I ate so much turkey and I have no regrets.
Moving to Scotland, I knew that there would some uniquely American things that I would miss out on. I already missed the World Series, but I was not prepared to give up Thanksgiving.
Around October, my mom emailed me asking what I was planning to do for Thanksgiving. I thought about going out to eat, or maybe even joining the North American society… but neither of those options really seemed right. Thanksgiving was always a time back home to celebrate family and friends. So I emailed her back saying that I didn’t have any plans and asked to see if she wanted to come over and visit.
So, typical Mom booked a ticket the next day.
Dad kept emailing me about how excited she was to see me, and truthfully I was excited as well. The longest time, until now, that I’d been away from home had been two weeks… it’s been three months.
Before she got here we planned out a proper Thanksgiving for Friday, November 27. I invited a small group of friends I had gotten to know really well over the semester to celebrate – none of them were American and had NEVER celebrated Thanksgiving or more importantly made hand turkeys.
My mom got here on Wednesday, November 25. I had class at 10, but after I dropped by Starbs and grabbed two coffees and headed over to the flat she was renting for the weekend.
My mom knitted me a blanket, guys. Like a full sized blanket brought all the way from Kansas.
And she brought me White Cheddar Cheezits. I actually cried while eating them. I wish was joking.
I had the rest of the afternoon off, so we headed out to Asda to pick up all the things that we would need to cook a proper Thanksgiving meal. We pulled out all the stops. Turkey. Mashed potatoes. Sweet potatoes. Dressing. Kuga. Even a batch of vintage Sleepy Jean’s caramel.
That evening I took my mom to the Boozy Cow, a great burger joint just off Princes Street in New Town. It’s seriously LFK in a restaurant. Everything is serves on big platters and the walls are covered in artwork. The TVs play Marvel movies 24/7, Captain America: The Winter Solider was playing in back and Guardians of the Galaxy was playing front. The music is 60s, 70s, and 80s Classic Rock.
Thursday I got up early and worked on the last of my six essays, an Archaeology essay on methods of dating artifacts. It was due today and so unfortunately, I had to work on it while she was here. That afternoon we went shopping on Princes Street (my mom is amazing and kitted me out for climbing… stay tuned) and then to the Christmas Market.
Just a bit on Edinburgh Christmas… it’s absolutely fantastic. Princes Street Gardens turns into a huge marketplace with a ferris wheel, skating rink, and a lot of food. My mom was really excited to see the market and all the decorations they have been putting up all over town. There are trees and lights everywhere – and especially in New Town it looks like the typical Georgian Christmas (probably because it actually is).
Friday was the big day. I had my last 9 AM of the year and then ran back to my dorm room to grab my Christmas sweater. I got back to the flat where my mom was already busy with the turkey. Friends starting coming around at 1 PM to make hand turkeys, cook, and listen to Christmas music. We even decorated a small tree.
All afternoon everyone shared stories and made hand turkeys.
I didn’t really think about it until my mom mentioned it later, but just how amazing our Thanksgiving was.
Living here and living in a more globalized world, sometimes I take for granted that I can speak with and see people from all over the world every single day. We had seven different nationalities represented Friday with 6 from England, 3 from Scotland, 2 Kansasans, 2 Norwegians, 1 Austrian, 1 Lithuanian, and 1 from the Canary Islands!
But, I didn’t even think about that, to me they were all just amazing friends that I gotten to know over the semester. But I guess, less than 30 years ago having people from seven different countries come together to celebrate an American Thanksgiving would have been unheard of.
It gives me some hope for this world. That people are still able to come together, share holidays, learn about each other’s cultures.
That’s what it’s really about – understanding.
To see that we all aren’t really that different.
Okay now, that I’ve sufficiently explained the true meaning of Christmas… my mom and I had a great weekend. I showed her around Edinburgh both Saturday and Sunday. We did more Christmas shopping in the Princes Street Gardens Market, stopped at Elephants and Bagels for a snack, and went to the Doric, the oldest gastro pub in Edinburgh, for a proper pub lunch.
I said goodbye Sunday night. She had an early flight Monday morning. It was really nice to see her and show her how I’ve been living in rainy no-sun land. Apparently, I’ve even picked up a bit of an accent??
Dad was jealous and is asking me nonstop about my free weeks in March or April. Yes, Dad totally come visit. Everyone is curious about peanut butter pop-tarts.