It's officially Thanksgiving Thursday in Australia - I spent my turkey day blood sampling hogs and sheep and for Thanksgiving dinner Ninja, the rest of the research team and I are having chicken and chips from a local shop. Not the classiest but it's as close as I'm going to get to turkey and stuffing this year.
I have a lot to be thankful for this year - I have an amazing husband who gave me the opportunity to broaden my horizons when he brought me to Australia. It's been a blessing in disguise because even though I miss Kansas, my friends and family like The Office misses Steve Carell, I know that this experience has brought us closer than we've ever been and I know it's strengthened our marriage. My family and friends have been super supportive of this adventure and have never stopped sending encouraging thoughts via email, facebook, twitter and the occasional Skype call. Additionally, the friends I've made in Australia are top notch. I don't want to think about leaving in 3 weeks because I just can't fathom not seeing them on a daily basis and it pains me. It will be a bittersweet departure from this continent. But we're going to have a blast these last few weeks and cram in many adventures.
This Australia experience also given me the chance to do a lot of research work outside of animal well-being. I've collected blood, urine and fecal samples from more sheep than I can count. I've been able to examine a lot of relationships between swine physiology and nutrition and have learned far more about rumen fermentation than I ever dreamed. So even though it's been over 2 years since I started my master's and I still haven't finished, I know that my Australian experience has made me a better scientist and stockwoman.
As I write this, my family is partaking in our annual pre-Thanksgiving tradition. Tomorrow, they'll sit down and bow their heads thanking our Lord for a bountiful spread (made possible by America's farmers and ranchers #thankafarmer) and make many irreplaceable memories. But I'll be ok because I know that I've had the experience of a lifetime and no one can take that away from the Ninja and I.
Lastly, I give #foodthanks this year because the Ninja says I'm a picky eater of the utmost sort. I hate to say that but he never lets me forget it. I prefer to think I'm an easy pleaser because I like plain and simple foods (no veggies - meatatarian) but apparently that's not the general consensus.
Anyway, farmers and ranchers work their butts off so that I and millions of other consumers can have a huge variety of food choices. Organic, natural, conventional - it doesn't matter what you like because they've made it all possible for the lowest cost in the world; #fact. So today while you're talking about football (gah! I just realized I'm missing the Detroit and Dallas games) and snarfing down turkey and pumpkin pie (two more things they don't have over here) don't forget to be mindful of the farmers and ranchers who made it possible. Those top notch folks will most definitely be working on Thanksgiving to ensure that there isn't a food shortage and that you will continue to have the abundant and safe food supply of which we've become accustomed.
~ Buzzard ~