22 November 2012

Thanksgiving Blues

Today is Thanksgiving Day in my home country, the United States of Cranberry Sauce. But I am way over here in Switzerland, where tonight I'm having dinner by myself because the wife is in Geneva.  In honor of this special day I'm whipping up an ersatz pesto with the last of the broccoli in the fridge, which I'll eat while watching Les Adventures de Tin Tin in French on my laptop. Not sure if the Pilgrims would approve.

Yes, I'm feeling a little blue. Tonight I'm feeling the ex in expat. I'm outside my home country on a day when I've spent many glowing, burnished afternoons with dear family, beloved friends and tender turkeys.

Several years ago, when I was living in Paris for six months, an American acquaintance invited me to Thanksgiving dinner with his French wife and French-American son and daughter. I went thinking of it as an ironic lark, but once I got there, I almost dissolved in tears at the warmth of it all.

This year, my sweet little sister in Arizona has posted cruel pictures of scrumptious pecan pie she made (imagining making it for our departed dad). I wish I could be there with her, her fine husband and my niece and nephew. And with my big sister in South Carolina. And with my dad in Arlington Cemetery. And with my American friends in Ohio, Utah, California and Hawai‘i.

But I am here in Switzerland, my new home, which I do love, but which, tonight, as the fog lies down beneath the gathering dark, feels foreign and cold.

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