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Thanksgiving is, without question, my favorite holiday. A wonderful, four-day interlude between Diwali and Christmas dedicated to celebrating several of my loves - family, friends, food, and drink - while also serving as a gentle reminder to be grateful for this wonderful thing called life. Leaves are starting to turn, the temperature is usually in my preferred 'sweater weather territory, and the holiday season finally feels like it is beginning.
The funny thing is, I didn't celebrate Thanksgiving for most of my life. I first experienced this largely random and very much American break during my freshman year of college when I initially moved to the US.
Thanksgiving for many international students without family in the States can be a tough experience. Four days off is usually not long enough to make a trip home (in my case, back to Indonesia), but indeed more than long enough to feel lonely and homesick, especially when all your friends have left to go back home to their families.
Luckily for me, during those early years living in the US different friends invited me to join them during this poultry forward break. They opened their homes and graciously shared their Thanksgivings with me, someone whose understanding of what it meant to celebrate hard largely came from old Friends episodes.
I spent those early Thanksgiving weekends in Long Island, Washington DC, Jersey City, and Vienna, VA. Although the cities and groups were different over the years, each with their own traditions, unique recipes, and family quirks, constants emerged. Laughter, a continuous part of the soundtrack. Deep, inviting love hanging in the air. Wide-ranging conversation that never seemed to stop, save for the first five minutes after the food was served when the only thing you could hear was chewing. Enough food to feed an army, enough alcohol to drown a frat house. The best kind of organized, energetic, frazzled chaos. And, for a kid whose parents lived 10,000 miles away, a sense of belonging and family.
As I got ready today to celebrate my seventeenth Thanksgiving (and my first as a family of four), I couldn't help but smile. Of course, Thanksgiving is tamer now than the ridiculousness of years past (writing this piece has taken far longer than expected as I have been distracting myself with laughter at old memories). While my family's own traditions have emerged, the constants of family, friends, food, and drink remain, and remind me I have so much to be thankful for.
With a full heart and stomach, from my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!
Lastly, my deepest thanks to everyone who has reached out in the last week after learning about my friend Max. I am deeply touched by your messages and support. Thank you.
Other Tippets from Around the Web:
I am grateful for the amazing child care providers my wife and I have been lucky to find who help us care for our kids. Without them life would look very different. Unfortunately, finding proper care is often too hard or too expensive. This long read goes into the details of why the child care industry is in need of a massive overhaul.
In most states, putting a baby in a licensed child-care facility costs more than in-state college tuition, yet the people who provide that care make an average of about $24,000 a year, less than a fast-food worker or janitor, even though 87% of them have some form of higher education. Every year a quarter of the industry’s workers leave. All this adds up to an exceptionally precarious business model; according to a recent study by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the typical child-care center’s profit margin is only 1%.
A great profile of Noubar Afeyan, founder of Flagship Pioneering and Chairman of Moderna.
Flagship is a venture capital firm with a total of $17 billion in assets that operates more like an incubator. Through it Afeyan is churning out scientific ideas in biotech, the life sciences and agriculture with the goal of creating and nurturing a half dozen or more companies each year. Most of those companies grow out of those what-if questions that Afeyan loves.
I always thought zebras were white animals with black stripes, similar to tigers being orange with black stripes. It turns out that’s not true 🤯
These stripes are unique to each individual. …Despite these different patterns and coloring, all zebras have the same skin color: black.
My son loves animals. I can't wait until he's old enough to have his mind blown by this!
Quote I’m thinking about: “Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other." - Randy Pausch
Please share what you’re reading! If you have insight on anything mentioned above or have any interesting links/papers/books that you think would be worth sharing in future issues of Tippets, please reach out! Click here, reply to this email, or DM me on Twitter at @taps.
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