Every weekend before Thanksgiving in the U.S. as we are getting ready to leave for what is now our sixth European Thanksgiving away, all of my social media and even my news sources are flooded with posts and articles on the latest and greatest ways to prepare a turkey and all those beloved Thanksgiving sides: mashed potatoes – how to keep them fresh for longer because we know how temporary their fluffiness is? Cranberry sauce – to eat the canned or to do an innovative twist with additional spices and fruit that may piss your aunt off? Then there’s also the stuffing; everyone has an opinion about stuffing. Should it be traditional bread stuffing with white or wheat bread, or corn bread-based? Is anyone going to be upset if you sub in Chinese rice stuffing instead if there are people of Asian descent at your table?

But by this point, we already would have had our early Thanksgiving meal, or “friendsgiving” meal as others like to call it since we’re not with our immediate family members. I already would have done my early Thanksgiving cooking for the year. Any tempting recipes or cooking tips I pick up this weekend I would just bookmark or save for next year. It’s planning a year ahead and adding more to my browser bookmarks list and copying and pasting new recipes into my Evernote for Thanksgiving ideas in the year to come.

Sometimes, I have fleeting moments when I feel a little sad that I have no family to “go home to” for Thanksgiving, but then I quickly realize and remember how lucky I am to have a life partner who loves to travel and see the world, and what better week to explore the world when most Americans are stuffing their faces with turkey and mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, when it is typically low season in most of Europe, to enjoy and relish the moments there with lesser crowds and American accents. I’m thankful to have what I have – the globe-trotting, worldly life partner I have, the money and work flexibility to travel as we do, and the good health to allow me to trek up endless hills and windy cobbled streets, and run through airports to get to the places we want to see and learn all about. I have a lot to be thankful for.


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