Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful for Cheddar

I am thankful for Cheddar cheese. The exceptional Cheddars that I sample every day for free at Neal's Yard Dairy make me appreciate the difference between handcrafted food and the industrial stuff. They keep me on the front line in the battle against bad, mass-produced food.

I am thankful that I never worry about having enough food to eat and that when I do eat, I can have the good stuff. If anything, I worry that I eat too much. This is the job hazard of working at a place where you are expected to sample every cheese every day to see how their flavors and textures change from batch to batch. We need to communicate this to our customers.

I am thankful for the job I have at Neal's Yard Dairy. Not only am I getting hands-on (or, mouth-on) training in artisanal cheeses, but I am also getting paid. In this economic downturn, it's exceptional that I am not worried about job (or food) security.

I am thankful for the safe and affordable accommodation in London that friends here have offered me. At both places I've stayed--Islington with Andrew & Cailin and Vauxhall with Inkeri--I've been able to walk to work. And what a walk from Vauxhall! It takes me along and over the Thames and past the Tate Britain, Parliament (see above), Lambeth Palace, the modern apartment where Match Point took place, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, the Horse Guards, Trafalgar Square, and the Seven Dials.

I am thankful for this 10-month adventure that I'm on, in search of Cheddar, the world, and myself. How lucky I am that I have the time, money, and the courage (and a good dose of recklessness) to give up a comfortable life in the U.S. to travel for travel's sake. Along the way, I am seeing friends and making new ones.

I am thankful for my many friends back in the U.S. who are making the effort to stay in touch with me even though I am no longer in their daily lives. Their support, encouragement, and fond wishes keep me going and will help me adjust when I return.

I am thankful for my family and their unconditional love. I try not to take it for granted that they will always welcome me back and give me love & shelter, even though I've been likened to Dylan Thomas, "that drunken Welsh poet"!

I am thankful that, as far as I know, I am in good health and that I have the NHS in case something goes wrong. I decided not to pay $530 a month for COBRA, partly because it's so expensive, partly because I can have free healthcare in the U.K., and partly because I am so disgusted that the U.S. government found $700 billion to bailout reckless financial institutions but can't "find" this money to provide all Americans with health security. I think this is a human rights violation, especially in a rich, first-world country.

I am thankful that I make the most of my working limbs by going for runs. These days I run in Battersea Park, where there are still some autumn colors and occasionally rays of sun. I am thankful, too, for my running team, Hellgate, back in Queens who made me physically and emotionally stronger. I am thankful to my trainer Jill, at Dolphin Fitness, for the same reasons. Too bad, though, that I am losing my six-pack abs to a steady diet of cheese (breakfast, lunch, and dinner!) and that I can no longer do push-ups. I injured myself doing them one morning in London. Can anyone say, Almost 40 years old?

I am thankful that I am learning to be thankful. I have a good life.


Alan said...

Be thankful you weren't here as well. An employee at Walmart in Valley Stream was literally trampled to death when the store opened yesterday morning. A truly sad day in our world.

anne said...

i am thankful to have a friend who writes such beautiful blog posts!

Yvonne said...

Lovely post! And Amen to your health care comments. this country scares me a little more every day, and I look forward to the day my family moves home where there's more social support!

holley a said...

Hey D, great post, thanks! And one more HUGE thing to be thankful for... that we finally have a President we deserve, and one we worked our hearts out to get elected to start doing the right thing in our names...! :-)