The last Thursday of November is American Thanksgiving. Through most of my life this was my favorite holiday of the year. Coming a week before my birthday and a month before Christmas, Thanksgiving always felt like the start of, well, everything. I love the entire holiday season but this day felt extra-special.
When I still lived nearby to my family, I looked forward to spending Thanksgiving Day at my parents’ home and, after my mom’s death, I’d watch football and eat at my sister’s house. Oh, how I miss the juicy turkey with gravy and pumpkin pie for desert! When I moved from Kansas to New Mexico, I often couldn’t make it back home for the holidays. But the family would gather and then call me each year, passing the phone around so I could chat with everybody. This was a tradition continued the first couple of years after my arrival in Thailand. However, the time difference proved too difficult an obstacle (not to mention the expense!).
Nowadays, perhaps somebody back home will think enough to post a “Happy Thanksgiving” note on my Facebook wall which actually means more to me than the “Happy Birthday” messages a week later.
While I won’t be eating turkey this year – I work until 21:00 tonight – I am thinking about my family and friends in America, longing to share the holiday in a cold environment while watching parades and football (while snacking) all day and trying to save room for the main course after hours of preparation.
I actually become more melancholy at Thanksgiving than during the entire Christmas season. Perhaps that’s because it seems so “personal” rather than widespread here in Thailand. It is very much an American holiday. There are turkeys in the Western-style supermarkets but who wants to spend US $75 on a Butterball? Some of the resorts offer a reasonable imitation of a proper Thanksgiving dinner but it seems quite strange to partake in a room full of strangers. No, my dinner tonight will be a foot-long from Subway – newly opened in the shopping mall that houses my language school. I simply have to choose which one I’d most like to celebrate the holiday with – steak-and-cheese, roast beef, or my personal favorite – spicy Italian.
Although my Thanksgiving will be fairly solitary, I do have much to be thankful for:
I live in Paradise with a capital “P”.
I have a job that I truly love, do well, and doesn’t cause me a bit of stress.
I live comfortably, if not extravagantly. (I don’t need much.)
I have a loving and supportive family that understands me.
I have an ever-widening circle of close friends who about me.
I have the freedom to be as active or as lazy as I want to be at any given time.
I have enough wide-ranging interests where I always have something to do.
Lastly, I simply love my life. No worries. No regrets.
I hope you all have a truly wonderful Thanksgiving. You don’t have to be American to be thankful for what you have at this time of the year.
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