Monday, November 19, 2012

"How the Turkey Ran Away From This Thanksgiving Day"-An Expat's GuideTo Choosing How to Celebrate Thanksgiving

Our first Thanksgiving meal experience was in Hong Kong, seventeen years ago, when we were allowed, as the only Brits to join a truly Hong Kong- American celebration.

During our 5 years in Hong Kong, we learned to make turkeys out of socks. Jonny wrote a poem about the challenge of finding a kosher turkey, when the only kosher store in Hong Kong did not have one. And we discovered that football does not always involve kicking a ball around a pitch with your feet.

We have celebrated many of our 12 Thanksgivings in the USA with our dear Canadian friends-well what are Brits and Canadians without American family, meant to do...???

This year, as last we will be at home instead and in true British style we have opted for---wait for it----and I apologize in advance to die hard  Thanksgiving traditionalists---


Now before all you Americans turn off your computers/smartphones in disgust, humor me a little. 

We have taken on many things here:-supersized soda, basketball and baseball and twizzlers. We have had to adapt to a new language. We have dropped our u's out of some words such as coloUr andFavoUrite, and introduced others such as awesome, cool and good job to our vocabulary.

 But when it comes to food you know we are a little more particular - picky about our choice of English tea, picky about our Coleman's English mustard and  picky about our Cadbury's chocolate. 

So when I asked my family what they wanted to eat on Thanksgiving, their British roots came to the fore and they announced as a single voice.... 

"Roast beef."

So we are thankful that we can have Thanksgiving. We love the fact that everyone in the USA, from every religion, culture, country and background is celebrating Thanksgiving at the same time. 

And we are thankful that we are free and healthy  to choose what we eat and when we eat and we have a warm, safe home to eat it in, together.

We know that these simple, universal primary needs are not a given for everyone world wide. Our hearts go out to those who have lost their homes and heat and havens. 

And as we choose to eat what we love, in our own home, our prayers for peace and safety are with those around the world who can't. 

And after we have been able to celebrate Thanksgiving in which ever way we choose, we need to get up from our comfy armchairs and do something to increase the comfort of others.

Tell me about your favorite Thanksgiving experience.

Happy Thanksgiving  to all of you in the USA and Happy Thursday to all of you around the world....

(and if you'd rather be eating roast beef  or something other than the traditional turkey, you can tell me in confidence. I'll completely understand!!)


You might also enjoy my previous post

An Expat's view-If I Can Move, So Can You-Some Tips For Success

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  1. Hope you and the family enjoy your roast beef. I'm sure it's who you're eating it with that really matters.

    1. Thank you Liz -and of course you are right it is who you are with that matters and we really are so lucky to have to have a Thanksgiving meal of our choice in comfort.(However my boys will be checking that the beef is medium rare!)


  2. I'm American and I hate turkey, so you don't need to explain anything to me. My mother is English, though, and she has no problem with turkey. Didn't you have turkey in England?

  3. Hi Tesyaa-Yes we had turkey in England and we eat it here, but it would never be our first choice and I guess since we did not grow up with any Thanksgiving food traditions we are creating our own! If you hate Turkey, what do you eat on Thanksgiving?
    Have a very happy day and thank you very much for leaving a comment.

  4. Gilly - You should absolutely be having what you will give the most thanks for, not what some silly tradition says you should. It was a lot easier for the pilgrims to shoot turkey than ?cattle? so turkey is the tradition.

    Tell your boys I like their taste in how beef should be done - although I, myself, prefer it far less done than medium rare.

    We have spent two or three Thanksgivings in Bethany Beach. And our tradition, if we are not having guests, is to have a fairly simple meal on Thursday. After all, we have Thanksgiving every week - we just call it Shabbat!

    This year, though, it will be more traditional, as all three of our kids will be home, one with a new boyfriend. And Gail's nephew, the PhD in theoretical physics, will be here from Rochester, NY. And a few other friends.

    Yom Hodu Sameach!


    1. Hi Bill,
      Thank you for your comment and endorsement of our meal! I like the meat rarer too!

      We are mostly looking forward to being together, as it sounds you are with your extended family. Enjoy the gathering and the food. And as you say it's not much different from what we do every week. :-)

      Happy Thanksgiving.


  5. Dear Gilly,
    Your re-evaluation of family tradition reminds me I am thankful that each year brings change and growth in the form of new menus, renewed health, morphing children-from boys to young men to men, and us ladies - new shapes and sizes-soon to be walked into firmness after respectable (not) quantities of delicious, luxurious food. How luck, cluck, lucky we are!


    1. Dear Jessie,

      That is so true. We just have to look at how short our childrens' pants ( trousers) get, to know that nothing stays the same and enjoy the changes a year brings. I think it is great to enjoy these changes within whatever traditions we have. The framework gives a lot of comfort even if the details are different.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

  6. I love that as a "new" American I get to create my own traditions for my family. Most of them do revolve around food, but we have a few little things that make it our own. And I hope that one day my girls will carry on some of these traditions with their own families too.

  7. Hi Laura -Who'd have thought back in our high school days, we'd both be living in the USA making Thanksgiving! I agree. I think it's all about a sense of belonging and your children wanting to continue your traditions and hopefully come to your house for Thanksgiving , when they have families of their own......
    Thanks for commenting.


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