100 Reasons for Gratitude

We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving as a holiday in South Africa, but last year I copied  Christine from Bookishly Boisterous in posting 100 things I’m thankful for, and I loved that exercise so much that I decided to do it again. I am combining it with this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, which asks for ten things we are thankful for, bookish or not. Well… there are lots of bookish ones in here, promise! 

  1. My whole family that supports me in everything I do
  2. The Boy, who hosts me on weekends and cooks delicious food and makes the whole university thing a lot more bearable.
  3. BOOKS
  4. The ocean
  5. Table MountainTableMountainMistyBlog (1)
  6. My voyage with Semester at Sea and everyone who enabled it, the big dream I had that almost was not realised.
  7. Clean running water. I thought I was appreciative of this until I visited countries where I had to drink (and pay for) bottled water the whole time and realised even more how amazing clean tap water is. Somehow it just seems more refreshing too!
  8. Electricity.
  9. Vaccines. I went to Yellow Fever countries and survived just fine. People (NOT ME) got bitten by monkeys and did not get rabies either. They just got lots of shots.
  10. Malaria prophylaxis. I have had Malaria patients but because I had access to prophylaxis I did not have to experience it myself despite numerous mozzie bites while traveling.
  11. Post-exposure HIV prophylaxis. Touch wood I have not needed it yet, but knowing it is there and relatively effective soothes the anxiety. Just a little bit.
  12. N95 masks. My school has finally organised these at cost price for us. Better late than never, right.
  13. Being a student intern. I see a light.
  14. Running. I hate it but I love it.

