Arabic learners at Loyola University Chicago shared their heartfelt collage of voices and images using a few learned Arabic words to express multi textual deep reflections. We share feelings of gratitude to the blessings of families, friends, professors, schools, nourishment, besides hope, peace, compassion, resilience, and selfless sacrifices to help us grow. Our thanks to Chairperson Susana Cavallo and Dean Peter Schraeder for all support for the Arabic Program Minor @ Loyola.
Brandon 101: I was born to my mother, and I have spent my entire life close to her. My mother and I have laughed, cried, dreamed, and suffered together, but we have never separated. Our mothers are the origin of our existence in my culture, and we are forever indebted to them for caring and rearing us. Even when my mother and I live in different states, we talk weekly, and I usually pick her up about once a month to visit with me at my home. This arrangement has been complex since I began traveling between Minnesota and Chicago for school, but we manage. My mother recently moved back to the Lake Andes Ihanktonwan reservation, so I had to drive down there to pick her up and bring her to MN for Thanksgiving. To be candid, my tribe, the Oglala and Ihanktonwan are hostile to the Thanksgiving holiday, but we still get together like everyone else.
Adeena 101: Alhumdulillah for me I am very grateful for the different difficult lessons I have had in this life. Having those experiences have taught me how to be a better person and to learn and grow from them. They really have brought clarity and empathy into my life and taught me lessons I didn’t know were important to have.
Selma 101: We live in a world of uncertainty, no one ever expected a pandemic, or the tragedies we wake up to on the morning news. It’s very scary to not know the future ahead of us, but it can also be empowering. The uncertainty of life can give us hope. We never expect to bump into a friend on the way to class, or get an A on an exam, or have small acts of kindness bestowed on us. We have to be thankful for the moments of peace and hold onto it, and strive to bring peace everywhere, even if we cannot know what we’ll face next. That’s why I’m thankful for the abundance of peace and love I have in my life, and believe everyone deserves the same thing.
Natalie 101: I drew a picture of Loyola. Learning Arabic here is something that has allowed me to embrace my culture much more deeply, and make my family endlessly excited for me. Thank you for all that you teach me.
Heden 101: I’m grateful for my sister because they are the most important people to me. I’m grateful for my mom because she has sacrificed so much for me and my sisters. I’m grateful for ustaadha Sawsan because you are such a strong person but also because you make me want to be a better Muslim and student.
Lizeth 101: Without the support of my family, I would not have been able to make it through the hardest moments of my life, especially transitioning into college during a global pandemic. Yazzy has been my closest friend, and luckily my roommate, at the start of my journey at Loyola. I am thankful for her loyal friendship, her kind heart, and her support and kindness towards me and anyone she encounters. Anyone would be lucky to meet such a supportive friend like Yazzy. Lastly, my dog Kai is the most important thing in my life. She is MY dog as my mother strongly emphasizes, but this past year since starting college I have realized how deeply important she is to me and the ways she would make me feel better when I lived at home. Kai is the greatest addition to the family and I am thankful to soon celebrate her birthday at home with my family.
Mike 101: I’m grateful for a “Hot Coffee on a Cold Morning”:
Grounding, in an otherwise chaotic world
As with all the finest pleasures in life, simple and pure
Comforting, as if to say, “there will be trials in this life, but not in this moment.”
Ethan 101: Like many others, Thanksgiving serves as a special occasion for the gathering of my family, though family is a subjective term. A family tree might include “branches” of relationships that aren’t bound by blood. During the season of Thanksgiving, tree leafs fall in order to grow anew; celebration with gratitude for our families’ provisions, and looking forward to a new season of growth with them.
Orion 101: For my gratitude poster, I wanted to thank God for my younger siblings. As the oldest, I have always tried my best to take care of them but have never really taken stock of how they make me a better person. I love them so much!
