First of all, let me start by apologizing for not posting last week. After two full years of writing this blog (our on-island anniversary is next week), it’s honestly hard for me to find things to write about, even on a bi-weekly basis. But I’m trying.
When we arrived two years ago on the Monday of Thanksgiving week, we (understandably) weren’t sure about our Thanksgiving plans. We’d just moved to a new country on the other side of the world where we didn’t know anyone. How were we supposed to make plans for a family-centric holiday? We ended up going to a buffet at one of the Officer’s Clubs, where there WAS an ice sculpture of a turkey, but there was NOT a lot of food for us to eat. By the time our second on-island Thanksgiving rolled around, we had a couple of friends, and were lucky enough to share a meal with them and their daughter. We’ll be with them (and a few others) again this year.
Here’s the thing about Thanksgiving, though. I know, as Jews, we often think of holidays as being all about the food, but Thanksgiving really amps that up to the next level. Normally that’s not a problem. Every family has their own traditional foods, and most peoples’ Thanksgiving dinners probably look similar from year to year. I know ours always did. When you’re celebrating in what is essentially a transient community, though, everyone is missing their families/friends/traditions back home, and so whatever plans they have made for themselves, they want their own personal traditions to be honored. And that’s not a problem either – it just means there is inevitably WAY too much food. Yoni and I are going to a meal where there will be 3-5 other adults, and there will be two turkeys. Not to mention a ridiculous list of other foods.
Food mania aside, spending Thanksgiving away from home is always bittersweet. But, seeing as the holiday is actually about giving thanks and not about food, I try to see the sweet instead of the bitter. I’m thankful this year to have friends to have Thanksgiving dinner with; I’m thankful that the temperature in Okinawa has finally dropped below 95 degrees; and I’m thankful for Yoni and Penny, who put a smile on my face and make it okay to call our apartment ‘home.’