This is the second year I’ve missed out on Thanksgiving, one of my favorite (and definitely my mom’s favorite) holidays.
In 2008 my parents and brother were visiting me in Belgium for the first time and we had Thanksgiving with my (then future) in-laws. But last year I didn’t even post about it and this year I’ve nearly forgotten.
Funny how easy it is to forget to be thankful when no one is dangling a turkey and pie in front of you, huh?
But I am thankful for many things including:
- my family, who I miss even more this time of year
- my husband, who loves me more than I ever thought anyone could
- my health, both physical and mental (sometimes I question the mental, but eh, not crazy yet)
- my cats, who love me and bring me smiles and give me something to nurture
- my friends, who I can always count on to be there, even when I haven’t been able to since I immigrated.
- my general situation: we’re both employed, have a house and food and utilities. We live comfortably enough for now.
- my life experience: not many Americans can say they immigrated with no job, not knowing the language, simply to follow their heart. There are things that I want and need to do that I won’t be able to unless we move back to the U.S., but at the same time, I’ve learned a new language and successfully integrated into another culture. Maybe for some that’s not much, but it’s helped me develop as a person and I try not to forget that.
I do miss the feeling of Thanksgiving. I miss the hay bales and corn stalks and pumpkins and family together time. I miss watching the parade while the day is spent cooking and even the dish washing and the football afterwards. I miss the drowsy hugs and kisses goodnight and the promise of a fun Hannukah party in a few weeks. It will never be the same here and I try hard not to think about that when the end of the month rolls around. Instead I concentrate on things I have to do or I think ahead to the smells and sounds of the Christmas markets.
But I guess every once and a while it’s still good to sit and reflect on what I’m thankful for, even without the incentive of homemade stuffing.