The Thanksgiving That Wasn’t

Yesterday was Thanksgiving. Only it wasn’t.

Yesterday was the first time that we had a big American holiday pass us by here in Germany without any fanfare (July 4th was the end of our school year so we were busy and barely noticed).

To be honest, that knocked me down a bit and I was shocked and unprepared for that. I don’t even hold Thanksgiving in high regard. Even so, we have grown traditions based on it and yesterday, I really missed them.

Where We Would Be

The last several years have been a mix of spending the holiday with my sister’s family and Friendsgivings. I frankly never see enough of any of these people and so I have always been grateful for the opportunity to just be together. The cooking, the loud talking and laughing, the eating and drinking. The simplicity.

Last Thanksgiving. This will never not be one of my favorite pictures of this cousin crew.

If we were up in Dallas, the day would be fairly lazy. Dinner is a group event up there so each individual has little to do. Some cooking, definitely some baking. Uncle Mark would probably talk the kids into yard work under the guise of it being fun and if they didn’t fall for it, off to the park then. Dinner would be delicious, the company welcoming, and the kids, as always, just happy to be with their cousins and sneaking desserts from anyone that will plate it up for them. My sister and I would plan our evening after dinner. There is midnight shopping to be done but more importantly, we just really enjoy the time together.

If we were staying home, we tend to do Friendsgiving with the family that we choose for ourselves. No matter the year, in the life we live, there are always friends without local family. So we get together, eat well, drink too much, play cards and laugh well into the night. For many of us, it is perfection in an imperfect world.

What Really Happened

So yesterday was a normal day. Moose went to work and the kids went to school. I did housework and ran errands. We had goulash for dinner. I moped a little all day as the pictures started rolling in on Facebook. Life went on without us and honestly, while I don’t expect everyone to push pause while we are gone, it can sometimes be hard to watch. And it always makes me wonder if we did the right thing. I felt really homesick yesterday.

However, I had many reminders throughout the day that we are okay. Dude told me he loved me more than mac and cheese as I hugged him goodbye. Red’s teacher gushed to me at pick up about how well his German is coming along. The boys giggled the entire way home as they plotted their afternoons. Several people, who shouldn’t even know what day it is, went out of their way to tell me Happy Thanksgiving. A friend and fellow traveler reached out to make sure we were doing okay. Texts from home reminded me that we have not been forgotten. And the sweet man at our produce stand kept an eye out for me all day because he got me cranberries.

I may never buy canned again!

New Traditions

If you are worried about our low caloric intact, have no fear. We have plans with fellow expat friends tomorrow that involve turkey and all the fixings. Today, instead of Black Friday shopping, I will be making that last minute trip to the grocery instead. Prep work on my offerings has already begun and the cranberry sauce is already chilling in the fridge. The wine is picked out and there are some games bagged up to take over.

So in review.

Yesterday was weird and a bit difficult, today feels better and by tomorrow, the pity party will be packed away and replaced with food, friends, and new memories.




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