As great as it is to live abroad, one of the major downsides is being away from family and friends during the holidays. What’s particularly difficult is when the holiday isn’t even celebrated in the country you’re living in.
Thanksgiving is the holiday that I probably miss the most since I’ve been living abroad. I’ve been lucky enough to have been home a handful of times for Christmas since 2004, but making it back for Thanksgiving has always been more of a challenge in terms of timing. When I was a student in the UK, there was no Thanksgiving break (and I probably couldn’t have afforded a flight back for such a short trip anyway), and then once I started to work in the education sector, the majority of my vacation time needed to be taken in the summer. So I think, if I’m remembering correctly, I’ve made it back for a total of one Thanksgiving in eight years. Sad, huh? In the beginning it didn’t bother me so much, but I’ve come to really appreciate (and miss) this holiday that is uniquely north american.
Still, Thanksgiving is about giving thanks, even if that means not getting to enjoy pumpkin pie while you’re doing it! As hard as it sometimes was and sometimes still is, I’m thankful to have had the opportunities I’ve had to live and study abroad and experience different cultures. I’m thankful I have the opportunity (as much as I complain about it) to learn another language now. I’m thankful the Mr. has the good, permanent job that brought us here. I’m thankful we have his family here and we’re looking forward to celebrating Advent with them this weekend, and later Christmas. I’m thankful I’m going to get to fly back to see my family in January for a “late” Christmas. I’m thankful for all the new friends I’m making, and for the old ones that make it feel like no time has passed since we last saw each other. And I’m thankful for our little furry Mia, who had a tooth pulled yesterday morning and seems to be doing just fine.
I am so thankful for so much, that I really don’t even know where to begin or where to end this list. I don’t know what I did in my previous life to deserve such a great husband, family, friends, health and privilege, but I deeply appreciate all that I have.