While I was abroad the past two years, Thanksgiving was a particularly special holiday. It is a day that is uniquely (North) American; and although other cultures are aware that we celebrate this day, there exists some curiosity around its meaning and its customs. I found a special connection in sharing our family’s favorite holiday with both Americans and non-Americans in Ireland. Below are my fondest memories from our ex-pat Thanksgivings:

– Sharing Pumpkin Pie with my son’s Irish classmates and teachers, none of whom had ever had it before and about 1/3 were not impressed.
– The surprise of my daughter’s friends that there were no gifts at Thanksgiving.
– 4 euro cans of Libby’s canned pumpkin.  Despite the expense, I am grateful for being able to find it at all! (It was in the “American Food” section of the market along with the Marshmallow Fluff, Root Beer, Lucky Charms, Kraft Mac and Cheese, and other “American” food.)
– Fresh cranberries rarely available before December 1. Joyfulness in finding them in time for Thanksgiving.
– Turkeys are generally not available before Christmas as they are fattened up with December 25 in mind. The local butchers were wonderful partners in finding us lovely birds. (Irish ovens are not made for 16 pound turkeys anyway.)
– Cream cheese is more watery and cheesecake requires some flour mixed in to absorb the liquid (learned this one the hard way).
– The ex-pat (and Irish) friends with whom we celebrated two very special Thanksgiving dinners.

Funny enough, I am no longer an ex-pat but thought to post these thoughts this year. I suppose it’s a bit of nostalgia for the uniqueness of experiencing Thanksgiving outside of the standard operating procedures — having to hunt for what we take for granted each year. I am so grateful for this adventure in our lives; but maybe more grateful that we’ve come back to our old traditions and for the opportunity to celebrate this year with our extended family.

As an extension of that, at Equinox this year, our team will spend an afternoon packing food baskets for needy families in our region. We’ll connect with one another and with our community, giving thanks for the opportunities we have to serve one another, our clients, and those who are in need.

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!

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