I was pondering about what I would like to write next. New year resolutions seemed somehow too cliché. OK I know I need to go to the gym every day to lose the extra belt of fat around my waist, but what is the point of setting it as a new year goal?
My heart skipped a beat when I just saw the news on TV: the big dinosaur at the National History Museum in London is going to be removed to be cleaned and tour the UK for the next two years. The reporter just said, ‘….there is a high chance that you might have stood there at some point in your life’. I thought yes I have. I am so grateful that I have been to the museum so many times but actually never thought how lucky I was. I have even attended a formal dinner party with it in the centre. So many people dream about visiting London and seeing all the amazing sites this beautiful city offers.
When do we ever stop and think, ‘Wow this is amazing, I am so lucky to do this, to be here, I am so grateful!’
Unless I talk about it, I hardly think about the weird things that I have seen in my life. I almost take it for granted. Mauritanians, this is in the mid-seventies, used to crouch here and there when they needed to go to the loo. Men, women, children, they all used the land as a public loo. We had a big piece of sandy area close to our house and did not blink an eyelid seeing various figures crouching, talking, laughing while they were getting on with their business. You might say what is there to be grateful about! But there is. I am grateful that I have seen such a bizarre thing. I am also grateful that it did not rain a lot during my five and a half years there!!!
I will always remember the night we spent in a Bedouin tent in the middle of the Sahara desert. The pitch darkness, billions of stars, and the sounds you could hear literally miles away. We hardly slept but it was worth it. Lunch the next day was Mechoui – a Moroccan specialty spit roast lamb with rice. All eaten by hand. Something I have never liked but when a most handsome man rolled some rice in his hand, made a perfect ball, and offered it to me I had no choice but to accept it gracefully and swallow it quickly, almost without chewing. I am grateful for this experience.
The sunsets in Benirras, a beach in the north of the island of Ibiza, are to die for. This little bay is where I have spent many summers when my children were young. It was small enough to let them run around without keeping a constant eye on them. I will always remember the taste of my 6 o’clock beer with, dare I say, a cigarette watching the sun slowly go down while listening to the drums played by seasoned hippies who were fixtures of Benirras. I am grateful to those idyllic summers and hope to return to the island soon.
More recently, visits to the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen have given me such joy which I am grateful for. This amusement park is the oldest in the world operating since 1843. I have been going there for more than ten years now and never cease to be amazed by the gardens. Each year there is a new colour theme and the variety of flowers fitting this theme is truly breathtaking. I cannot imagine the time it takes to look after these plants especially with unpredictable Danish summers not unlike England. My wish is to see it in October when they open for Halloween and in December when they briefly open again for Christmas.
It does not have be a special place like those I have mentioned above. I believe we all have a lot to be grateful for. The misty mornings on the banks of the river Thames, the smell of my first cup of coffee, a hug from my loved ones and more. My wish is to notice them every day and remember to really feel and say I am grateful.