Thursday, November 27, 2014
Thanksgiving has no meaning or significance for Kiwis, but American expats often try and keep the traditions alive—out of context, sure, and certainly a bit alien here, but we try. Not this year, not really.
When I’m able to celebrate Thanksgiving, it’s always on Friday our time, because that’s Thursday—and Thanksgiving Day—in the USA. Some years I’ve made dinner, but this year, as has been the case in other years, everyone’s busy or otherwise unable to join us for a special meal, so it won’t be happening this year. Maybe next year.
The truth is, Thanksgiving is the time I’m most keenly aware that I live in a country I’m not from. Or, more accurately, I’m keenly aware of what I don’t have: All my blood family, my oldest friends, everything I knew as a child and young adult, are over there, and I’m here. It often makes me feel a bit melancholy, which is precisely why I try to celebrate the day when I can: It makes things better.
Today I made a turkey sandwich for lunch. The photo above (from 2011) shows the meat I used for my sandwich. That's also why I call this “Turkey Day”, because that’s really all it is.
Two NZ chains of electronics stores are having “Black Friday” sales tomorrow, which is even more divorced from its context than me making a big meal for Thanksgiving. Mind you, I can certainly see why they’d do it—New Zealand has no real start to its Christmas shopping season—but it still seems a bit odd to me. Of course, that may just BE me.
I may yet manage a kind of celebratory meal tomorrow, but either way, just like plenty of other Americans, I’ll be thinking about friends and family far away, some of whom have died. And, I’ll reflect on what I’m thankful for. That’s what the day is really about, wherever it’s observed.