my first thanksgiving

November 25, 2010

As a Brit, I didn’t grow up celebrating Thanksgiving but it’s become one of my favourite holidays.

I love getting to share that time with my American family. I’m building traditions and favourite ways to celebrate here that I hope to continue on when Dan and I have our own little family. It’s all so new and fresh and different to me.

I love that Thanksgiving isn’t a gift-giving holiday and holds none of the stress of spending money and wondering what to buy that Christmas does. The biggest question on our minds is what kind of stuffing to do and how many pies we’ll make. Those are dilemmas I have no problem pondering, believe me.

My first Thanksgiving spent in the U.S. was six years ago (I can hardly believe it’s been that long!) when I first moved to Austin, TX for a year of study. Rather than doing what all the other study abroaders were and spending the day with an American family, my friend Megan and I took a spontaneous trip to New York City.

It was the first time either of us had ever been to New York and it was beyond magical. We happened to have been invited by a British band we’d met at a gig in Austin and spent several completely ridiculous days being total groupies and getting taken out on the town. That was seriously some of the most fun I’ve ever had.

Once we said farewell to the band, we had Thanksgiving to look forward to in a big, unfamiliar city. We went to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, loving every second of the crowds, cheesiness and excitement.

Later, completely burnt out by those same crowds and majorly irritable, we opted to spend the afternoon watching the dreamy Gael Garcia Bernal in The Motorcycle Diaries at the cinema and our spirits were completely lifted. That film holds a special place in both our hearts. In fact, Megan gave me a copy of it on the same birthday that she baked me a carrot cake. Honestly, what a woman.

As for Thanksgiving dinner? We went to a Turkish restaurant near our hostel (and lamely joked that in a way we were “celebrating with turkey”) and talked about our hopes and dreams for life. I wouldn’t have had it any other way and I still think fondly of how that Thanksgiving has instilled in me a desire to be reflective on this holiday; to think about my hopes and dreams, as they were six years ago and as they are now.

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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