Thursday we celebrated Thanksgiving. It was my third international Thanksgiving. It was Jeremy’s fifth. The second international Thanksgiving for the boys. I love Thanksgiving abroad. Being in the DR is interesting because so many Dominicans are also Americans. The supermarkets know…or perhaps envision they know…the details of a Thanksgiving meal and stock their shelves accordingly. My family has always been more of a “from-scratch” kind of Thanksgiving family, so the shelves of canned gravy, canned cranberry sauce and boxed stuffing don’t go far for me, but one quickly gets the messages for whom these things are intended…they’re also stocked next to the hundreds of Butterballs that have been imported for the occasion.
We were super fortunate to have my dad and his wife here for the week. We went all out and the day was absolutely perfect. We had turkey, cranberry sauce (made from fresh cranberries that I bought last year on a fluke and then froze), stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, fresh bread, toffee pudding, pumpkin pie, lots of wine, coffee. Truly, the whole nine yards and then some. We invited a few friends over, let the kids run around and stuffed ourselves in phases. Perhaps the only thing lacking (by most Americans’ standards) was football – we don’t have cable. And, perhaps shamefully, our table included more soccer fans than American football fans.
Since Thursday I have been really struck by how at-home we feel. I think there is this image that people have that if you’re abroad for a major holiday you must feel like you would rather be “at home.” I have been wondering if that’s true. I know I certainly wouldn’t have traded our Thanksgiving for anything – it was wonderful and joyous. We felt blessed to be surrounded by so many friends and the added bonus of family from home. If we hadn’t had friends over too, would we have felt differently? Without family, would the occasion have been dreary? What about no one? What if we didn’t have the boys? If we were a childless couple would things have been sadder?
I guess, in conclusion, I do think that a Thanksgiving without friends or family would have been kind of depressing. Of course, the people are more important than the food and being surrounded by love and acceptance makes Thanksgiving (or any holiday) perfect. From the FS perspective this means we might be free to have a pizza Thanksgiving, a curry Thanksgiving or even a sushi Thanksgiving someday because somehow, I’m certain, in this life the fabulous friends just keep on popping up just as the dreams keep coming true.