I'm pretty sure at one point I had declared that I would never celebrate Thanksgiving again. I think it was during my high school years. Back when Jon and I would head up to Montreal during the long holiday weekend. Both of us being teenage vegans* (and he being Canadian) meant eating Turkey and hanging out with the folks seemed like a terrible way to spend time off from school. So it was all gay dance clubs, tattoos and lip rings for us. I think I even got my star/feather tattoo on Thanksgiving, to celebrate the Native American heritage on my mom's side of the family. So, yeah, not into Thanksgiving.
But, like many expatriates, I have ended up romanticizing the holidays I was never really into. I don't consider myself jolly or possessing any kind of Christmas spirit, yet I've shelled out $1,000 to fly home to celebrate it this year.
You see, I've spent the last two Christmases in Japan. Alone. On the couch. Trying to get Skype to work. Opening presents from my mom that arrived weeks before but I saved for this day. Really depressing. I guess I can appreciate the holidays now that I'm older and my family is expanding in numbers and in miles.
And then there's Valentines Day, which I've always hated, but since I've learned that in Japan girls are supposed to buy guys chocolate I've totally started to preach the American Valentine's Day doctrine (mostly to Motto, who doesn't care and wants his treats).
So this year for Thanksgiving, Kris and Nao-chan held a little last-minute Thanksgiving potluck dinner at their house. I had been subconsciously preparing for this by hoarding a can of cranberry sauce I bought over a month ago (for half off!) at a foreign food store in Hiroshima. Nao cooked delicious fried tofu and carrots that looked like ebi-tempura. Another friend brought pumpkin pie and a green bean cassorole. I think someone brought a plain doughnut (it was kind of sitting on the table awkwardly). Someone else made mashed potatoes and Shani made fried chicken. No Turkey, no gravy, no pecan pie or football (thank god) but it felt Thanksgiving-esque.
All in all, I was really surprised by how excited I was to see pumpkin pie... and how easy it was to eat with chopsticks!
*Which also means everyone makes a big fuss about what you "can" eat and you have to fight your way into the kitchen to save some potatoes before evil milk and butter gets splattered all over them.