One of the joys of moving to a foreign country is viewing the local customs with amused detachment. Take Thanksgiving for example. Coming, as I do, from Europe rather than North America, it's quite interesting to watch the Macy's Parade, the constant references to Pilgrims on television, and the hundred and one other things that most Americans take completely for granted.
I admit that I was quite smug about being completely uninvolved in the process, and of course, I had that sense of superiority that comes about because I wasn't daft enough to be spending my time making Gingerbread Houses or worrying about some football game.
But on Thursday, a co-worker who obviously felt bad that as I've no family around here I would probably end up in the office, graciously invited me to his own family's Thanksgiving dinner. As it's been a while since I've eaten anything more complicated than beans on toast, I gladly accepted.
I have to admit, it was a lovely thing - family members getting together and eating a lot of really good food (most of which was alien to me, but nevertheless delicious) and catching up. I left with a bag of leftovers (which will last me a week) and new appreciation for Turkey Day.
I can see the attraction of this holiday: this IS a big country, and it's good that family takes the time and trouble to meet up. Christmas tends to be more immediate family (at least in Ireland) and so there's no real official meeting up. I felt quite homesick.
Anyway, today is Friday, and I think I've dozed-off all the turkey enzymes so I'm back in the (very quiet) office. As I watch people on the news websites fighting in chain stores for a discounted laptop, that sense of superiority is coming back, and this time I'm definitely not going to join in ;-)