I’m thankful for Zumba.
Randa’s my instructor, and the way her body rolls and bounces along to the music would be enough to inspire Shakespeare to use the word “bombdiggity” in one of his sonnets. I try desperately to keep up, throwing my arms around like a lobster in battle. Sometimes I manage to get my lower body to mimic hers, but most of the hour is spent enjoying loud music and not caring who’s watching… including the crowd that gathers in the room next to the studio to watch.

I’m thankful for five feet and seven inches.
I can take a skanky, high-cut dress and wear it as a demure, long top. Sometimes it pays to be taller than average.

I’m thankful my family is supportive, even of my more radical ideas.
I’ll call my parents to tell them just how grim and dreary my job outlook has become.
Me: “I think I need to move to the Middle East.”
Dad: “Do what you have to do.”

I’ve been all over the place. I randomly texted my mom in the middle of the night:
Me: “I’m considering jobs at McMurdo Station in Antarctica.”
Mom: “Penguins!!!”

I’m thankful for IMAX movie theaters.
The Amazing Spiderman in 3D on an IMAX screen left my friend Amanda and me in a totally geeked-out, happy tizzy. Next up, The Dark Knight Rises. Because he hasn’t given them everything: not yet.

I’m thankful I don’t have an air conditioner in my room yet… kinda.
When it’s 35C (around 187F) and my room might as well be on the surface of the sun, my pores throw up. Then, when I step into Chocolate’s room, which already has an air conditioner, nothing else matters and I am blissed out.

I’m thankful I’m leaving work in four minutes to go tutor.
Primarily because the guy in the cube next to me is either testing out his landline, or he’s ticked at whomever’s trying to call him, because his phone rings, and rings, and rings, and rings, and rings, and rings, and rings, and rings, and rings. And then it rings again.

I’m thankful cell phone minutes are cheap here.
I’ve gone through 2,400 in three weeks. That’s 40 hours. Talk about talent! I should put that on my resume.

I’m thankful for music.
Jim Brickman, the Moulin Rouge soundtrack, the Six Feet Under soundtrack, the A State of Trance podcasts, Manchester Orchestra: music has saved me from breaking down a number of times. I turn up my iPod loud enough to drown out my coworker’s phone and everything else, including my own thoughts, and I get work done.

I’m thankful I have freedom.
Looking at job postings in Saudi Arabia and thinking about women’s rights there, and how I could choose to teach there and leave anytime I wanted, but most women there can’t: it’s sobering. I’m free. I can go anywhere I want – Alaska, Hawaii, Antarctica, UAE, anywhere in the world. I can do almost anything.

Then, looking at my KIA bracelet… thank you, Captain Freeman.

Who knows where I’m going to end up. The possibilities right now are overwhelming. But it could be a lot worse.