Last year I spent Thanksgiving with Tina and Donato, my Italian friends in Puglia, and cooked a traditional holiday meal for them and some of their relatives. It was wonderful to share my favorite holiday with new friends. This year, I am alone on Thanksgiving Day for the first time. It's not been my good fortune to make friends with any native Spainards.
Each year, one of the things I do is remind myself of all the blessings of my life. So, in my solitude, I share them here so that I can feel some connection with my friends and family.
First, I'm grateful to be 67 and have a parent who is living. And I'm grateful for my two dear sisters, who are both my good friends. They have provided me with children to love, and I love all my nieces and nephews and their children as well.
Then, I'm grateful for the many friends in my life, some of whom connect me to my childhood, others to my early adulthood, and still others who mark the years between then and now. Some are very new friends...those I've met on this sojourn of mine...and having these friends from other countries has enriched my life in ways I never imagined. And having friends who connect me to my past is a blessing to be treasured and attended. They remind me who I was and who I have become.
I'm grateful that I had the means and the courage to undertake this adventure. It has transformed me in ways I never imagined, and I expect I will continue to be affected by living in cultures so different from my own and listening the world views of others. Not many people can or would do what I'm doing, for lots of reasons--family ties, resources, etc.--but I'm happy that I figured out how to realize this long-time dream of mine with resources much more limited than I expected to have at this time of my life.
This is my Thanksgiving dinner....scallops of turkey with lemon, lumpy buttered mashed potatoes (all I had for whipping was a fork) and a salad. I don't usually have hardboilled eggs on hand, but guess what? In Spain, you can buy eggs that are already boiled for you. That wasn't my intention. I would never think to check whether the eggs at the grocery store are cooked or not. You can imagine my surprise when I tried to crack and fry the first one!
I'm grateful to have found some turkey in Cordoba, Spain. My Thanksgiving dinner might not look as appetizing as yours, but just having turkey and mashed potatoes connected me to warm memories of Thanksgivings past--to family and friends who I especially miss on this, my favorite holiday of the year.
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