Most non-Americans don’t really get Thanksgiving at first – being so close to Christmas and all, but the more I hear about it the more I realise how special it is. Even if all they do is eat too much and fall asleep in front of the TV (like the traditional British chrimbo), it is a family celebration unhindered by the commercialism. It’s sort of the purest form of the modern Christmas.
My first experience of the day was in San Francisco, where I stayed for a week before I backpacked around Central America about five years ago. A friend of a friend of a friend (really) drove all the way across the bridge from Alameda on Thanksgiving morning and took me to her bayside home to celebrate the very American occasion with her family.
When I thanked her, she simply said, “That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?”.
It’s just the H1B and myself this year – and the main thing I’m thankful for is having my six-work-days-a-week husband for four days straight. Amen to that.
Here are some other things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving:
- I’ve found a shop that sells Lurpak and Carrs Water Biscuits (the Blue Apron, Park Slope).
- My parents are nearly seventy but still see my never-ending stints of living abroad as a great holiday opportunity and booked their flights out for Christmas the minute we’d confirmed our visas had come through.
- My two-year-old niece has got her pretty auburn head around Skype and will happily chat to me in our weekly catch-up (the first attempts resulted in many tears and Peppa Pig had to be deployed on the DVD so her mum and I could talk – the only bit I saw of the girl for the first few sessions was the back of her head).
- My (much older but just as pretty) friend Jo has finally mastered Skype.
- For all the people we’ve randomly met since arriving in New York (mainly in bars) who have had no issues with chatting away to slightly tipsy total strangers and suggesting a second meet up.
- For streaming radio so I can listen to Women’s Hour and 6 Music whenever I want.
Speaking of which, I was trawling through Jenni Murray and Jane Garvey’s drawers earlier today (so to speak) and found this segment on Thanksgiving from last week.
I bet you didn’t know that Thanksgiving used to be held on different months in different states and it was the editor of a feminist magazine who petitioned Abraham Lincoln to have it unionised to fall on the last Thursday of November…