Today’s my first Thanksgiving completely away from my family. Or to clarify: it’s year 3, so this isn’t *technically* my first Thanksgiving away… but it is without at least one member of my family. My mom came over in first year and my dad and sister came over last year.
This year, they’re all back in Kansas and my sister has just returned home for the first time from University. And me? I’m writing this from a coffee shop. But, just because I’m alone this Thanksgiving doesn’t mean that I’m lonely.
I actually find it pretty hard to be lonely in Edinburgh… and that’s not because there are probably more skeletal remains buried beneath the city than living inhabitants. No, I find it hard to be lonely in Edinburgh because of the history and stories surrounding everything. That, and of course, my friends… who are truly wonderful people and I probably don’t tell them that enough.
This weekend we went to the Bothy for the last EUMC meet of the year. We cooked up a big meal aka about 40L of vegetable soup. We started early on Saturday morning and served up around 8pm. It was a few days early, but being at the Bothy, cooking, and drinking mulled wine in front of the fire felt a little bit like own little Thanksgiving. I wasn’t related to anyone there, but it felt like a little family nonetheless. (And, yeah, sure, maybe I’m a little sentimental… but being a long way from your family around this time of year makes anyone sentimental.)
I was grateful for this weekend. I had been very stressed and I was grateful for that beautiful place in the mountains. How the sun hit the snowy peaks and how the clear the river was. I was grateful for the stars, and how you could see Orion overhead – the first constellation my dad ever taught me. But, most importantly, I was grateful for the stories from the people milling about and the laughter they brought with them – for the singing and the dancing and the fireworks and even the bagpipes.
If living abroad has taught me anything, it’s that the world may seem pretty big… but it’s also pretty small as well. The places and the people may be different but the feeling of the holidays remain the same.
Thanksgiving has been and will be a day for stopping and looking at the wonderful life around you. It’s for realising that things aren’t as bad as they seem. It’s about giving thanks for the places you’ve been and will go and the people you’ve met and will meet along the way.