Gratitude is Contagious!

I'll be honest.  I take a lot of things for granted.  A lot.  Lately, quite a few people have been writing about what they are grateful for.  I was particularly inspired by Sally from Unbrave Girl to write my own list.  Here are the top five things I am grateful for:

  1. Coffee.  Those of you who know me well, know I love coffee.  I drink it so much, I sometimes get caffeine withdrawal headaches.  Yeah.  I need to work on that.  Living in Portland, OR I have become a coffee snob and I wear that badge with honor.  There's nothing I like more than discussing which coffees are my favorites (if you must know, I prefer the chocolate undertones of East African coffees like kochere and yirgacheffe) and sharing my favorite methods of brewing coffee (either pour-over or Aeropress).  When traveling, I enjoy a good cafe con leche or espresso in places like Spain and Italy.  Let it be known, I am not one of those coffee snobs who avoids Starbucks.  Currently, I live in an area of town that doesn't have any local, independent coffee shops that are open late, so I do frequent the local Starbucks when I am heading to work.  Other times of day, I am sure to support the few local, independent coffee shops near me.  My goal is to learn how to roast my own beans.
  2. A Job I Love.  While I really wish I could make a bazillion dollars running this website, sadly that is not going to happen anytime soon.  In the meantime, I have a job I love, work with great people I consider my work family, and enjoy taking care of people.  I work in healthcare, in a fast paced, intense environment.  I think the biggest reason I love my job is it allows me to save money for my travels.  In the current economy in Oregon, I do not take my employment for granted.  I am very grateful I have a job, and even more so, one that pays well enough for me to save for future travels.
  3. Hiking Buddies.  Since I returned from my big RTW trip in 2010, I have completely immersed myself in hiking and backpacking.  I have the greatest group of women in a Meetup group I belong to who plan the most awesome expeditions and adventures.  Anytime I want to go and do something there is either an event already planned, or I put one together and a few of my favorite people join me on a new adventure.
  4. Food.  Yes, yes, I know.  Everyone should be grateful for food.  Remember how I mentioned I live in Portland, OR?  Yeah.  We have really, really good food here.  I'm sure you've probably seen that famous Portlandia sketch about a chicken named Colin.  If not, go watch it.  I'll wait.  Good.  Got it?  Portland is the land of milk and honey when it comes to food options.  Do you have a gluten or lactose allergy?  No problem.  Vegan or vegetarian?  Definitely not a problem.  Are you a carnivore with a voracious appetite?  Also not a problem.  There is a restaurant to appeal to whatever cuisine you are craving.  If you can't find it at a restaurant, then I bet one of the hundreds of local food carts will have it.  I've found great Thai food that reminds me of being in Thailand (no, I'm not talking about Pok Pok).  I've found Iraqi food, and there's also a food cart featuring Georgian (the country, not the state) food.  The possibilities are endless and for that I am very grateful. 
  5. A Roof Over My Head. I got really lucky with my current housemate.  Her and I have different work schedules, but we do see each other in the evenings before I go to work and on the weekends when we are both around.  She's old enough to be my mom, but we get along like good friends.  I think it's because she's young at heart!  I feel pretty fortunate to be in a good housing situation, close to work, and in a suburban area close enough to the city.  Portland has a huge homeless population, some of which are out on the streets due to mental illness or drug abuse and many who have been deeply affected by the horrible economy here.  Having a safe place to lay my head each night is something many people around the world do not have.  I have been made painfully aware of this in my travels, as well as locally near my house and I remember this when I find myself complaining about where I live.

How about you?  What are you grateful for?