I love Thanksgiving. It’s as good as Christmas food-wise but sans the stress of finding the perfect presents. Until last year, I’d never spent a Thanksgiving away from my family. A solid feat considering how many consecutive years that totals. Despite the cornucopia of things I have to be thankful for, this week still conjures up the pangs of homesickness. Can I get a “WHAT WHAT” from all my fellow American expats abroad?
To avoid spending the day feeling sorry for myself, I’ve compiled my annual list to remind myself of the many reasons I have to be grateful. Last year’s list was fun to re-read and compare.
My family in the US and my “family” in London
This photo was taken during my family’s recent visit to London at my favorite pub in Angel. A few key people are missing from the pic, especially my sister and my London girls Josie & Shirley, but it still represents how full my life is in both the US and the UK.
Experiencing London Life
When people ask me what it’s like to live in London I usually joke about the crowds or costs, but if they’re truly curious I try and explain the magic of this city. I know I don’t want to live here forever, but I’m so darn grateful to live here now. My London Life recaps are the closest I can get to conveying this experience.
Co-hosting my first Thanksgiving
With a lot of support and guidance and most of the cooking done by my co-hosts, we successfully entertained 26 friends for an early Thanksgiving dinner this past weekend. Let me just say to everyone who has ever hosted me for the holidays: THANK YOU. I had no idea how much effort it entailed. I’m thankful it went off without a hitch and I was able to procure a turkey from the butcher shop around the corner. Frozen turkeys from the grocery store don’t exist in this country.
It’s been a year of travel and this week I’ve reached 25 countries. I need to add Poland to this map but you get the picture. Lots of trips, all the time. A typical conversation goes like this, “Oh I have to travel to Warsaw but I’ll be back for a day then we’re going to Switzerland then back to London for a weekend then Vienna then heading to the states for Christmas.” If you didn’t know me, you would think I’m a snob. I promise I am fully aware this isn’t a normal pace of life. I can’t promise I’ll be able to accept 1-2 trips per year rather than per month when I move back. I love being on the move.
Belonging to the the expat community
Being an expat is by far the strangest and most rewarding experience in my life thus far. It’s been even more life-altering than my first year at college when I called home every night sobbing about how much I hated living away from my family. My, how far I’ve come.
The best part of it is the bond you share with other expats. Whether virtually over blogs and social media, or in person through shared experiences (#americansinlondon pictured above), I’m thankful I’m not in this alone. I had fun doing this interview with ExpatsBlog.com this week if you want to do extra credit reading.
Christmas in the USA this year
I may be missing Thanksgiving with the family, but I’m just 5 flights, 2 more European cities, and 3 weeks away from heading back to the USA for 2 weeks of family time. It will be 7 months since I was there last. But who’s counting?
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. I’ll be foraging for pumpkin pie in London so please eat second and third helpings in my honor!