When Thanksgiving Isn't a Thing
Okay, so Thanksgiving is an American holiday, right? Right. There are also thanksgivings in other countries as well so being in the Middle East is the first time I've ever referred to it as "American Thanksgiving". I'd be all, "hey guys! We're having American Thanksgiving on Thursday! Yay!".
If you've never had a good ole' American Thanksgiving you might have images such as these running through your mind that has not yet been muddled with gravy and canned cranberry sauce:
Well, the truth of the matter is that American Thanksgiving is filled with awesome food and family, laughing, drinking umm...adult drinks and sometimes we do indeed shoot at things. For me, personally, Thanksgiving is a time that I really love. It's steeped in traditions of my family's own making: watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in our pajamas, helping one another make dressing, cornbread and pecan pies, my mom saying that I should help cook more instead of standing around and watching. Hah!
To be totally honest, I could envision myself sobbing silently in my apartment while I try to find some website live steaming the Macy's day parade while I bury myself in a bucket of halal KFC BUT I work in a school with some amazing people and we gathered together for what is the most international Thanksgiving I have ever experienced. We had Syrian, French, Mexican, American, Lebanese, Indian, English, African and Tunisian food to add to the table with the traditional American Thanksgiving turkey that Justin lovingly labored over for many, many hours.
During this preparation for Thanksgiving and the actual dinner itself, I was gifted with the opportunity to explain exactly what Thanksgiving is and how we celebrate it in American. Apparently it's actually NOT a strategic team meeting to discuss Black Friday sales over a really nice dinner!
We explained that it actually isn't really a religious holiday but rather a time to reflect on everything that you're thankful for in your life and to spend that reflective time with the people that mean the most to you. They seemed to be impressed with the idea of Thanksgiving and maybe a little befuddled that it was something that is done in America. :P
So the evening went like this:
+the turkeys were smoking so much that I made my mashed potatoes outside in the courtyard and I was really feeling like I wasn't in Kansas anymore as I was making a traditional family Thanksgiving side dish outside in a courtyard in a desert in the Middle (of nowhere) East.
+our English host and friend said, "I've decorated the majlis for Thanksgiving!" to which I responded...um...decorated? I responded with shouts of THIS IS AMAZING OMG I LOVE THIS WOW SO NICE SO AMERICAN OMG HAHAHAHAHAHA.
+Said host ended up in a kilt to properly begin the Scottish dancing portion of the night
+Scottish dancing with much laughing and stomping on feet
+Egg toss in the courtyard in which Justin and I won cause we both majored in egg tossing
+dinner with games
+dinner with laughing
+dinner with so. much. food.
+clean up, clean up, clean up and where I was shooed out of the way by my awesome Mozambican teacher assistant who was dressed to the nines but wouldn't let me wash the dishes.
And then my favorite part of the night where myself and some friends sat outside, enjoyed the night air and talked about what we were truly thankful for in our lives. We were in the type of mindset to not provide responses such as, "I'm thankful for...uh...like..WhatsApp." We really dug down deep in ourselves and found things that we were actually quite thankful for. What occurred was a conversation so touching, so poignant and so meaningful that I don't think I'll ever forget it.
I know I'll never forget it.
So because I'm still in the spirit here are some things (SOME. Not all. If I did all the things, I would be typing for quite a while) that I'm thankful for:
+I'm thankful for my family who contact me nearly everyday and my mom who does contact me EVERY day. Also for the three care packages she has sent since we've been here. THREE, people. THREE. I have so much cold medicine that I'm sure I'll be bringing some back home with me in a year and a half when we return to America.
+I'm thankful for the ability to have this time to invest heavily in my marriage and grow as a couple. My husband is my partner in everything and for that I'm SO thankful.
+I'm thankful that I'm allowing myself to grow into who I am know that I am. I am becoming more confident, more able and more willing to stand up for myself.
Also, I am thankful for WhatsApp. Hah.
Happy Holidays, y'all.
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