Happy Thanksgiving!

Dearest Readers,

Thank you so much for all the comments you have been leaving on my blog. Unfortunately, I cannot read them until I get access to the internet (Willard has been posting my blogs for me after I e-mail them to him) but I look forward to reading what thoughts and opinions you have of my travels on this astounding voyage. I won’t have time to finish my blog about Brazil before the Thursday deadline I have subconsciously given myself, so I want to write a blog for the special day this Thursday is: THANKSGIVING!!


This blog is going to be about all the things I have learned to be thankful for, in no specific order, while being on this voyage. As US citizens, we have so much to be thankful for and sometimes, like in my case, it takes being away to really appreciate what you have. I went to a post port reflection tonight and we talked about what has surprised us the most, what lessons we have learned so far, and how do we plan to use this experience. Some GREAT thoughts were shared and I couldn’t help feel this was the perfect time for this talk, since Thanksgiving is right around the corner (quite literally.)


1. Family- It’s hard to be away from my family during this holiday so focused on being together and appreciating one another. But this voyage has made me SO much more appreciative of the family I have been blessed with. Not just my nuclear family, but also my extended relations too. I see how much they have been there for me: supporting me, keeping me in line, and encouraging me to become the woman I am supposed to be. So thank you.


2. My hometown-I cannot believe I am saying this, but I’d love to raise a family in the small town of Reese. If that is what God’s plan is for me, my children will be blessed. I always looked at my life and thought it was too small of a town for my life. I needed to get out and save the world. What I didn’t realize is just how much this town has given to me and what I have taken for granted. I have had GREAT teachers, coaches, friends, bosses, all of who encouraged me. They never shot me down or told me my dreams were unattainable, and for that, I thank them. I couldn’t have had a better experience and childhood.


3. Friends-They come and go, but every single friendship I have had has shaped me and formed me into the woman I am becoming. I thank you all, past, present, and future for what you have given me: friendship. Going through life lonely is not fun; friends make it all worth it! They push you when you need energy to keep going; they cuddle you when you need to cry; they even laugh at you when you need to be humbled. Sometimes they are even related to you too–double whammy!


4. God-I have had some pretty great friends, but my best friend of all is the BIG MAN!! Woop woop! He literally never ceases to amaze me. Today, I went to the medical clinic to have my toe checked out (I stubbed my big toenail playing IM basketball on the ship and again in the Amazon and it looks like it’s going to fall off AGAIN!) and the nurse practitioner told me that stubbing it the second time actually helped the healing process. After the first stubbing, there was blood pooled under the nail. The blood needed to get out somehow to relieve the pressure being built up. When I stubbed it the second time, the blood gushed out, but it no longer hurts to wear tennis shoes! How crazy!! AND I get to say that an astronaut (Dean Kathy) glued my toenail back on.   :]


5. Opportunity-Looking at my adventures and talking with my friends about “that one time, in Ghana…” amazes me every day. I cannot believe this is real life! How the heck did I get to experience almost all of the bullets on my bucket list in one semester? I know, SEMESTER AT SEA! This wouldn’t be possible without amazing people and support and opportunity in my life. So thank you to all who have contributed one way or another to make this possible. This ties back into my childhood, but I feel all my life I have had opportunities; I want to give this to as many children as I can. That is my dream job–giving out opportunities with healthy food as a side.


Thank You!

Thank You!









The list could go on and on, but I am tired, and my keyboard is greasy, and I have a lot of homework to do! So until next time, enjoy your Thanksgiving. Enjoy your family, friends, places of residency, beliefs, and opportunities NOW because this is the only time you will have today. Semester at Sea’s trademark saying can be applied to life in general: “your once in a lifetime is now.” Appreciate it and be thankful for it this Thanksgiving–I know I am!



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About Kait Squanda

Semester at Sea is a study abroad program sponsored by University of Virginia. It is a cruise liner made specifically for college students, professors, hall directors, and lifelong learners to experience a hands-on learning atmosphere around the world. My voyage will be traveling to 15 countries: Russia, Germany, Belgium, France, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Ghana, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, and Cuba. WIth some stops before-hand, it is bound to be a trip of a lifetime!

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