There were even a few
years where our house played host to 20 people, all living under one
roof! All available
rooms were full with sleeping bags, air mattresses and pillows of every
size and shape. Bodies were everywhere. We also started a traditional
when we were in Charlotte; everybody would wake up extra early and
participate in a 5K Turkey Trot. Even though Andy would have to listen
to me bitch about the mess from all those bodies and the cooking, it was
the one holiday that we were all together and I really loved it!
Last year I knew I would
be sad so we organized an “orphaned gringo” turkey day celebration in
San Ramon. It was open to all the expats who wanted to celebrate
Thanksgiving with other orphaned expats. We all had a lot of fun.
Everyone brought a covered dish to share and we brought the turkey. A
great time was had by one and all but most importantly, it took my mind
off the fact that I was missing my family dearly.
This year we live at the
beach and had no Thanksgiving plans. Instead of doing something on my
favorite family holiday, we decided to do nothing. This was a mistake.
We did talk about cooking a turkey dinner for two. But since the price
of a bird was so outrageous, we talked ourselves into roasting a
chicken. Thanksgiving dinner for two might be nice for a newly married
couple but it sucks for old farts like us. And making a beer can
chicken with stuffing was not really a holiday meal although my homemade
apple pie was awesome.
Initially, I pretended
that the day was OK but the next day as Andy and I were taking our
morning walk on the beach; we both agreed that Thanksgiving 2010 was a
complete failure and will not be repeated.
We really did have plenty of
options…we could have visited our friends back in San Ramon; we could
have organized a Expat Orphans Turkey Dinner here at the beach; we could have gotten off
our butts and availed ourselves of any number of commercial Thanksgiving
Day celebrations. But instead, we chose to stay home. That’s why we
had a sucky time and we were 100% to blame.
For me, Thanksgiving is not
about the food. Rather, it’s about spending time with friends,
especially when family is 3000 miles away. Guaranteed, Thanksgiving
2011 will be very different.
With Christmas just
around the corner, will I get depressed? No way! We are
working with friends to throw a Christmas party for the local elementary
school. What better way to spend the holiday than to put a smile on the
face of little kids. I am also busy baking treats for many of our local
friends who work so hard around our home. And I almost forgot; we also
booked a Christmas Eve sunset boat cruise. Open bar, lots of food and
good friends. Sounds like a plan.
The valuable lesson that
I learned this year is that you need to be proactive on the days that
you know are special. Your family did not move away to a foreign
country, you did.