As I sit in our apartment in this little Brazilian beach town, listening to the ocean waves and the neighbor’s never ending car alarm, I’m doodling about online and seeing Thanksgiving posts all over the interwebs.
And I can’t seem to wrap my head around it.
I mean, I know it’s Thanksgiving but it just doesn’t feel like it. The thing is? That’s just fine with me.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to stuff myself with turkey and all the fixings with people I love and to remind myself of all I’m thankful for as much as the next American, but I’m just not in an “American” head space, or physical space this year.
First – I’m in Brazil where it is spring. There is no crispness to the air, no reason to break out the warm sweaters, no changing of the leaves or promise of snow in the air. There is warmer and warmer tropical weather, there are more crowds at the beach and the promise of summer heat in the breeze. There are no pumpkin spice latte’s at Starbucks. Yes, there are Christmas decorations going up in the local stores, but they seem out of place and disconnected. Most of our Brazilian friends only know what Thanksgiving is because of Facebook. No one around us is making plans for a feast. No restaurants are offering turkey and pie.
Second – Brian is Scottish. He has never celebrated a Thanksgiving and has no cultural or childhood memories of it. If he were to celebrate, it would be for my benefit.
Third – as much as I love the idea of celebrating with family, there has always been that undertone of family politics and drama, along with the expense and hassle of buying and preparing all that food. If I were to look honestly at Thanksgiving throughout my years I would have to say there was more stress and ugliness than it was worth.
So I’ll celebrate in my own way, in my own head.
This year I’m thankful for NOT needing to cook anything at all for anybody at all. I’m thankful we can have a peaceful day with no before and after preparation and cleanup. I’m thankful that we’re here in such an amazing and complicated country learning a second language, getting to know a new culture and making new friends. I’m thankful we both have our health, that we’re annoyingly in love with each other, that we are here together, and that we won’t be in turkey comas while there is no American football game on TV. I’m thankful that all of our kids are healthy and finding their way in the world.
I’m thankful to be exactly where I am today.
So I guess it feels like Thanksgiving after all.