Saturday, November 30, 2013

No thanks

I had no Thanksgiving this year. The whānau was busy, which was actually a good thing: I was flat out working on my final work projects for the year and simply didn’t have time to take off for cooking and such. Nigel and I thought about going to Denny’s as we did one year a long time ago, but we didn’t.

I’ve written about Thanksgiving several times before (see links at the bottom of this post), and what it’s like for an expat like me. Because of time zones, when Americans are celebrating their holiday, it’s Friday here. Most years, that works out well for me because that’s Takeaway Night, something we’ve done for years, getting together for dinner with family. This year, the timing was all wrong.

The truth is, I’ve never been able to make up my mind about what I think about celebrating Thanksgiving here in New Zealand. On the one hand, it’s part of my culture, and I’d like to preserve it (I prefer it to Fourth of July, which is in the NZ winter, or Halloween, which I pretty much loathe). However, my customs are foreign to Kiwi family and friends, and it seems I’m the only one who actually likes turkey. So, I guess celebrating Thanksgiving in New Zealand is really all about me (not that I have a problem with that…).

I think that the longer a person lives in a country they’ve moved to, the less important the ways of the old country are, especially if they’re in the new country long-term/permanently. I don’t know if it ever goes away, that longing for some sort of connection with one’s native culture, but it does weaken over time. In my experience, anyway.

So, I had no Thanksgiving this year. There’s always next year—thankfully, that’s almost certainly true.

Previous posts on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving thoughts (2012)
Happy Thanksgiving (2011)
Another expat Thanksgiving (2010)
Thanksgiving (2008)
Home for the holidays (2007)
Thanksgiving Downunder (2006)


rogerogreen said...

I think about traditions that European tribes continue in the US, though, several generations later St. Patrick's Day, Pulaski Day... Why do some die and others survive?.

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

I think it takes determination to keep ethnic cultural traditions. The other side is that when immigrants desperately want to be absorbed into the dominant culture they may abandon their old ways. Certainly that's what happened with all my ancestors, unfortunately.