    Usually I’m thankful for The Oatmeal, too! (Click for full comic)
  15. Chocolate (right now I am especially fond of Peppermint Crisps. I would be thankful for Reese’s Cups and Ben&Jerry’s, but since they are yet to be sold widely in South Africa, I’ll wait.)
  16. All the awesome followers of my blog
  17. All the awesome blogs I read
  18. PostSecret
  19. The Exclusive Books warehouse sale – R50/kg of books, and then reduced to R25/kg. (I bought Code Name VerityAmerica PacificaThe Education of the British Protected ChildSister-Sister… and so many more.)
  20. International book giveaways.
  21. Youth Journalism International (who empower young people around the world, and introduced me to so many people during my travels this year!)
  22. YJI friends* who hosted me in Kyoto, Japan, and showed me how good sushi can be.DSCN2562 (1280x960)
  23. Tuna. It is cheap protein and semi-delicious. (Please don’t tell me about heavy metals – I know.)
  24. Dell’s next day service for their on-site warranty. My laptop’s hinge became too stiff to close and within a day it was fixed.
  25. Dogs and cats. We even have a dog on campus now that I can take for walks sometimes.
  26. YJI friends* who hosted me Shanghai and who took me to the Museum for Traditional Chinese MedicineDSCN2650 (2000x1500)
  27. Coming second in my school’s ethics essay writing competition. It was a nice ego-boost.
  28. NaNoWriMo. I might not make the word count, but I’ve exceeded my previous highest word count and it feels good to write.
  29. Sweet potato chips
  30. Grey’s Anatomy (even though they did that thing… although this is their last chance!)
  31. YJI friends* who hosted me in Hong Kong and took me to SoHo thereDSCN2807 (1280x960)
  32. Twitter – it’s pretty much my primary source of news.
  33. Authors that respond to tweets and comment on blog posts
  34. Nutella
  35. My new nerdycute glasses that improved my vision dramatically.
  36. A YJI friend* who hosted me in Singapore, introducing me to Haianese chicken which was delicious.DSCN3464 (1024x768)
  37. Parkruns – I wish I had heard about these years ago!
  38. Brainscape, that makes the whole flashcard thing a lot cheaper and quicker.
  39. The Medscape App
  40. NetGalley
  41. A YJI friend* who hosted me in Myanmar and took me to the Shwedagon PagodaDSCN3657 (1024x768)
  42. Jeans – the only pants that fit my short frame without alteration
  43. Scrubs. Because, comfort.
  44. Green Cross shoes. See above.
  45. My stethoscope. Even though I probably need a new one and it takes about a grade 5 murmur for me to hear anything through it. It’s a lovely raspberry pink and I love it.
  46. YJI friends who hosted me in Ghana and took me to the Elmina Castle, of which I had only read in history books.DSC_6361 (1280x848)
  47. The Body Shop products. And the fact that I can try their products for free at the mall. Yay smooth hands.
  48. Being registered for next year’s national elections. Freedom FTW!
  49. Meeting with Marjorie from SAS the other day, and being introduced to two awesome American girls who recently moved to Cape Town.
  50. Meeting Archbishop Desmond Tutu on SAS! And sharing rooibos tea with him.
  51. Speaking of which: rooibos tea.
  52. Student loans (I suppose you could say I am conflicted about this)
  53. Scholarships (small, but every little helps)
  54. Candy Crush (sorry, I know, I know)
  55. Summertime. Which is now.
  56. All the classes I did on SAS, but a special mention must go out to Illness Narratives because it was the first literature class I did in my whole tertiary education career, and I gained a lot confidence in my non-academic writing.
  57. The ability to read a map. I did not get lost once during Semester at Sea. And I did not want to waste money on unnecessary transport costs.
  58. An awesome visa company who managed my visa appointments for Semester at Sea this time last year, because I really needed to focus on passing exams, and such.
  59. My old high school that welcomes me back with open arms every summer break.
  60. Libraries and librarians
  61. Free fitness blender videos
  62. English Alive and the South African Council for English Education. I published with them a few times in high school, but I still read their anthologies every single year. I love their contribution to creativity in high schools.
  63. Getting better at driving. Slowly.
  64. Not being attacked by pirates when we sailed along West Africa.
  65. Surviving that Pacific Storm.
  66. Starlight Diner – this awesome diner in Cape Town where my friends and I go for midnight snacks. Particularly hand-dipped milkshakes.
  67. Eggs Benedict
  68. People who have a lot more patience with me than I have with them (i.e. most people)
  69. Hand moisturiser. Dry hands drive me insane.
  70. Pain killers.
  71. My sister being one of the top in her class for Occupational Therapy. It is all hard work and I think she surprised herself.
  72. My little brother’s music. He plays like a rock star.
  73. My school’s anatomy museum.
  74. Beautiful South Africa. I may have the travel bug, but there is no place I’d rather live.
  75. One crazy day in India where young men from a local startup took us on a bike tour of Kochi and beyond.chenxi 3
  76. Anti-histamines.
  77. Legally cheap versions of medical textbooks for the developing world.
  78. Bikini Beach Books, an awesome second-hand bookshop in Gordon’s Bay
  79. Surviving those sketchy buses in Vietnam and Myanmar, and having a great time doing it.
  80. Sunsets and sunrises
  81. Soft toys
  82. The professors I met on Semester at Sea
  83. My roommates on SAS who ensured I did not study TOO hard.
  84. The girl who let me crash in her hotel in Barcelona at the end of SAS.
  85. Journals (the blank type you write in)
  86. Free access to medical journals through my school
  87. Good non-fiction that is interesting to read. This year alone I loved The Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksThe Spirit Catches You and You Fall DownMountains Beyond Mountains and The Big Necessity. 
  88. Learning that there are some awesome consultants out there who are not out to ruin the lives of medical students.
  89. Whatsapp
  90. Nature Valley bars came to South Africa (awesome on-call food!!!!)
  91. Chocolate milk
  92. Mieliepap
  93. Paediatrics
  94. Ophthalmology (now one of my potential future specialisations)
  95. Learning to act under pressure in Anaesthesiology (and not killing anyone in the process)
  96. The colour green
  97. Freshly pressed orange juice in Morocco. The only thing that saved me from dehydration.
  98. Commercials like this one (I’m not even joking. This commercial made me cry the first time.) 
  99. Toilets and sanitation (you should read The Big Necessity)
  100. My health

*I’m abstaining from posting the YJI friends’ names here, for reasons pertaining to privacy.


  1. This is suhc a fabulous and inspirational list. You’ve had some aesome and insightful experiences 🙂

  2. The Rider says:

    Viva Mieliepap! This is an awesome post, and people who live with gratitude are always happy people. I enjoy your blog a lot, You make me proud to be South African… dankie!

