One really fun thing about being an expat is bringing the traditions of your home country to your new international friends.
And so several weeks ago, I created a Facebook event, called a butcher, and began the plan to recreate Thanksgiving with 18 of my friends. Due to the capacity of my oven, I had to outsource many meal elements to my fellow Americans who were joining to celebrate the day, as my primary task was the 17.5-pound Turkey I had a local butcher bring my way.
The crowd was heavily skewed toward non-Americans this year, whereas last year’s Thanksgiving only had a few Aussie interlopers. However, as I sat at a table full of English men and women and told them the history of Thanksgiving, I made the point that this holiday was technically begun by the English settlers of America, so it was as much their holiday as it was mine.
There we a few groans when I mentioned the tradition of going around the table and giving thanks, but everyone was a good sport and participated, with one of the single young men giving thanks for the single ladies of Sydney (fair shout). I looked around the room at the crowd, a few familiar faces from last year and several new faces who have entered my life only this year (including the English Muffin), and I knew that I was most grateful for how much life changes, bringing new people into and out of your world. How in one year many things that had been steady in my life before my move had changed, but that those things weren’t the ones that mattered. Because here I was sitting among people that I loved, but hadn’t even known this time last year. And so I was quietly grateful for the difficult times I had thrust upon my life by uprooting everything and moving to an island on the other side of the sea, because those difficulties have borne out the most beautiful and lovely life full of new friendships I never would have had otherwise. And most importantly, they brought me to a very kind man with a lovely soul that I never would have had the pleasure to know if even one little detail had been different.
More wine was downed, football was watched, dishes were cleared up, pumpkin pie was consumed (much to the bewilderment of many of the English in attendance, as pumpkin is meant to be savory), and a generally great Thanksgiving was had by all.
Comparing this to last year’s Thanksgiving of eight lovely people that I had newly met, to eighteen that could all be counted as friends, with a tip of the glass to the universe, I gave thanks.