It’s impossible to name all the things I’m thankful for in one short blog post … I feel gratitude, sincere gratitude, every day. Nevertheless, living abroad, today is the day my heart feels the tugs the most. I miss the Thanksgiving Day parade in the background while madly vacuuming the house for my mom. I miss the smell of turkey sauce, warm bread, and stuffing. I miss the anticipation of having our closest friends come for dinner to share the same stories we passed around each year. The stories carry more weight and love than the pile of buttery potatoes. I miss the Picon Punches my dad made, with brandy floaters, and the talk about football. I miss the Reisers … our Thanksgiving family. (My favorite Thanksgiving story has always been told by Julie about the time my dad, whose chicken was burning on the barbecue, ran into the sliding glass door.)
But instead of wallowing (okay, I wallow just a touch), I feel happy (and mildly panicked) because I began Thanksgiving with my Colombian family eight years ago. Every NOvember, they start asking, “When’s the day? Are we doing it again?” It’s become a day they look forward to as well. It’s a day my Colombian family and friends gather in my home and give thanks. And I’ve gone from sawdust turkey and dry veggies to a pretty damn good meal. (My turkey is better than my family’s. Sorry, guys. It’s true.) There are variations to the menu. But the most important remains: Love. Today I share my thanks with the family who took me in and accepted me with all my “American quirks.” And my daughters draw their little hand turkeys. We sit around the table. We laugh. And we celebrate the lives we share.
So. HAPPY THANKSGIVING wherever you are. I’ve now cried my homesick cry. (Brined the turkey in tears!) And I’m ready to go to battle with the meal!
Much love from Colombia. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!