his goodness toward me.
5. And lastly, the miscellaneous list: I’m thankful for pomegranates, home videos, the RSF, the fact that my parents didn’t throw away all my old stuff after I moved out, having a driver’s license, Korea, dictionaries, Berkeley Bowl, my bike, Google Scholar, ASL Club, how easy Facebook makes it to reconnect with old friends, well-written blogs, the OCF, lunch with close friends at cafes with outdoor seating, nerdy linguistics jokes, language partners, video chats and Google Hangout-Sporcle, and another family wedding coming up in just a few days (the sixth in four years)!
What are you thankful for?
Word of the Day: gratis, from the same root as gratitude, which means anything one receives free of charge, like a dessert that’s on the house, a complimentary gift-wrapping service at a store, or a weekend’s worth of room and board at your parents’ house over the holidays. I don’t think I pronounce this word correctly.