Another Thanksgiving came and went, completely and totally below radar. It was my third Thanksgiving spent living abroad and by no means does it get easier. Back when I had been in Chile a mere four months, I wrote a pretty positive post about all the things I was thankful for – sort of an ode to Thanksgiving despite being in a land far, far away. I reread that particular blog post and realize that I’m still thankful for all the things I listed three years ago and of course there are at least three things I’d add to said list: little human, Obi and my job. I’m not done being thankful and more so, being consciously thankful.
However … yes, there is a however. It’s Thanksgiving and I’m alone. A-L-O-N-E, alone. Yes, little human is with me (and she’s a presence to be reckoned with) but she’s also six months old and at 9PM said little human sleeps. Yes, my tub of burning love, Obi, is also with me, but he’s partial to sleeping anytime, anyplace and that means he’s sleeping right now. And probably will be in the next hour and so forth until tomorrow. So where does that leave me? Alone. On Thanksgiving. A-L-O-N-E. Yes, I will proceed to cry you all a river right now.
I’m thankful, dammit!!!
But, I’m sad, too. I’m sad because of the aforementioned reason, but I’m also sad because it’s the first Thanksgiving with little human and she has NO idea what’s going on. Of course I went on to tell her about the pilgrims and the native Americans and about the turkeys she needs to learn to make by tracing her hand on construction paper, but she wasn’t even listening and she certainly wasn’t cooperating with the hand turkeys.
Adding insult to injury, Thanksgiving always marked the beginning of the holiday season for me. It’s grotesque, I know, Black Friday being symbolic of everything that’s wrong with society, but that’s how I knew the holidays were coming! Christmas lights, decorations, cookies, smells, colors, food – aaaaaaaaaaaaaand just like that, right after Turkey Day, I was walking in my very own imaginary winter wonderland (imaginary because it doesn’t actually snow in the SF Bay Area). I ask you – what marks the beginning of the holiday season now??? The Christmas decorations that pop up a week after the September Independence Day celebrations at the local Jumbo? That and the wilting flowers all around because of the 80+ degree heat?? Or the allergy attacks that have me pining for the “nighttime-sniffling-sneezing-coughing-aching-stuffy-head-fever-so-I-can-rest medicine? (If any Chilean gets this reference, please let me know so that I can be your BFF.) Let me tell you, these things mentioned DO NOT a Christmas season, make.
Thanksgiving also happens to be the one important holiday that we just don’t share with other countries. Christmas – that’s shared the world over. Independence day – not shared the world over (look at me, I’m England and I never had to claim Independence from anyone! Whoop-dee-do!) but shared nonetheless in the Americas, given that England and Spain were greedy bitches back in the day. There’s Labor Day (legal holidays in both the U.S. and Chile) and there are even holidays where we commemorate wars and/or fallen soldiers who have given their lives for our freedom and rights. Easter – shared. New Year’s – shared the world over. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Valentine’s Day – shared, shared and shared. Granted, few of these dates coincide with one another but we share similar concepts and holidays.
What I’m trying to say here, folks, is that Thanksgiving is sorely missed – for many reasons. Not so much because of the food (not particularly a turkey fan myself – too dry) but because it was a time of togetherness that marked the beginning of the best time of the year! I just don’t have that anymore on Thanksgiving. Maybe 20 years from now, when I’ve lived here far too long, I won’t even flinch when the fourth Thursday of November rolls around. But I’m flinching now, people, so let me be heard!
That said, I’m super thankful for the three glasses of wine that have gotten me through this very, very lonely Thanksgiving and this very, very crybaby blog post.