Why I am thankful this Christmas


Taking time to be thankful for the things that you have received and experienced this holiday season, especially in this challenging time of the pandemic, makes life sweeter and evokes positive emotions. Gratitude is a shared journey and we asked residents to share theirs.


“I’m so thankful to call Saipan home. The people here (those who were born and raised here and those who have chosen to move here) have made building a life here such a positive experience. The community has been so warm and welcoming that it feels like my family has been here for many years rather than a handful of months. And nowhere else in the United States has been as successful at minimizing COVID-19 risk and transmission, thanks to residents’ cooperation with policies requiring masks and distancing and support for protocols for businesses and quarantine. People really make a place what it is, and there is no place I’d rather spend this Christmas.”
—Ali Nelson of Capital Hill

“We are very thankful that, despite our current situation, we are able to practice and join the CNMI Got Talent and show the audience our talents. In our competition piece, we would like to [convey the] message [to] the public that in every struggle in our life and every health problem, there’s is hope and believe that everything will be back to normal. We also thank that our community is safe and the front-liners work hard for our safety.”
—Members of the X-cessive Dance Group, the 2020 CNMI’s Got Talent grand prize winner (adult division)


“This Christmas, I am thankful for our health, my family, and the many blessings, big and small, that we have received even through this pandemic. I am especially thankful to the people of the Marianas who pulled together and followed the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force protocols and wore their masks. Because of everyone participating, we prevented the community spread of COVID-19. Together we protected each other. Thank you, Marianas, and merry Christmas!”
—Victor Cabrera, Career and Technical Education teacher at Hopwood


“My husband, two daughters, and young son are my greatest treasures, and we are so blessed to all be together on this beautiful island. I’m thankful Saipan has kept us healthy with a strict enforcement of quarantine for incoming flights. I’m thankful my daughters have organized Boonie Babies to provide food, care, and furever homes to some of the neglected and abandoned dogs in the community. With all the challenges in 2020 that others have experienced like death, being separated from family, and unemployment, I realize how truly lucky I am.”
—Arron Danaher, Sadog Tasi


“There is so much to be thankful for this Christmas, but I am most grateful to be with family in Texas and celebrate my newborn niece!”
—Mabby Glass of Tapochao


“I am thankful that we are able to celebrate Christmas with family. I’m thankful for the CNMI cooperating with and supporting each other during a pandemic crisis. Because we are a small community who cares for each other, we continue to bounce back through any hardships that we face each year.”
—Eric Atalig, San Vicente


“We are thankful for this Christmas because our family has received abundant blessings all throughout the year. Our Christmas is complete this year because I was able to come home after being away for college for about two and a half years. We are also thankful that we got the chance to share our love for music and the season through the CNMI Got Talent contest. Despite the many challenges we are experiencing, we hope that people would still look at every situation and be able to find that one positive outcome that it can bring.”
—Leonard Manuel of The Manuels, 2020 CNMI Got Talent 2nd Runner up


“There are so many ‘things’ people have in their homes that we should be thankful for. Like the stove that cooks food, the electricity that brings us comfort, cellphones that keep us preoccupied and the beds that soothe us to sleep. These ‘things’ are great and awesome but I have experienced loss of these ‘things.’ From Soudelor, Yutu, and now COVID-19, I have lost many things: I lost food, electricity, my bed, my salary, my inner peace and finally, I lost me. Instead, I gained greed and fear, anxiety and depression and in all this grief and loss, I forgot how to be grateful. [Yet] I am [also] grateful for loss. With loss comes a lot of anger and thoughts that absolutely destroy you in and out. Thoughts that are not welcome and barge in, disrupting normalcy. Thoughts that make it seem impossible to breathe and make it through each day. Then when the time is right, with some help, thoughts turn into understanding. With understanding comes perspective. With perspective comes intention. And finally, contentment. This Christmas, I am content and I am grateful for this feeling. …I became a kinder person to my family and no longer focused on all the loss and anger. With contentment my smile becomes a true reflection of my soul. The world I built in my bubble is now a part of the universe. I am no longer alone in my own world. I can welcome the people I love most to visit my world. Thank you, Fernando, Amiah, Reiana, Isaiah, and Mom for being my rock in this journey.”
–Meena Benavente, San Antonio

Bea Cabrera | Correspondent
Bea Cabrera, who holds a law degree, also has a bachelor's degree in mass communications. She has been exposed to multiple aspects of mass media, doing sales, marketing, copywriting, and photography.

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