The American holiday of Thanksgiving is new to me. My homeland is Myanmar, and my people are Karen. We are hated by the Burmese government so the military hunts us, burns our villages, and tries to destroy us. Because of this danger, my family fled our home and escaped over the border of Thailand. I was born in a refugee camp there. My whole life was in that refugee camp until I was ten years old. One day we got the chance to come to America and that is how I ended up in Clarksville, Arkansas. We don’t really celebrate Thanksgiving with turkey like everyone else, but my heart is full of thankfulness.

I am thankful to have plenty of fresh water and to have enough food to eat so I don’t go hungry.

When I hear the word thankful, I immediately think of the simplest and most basic things we might be grateful for, such as health, friends and family, food, time, and a variety of other things. To me, being grateful also entails being grateful for the fact that I am alive. When you are Karen, that is a significant reason to be thankful. 

We can always be grateful for simple things when time are tough. Henrik Edberg stating that “Because even if things look tough today or for the next 3 or 6 months, I can always find something or several things to feel very grateful for about my life.” There are many things to be thankful for. These are the things I am thankful for: my family and friends, they are the people I need when life gets tough, as well as all the love, support, and kindness they show me. I am thankful to have plenty of fresh water and to have enough food to eat so I don’t go hungry. Having internet access is important to me as well. It’s incredible how we can learn about anything from what other people share online, because when I was in refugee camp, we only had books, a blackboard, and chalk. We never have access to the internet.

I am grateful for my parents' sacrifices in order to give the best life for us, because coming to America for us without understanding the language was quite brave. Click To Tweet

One of the things I am most thankful for is having a roof over my head and a warm home, because when it is cold, windy, and raining outside, I can safely return inside the house without fear of being soaked or freezing to death. Many people do not have a home and wish to have one. We should always be thankful that we have a beautiful home and we’re living in it. 

The second thing I am thankful for is my parents. I am grateful for my parents’ sacrifices in order to give the best life for us, because coming to America for us without understanding the language was quite brave. My parents encouraged me to value education and taught me how to create goals, which helped me build ambition. Paul Hudson stating that “Parents were the teachers before teachers were teachers.” Having a caring mom that cares about me and supports me is absolutely precious, and I should be grateful for it. “Parents should support their children until they can support themselves.” I am thankful for who my parents are. They are deserving of praise, gratitude, or credit, as well as being pleasing, acceptable, appreciative, and agreeable.

 I am so thankful I came to America and to Arkansas where I can have a better life.

The last thing that I am most thankful for is having a good education. I am grateful that I was able to attend Clarksville high school in Arkansas because there were so many individuals in the Thailand refugee camp who wished to attend school. They are unable to attend school due to financial constraints. Instead, they have to go work with their parents at such a young age. When I was in Thailand refugee camps, schools were not free, and school supplies were not provided. For example, I wanted to go to the expensive private school in the refugee camp which offered a much higher and more decent education, but I was forced to attend the refugee school, which provided very little instruction. I recognize that life is more about appreciation in a refugee camp. I have been encouraged and driven to make every effort to achieve an education.

In conclusion, it’s important to be thankful for what we have. I’m thankful to have a loving and supporting family, a good education, and a lovely home to call home. Robert M. Miller stating that “The month of November brings us Thanksgiving and a chance to take stock of our lives and consider all the things we can be thankful for.” I am so thankful I came to America and to Arkansas where I can have a better life.

left: Myanmar; right: Arkansas

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