November 2013


Giving Thanks

Posted on Thursday, November 28, 2013

When my family first moved to the States, we didn't understand Thanksgiving.
It seemed like a less-fun version of Christmas; a holiday with an uncomfortably orange color scheme based on celebrating a historic slaughter...

As the years passed, though, and as my parents' circle of expat friends in the States grew, our celebration of the holiday evolved. We came to the table together year after year from wherever home was - Ireland, the UK, South Africa, it didn't matter - and celebrated life together.  I grew to love the day, and not just for my mother's crispy roasted potatoes or my dad's now signature cocktails.

It's fair to say that by now we've figured out Thanksgiving, and it's quickly become one of my favorite holidays. I appreciate the way that it comes with no fuss and little commercialism, and is a whole day dedicated to family and friends and food.  What could be better?  I'm grateful that it's become a part of my family's own traditions, and also pretty glad that we know better than to go to a crêperie in Manhattan's gayborhood for our Thanksgiving dinner (that happened, once..).

 All this being said, Thanksgiving always helps me to put things in persepective - even from over here.
While it doesn't exist in France, obviously, the sentiment is one that I can still appreciate.  I woke up this morning and excitedly thought, "It's Thanksgiving!"  Even with no prospect of turkey, and nary a trimming to be found, I'm still marking this day as important to me.
Though there's no outward indication that today is different from any other Thursday, I find that I'm feeling a bit more reflective than usual.

I'm certainly sad to not be with my family, but it's hard to complain when I'm lucky enough that one of my closest friends is here for the week.  Seeing photos from home make my heart ache a tiny bit, but I'll be home for Christmas before I know it, and I can still participate in the Thankful part of the day even if we're not all together.

There are plenty of Americans in Paris - I'm lucky enough to have been invited to two Thanksgiving dinners - but it's not just the food that makes this day what it is to me.
I'm especially thankful this year, again.  I've succesfully managed to live my dream for more than a year, even managing to fund it independently like a Real Grown Up. I'm thankful that I speak French, definitely thankful for cheese, thankful for bakeries that serve warm crusty baguettes at any given hour.
I'm thankful for the wonderful people that I've met over here, that continue to be so important to me, thankful that my family is so supportive of me, that they encourage and love me from so far away.  I'm thankful for the friends that are like family, for the same. Not many people run out of fingers when counting close friends, but I'm so grateful for them, and that staying in touch with them is easier than ever.

At dinner tonight, I doubt there will be turkey. But it's certain that there will be friendship and love and lots of laughter.  Most of all there will be thanks given - because really, I am so very grateful for so very many things - and so very thankful for the wonderful people that I love.

I hope you all feel equally lucky today, if not every day, because I promise that life's not so bad from where I'm standing.