Thanksgiving sometimes feels like an odd little holiday when you're living overseas. You have to search high and low for some of the basics, like cranberries, and pay through the nose for others, like a turkey. I don't think I've ever spent less than $60 on a turkey overseas, because they have to be imported from the States. And what I wouldn't give for a handful of fresh cranberries! They're nowhere to be found.
This year was especially odd for a couple of reasons. First, Shay had school - after all, it's an American holiday, but his school is international. So no break. We did pick him up an hour early, but that's about it.
Also, we usually host Thanksgiving overseas. And I love hosting Thanksgiving - I love the food prep, the smells, the look of the table, the quarreling with my husband over something trivial right before the guests show up... But this year, we went to the Gunny's house. He's the head Marine here, and all of his Marines came, along with most of the security type folks. I'd say there were 40-50 people there. The Marines cooked the turkeys and the rest of us brought desserts, appetizers and sides. Since I didn't have to cook a turkey, I wasn't kitchen-bound all day. So I left Kyra and Aidan at home with the ayi and got a pedicure before going out to lunch, all by myself. Very quiet, very non-Thanksgiving. After lunch, I got back in the kitchen, whipped up a few things (pie, fudge, salad, green beans, apple dip), and then we all headed down the road to Gunny's.
It was a nice day, all in all, though I'm not sure it quite felt like Thanksgiving. And now it is already time to start prepping for Christmas. We have to order and ship gifts pretty much now, because it takes so long to get everything through the military postal service. So I'm frantically trying to send gifts out to family members by week's end, and I need to finish ordering Santa's gifts for my own little ones so they'll arrive in time. The good news is, if I accomplish all of this, I'll be done with Christmas shopping early.
In addition, I have lots of writing work to do. I've just been asked to write three more things for the magazine I've been working with . One is on spec (they may or may not buy it); one is not due for a month but will involve heavy research; one is due in a week but is the coolest assignment ever - I'll be reviewing local restaurants and ranking them in terms of kid-friendliness. So I think we might go out to dinner tonight AND lunch tomorrow. Should be fun... assuming these places really are kid-friendly and further assuming my kids are friendly to each other.
I have lots to be thankful for this season, as always. I have a husband who supports my writing habit (financially and emotionally), I have three healthy (usually) kids, I have a great, if distant, extended family; I still have my hearing in one ear at least; and I've learned how to say my address in Chinese so I won't get stranded in the middle of Beijing some cold winter day.
The list goes on, but unfortunately, chores and kids beckon.