Thanksgiving really snuck up on us this year, between all the moving and settling in to a new country. I only realised it was Thanksgiving weekend when I saw friends’ posts on Facebook!
Keeping some of the bigger Canadian holidays (Thanksgiving, Canada Day, Stanley Cup Season) is one of the ways that I try to help us retain onto our Canadian identity while living abroad. We both find it difficult to define what it is to be a Canadian, but these few things at least evoke good memories of our life back in the Great White North. Thus, Thanksgiving Dinner had to be pulled together somehow.
Between our limited budget, limited supply of ready cash (it is difficult to find places in Berlin that take credit cards), and the restrictions of what was available it was difficult to get the traditional things. Nevertheless, we managed to have a pretty good Thanksgiving Dinner. I picked up a small chicken and roasted it with garlic salt, pepper, and butter. We went heavy on the vegetable side, with roast carrots & parsnips tossed with cinnamon sugar, steamed brussel sprouts, and red cabbage. To round everything off there were roasted potatoes and gravy. It was delicious. For dessert we picked up two pieces of apple cake from a backerei and David went out and got ice cream. And of course we had some delicious German beers to wash it down with.
It was certainly one of the simplest Thanksgiving meals I’ve ever had. Not only was the food fairly simple, it was also the only Thanksgiving that I can ever remember where we didn’t have extended family or friends around for a meal. Yet, when I looked at our comparatively simple supper, which we ate on the couch in our two-room flat, I couldn’t help but feel immensely thankful for everything that I have:
- my own little family: a wonderful husband, who is the most hard-working man I know, who always puts his family first, whose ability to believe in achieving the impossible has taken us on many adventures, and who just happens to be the love of my life. My little son, who is so brave, adventurous, and loving, who is the perfect fit for our family, and who has changed our lives (and us) for the better. Just having my boys around me for the holiday was more than enough.
- our little flat in Berlin. It may not be fancy, and it may not be large, but it is ours for now. At the end of the day we all have a home to come back to. If you consider that I spent most of the past year not knowing where I’d be living come October, you can appreciate how grateful I am for my home.
|working in his makeshift office|
- being in Berlin! I started crying as our plan began flying over Germany, because I had never really expected to travel this far. I am often still amazed that out of all the people I know, I’m the one who lives abroad. I’m thankful for the opportunity and the experiences I’ve had.
- our families back home. It’s a blessing to have family worth missing. Their support has really meant everything this year, as it has been a particularly challenging one and it’s been good to know that we had them backing us up.
I am sure I could go on, but you get the gist. Home and family are the very heart of what I’m thankful for.