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O’Hara Shipe Spends Thanksgiving in Russia!

I recently read a quote by Desmond Tutu that resonated somewhere deep inside of me. He wrote: "You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them." As I sit in a quite Russian kitchen filled with the remnants of a Canadian Thanksgiving, Tutu’s words echo in my head. Here I am alone, thousands of miles from home on a holiday that is meant to be spent with one’s blood relatives. However, unlike the many Thanksgivings I have spent away from my family, this Thanksgiving I am truly happy to be where I am.

For the second time in my 25 years of life I made an entire Thanksgiving dinner for my friends and team mates (and yes, that includes dessert). Instead of being sad for what I don’t have near me: my amazing parents, my brother and my niece and nephew, I am glad for what I do have; close friends and the skills to provide for myself. I can still remember when I was younger and my brother and I would huddle around the kitchen table waiting for my Mom to pull the turkey out of the over after a full day of smelling it cooking. Now I am the one batting away the anxious hands of my friends and insisting that "a watched pot never boils." As I put away the last of the homemade cookies (my Mom’s recipe of course) I can’t help but smile at the cyclical nature of life. One day, hopefully a while away, my own kids will be preparing their first Thanksgiving dinner using the recipes passed down from my Mom and maybe one or two from me. There is something comforting in knowing that certain things will always remain the same no matter where in the world one lives. 

On this Thanksgiving, I am grateful for the many people who have touched my life all over the world. To my friends and family I am grateful for your love and support, I am truly blessed.

This blog is dedicated in loving memory to Aaron Alto.

Until next time,



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