    1. Oh, thank you, that’s awesome! I laughed so hard at “viva mieliepap”, it made my day. When I was traveling though, I made friends with so many people from other African countries just by talking about mieliepap and our favourite ways to eat it. Awesome!

  3. I really like this since that awful storm in the Philippines is just another reason to be thankful.

    1. Yes! We rarely have such horrible storms here, and I just can’t imagine having to deal with such devastation.

  4. IrisjeXx says:

    Thank you for stopping by on my blog! Were you planning to go to Utrecht from studying purposes? Or just for Holiday?
    I love your -long- list! Its a great Idea… I’ll just stick with my 10 points 😉

    1. Hi! Yeah, I was going to go there for a summer school! I hear it’s beautiful there. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  5. bulldog says:

    Great post… one thing you can’t be thankful for is you don’t have the Curry Cup…

    1. Haha the what 😉
      I don’t even know which my team is. I’m just grateful for every season we get through that my relatives supporting opposite teams don’t kill each other 😛

  6. comehometobooks says:

    What a great idea to list 100 things you’re grateful for every year. Makes you realize how wonderful life is, doesn’t it?


    1. IT absolutely does! Thank you!

  7. valerylr says:

    haha I used to be so obsessed with Candy Crush

    love the idea of your list, so many times we think that nothing good happens in our lives and we forget there are so many things to be thankful for 🙂

    1. Thanks, glad you liked it 🙂
      Candy is a love-hate relationship. Right now I’m stuck on a horrid level and thinking of abandoning it.

  8. Amazing list! I don’t know how long it would take me to think of 100 things!

    1. You hit a few spots where your mind goes blank, but actually once you get going it’s hard to stop!

  9. crankygiraffe says:

    Oh My Goodness! There are so many things on this list that I love! I Sushi in Japan, Nutella, Grey’s Anatomy (although, I am about 5 episodes behind), Clerkship (end of the tunnel!), Scrubs…
    I am shocked, however, to know that you guys have to pay for your N95 masks! Unbelievable! Here, we have them placed outside of the emergency room and outside any room with an airborn precaution!

    1. Like minds! 😀
      Yeah, about the N95 masks: They’re pretty scarce in some hospitals, but theoretically the government pays for them. Only, a lot of the matrons just don’t fetch them from storage when the current box empties. It’s pretty annoying.
      The other thing is that because med students are not hospital employees, the government technically doesn’t have to provide them for us. It drives me nuts and I send letters of complaints at least once a quarter, but until that actually brings about a result, we have to do something to keep ourselves from getting ill. Insane, I agree.

  10. Love ur list! U have a very interesting life it seems! 🙂

    1. Hah, really? Thank you, that’s so sweet!

  11. Nancy Ackelson says:

    Awesome, Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Thank you, Nancy! And Happy Thanksgiving to you!

  12. Doris says:

    Amazing list! I forgot to include my family/dogs on my list because I was too busy fangirling over a certain TV show that I’m thankful for and now I feel silly!


    Doris @ OABR

    1. Oh, don’t feel silly! It’s important to be able to be grateful for all sorts of things. It keeps our spirits up!

  13. Wow, you have so many beautiful things to be thankful for! 😀

    1. I do – it’s a wonderful life. Thank you!

  14. Nina Reed says:

    I loved reading your longer list! Everything gets so much more personal, because on short lists everyone thanks the same people/things 🙂

    1. Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it. It’s a really nice exercise because even I didn’t realise I had so much to be grateful for!

  15. Pride and Prejudice girl says:

    I am loving PostSecret! Also, this Parkruns thing sounds really cool – I enjoyed this post – it reminds us of how many special things we need to appreciate more 🙂

  16. May says:

    I have just discovered your blog and I’m in love with it already. Thank you for writing and making me anxious, teary and grateful at the same time. And also, how absolutely beautiful is Burma? 🙂

    1. barefootmegz says:

      Thank you! I’m glad to have you here 🙂
      YES, Burma is incredible. I desperately want to return there, as I only saw a small part of the country! Have you been?

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