I know its a day early here in New Zealand, and it is two days early for the USA, but things will be a bit busy on the day, and I was told if you can’t be on-time, be early.
I have a lot to be thankful for this year–you wouldn’t think it from a vast majority of my complaining–but things are actually quite good. But before I dive into some long laundry list I’d like to take a moment to consider Thanksgiving outside the USA.
Growing up, my family wasn’t big on celebrating random USA holidays, and I remember the infamous story of either my sister or I asking my mother on what day we were supposed to celebrate the 4th of July–I’m sure she laughed, but the answer really was that we didn’t. But we did always have Thanksgiving. We’d order incredibly expensive and hard to find turkey (when we could find it, since turkey is not popular at all in Japan–one for now, and then one for Christmas later) and invite everyone we knew. We almost always hosted, and we would gather students, missionaries and randoms–most of whom were not american. My sister and I always helped (and I hope it was help and not getting in the way). It wasn’t about a family gathering. It was gathering people and eating.
I can’t remember the last thanksgiving I had with my family. I celebrated approximately 4 in the USA, one for each year of university. It has always been important to me though. The first time I decided to host Thanksgiving, completely on my own, was actually here in New Zealand, and it was also the first time I celebrated it with Chris. Despite being British, he has completely and utterly embraced the holiday albeit a strange morphed version which I grew up with. No where else in the world has the week off, so often I’d have to take a day off to cook along–and last year I was so stressed all I could manage was to walk across the street to the local pub and order a disappointing turkey meal with new friends.
One thanksgiving action I regret, is that someone I didn’t know once got left out. I still kick myself to this day for it. I didn’t know her, and I was told later I made things awkward since everyone else in the office was invited bar her. I keep replaying it thinking how to fix it. But drama will always happen, and all I can do is swear that next time a few unknowns feel free enough to pop in dragged by their friends who I do know. Because that is the point.
So what is thanksgiving to me? Its an excuse for a party. Its when you get to invite people to your house and cook. I miss the family element. The delegation of duties between the three of us girls. I’ve never done the ‘thankful’ bit aloud. It always seemed a bit too much like bragging. So I’ll make my list in my head.
Now I must start the prep work. Not just the cooking but buying enough plates so that people don’t have to eat with their hands.