Thursday, November 19, 2009

Where's the Turkey!

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. As an American, I know the whole historical significance of the holiday, but for me it has always been about family.

As a child, Thanksgiving was a very memorable time. We always went to my Uncle Bob's house in Wooster and all my aunts, uncles and cousins would be there. In my younger years, my cousin's would have a friend or their boyfriend/girlfriend with them. (Which was fine with me because my one cousin had some cute friends!) As we all grew older, the tables became full of spouses and grandchildren. The serving table overflowed with turkey and gravy, mashed potatoes, homemade cranberry relish, baked corn, sweet potatoes, salad, rolls, and homemade pecan pie. My Aunt Judy always brought the best pumpkin pie from a specialty bakery in Cleveland. I kid you not, the pie was 6-inches in height. After we ate so much that we gave ourselves bellyaches (you know, the feeling when you wish you had a few apidexin to pop), we walked from my uncles house to Wooster College's campus, before settling in front of the TV to watch Thanksgiving Day football. The year I was pregnant with Emily, my aunts threw Matt and I a surprise baby shower. Some of my most favorite memories are from Thanksgiving.

Once Matt and I started dating we used to do Thanksgiving lunch at his family's house before heading to dinner with my family, as his parents lived only 12 miles from my parents. I loved working in the kitchen with my two sister-in-law's, preparing the meal. You can do some great gossiping in the kitchen! As we all started having kids (there are 9 now), Thanksgiving became more and more fun.

It is so weird being in a place where Thanksgiving Day for us is just a regular day for everyone else. Doing a traditional Thanksgiving dinner isn't very easy. Costco does carry a small number of turkeys, but we are talking $30 for a 10-pound bird, if they do not run out. Price Club has a 25 pound bird for almost $90. And some of the fixings you normally would have–– forget it. There are a few dinners being planned by some of the other Americans living here. Saturday we are attending a Thanksgiving Dinner hosted by the Shoiya Club, an area several Caterpillar expats live. And next weekend we have a dinner planned with a few other family's that live in our area. I am looking forward to creating some "Japanese Thanksgiving memories."

In 34 years, there has been two Thanksgiving's I have not been with my family. The first was the year Allison died. That year was such a blur that I honestly cannot tell you what we did. The second was in 2007, when we stayed in North Carolina and I hosted a Thanksgiving meal at my house with two other family's in my neighborhood. This year will make the third, and I am having a bit of a hard time adjusting to that.

Next Thursday will be a bittersweet day. I will miss my homemade cranberry relish (one of my favorite parts) as you cannot get fresh cranberries here. I will miss watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. I will miss Thanksgiving Day football. I will miss watching my nieces and nephews run around like wild children, hyped up on pumpkin pie and too much whipped cream. I will really miss my parents. Matt will be at work, the kids at school. The day won't be bad. It will just be –– different.

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