Time has really flown by and once again another Thanksgiving has come and gone. If you do not include the holiday as a precursor to some of America’s more disturbing historical blunders such as the degradation and exploitation of the Native Americans, in it’s essence, sans cynicalness , Thanksgiving defines some founding principles of our nation and the people who have evolved with it. Taking part in my first Thanksgiving abroad felt a little bizarre. Certain more apparent traditions felt obsolete, like watching the large floats glide through the streets of New York in the Macy”s Thanksgiving Day Parade, or preparing a feast of roasted turkey and other continental delights of cranberries and pumpkins. It’s not that these things are essential to thanksgiving, it’s just without them, it was a very different experience. Instead of sitting around the big turkey dinner, I found myself really reflecting over and examining my life here. In some ways being in a foreign country makes you feel even more American than you would feel back in the US!
For those who don’t know, Thanksgiving is an American holiday where we gather with our extended families to share a large meal and speak about the things we are thankful for. This is a national holiday for people of all religions in America. It was first celebrated in the 1600’s by British Puritans and Pilgrims who emigrated to the United States in search of religious freedom. There is a story that the first Thanksgiving celebrated in the United States was a meal shared by the Pilgrims and the Native American Indians in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Now a days it is a time where we think about our families, friends and the harvest of food and give thanks.
This past Tuesday, the embassy had an early Thanksgiving dinner for some of the local American expats. Somehow they managed to salvage together the ingredients for pumpkin pie, which I was pretty thrilled about considering its obscurity in the Middle East, along with an acceptable turkey dinner. Fun fact: they don’t sell canned pumpkin here, and the large jack o lanterns are little to absent and if found, sold for conspicuously high prices. In fact, the outdoor patio even had grass landscaping, so if it wasn’t 75 degrees outside in November, we could’ve even been back in Massachusetts.
However no matter how much I love the smell of the acidic decomposing leaves on the ground, the first winter frost, and freshly mulled apple cider, at that moment I did not want to be back in the US. No matter how trite this sounds or this may be, I have a lot to be thankful for that I don’t always acknowledge or at least not often. I am thankful, for purpose, adventure, old friends, new friends, every thing that goes really right, and even the things that don’t turn out as planned. I am thankful for two homes, no matter how far apart they may be. I am thankful to the people who support me as well as those who have taught me to be firm and really advocate for my self. I am thankful for a beautiful country to explore every day, and people to explain it to me. I am also thankful for the occasional bad day, as it’s the only way I can truly measure my growth.