Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving for Non-Americans

Ten years ago today, DH and I were getting ready to go to his sisters for Thanksgiving. She is a great cook, and loves to cook anything but turkey on Thanksgiving. That year however, she did make a turkey, for me, the Au-Pair. You know, let me experience the way Thanksgiving is supposed to be experienced because I was just supposed to be here for one year and then go back....
Back then, DH and I were living together in the same house, I was taking care of his two unruly children, and we slept in each others arms every night. One child knew, the other didn't. The family didn't know, of course, that he was having sex with the Au-Pair, and let me just tell you, it was awkward. Very very awkward. During the evening, I found myself drifting toward DH, needing to be close to him, wanting to only sit with him. My English was still a work in progress, and talking to all the family members and friends present was a lot of work, exhausting. 

That year, I had no clue what Thanksgiving meant. That it is a very important holiday here in the US. I didn't know it is one of the most American holidays. Growing up in Germany, Christmas was the biggest holiday. I never even considered that it might be different in different countries.
Thanksgiving here is one of two (?) holidays that are not religious. Any American, no matter their religion, celebrates Thanksgiving. The family gets together, there is no pressure about gifts for everybody. Thanksgiving is about being with the ones you love, celebrating being thankful, and just having a great time together.
Our plans today include:
No shopping
Cooking
I need to start the apple pie
Less computer time, more kids time
Playing as much Uno as we can stand, and have me win at least once!
I feel like Christmas here in the US is turning into more of a business and religious struggle than anything else. The children are not allowed to celebrate Christmas in Public schools, but instead celebrate the "Happy Holidays". 
Thanksgiving seems like it is the only untarnished holiday left, it is very traditional, and we all know I like traditional...

In this sense, something very traditional for Thanksgiving is stating things you are thankful for. 
I am thankful for my entire family's health, for our beautiful children, my husband,discovering ttwd, and actually doing it, and my life. I am so thankful for this feeling of happiness that surrounds me most days.

On another note, I brought up ttwd/TiH exactly a year ago! Amazing!

Have a great long weekend  everybody! Enjoy your family!



25 comments:

  1. happy thanksgiving! i bet you're thankful for TTWD too :)

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  2. Happy Thanksgiving. Have a wonderful day with your family.

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    1. Hey there. Haven't seen you in a while! I hope you have a wonderful time too!

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  3. wonderful hearing a perspective from someone who didn't grow up with the holiday. I agree with you about Christmas, by the time it comes I'm already tired of it. It's a shame - all the hype makes us forget the reason for the season. Have a wonderful day with family, food and love.

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    1. You too sunnygirl! And you are absolutely right, it is sad, and I am looking forward to being in Germany this year to see if it is as tarnished over there as it is here...

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  4. Happy Thanksgiving to you! We have some American family members (my wife is a dual citizen) and you're right Thanksgiving is a very big US holiday, and it's good to hear it hasn't been tarnished too much.

    I didn't know you were DH's kid's caregiver to begin with... interesting... and hot... :)

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    1. Lol. Now you know. Yeah thinking about it, its kind of a unique story..I can see the hotness in it!

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  5. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours Julia!

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    1. Thank you Princess! You too! I hope you have a wonderful one!

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  6. Very interesting snapshot of one family's experience with the holiday! Have a good one this year.
    hugs
    lillie

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  7. That was a great post! I just spend the other day discussing the culture of Thanksgiving and how it varies, yet we're all celebrating the same thing. I'm sorry your first was so awkward, but I'm glad you guys have a great one planned for today! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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    1. Yeah it really was, but we get along pretty well now...
      Hope yours is going well too!

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  8. Happy Thanksgiving, Julia.

    Hugs, Julia

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    1. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

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  10. Happy Thanksgiving!
    My husband is from Scotland, and he loves this traditional Holiday as well.
    My favorite is still Christmas, I love the magic.

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    1. Yes, I would expect that he does! I love Christmas though and just try not to let commercialism get to me!

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  11. How fun! I hope you had a wonderful day. I understand about not cooking turkey. I refuse to deal with raw turkey. Ewww.

    Thanksgiving isn't a religious holiday but if we think about it too hard the political things about it can be a bit contentious. I think a holiday is what we make of it, and the start of any good holiday is right at home with the family. :)

    Did you win the Uno?

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    1. I won once, the last game. Made me very happy, I am always a happy winner!
      And the turkey came out alright too, still not my favorite meal though.

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  12. I enjoyed reading what your first Thanksgiving was like. And gosh I can relate to being exhausted by having to talk all night in a language that is not your own. I once lived abroad with a family and it was so tiring when they had family functions and I had to talk to strangers and in another language. Anyway, I hope you had a really great Thanksgiving this year. :)

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    1. I did have a great Thanksgiving, thank you. Where did you live while abroad? I hadn't remembered how tiring it was until I wrote this post. Blogging is so fun! Brings backs memories from moments like that, I love it!

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