Ricky 101: I am most grateful for my father for sacrificing his life by coming to this country and achieving what most immigrants call “the American dream”. al-Hamdulillaah
Rameen 101: I chose to do my mom and cat. I chose my mom because I felt her absence once I moved out for college. When I lived at home I never realized the amount things she does until I moved out and had to do those things by myself. My mom always surprised me in bed with breakfast and would bring fruit to me sometimes when I was studying. It’s the small things that you remember and miss. I am very thankful that I had someone as amazing as her to take care of me growing up. I chose to do my cat because he’s really cute and cheers me up when I’m in a bad mood. Whenever I’m sad he knows it and comes and puts his head on me and touches my face with his paws. Living away from home I really miss having that company.
Mohammad P- 101: I am very grateful for my large family and the time we get to spend together. Growing up with them, creating countless memories, and strong bonds is something I give many thanks to Allah for. I also really love chicken, specifically smoked chicken. It is a hobby we took on over the pandemic. We get to enjoy each other’s company and bond over chicken! As a bonus, the chicken tastes AMAZING!!
Azaan 101: When I think of the things I am truly grateful for, I look towards the things that have supported me through getting where I am today. My family always shows constant love, and I couldn’t be without them. The opportunity to study at such a great university is also something I feel privileged to have.
Sophia 101: I am grateful for my family and my dog and my duck. My family, chosen (friends) and biological, means everything to me. They are there to celebrate me in my highs and console me at my lows. Every time I think I could not love them more- I do. My children as I like to call them, are the sweetest beings in existence- they constantly bring me so much joy and remind me to be grounded in the present. I am forever grateful for all of them and the memories I have made and will continue to make with them all by my side.
Heena 101: The reason that my mother is valuable is not only for obvious reasons, but she has shown me the definition of strength, resilience, and unconditional love. I will always admire her for that and strive to be like her.
George 101: I never truly considered about how fortunate I am to have such a large family, especially near me. These are all people I’ve grown to deeply love and identify with. It is because of their guidance, advice, networking, compassion, and love that I am able to grow and become the person I aspire to be.
Jessie 101: I am very grateful for my loving, supportive family. They have shown me the importance of respect, compassion, and generosity for others. I hope to share the love they’ve shown me.
Max 101: I have always been grateful for my friends and family, but because this is my first time being away from them for so long, I have truly realized how special they are.
Elisa 103: I feel very blessed that I am a graduate student and that I have the ability to conduct research. I feel as though through research, I am able to find important answers that will help others. Keeping a mindset of gratitude is useful as the path that I have taken academically can be rather difficult. Being humble and grateful and acknowledging my blessings is integral in keeping an eye on the broader picture of helping others. I cherish that I am in a position to do so via my research.
Ayse 103: I am grateful for all the seasons Allah has given us. They remind us that after cold days when leaves are fallen, spring will always come and the leaves will grow again! It is a metaphor that we could use in our lives, after every down there is an up! All seasons are beautiful in their own way. Alhamdulillah!
Elizabeth 103: I am grateful for my home and university because I have not always been sure if that would be a reality for me. I thank God everyday that I can put a roof over my head and pay for my schooling all on my own. I also am grateful for the blessings I have yet to receive or that I have not realised are blessings yet.
Aadil 103: I am thankful for all the tests Allah has given me in my life because they have taught me many lessons and helped me become a more empathic, understanding, and humble person.
Andrew 103: I chose to represent the importance of community. Our community, which is both our family and our friends, helps us to overcome the difficulties of life. God’s goodness can be found in these people.
Lilly103: I am Hindu and I believe in the Universe itself as the “higher power”. I am choosing to thank the world for teaching me the lessons I needed to learn in order to have the mindset that I do today and to be on the path that I am today. The world I see is a reflection of who I am, so in a way I am also thanking myself for putting in the effort I do every day.
Nasar 103: I chose to talk about my health and family specifically because they are two aspects of my life that I am especially grateful for. As for my health, I thank God for giving me a strong body and mind which allows me to serve others and live a fulfilled life. I thank God for the blessings of sight, hearing, taste, speaking, walking, etc. Furthermore, I recognize that each of these blessings are taken somewhat for granted since we are so used to having them in our lives, but we could just as easily lose them. As for my family, they have been a wonderful and big support for me throughout my life, and I thank God for giving me such a kind and supporting family. Without my family, I would have struggled to accomplish much of what I’ve been able to do.