It has recently come to my attention that my children do not know what Thanksgiving is. This shouldn't surprise me, as at school they are busy learning about rugby, horseback riding, and making passports that say their country of origin is England (this is incorrect- despite their arguments that their teachers are more knowledgable about our official residency status than their own parents). We are all still Canadian citizens, and as such, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving in early October, in an underwhelming manner.
I believe that Thanksgiving might be the holiday that truly expresses who we are as Canadians. We are thankful, for so many things. We are happy to eat turkey with people that we love and walk around in the glorious fall splendour with our families. We enjoy wearing flannel and denim and purchasing more pumpkins than are necessary. Thanksgiving in Canada falls on the second Monday of October. Typical celebrations include a long weekend and a large meal with family and friends. Thanksgiving in Canada differs from Thanksgiving in the United States by more than just the date. The story of the pilgrims and the indigenous people sharing a meal together in the early 1600s in Plymouth, is only part of the American celebration, as it is a piece of American History. In Canada, Thanksgiving is purely a celebration of the harvest. A time to reflect and be grateful. It's wonderfully simple and profound.
Last year for Thanksgiving, I made some pies and decided to take one over to my neighbours at the time, who are American. My neighbour opened the door and happily received the pie. He then proceeded to tell me that he had the day off from work as it was Columbus Day in the States and Americans employed as diplomats are privileged to observe both the American and British holidays. The Canadians do not get to do the same, so Thanksgiving was a regular day for us. My neighbour then proceeded to tell me that American Thanksgiving was at the end of November- a fact that myself and the entire world already knew. I do hope he enjoyed the pies and his many holidays and eventual Thanksgiving. I am thankful for friendly and entertaining neighbours.
I love to utilize thanksgiving as an excuse to take stock of everything that is going well in my life. There is always so much going wrong, and if we are not careful, it's easier to dwell on and list our troubles and worries. This year, I am thankful for a lot of things. There is a lot to celebrate when I take the time to notice.
I am thankful that I grew up in such a peaceful beautiful country and that my parents took care of me and I always felt safe.
I am thankful for my sisters and my sister-in-law and for having family members that are also my friends. This is precious and we will always be connected even if my sisters would like me to go away- I will love them and bother them forever.
I am thankful for the cheese I have been able to eat whilst in England. The cheese here is a gift to the world. When you hit a salt crystal in an aged cheddar, that's basically the pinnacle of human experience.
I am thankful every day, in a very deep way, to be able to have these years living in the UK. I have dreamed of and read of this place all my life and I have not been disappointed. It's been two years and I am still pinching myself.
I am thankful to be an outsider. Today, I told my boys loudly that we didn't have time to wait in the queue that had appeared outside one of their classrooms. I presume the queue was forming so that each parent could have a heart to heart with the teacher one at a time. I was only interested in getting out of there quickly as the gate is literally open for ten minutes and I have a second school to go to. I (lovingly) shoved Mr. G's body in the classroom ahead of everyone and took off before anyone could call the queue police. I am aware that this would be inexcusable if I were British, or perhaps if I were actually British I would never dare. I feel like as an outsider, I get a bit of a pass, a "bless her, she doesn't know any better. Poor Canadian *nincompoop." I'm less likely to be murdered anyway.
I am thankful for all that I have learned from all the wonderful friends I meet along the way. The people I have grown to love in each place I have lived have changed me forever and for the better.
I am thankful for my children, and how they force me to grow and improve and laugh, even when I think that I would really rather be sleeping.
I am thankful that I found pumpkins today at ASDA, and that my weekly ASDA shop frightens the cashiers because of it's sheer volume. One cashier even said, "ouch," when she read me my total. What they don't know, is that I spent the same amount when I was shopping in Canada, and that in Canada, our main goal is to shop bulk so that we don't have to go to the store everyday. Have I mentioned that I miss **Costco? But I am grateful for pumpkins. And three (four) boys that eat EVERYTHING SO MUCH EATING WOW.
As always, I am most grateful for my partner in everything and my best friend. He drives me nuts in the best way and we are always laughing and since I basically judge how much fun something is by how much it makes me laugh... I am having the most fun.
At Thanksgiving Dinner, we go around the table and say what we are grateful for. I remember doing this for as long as I can remember, at Grandma's house, with friends, it's all very heartwarming and an excellent activity to accompany a food coma. It's such a lovely tradition, I am thinking of making it a daily one. What are you grateful for? I'm sure if you wrote it down, you would be surprised at all the good in your life. Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends and family!
*I'm pretty sure nincompoop is a top British insult.
**Yes there is a Costco in Bristol, but I refuse to drive nearly an hour for groceries.