Standing in the kitchen whilst eating a cookie fresh from the oven (a fantastic chocolate chip one I might add) and waiting on some bread dough to rise, I contemplate the next two days. Two days of cooking pumpkin pie, apple pie, getting prep work done for and then cooking stuffing, potatoes, pomegranate chutney (cranberries don't seem to exist in Portugal, ok?), green bean casserole, macaroni salad, and of course turkey. All of this is for me (mostly) because I'm an American and this is what we do the week of the last Thursday of November.
This is also the time of year I tend to miss being in The States the most. Sure I miss it throughout the year at different times, but the holidays are the worst and this first week of them is the worstest (Remember kids, "worstest" isn't a word, I just don't like to say "worst" twice in a sentence).
It's not because this is my favorite holiday of the year (it's not) or that I particularly enjoy turkey above all other foods (it's good, just not that good). It's because no one around me knows the feeling you get with the tradition of Thanksgiving dinner/lunch(... lunner?) and all the loving chaos it brings to those with crazy families that we get to share it with. Not even the kiddo knows what it's like as he's never gotten to enjoy the holidays with a big family and this will be his first. Though of course it's not the same by any means.
Thanksgiving will be held in the evening not in the mid afternoon. There will be going to work and school and no Thanksgiving parade. There will be no Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and the appetizers will be lunch instead of the all day bites of food to keep your stomach from eating a whole in your abdomen all morning and afternoon as you await the feast to be ready, which surely would be delayed by about a million different little reasons (or a few huge ones like the turkey not being thawed out).
But you know what? I'm still thankful this holiday for all that I have. The fact that I get to be in a new country where I get to learn new traditions, a new language, and new festivities that happen here that I never heard of back in The States. I'm thankful for the fact that we have a roof over our heads and food on our plates. I'm also immensely thankful for my new family near and far. Thankful for my old family and friends across the pond, whom I miss terribly but am lucky that they are only a skype session or social network away.
It's not the same, and it shouldn't be. That's OK because as long as I get to share my thanks for everything by allowing me to clutter up the kitchen and spending two days cooking, it'll be a great Thanksgiving.
Plus there will be pumpkin pie. With whipped cream, mmm.