An Expat Thanksgiving

Working on Thanksgiving was weird. Not terrible, but not cool. People kept wishing me “Happy Thanksgiving”, which was quite sweet, but that kept reminding me of what I should have been doing! Anyway, on the actual Thanksgiving I came home and Jon and I had a little roast dinner and some wine-but then he left me to go to a work party he was hosting. In a word: lame.  I stayed in, out of the rain and wind and listened to Alice’s Restaurant while chopping up a million cranberries. But on Friday I finished work at lunchtime and rushed home to get my cookin’ on: green bean casserole, classic dressing, and the rest of the jalapeno-cranberry dip, and we headed for the train to Hassocks.

I have, and always will, love trains. (In case you were wondering). And trains around the holidays? Magical as all get-out.

Our fabulous hosts for the evening were Colin and Jess, friends of ours who are also half-English (Colin) and half-American (Jess). Although, to be fair, Jess went to uni here and they own a house, so her expatriation has been far more settled than mine so far, and she misses the States much less, I think. She’s got 10 years in England on me! Kal and Amy joined us later, and it was a great night-they’d found a torrent of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for us to watch and laugh at, and there was wine and all the important food-Jon even did a chicken wrapped in bacon. Because he’s fancy, and he likes bacon, and turkey is just…meh. Jess made pumpkin cheesecake and pumpkin pie, and then we played Apples to Apples until it was time to make our way back to the station and call it a night.

Continue reading

Thinking of…An American abroad at Thanksgiving

Tomorrow is that most gluttonous and delicious of American holidays….Thanksgiving. And while it won’t be my first one away from the family back in Ohio, that doesn’t necessarily make it easier. English folk (and non-Americans, in general) don’t seem to understand the reason behind this day, and it can be a little hard to give a good reason for it sometimes.

“So you just…eat? Is there anything else?”

Well, yes. And no.  You also spend time with your family, and talk about how you’d never shop on Black Friday/how you can’t wait to shop on Black Friday, and discuss the things you are grateful for, and what your plans are for the December holidays, and watch the Macy’s Parade and alllll the football. You don’t actually ever mention the historical parts of Thanksgiving (coughcough) and you spend most of the day in a food coma on your mom’s couch, drinking all the wine and waddling back to the table every few hours for another helping of leftover pie or stuffing. You may or may not have your first viewing of “A Christmas Story”-because after you eat, it’s officially Christmas time!

It is lovely. And I hate missing it.

This year is the first time since our Korea days that Jon and I will be together for Thanksgiving, and it is our first as a married couple (we were married before Thanksgiving last year, but we were not in the same country in November, so it doesn’t count). Somehow Jon got time off work for Thursday and Friday, but because my work has been so sporadic, I didn’t want to ask for it off. Therefore, I’ll be working away. However, Friday will find us at the home of some friends who are also half American-half English, and understand the importance of Thanksgiving, goshdarnit! So we’ll be eating and convalescing at theirs. I will bring the stuffing, the green bean casserole, and my special jalapeno-cranberry cream cheese dip (it is delicious).

But I will be missing my people. Believe you me.

mom, niece, sister, me: Thanksgiving 2011

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I know I complain sometimes, but I’ve got a lot to be thankful for-and I hope you do too.